Discovery: Huge glowing 'rogue' planet drifting through space

Artist's conception of SIMP J01365663+0933473 an object with a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter’s and lives 20 light years from Earth

A new planet, which is 12 times bigger than Jupiter, has been discovered outside our solar system by astronomers. This first of its kind object is around 20 light years away from Earth. A light year is equal to about 6 trillion miles.

"This object is right at the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf, or "failed star", and is giving us some surprises", Dr Melodie Kao and astronomer at Arizona State University told The Independent.

Artist's conception of SIMP J01365663 0933473, an object with 12.7 times the mass of Jupiter, but a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter's. It was detected using US National Science Foundation's Karl G Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) telescope. Scientists aren't exactly sure how the auroras form in brown dwarfs, but they do have some theories. Such cases are rare as only a few rogue planets have been found before but it is theorized that many similar planets may in fact exist.

The recently discovered planetary mass was originally found in 2016 but was mistaken for a brown dwarf planet.

Astronomers originally came to the conclusion that the object was a brown dwarf because of its mass and because it does not revolve around a star like a planet typically does. It is the radio signature of these auroras that allowed the researchers to detect these objects.

The first of such astronomical bodies was observed in 1995 and the scientists are still trying to understand more about the radio emissions and magnetic fields of five brown dwarves. Instead, they believe there may be another yet-to-be-discovered planet or moon orbiting the planet.

SIMP's magnetic field is over 200 times that of Jupiter's, notes the report. Since the mass of a Brown dwarf is hard to accurately calculate, at the time, the object found was thought to be an old, massive brown dwarf.

Caltech's Gregg Hallinan said that researching SIMP "presents huge challenges to our understanding of the dynamo mechanism that produces the magnetic fields in brown dwarfs and exoplanets and helps drive the auroras we see".

Kao added, "We think these mechanisms can work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in both gas giant and terrestrial planets".

The new discovery can make boffins believe that they may have a novel way of detecting and finding exoplanets, including rogue ones that are hard to identify since they are not orbiting a parent star like the planets do in our solar system.

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