Discovery of a “rogue planet” outside the solar system

WASHINGTON-Scientists have made the first radio telescope detection of a huge planet floating freely beyond our solar system, according to a new study. The planetary-mass object, called SIMP J01365663+0933473, is about a dozen times more massive than Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, and has surprisingly strong magnetic fields, according to the study published in The Astrophysical Journal. earlier this week. Scientists detected the huge planet from the American Very Large Array observatory. Wandering about 20 light-years from the sun, the 200 million-year-old planet has been dubbed a “rogue planet” because it travels through space without orbiting a parent star. “This object sits right on the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf, or ‘failed star’, and holds surprises for us that can potentially help us understand magnetic processes on stars and planets,” said Melodie Kao. , responsible for the study. and Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at Arizona State University, said in a press release. According to the study, the huge planet has a powerful magnetic field more than 200 times stronger than Jupiter’s and can generate dazzling auroras that dwarf Earth’s auroras. On Earth, auroras are generated by interactions between its magnetic field and the solar winds.

But the fact that the rogue planet isn’t near stellar winds makes its auroras something of a puzzle.

“This particular object is exciting because studying its magnetic dynamo mechanisms can give us new insights into how the same type of mechanisms may work on extrasolar planets – planets beyond our solar system,” said said Kao.

Despite its weight, the newly discovered planet has a radius just 1.2 times that of Jupiter, according to the study. It has a surface temperature of around 825 degrees Celsius. By comparison, the surface temperature of the sun is around 5,500 degrees Celsius.

Arline J. Mercier