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Astronomers Discover New Planet Not Orbiting Any Star

07 August 2018

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.

"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.

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

The scientists found that the object's magnetic field is more than 200 times stronger than Jupiter's, which, in turn, is between 16 and 54times stronger than Earth's, according to NASA.

In the first radio-telescope detection of a planetary-mass object beyond our solar system, astronomers have found the unusual celestial body has 12.7 times the mass of Jupiter.

This planet was first found in 2016, but scientists classified it as being a brown dwarf. They were also originally not thought to emit radio waves.

Artist's conception of SIMP01365, an object with 12.7 times the mass of Jupiter, but a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter's.

But as far as we know, brown dwarfs aren't in the vicinity of any stellar winds, making their auroras something of a puzzle.

A few decades ago, scientists believed that brown dwarf stars don't have magnetic fields. One rule of thumb in drawing the distinction is the mass below which fusion of deuterium is not possible - about 13 Jupiter masses.

"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 - planets beyond our Solar System", Kao said.

An unaccompanied brown dwarf like SIMP JO1365663+0933473, the object detected by the VLA, does not have a companion star and thus is not flying through a solar wind.

She continued: "We think these mechanisms can work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in both gas giant and terrestrial planets". The temperature on that planet is about 825 degrees Celsius, which makes it a lot cooler than out Sun.

Kao led this study while a graduate student at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). It is a component of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).

Astronomers Discover New Planet Not Orbiting Any Star