Scientists discover “rogue planet” outside solar system

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WASHINGTON, Aug 5, 2018 (BSS/Xinhua) – Scientists have made the first
radio-telescope detection of a huge free-floating planet beyond our solar
system, a new study said.

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 enormous planet from the U.S.-based Very Large
Array observatory.

Wandering some 20 light years away from the sun, the 200-million-year-old
planet has been dubbed “rogue planet” as it is traveling through space
without orbiting any parent star.

“This object is right at the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf,
or ‘failed star,’ and is giving us some surprises that can potentially help
us understand magnetic processes on both stars and planets,” Melodie Kao,
leader of the study and Hubble postdoctoral fellow at Arizona State
University, said in a press release.

According to the study, the huge planet possesses a powerful magnetic
field over 200 times stronger than that of Jupiter and can generate dazzling
auroras outshining Earth’s polar lights.

On Earth, auroras are generated by interactions between its magnetic field
and solar winds. But the fact that the rogue planet is not in the vicinity of
any 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 on how the same type of mechanisms can
operate in extrasolar planets – planets beyond our Solar System,” Kao said.

Despite its weight, the newly discovered planet has a radius only 1.2
times that of Jupiter, the study said. It has a surface temperature of about
825 degrees Celsius. By comparison, the sun’s surface temperature is about
5,500 degrees Celsius.

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