New planet with strong aurora discovered 20 light years from Earth


A mysterious large object is floating around outside our solar system and researchers aren't sure exactly what it is - although it could be a rogue planet.

They sit, therefore, between very small stars and very large planets, between around 13 and 80 times the mass of Jupiter, and are sometimes known as "failed stars".

The planet is only around 20 light years from Earth, but it's not really doing much besides relaxing in the vastness of space.

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. Brown dwarf planets are sometimes called "failed stars" because they're almost large enough for fusion to begin taking place in their core, but that's not even the most unique thing about this particular planet. It also has a strong magnetic field, 200 times the strength of Jupiter.

Researchers have discovered a "rogue" planet outside of our solar system using the Very Large Array (VLA), the first time such a discovery has been made using a radio telescope.

Brown dwarfs are objects too massive to be considered planets, yet not massive enough to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen in their cores - the process that powers stars.

A massive glowing "rogue" planetary-mass object has been discovered, surprising scientists with not only its size, but also the fact it's not orbiting a star. But since then, as our technology progressed, astronomers found that these stars also exhibit signs of magnetic activity, including the formation of powerful auroras - which on Earth are created by solar wind particles interacting with the planet's magnetic field.

"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".

Caltech's Gregg Hallinan said that researching SIMP "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". It has a surface temperature of about 825 degrees Celsius.

A few decades ago, scientists believed that brown dwarf stars don't have magnetic fields.

Zeroing in on this new find could lead to new techniques being developed to help search for alien worlds. It is a component of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).