A rogue planet with a mass more than 12 times greater than that of Jupiter has been seen launching itself through space.
This brownish celestial body travels through the galaxy completely alone about 20 light years from Earth and has an unusual aurora that emanates from its pole.
The planet produces a magnetic field around 200 times larger than that of the largest planet in our Solar System.
It is the first object of its kind to be detected with radio signals.
Scientists are not sure of their origin and the causes of their mysterious aurora.
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A rogue planet more than 12 times the size of Jupiter (the artist's impression in the photo) has been seen flying through space. Planets are always in orbit around a star, but this brown planet is completely alone about 20 light-years from Earth.
The unusual object is in a gray area between a star and a planet, and was originally classified as a "brown dwarf", a failed star.
Brown dwarfs are objects that are too large to be considered planets, but not large enough to sustain nuclear fusion in their nuclei, the process that drives the stars.
It was first seen in 2016 by the Very Large Array (VLA) telescope in New Mexico that specializes in the detection of radio signals.
The telescope detected five objects, which scientists believed were all brown dwarfs.
However, later investigations found that one of the objects, called SIMP J01365663 + 0933473, was considerably younger and smaller than the others.
A team of astronomers discovered that it has a surface temperature of about 825 ° C (1,517 ° F) and is only 200 million years old.
Some experts have concluded that, therefore, it is not a brown dwarf, but a planet that floats freely.
"This object is right on the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf, or a" failed star, "and it is giving us some surprises that can help us understand the magnetic processes in stars and planets," said Dr. Melodie Kao, astronomer. at Arizona State University.
The mystique that surrounds the heavenly traveler challenges the traditional understanding of how objects interact in space.
The exact difference between a large gas planet and a brown dwarf is an apple of contention for scientists, with a heated debate over what defines one or the other.
A measure used by astronomers is the mass of an object when deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen, ceases to merge in the object's nucleus.
WHAT IS THE VLA TELESCOPE?
The Very Large Array (VLA) is a telescope located in the new Mexico, USA. UU And it's a collection of 27 antennas in New Mexico.
The VLA comprises twenty-seven 25-meter radio telescopes deployed in a Y-shaped array and all the equipment, instrumentation and computing power to function as an interferometer.
Each of the 27 plates has a diameter of 82 feet (25 meters) and weighs 230 tons (209 metric tons).
It was first seen in 2016 by the Very Large Array (VLA) telescope in New Mexico using radio signals (in the image). The scientists concluded that this was not a brown dwarf. or a failed star, but a planet that floated freely
The VLA is at an elevation of 6970 feet (2124 m) above sea level. It is a component of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).
It is designed to pick up radio signals and help detect young planets from outside our Solar System.
It works in conjunction with the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile.
This is known as the "deuterium burning limit" and occurs around 13 Jupiter masses.
"When it was announced that SIMP J01365663 + 0933473 had a mass close to the deuterium combustion limit, I had just finished analyzing the newer VLA data," said Dr. Kao.
The VLA observations provided both the first radio detection and the first measurement of the magnetic field of a possible planetary mass object beyond our Solar System.
Such a strong magnetic field "presents enormous challenges to our understanding of the dynamo mechanism that produces magnetic fields in brown and exoplanet dwarfs and helps to drive the auroras we see," said Gregg Hallinan of Caltech.
"The detection of SIMP J01365663 + 0933473 with the VLA through its auroral radio emission also means that we can have a new way of detecting exoplanets, including elusive elusive ones that do not orbit a parent star," said Dr. Hallinan.
His research was published in The Astrophysical Journal.