Rogue planet discovered beyond our solar system

A new study examines a strange rogue planet beyond the Milky Way.
By Tyler MacDonald | Aug 06, 2018
A new study examines a strange rogue planet that is roaming the Milky Way approximately 20 light-years from the sun. The unique nomadic world also has a strong magnetic field that is about 4 million times stronger than the Earth's.

The team made the observations using theNational Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), marking the first time that scientists have measured the magnetic field of a planetary-mass object outside of our solar system.

The strange object is calledSIMP J01365663+0933473 and was first discovered in 2016, when researchers thought it was a brown dwarf 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, who led the new study on SIMP, in a press release.

And from here on out, astronomers are hopeful that SIMP will help them continue learning about the universe.

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

Ultimately, SIMP will help astronomers grasp how magnetic fields are created in exoplanets.

"Detecting SIMP J01365663+0933473 with the VLA through its auroral radio emission also means that we may have a new way of detecting exoplanets, including the elusive rogue ones not orbiting a parent star," said co-author Gregg Hallinan of Caltech.

The findings were published in The Astrophysical Journal.

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