Bizarre, rogue planet boasts impressive magnetic aurora

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A huge "rogue" planet with an unexplained "glow" lurks beyond our solar system, claim scientists.

Originally, it was thought that brown dwarfs do not have magnetic fields, but over the past few decades, astronomers have noticed signs of magnetic activity as well as powerful auroras on these stars. It is now believed to be 200 million years old, and 20 light-years away from Earth.

They also have strong auroras - similar to the stunning "Northern Lights" on Earth - like those seen in our own solar system's giant planets Jupiter and Saturn.

"This object is right at the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf, or 'failed star, ' and is giving us some surprises", stated Melodie Kao, the study's leading author.

Brown dwarfs have long baffled experts because they're too big to be considered planets but are not big enough to be stars.

The difference between a gas giant planet and a brown dwarf remains hotly debated among astronomers, but one rule of thumb that they use is the mass below which deuterium fusion ceases, known as the 'deuterium-burning limit, ' around 13 Jupiter masses. The surface of SIMP is roughly 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit (816 Celsius), sitting "right at the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf, or 'failed star, '" according to Kao.

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They were able to determine its mass and determine that the object could be a free-floating planet.

"Given its size, this object is just at the edge between a planet and a brown dwarf".

Located in New Mexico, at an altitude of 6,969 ft, Karl G. Jansky's Very Large Array (VLA) is a radio telescope that is part of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory network. Such objects were first theorized in the 60s but were first identified in 1995.

The odd object, called SIMP J01365663+0933473, has a magnetic field which is more than 200 times stronger than the magnetic field field of Jupiter, according to the study published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. That's an incredible finding, and it suggests that there's some very interesting things going on above the planet's surface.

At the same time, the team from Caltech, which originally registered the radio emission in 2016, I watched it again during the new study, at much higher RF frequencies, and confirmed that the magnetic field of the object was even stronger than originally thought.

Of particular note is the presence of strong auroras, which typically involve a planet's magnetic field interacting with solar wind.

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