Huge, glowing 'rogue' planet spotted 'drifting' through space

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Scientists are working to explain the presence of a mysterious large object floating outside the solar system that may be a rogue planet. In addition, the object is "outcast", that is, traveling in space without being bound to any star.

The planet is thought to be 200 million years old and is 20 light-years from Earth.

Brown dwarfs are generally "too massive to be considered planets, yet not massive enough to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen in their cores - the process that powers stars", the researchers note.

A massive glowing "rogue" planetary-mass object has been discovered, surprising scientists with not only its size, but also the fact it's not orbiting a star.

This is the first radio-telescope detection and first measurement of the magnetic field of such an object beyond our solar system. Its surface is heated up to about 825 degrees Celsius, which appears high by planetary standards, but is extremely less compared to the surface of our sun - heated up to a whopping 5,500 degrees Celsius.

The researchers say they are stumped by auroras dancing above the planet's poles. The question of where the line between a brown dwarf and a massive planet lies has plagued astronomers for years.

Brown dwarfs were predicted to exist all the way in the 1960s, but the first one was only discovered in 1995, confirming the initial theories.

The rogue planet is the first object of its kind to be spotted using a radio telescope, according to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

This newly found planet, which borders a brown dwarf, has a magnetic field more than 200 times stronger than Jupiter's.

This finding could help to better understand the magnetic processes of stars and planets, Kao believes.

The auroras on our planet are caused by its magnetic field interacting with the solar wind (the continuous flow of charged particles from the sun's upper atmosphere, known as the corona, that permeates the solar system).

The object was originally detected in 2016 as one of five brown dwarfs the scientists studied with the VLA to gain new knowledge about magnetic fields and the mechanisms by which some of the coolest such objects can produce strong radio emission.

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.