New planet with strong aurora discovered 20 light years from Earth

Artist's conception of SIMP J01365663+0933473 an object with a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter’s and lives 20 light years from Earth

Artist's conception of SIMP J01365663+0933473 an object with a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter’s and lives 20 light years from Earth

A new planet, which is 12 times bigger than Jupiter, has been discovered outside our solar system by astronomers. Instead, the 200-million-year-old planet rotates around the galactic center of the Milky Way in interstellar space. A light year is equal to about 6 trillion miles.

"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", Melodie Kao, leader of the study and Hubble postdoctoral fellow at Arizona State University, said in a press release.

Brown dwarfs have long baffled experts because they're too big to be considered planets but are not big enough to be stars.

The odd object, called SIMP J01365663+0933473, has a magnetic field which is more than 200 times stronger than the magnetic field field of Jupiter, according to the study published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. Astronomers found it using the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array radio astronomy observatory in New Mexico. The first ever sighting of a Brown Dwarf happened as late as 1995.

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.

The new object is wandering freely through the galaxy, untethered by an orbit to any star. It is the radio signature of these auroras that allowed the researchers to detect these objects. Some brown dwarfs have powerful auroras like those seen around the poles of Earth, Jupiter and Saturn caused by the interactions of a planet's magnetic field and the electrically charged solar wind.

But the abnormally high magnetic field makes it even more exciting. One of those things is a strong aurora, often called "Northern Lights" here on Earth. After being determined to be much younger and smaller than initially thought, SIMP may be classified as a planet, and not a brown dwarf.

The difference between what constitutes gas giants and brown dwarfs is a matter of serious debate among astronomers, says NRAO.

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".

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