970 Archive


Astronomers find evidence of “rogue” planet beyond our solar system

Astronomers have found evidence of a planetary-mass object with an unexplained 'glow' beyond our solar system.

According to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, it is around twelve times bigger than Jupiter.

The Observatory said it is a "strong magnetic powerhouse" travelling through space unaccompanied.

Melodie Kao, a post-doctoral fellow at Arizona State University and leader of the study, said: "The 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 dwarves are too huge to be considered planets and not big enough to be considered stars.

Ms Kao's team used a radio astronomy observatory located in central New Mexico to pick up the object's magnetic activity and study it.

The object, named SIMP J01365663+0933473, has a magnetic field more than 200 times stronger than Jupiter's.

At 200 million years old and 20 light-years from Earth, the object has a surface temperature of around 825 degrees Celsius.

By comparison, the Sun's surface temperature is around 5,500 degrees Celsius.

The observations mark the first radio detection and the first measurement of the magnetic field of a possible planetary mass object beyond the solar system.