Astronomers discovered a planet just beyond our solar system with many mysterious characteristics.
A odd 200 million-year-old object with the mass of a planet has been discovered 20 light-years from Earth, outside our solar system.
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"This object is right at the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf and is giving us some surprises that can potentially help us understand magnetic processes on both stars and planets", said Dr. Melodie Kao, a postdoctoral researcher at Arizona State University. Brown dwarfs are failed stars-objects much larger than most planets but too small to sustain fusion reactions.
However, follow-up observation from VLA confirmed that it still has a planetary mass (12.7 times of Jupiter) and is still far from becoming a brown dwarf.
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It also boasts scorching surface temperatures of around 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the astrophysicists, it would be a free object of planetary mass, an object possessing the mass of a planet but which is not gravitationally attached to any star or brown dwarf. The first brown dwarf was discovered in 1995, although they were first theorized in the 1960s. However, the Astrophysical Journal features new research which shows that the object is considered a planet, just one that has an unusually strong magnetic field.
Yet to be given a catchy name by the scientists that have observed it through the National Science Foundation's advanced radio telescope arrays, the object is officially known as SIMP J01365663+0933473. How auroras are caused in brown dwarfs is still unclear, notes the report.
The surprising find is peculiar because it could be a planet or a brown dwarf. Originally detected in 2016, it was one of five brown dwarfs that astronomers studied using the VLA.
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Auroras on Earth are created when charged particles from the Sun interact with Earth's magnetic field. Gregg Hallinan of the Caltech said that such a powerful magnetic field raises new questions for our understanding of the dynamical mechanism generating such fields in brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets, and lights on them.