This huge “rogue” planet is our solar neighbor
In 2016, scientists discovered a massive floating object in our galactic neighborhood. It was more than 12 times the size of Jupiter (the largest planet in our solar system), with a magnetic field 200 times stronger. The mass lived only 20 light years outside of our solar system. Unlike Jupiter and other planets that orbit a mother star, this space quirk was completely rogue.
At first, scientists assumed it was a brown dwarf: a failed star brighter than a red dwarf, but larger than gas giants. But a new
“is right on the border between a planet and a brown dwarf … and has some surprises in store for us that can potentially help us understand the magnetic processes on stars and planets,” said Melodie Kao, lead author of the study .
Scientists are exploring, for example, where exactly its pretty glow comes from: Auroras are typically caused by a planet’s magnetic field interacting with solar particles from solar winds. But this rogue planet doesn’t orbit a sun, and it may get its light from stray particles from an orbiting moon or another planet.
Scientists found the first rogue planet in the 1990s (although the first was theorized in the 1960s), but the latest rogue object, named SIMP J01365663 + 0933473, is the first that scientists have found using only the detection of radio broadcasts. The researchers hope the same technology could be used to find more rogue planets in the future.
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