The rogue body is almost large enough to be considered a gas giant planet and it offers researchers the opportunity to study these massive objects, shedding light on their magnetic realities. It's an odd feature considering it doesn't have a star to send off the particles that create the auroras when they hit the planet's atmosphere.
This rogue planet is believed to be quite young, 200 million years old and it is now placed at 20 light-years from us.
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Brown dwarfs are generally "too massive to be considered planets, yet not massive enough to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen in their cores - the process that powers stars", the researchers note. For comparison, the surface of the Sun is about 5500 degrees Celsius. Scientists also determined the size of the free-floating object to be much smaller than previously believed at 12.7 times the size of Jupiter.
It was once thought that no such object could exist and the first failed star was not discovered until 1995.
Yet to be given a catchy name by the scientists that have observed it through the National Science Foundation's advanced radio telescope arrays, the object is officially known as SIMP J01365663+0933473. According to the study, the huge planet possesses a powerful magnetic field over 200 times stronger than that of Jupiter and can generate dazzling auroras outshining Earth's polar lights.
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Researchers believe the rogue planet is quite young, estimating its age at around 200 million years. Some brown dwarfs have powerful auroras like those seen around the poles of Earth, Jupiter and Saturn caused by the interactions of a planet's magnetic field and the electrically charged solar wind. The discovery marks the first time radio observations and magnetic field measurements have been made of such a body and opens the door for future insights into exploring exoplanetary magnetic fields. Once more data was obtained, the idea that SIMP J01365663+0933473 was a brown dwarf was scrapped.
The recently discovered planetary mass was originally found in 2016 but was mistaken for a brown dwarf planet. Gregg Hallinan of the Caltech said that such a powerful magnetic field raises new questions for our understanding of the dynamical mechanism generating such fields in brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets, and lights on them.
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