'Rogue' planet with mysterious glow bigger than Jupiter found drifting through space

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The planet produces a magnetic field around 200 times greater than that of the largest planet in our Solar System. Its age meant that instead of a "failed star", they had found a free-floating planet. The "rogue" object is not attached to any star, and is the first of its kind to be discovered using a radio telescope from Earth.

This brownish celestial body is travelling through the galaxy completely alone around 20 light years from Earth and has an unusual aurora emanating from its pole.

A brown dwarf is an object too large to be a planet, but isn't big enough to sustain the nuclear fusion of hydrogen in its core that is vital to stars. Hoverer, the new object generates a magnetic field 200 times a powerful as Jupiter's.

Observations from the VLA provided both the first radio detection and the first measurement of the magnetic field of a possible planetary mass object beyond our Solar System.

And it's not just the magnetic mechanism that's leaving scientists with questions right now - there are plenty of other mysteries about the object, which scientists first discovered in 2016.

"Such a strong magnetic field presents huge challenges to our understanding of the dynamo mechanism that produces the magnetic fields in brown dwarfs and exoplanets and helps drive the auroras we see", said Caltech astronomer Gregg Hallinan.

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Finding a solitary planet - called a "rogue" planet - is more hard, but researchers just managed to spot one using a radio telescope, and it's a real weirdo.

"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", Dr. Kao said.

Brown dwarf masses are notoriously hard to measure, and at the time, the object was thought to be an old and much more massive brown dwarf.

An unaccompanied brown dwarf like SIMP JO1365663+0933473, the object detected by the VLA, does not have a companion star and thus is not flying through a solar wind. It's an absolutely massive alien world that is almost big enough to be classified as a brown dwarf. If you were to stand on it (not a good idea) you'd be subjected to temperatures in excess of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a component of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).

Kao led this study while a graduate student at California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

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