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Astronomers find rogue planet dozen times more massive than Jupiter

08 August 2018

The rogue extrasolar planetary-mass object's young age meant that it was in fact so much less massive that it could be free-floating planet - only 12.7 times more massive than Jupiter, with a radius 1.22 times that of Jupiter. Astronomers say the rogue planet is located 20 light-years from Earth and is about 200 million years old - which, in the grand scheme of things, is considered young for a planet. A light year is equal to about 6 trillion miles.

Dr Melodie Kao, an astronomer at Arizona State University said as per a report by Independent, "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".

Brown dwarfs, explains the NRAO, are celestial objects that are too big to actually be considered planets, yet not big enough to sustain the nuclear fusion that keeps stars alive in their cores.

The newly-discovered object resides 20 light-years from Earth and is some 12 times more massive than Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. The first ever sighting of a Brown Dwarf happened as late as 1995.

Astronomers mentioned that only a few rogue planets have been discovered until now and according to them, there could be many more such cosmic bodies hiding in the universe, waiting to be discovered, even though at the moment finding such an object is a rare event. It's so big that it can barely be classified a planet - it's nearly a failed star. The mysterious auroras of the planet, or rather their radio signature, is what allowed the scientists to identify the planet, but for now it is still not known how these auroras are formed.

It's believed that the magnetic dynamo mechanisms of this particular space object will help scientists discover more planets beyond our solar system using auroral radio emissions.

Discovered in 2016, the planetary mass named SIMP was originally thought to be a brown dwarf planet, or dying star. Now, as stated in the new research, it is thought that the cosmic object is a planet, with an enormously strong magnetic field. However, a nearby moon or another orbiting planet may be the answer.

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.

Astronomers find rogue planet dozen times more massive than Jupiter