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Huge glowing ‘rogue’ planet is spotted, the ‘float’ in space

Artist’s concept of SIMP J01365663+0933473, an object with 12.7 times the mass of Jupiter, but a magnetic field is 200 times more powerful than that of Jupiter. This object was 20 light years from Earth. Credit: Caltech/Chuck Carter; NRAO/AUI/NSF

A huge glowing “rogue” planetary mass object is discovered, surprising scientists with not only the size but also the fact that it is not in orbit around a star.

The object, with the name SIMP J01365663+0933473, has a magnetic field of more than 200 times stronger than that of Jupiter and is almost 13 times the size of the gas giant. At his size, right in between the size of a planet and a failed star, so scientists need to study it further to determine exactly what it is.

“This object is located on the border between a planet and a brown dwarf, or ‘failed star’ and gives us a few surprises that can possibly contribute to our understanding of magnetic processes on both stars and planets,” said Caltech student, Melodie Kao, who led the study, in a statement.

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The research, whose findings are published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Kao and her team are surprised that the object is not in orbit around a star, a typical behavior of planets.

“The detection of SIMP J01365663+0933473 with the VLA by the aurora, radio emission also means that we have a new way of discovering exoplanets, including the elusive rogue that is not yet in an orbit around a parent star,” Caltech’s Gregg Hallinan added in the statement.

Originally discovered in 2016, it was only recently that it was identified as a planetary mass object, which was originally classified as a brown dwarf. As soon as more data are obtained, is the idea that SIMP J01365663+0933473 was a brown dwarf was deleted.

It is thought that SIMP J01365663+0933473 is only 200 million years old, and is just 20 light-years away from the Earth. It also has a surface temperature of 1500 degrees Celsius, compared to minus 234 degrees Fahrenheit for Jupiter and 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit for the Sun.

It was first observed using a radio telescope, the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array.

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Apart from the glow, to see in the picture, and the other atypical characteristics, SIMP J01365663+0933473 may help scientists discover other worlds, known as exoplanets, as well as insight in these distant celestial bodies.

“This particular object is exciting, because the study of the magnetic dynamo mechanisms can give us new insights on how the same type of mechanisms could work in exoplanets — planets outside our solar system,” Kao said.

She continued: “We think that these mechanisms work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in gas giant and terrestrial planets.”

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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