Scientists have discovered a planet that travels outside our solar system, but it seems that it doesn’t orbit a star. Using the radio astronomy observatory VLA (Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, National Science Foundation), scientists could pick up the magnetic activity of the planetary mass and studied it. 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.
It might be a great discovery, but this object called SIMP J01365663+0933473 was quite hard to miss, considering that, according to the researchers, it is a “surprisingly strong magnetic powerhouse” – it’s 200 times the strength of Jupiter. They call it a “rogue” planet because it has no orbit or it is not tethered to a parent star.
New Information on Exoplanets from the Rogue Planet
Nonetheless, scientists can learn a lot by looking at its magnetic features.
The leader of the study and a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at Arizona State University, Melodie Kao explains more about their “rogue” planet:
“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. 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.”
This planet was first found in 2016, but scientists classified it as being a brown dwarf. The temperature on that planet is about 825 degrees Celsius, which makes it a lot cooler than out Sun. Kao’s latest discovery suggests we should classify it as a planet and change its name into something better than SIMP J01365663+0933473.
The rogue planet is 20 light-years from Earth, and it could provide scientists “a new way of detecting exoplanets, including the elusive rogue ones not orbiting a parent star,” explains researcher Gregg Hallinan.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.