Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Research | By Dana Schwartz

Scientists discover "rogue planet" outside solar system

Scientists discover

Still unclear about their formation, scientists claim that their study showing the auroral radio emissions can further be used to discover more such planets beyond our solar system. The "rogue", as it's referred to by researchers, is producing an unexplained glowing aurora and travels through space alone, without a parent star.

A unusual 200 million-year-old object with the mass of a planet has been discovered 20 light-years from Earth, outside our solar system.

The planet, which is 12 times as large as Jupiter, sits around 20 light years away from Earth. "It probably has its share of surprises that can help us understand the magnetic processes taking place on countless stars and planets", said astrophysicist Melodie Kao.

Brown dwarfs are objects which are much larger than planets yet unable to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen in their cores, hence the name failed stars.

The commonly accepted threshold is 13 Jupiter masses, or in astronomer jargon, the "deuterium-fusion" limit, beyond which it's most likely a brown dwarf.

"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".

The new planet is 12 times the size of Jupiter which has a radius of more than 69,000 kilometres.

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It also boasts scorching surface temperatures of around 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

While we now have limited visibility of celestial objects situated outside our solar system, new advanced telescopes are in making, and they will allow us to further analyze and observe space phenomena. These were the first radio telescope observations of a planetary mass object beyond our solar system.

Initially the object was registered in 2016 as one of the brown dwarfs, the study of which is engaged in the VLA.

In addition to providing the first radio detection of the object's magnetic field, VLA also provided the field's first measurement. The team's analysis showed the planet's magnetic field is around 200 times stronger than Jupiter's, and this could help explain why it also has a strong aurora. That's an incredible finding, and it suggests that there's some very interesting things going on above the planet's surface.

Auroras on Earth are created when charged particles from the Sun interact with Earth's magnetic field.

Kao added, "We think these mechanisms can work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in both gas giant and terrestrial planets".

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