Discovery: Huge glowing 'rogue' planet drifting through space

Astronomers find rogue planet dozen times more massive than Jupiter

Researchers are working to explain the presence of a mysterious large object floating outside the solar system that may be a rogue planet, RT reported.

When astronomers are searching the depths of space for new objects it's typically easier to find undiscovered planets if they're orbiting a star.

The planet, which is 12 times as large as Jupiter, sits around 20 light years away from Earth. The planet is called rogue due to its lack of a parent star, having the distinction of being something between a planet and a brown dwarf, which is an object that has too great of a mass to be called a planet. The object is about twelve times as massive as Jupiter and has a surprisingly powerful magnetic field.

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"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", lead study author Melodie Kao, an astrophysicist at Arizona State University, said in a statement from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory published August 2.

The telescope spotted five objects, which scientists believed were all brown dwarves.

The unusual object sits in a grey area between a star and a planet, and was originally classed as a "brown dwarf" - a failed star. However, solitary brown dwarfs do not have a solar wind from a nearby star to interact with.

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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.

In a report published to The Astrophysical Journal, Melodie Kao and her colleagues estimated that SIMP is roughly 200 million years old and around 12 times the size of Jupiter. Brown dwarfs, hard to categorise, are too huge to be classified as planets and not big enough to be classified as stars.

"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", added Kao. The surface of SIMP is roughly 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit (816 Celsius), sitting "right at the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf, or 'failed star, '" according to Kao. It is a component of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). Astronomers agree that the difference can be drawn as the line below which deuterium fusion is no more possible, known as the "deuterium-burning limit", it stands at around 13 Jupiter masses.

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