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Brown dwarf or massive exoplanet detected with powerful magnetic field

07 August 2018
Brown dwarf or massive exoplanet detected with powerful magnetic field

The rogue body is almost large enough to be considered a gas giant planet and it offers researchers the opportunity to study these massive objects, shedding light on their magnetic realities.

"Detecting SIMP0136 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", Dr. Hallinan said.

The planet is thought to be 200 million years old and is 20 light-years from Earth.

The planet, which is 12 times as large as Jupiter, sits around 20 light years away from Earth. The team's analysis showed the planet's magnetic field is around 200 times stronger than Jupiter's, and this could help explain why it also has a strong aurora.

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. Their findings were published this week, showing that this is the first time that the observatory's radio-telescope could detect the object outside our solar system.

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.

"They [the surprises] can potentially help us understand magnetic processes on both stars and planets".

SIMP0136 was originally discovered in 2006 by another team of researchers, led by University of Montréal astronomer Dr. Étienne Artigau.

Once more data was obtained, the idea that SIMP J01365663+0933473 was a brown dwarf was scrapped. The auroras seen on Earth are caused by our planet's magnetic field interacting with the solar wind. One rule of thumb in drawing the distinction is the mass below which fusion of deuterium is not possible - about 13 Jupiter masses.

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. If you were to stand on it (not a good idea) you'd be subjected to temperatures in excess of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brown dwarf masses are notoriously hard to measure, and at the time, SIMP0136 was thought to be an old and much more massive brown dwarf. "We think these mechanisms can work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in both gas giant and terrestrial planets", Kao said.