ASU astronomer led the discovery of a planet-sized rogue object beyond our solar system


The strange object, called SIMP J01365663 + 0933473, is about a dozen times the size of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, and has a magnetic field 200 times stronger than that of Jupiter.

An object the size of a planet that is 200 million years old and located 20 light years from Earth is called a “magnetic powerhouse”.

According to a press release from the National Radio Astronomical Observatory (NRAO), the discovery of the object marks the “first detection by radio telescope of a planetary mass object beyond our solar system”.

The strange object, called SIMP J01365663 + 0933473, is about a dozen times the size of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, and has a magnetic field 200 times stronger than that of Jupiter.

To put this in perspective, Jupiter’s magnetic field is 16 to 54 times stronger than that of Earth.

The object, which scientists say sits on the border between a planet and a brown dwarf, is said to be “surprisingly powerful magnetic power.”

The NRAO statement said he was a “thug,” meaning he “travels through space unaccompanied by a parent star.”

The study was published in the Astrophysical Journal and led by Melodie Kao, Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. She was a graduate student at Caltech during the study period.

“This object is right on the border between a planet and a brown dwarf, or ‘failing star’, and has some surprises in store for us that can potentially help us understand the magnetic processes on stars and planets,” Kao said in the NRAO press release.

Brown dwarfs, according to the NRAO, are objects too massive to be planets and not massive enough to be stars. While their cause is unclear, some brown dwarfs have strong auroras like those seen on giant planets in our solar system.

According to the NRAO statement, the object was first detected in 2016. At that time, it was believed to be much older and much more massive.

The scientist later discovered that SIMP J01365663 + 0933473 was relatively young and “much less massive” than initially thought. This means that it could be a “free-floating planet”.

SIMP J01365663 + 0933473 has a surface temperature above 1,500 °, according to the press release.

Kao called the object “exciting.”

“Studying its dynamo-magnetic mechanisms may give us new insight into how the same type of mechanisms can work on extrasolar planets – planets beyond our solar system,” Kao said in the statement. of the NRAO. “We believe that these mechanisms may work not only in brown dwarfs, but also on gas and terrestrial giant planets.”


Arline J. Mercier