Glowing Rogue Planet Discovered Near Our Solar System | The Weather Channel – Articles de The Weather Channel


  • Discovered in 2016, the planetary mass named SIMP was originally considered a brown dwarf planet, or a dying star.
  • The planet is 20 light years from Earth and is unusually warm, with a surface temperature of over 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Researchers say they are baffled by auroras dancing above the poles of the planet.

A rogue planet with 12 times the mass of Jupiter with dancing auroras has been discovered just outside our solar system, according to a new study.

Discovered in 2016, the planet named SIMP J01365663 + 0933473, or SIMP for short, was originally considered a brown dwarf planet, or a dying star. Recently, astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array to probe the planet’s radio emissions determined that the object was a rogue planet.

“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,” said the author. Principal Melodie Kao of California Institute of Technology Caltech and a Hubble postdoctoral fellow from Arizona State University said in a press release.

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 usually does. Instead, the 200 million year old planet revolves around the galactic center of the Milky Way in interstellar space.

Brown dwarfs are generally “too massive to be considered planets, but not massive enough to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen in their nuclei – the process that powers stars,” the researchers note.

SIMP is 20 light years from Earth and has a surface temperature of over 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Its magnetic field is 200 times that of Jupiter.

Researchers say they are baffled by auroras dancing above the poles of the planet. This is a strange characteristic considering that it does not have a star to send the particles that create the auroras when they hit the planet’s atmosphere. Instead, they think there might be another planet or moon yet to be discovered orbiting the planet.

Caltech astronomer Gregg Hallinan noted that the research “presents enormous challenges to our understanding of the dynamo mechanism that produces magnetic fields in brown dwarfs and exoplanets and helps drive the auroras we see.”

While the discovery of a rogue planet is rare, with only a few identified so far, scientists believe there may be many more in the universe to be discovered.


Arline J. Mercier