Planet-sized ob­ject has a pow­er­ful mag­netic field

The 'world' strad­dles the bound­ary be­tween a gi­ant gas planet and a brown dwarf

All About Space - - Launch Pad -

A ‘rogue’ plan­e­tary-mass ob­ject which is 20 light years away from Earth has a sur­pris­ingly strong mag­netic field, as­tronomers have dis­cov­ered. The ob­ject – called SIMP J01365663+0933473 – has a mag­netic field more than 200-times stronger than Jupiter's but, since it is only 12.7-times more mas­sive than the gas gi­ant, it is still not known whether it is a planet or a star.

Quite how the ob­ject is able to main­tain such power is now be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, with the Na­tional Ra­dio As­tron­omy Ob­ser­va­tory say­ing the study of the mag­netic dy­namo mech­a­nisms “can po­ten­tially help us un­der­stand mag­netic pro­cesses on both stars and plan­ets”. It was ob­served us­ing the Very Large Ar­ray, mak­ing it the first ra­dio-tele­scope de­tec­tion of a plan­e­tary-mass ob­ject be­yond our So­lar Sys­tem. But it also has other un­usual prop­er­ties, not least the fact that it is trav­el­ling alone, un­ac­com­pa­nied by a par­ent star.

“This ob­ject is right at the bound­ary be­tween a planet and a brown dwarf, or ‘failed star’,” ex­plains Melodie Kao, who led the study while a graduate stu­dent at Caltech, and is now a Hub­ble post­doc­toral fel­low at Ari­zona State Univer­sity. It was orig­i­nally de­tected in 2016 and it has a sur­face tem­per­a­ture of 825 de­grees Cel­sius (1,517 de­grees Fahrenheit), com­pared to the Sun's 5,500 de­grees Cel­sius (9,932 de­grees Fahrenheit).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.