Bizarre Rogue 'Planet' with Incredible Auroras Puzzles Scientists

Bizarre Rogue ‘Planet’ with Incredible Auroras Puzzles Scientists

Bizarre Rogue 'Planet' with Incredible Auroras Puzzles Scientists

An artist’s depiction of the newly described object.

Credit: Chuck Carter; NRAO/AUI/NSF/Caltech

A rogue, planet-size object 20 light-years away from Earth has surprised astronomers with its extremely highly effective magnetic subject.

The scientists discovered that the thing’s magnetic subject is greater than 200 instances stronger than Jupiter’s, which, in flip, is between 16 and 54 instances stronger than Earth’s, based on NASA. How the thing, which scientists name SIMP J01365663+0933473, can preserve a magnetic subject so sturdy, in addition to generate spectacular auroras, continues to be unclear.

“This particular object is exciting because studying its magnetic dynamo mechanisms can give us new insights on how the same type of mechanisms can operate in extrasolar planets — planets beyond our solar system,” lead research writer Melodie Kao, an astrophysicist at Arizona State University, said in a statement from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory printed Aug. 2. [The Strangest Alien Planets We Know in Pictures]

And it isn’t simply the magnetic mechanism that is leaving scientists with questions proper now — there are many different mysteries in regards to the object, which scientists first found in 2016.

The object is what scientists name a brown dwarf. Nicknamed “failed stars,” brown dwarfs are bigger than planets, however not fairly massive sufficient to fuse hydrogen, the way in which stars do. The boundary line continues to be debated, however scientists have a tendency to attract it at about 13 instances the mass of Jupiter.

Originally, scientists thought SIMP J01365663+0933473 was a big, previous brown dwarf. But additional research confirmed that it’s as a substitute comparatively younger, at 200 million years previous, and is just 12.7 instances the mass of Jupiter. That analysis additionally confirmed that the planet is by itself, not orbiting a star.

“This object is right at the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf, or ‘failed star,’ and is giving us some surprises that can potentially help us understand magnetic processes on both stars and planets,” Kao stated within the assertion. “We think these mechanisms can work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in both gas giant and terrestrial planets.”

The staff is especially excited by the brand new analysis as a result of it depends partially on radio observations of the thing’s auroras — which signifies that radio telescopes might be able to determine new planets by their auroras.

The new analysis was described in an article printed July 31 within the Astrophysical Journal.

Email Meghan Bartels at [email protected] or comply with her @meghanbartels. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on

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