Friday, 17 August, 2018

Brown dwarf or massive exoplanet detected with powerful magnetic field

Artist's conception of SIMP J01365663+0933473 an object with 12.7 times the mass of Jupiter but a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter's. This object is 20 light-years from Earth. Credit Caltech  Chuck Carter NRAO  AUI  NSF Brown dwarf or massive exoplanet detected with powerful magnetic field
Doris Mccormick | 08 August, 2018, 22:46

The new discovery can make boffins believe that they may have a novel way of detecting and finding exoplanets, including rogue ones that are hard to identify since they are not orbiting a parent star like the planets do in our solar system. It's an odd feature considering it doesn't have a star to send off the particles that create the auroras when they hit the planet's atmosphere.

Situated around 20 light-years from Earth, this object is likely a 200-million-year old planet that's very hot (1500 degrees Fahrenheit) and doesn't seem to follow any orbiting pattern.

The object, which is now around 20 light years from Earth, is more than 12 times the size of Jupiter. "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", said Melodie Kao, an astronomer at Arizona State University.

Brown dwarves have long stumped scientists: they're too huge to be considered planets and not big enough to be considered stars. Since the mass of a Brown dwarf is hard to accurately calculate, at the time, the object found was thought to be an old, massive brown dwarf.

SIMP is not small; and is about 12 times larger than Jupiter and has a strong magnetic field, say the astronomers. Its surface is heated up to about 825 degrees Celsius, which appears high by planetary standards, but is extremely less compared to the surface of our sun - heated up to a whopping 5,500 degrees Celsius.

Such planets are called "rogue planets", meaning that they are alone and don't revolve around a star; instead they rotate around the galactic center.

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It was once thought that no such object could exist and the first failed star was not discovered until 1995.

The object, named SIMP J01365663+0933473, has 12.7 times the mass of the gas giant Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

Scientists using a radio-telescope array have spotted a big roaming cosmic body with an abnormally strong magnetic field. The question of where the line between a brown dwarf and a massive planet lies has plagued astronomers for years.

The surprising find is peculiar because it could be a planet or a brown dwarf.

The recently discovered planetary mass was originally found in 2016 but was mistaken for a brown dwarf planet. In 2001, VLA uncovered the first signs of radio flaring in a brown dwarf leading to further observations that confirmed that some of these bodies did indeed have strong auroras.

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