Skip to comments.Bizarre Rogue 'Planet' with Incredible Auroras Puzzles Scientists
Posted on 08/06/2018 2:53:34 PM PDT by Red Badger
A rogue, planet-size object 20 light-years away from Earth has stunned astronomers with its incredibly powerful magnetic field.
The scientists found that the object's magnetic field is more than 200 times stronger than Jupiter's, which, in turn, is between 16 and 54 times stronger than Earth's, according to NASA. How the object, which scientists call SIMP J01365663+0933473, can maintain a magnetic field so strong, as well as generate spectacular auroras, is still unclear.
"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 Aug. 2. [The Strangest Alien Planets We Know in Pictures]
And it's not just the magnetic mechanism that's leaving scientists with questions right now there are plenty of other mysteries about the object, which scientists first discovered in 2016.
The object is what scientists call a brown dwarf. Nicknamed "failed stars," brown dwarfs are larger than planets, but not quite large enough to fuse hydrogen, the way stars do. The boundary line is still debated, but scientists tend to draw it at about 13 times the mass of Jupiter.
Originally, scientists thought SIMP J01365663+0933473 was a gigantic, old brown dwarf. But further study showed that it is instead relatively young, at 200 million years old, and is only 12.7 times the mass of Jupiter. That research also showed that the planet is on its own, not orbiting a star.
"This 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," Kao said in the statement. "We think these mechanisms can work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in both gas giant and terrestrial planets."
The team is particularly excited by the new research because it relies in part on radio observations of the object's auroras which means that radio telescopes may be able to identify new planets by their auroras.
The new research was described in an article published July 31 in the Astrophysical Journal.
Email Meghan Bartels at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her @meghanbartels. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.
An artist's depiction of the newly described object. Credit: Chuck Carter; NRAO/AUI/NSF/Caltech
I read “Incredible Aurora’s” and thought “hey, This I Gotta See”...
How do any of the attributes described here make this a ‘rogue’ planet?
It’s interesting, it’s unusual, but nothing I see here says it’s anything other than polite and well behaved for such a large planet.
There are more ways for a planet to not be suitable for life than we can possibly imagine.
Arthur Clarke, in one of his novels, imagined a planet baked at extremely high temperatures and powerful blasts of high-energy radiation by a huge, nearby sun, on which strange creatures existed as patterns etched in stone; they had intelligence, but required ten of our years to complete a single thought.
I think they mean the object is not locked into an orbit around a star.
Ah! Thank you!
Perhaps it resides in a very buttoned-down part of the galaxy where such shenanigans are not tolerated.
Thanks Red Badger.
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“Bizarre “, “Rogue”, “Incredible” and “Puzzles Scientists” all in the same headline.
Ah, the puppeteer’s home world!
Seriously, this is how I foresee interstellar transport.
If the rogue planet is not orbiting a star, there will not be sufficient stellar wind to generate auroras. The radio telescopes are detecting some other phenomena on the planet.
Is this Brown Dawarf a galactic scrap metal collector? Cruising the Universe, collecting stray iron asteroids and space junk?
Oh, a planet full of liberals?...................
Yes, that very thing occurred to me as I typed it.
BTW, I left out a word. Arthur Clarke's idea was that the "shape beings" on the radiation-blasted world took ten thousand years to complete a thought.
He said "What does it matter? All eternity stretched before them." Meaning that creatures that could survive under such extraordinary environmental conditions could also be expected to live forever.
IIRC, he also wrote a story where sentient beings lived in the magma of Earth, under extreme pressure and super high temperatures.
We, lived in ‘their’ OUTER SPACE............where it was believed by them that no one could possibly live because it was so ‘cold’ and there was no ‘ normal pressure’...........
A mental journey through the universe is being described.
"And he has barely begun his journey," answered Karellen.
The planet was absolutely flat. Its enormous gravity had long ago crushed into one uniform level the mountains of its fiery youth — mountains whose mightiest peaks had never exceeded a few meters in height. Yet there was life here, for the surface was covered with myriad geometrical patterns that crawled and moved and changed their color. It was a world of two dimensions, inhabited by beings who could be no more than a fraction of a centimeter in thickness.
And in its sky was such a sun as no opium eater could ever have imagined in his wildest dreams. Too hot to be white, it was a searing ghost at the frontiers of the ultraviolet, burning its planets with radiations which would be instantly lethal to all earthly forms of life. For millions of kilometers around extended great veils of gas and dust, fluorescing in countless colors as the blasts of ultraviolet tore through them. It was a star against which Earth's pale sun would have been as feeble as a glowworm at noon.
("Hexanerax 2, and nowhere else in the known universe," said Rashaverak. "Only a handful of our ships have ever reached it — and they have never risked any landings, for who would have thought that life could exist on such planets?"
"It seems," said Karellen, "that you scientists have not been as thorough as you had believed. If those — patterns — are intelligent, the problem of communication will be interesting. I wonder if they have any knowledge of the third dimension?")
It was a world that could never know the meaning of night and day, of years or seasons. Six colored suns shared its sky, so that there came only a change of light, never darkness. Through the clash and tug of conflicting gravitational fields, the planet traveled along the loops and curves of its inconceivably complex orbit, never retracing the same path. Every moment was unique: the configuration which the six suns now held in the heavens would not repeat itself this side of eternity.
And even here there was life. Though the planet might be scorched by the central fires in one age, and frozen in the outer reaches in another, it was yet the home of intelligence. The great, many-faceted crystals stood grouped in intricate geometrical patterns, motionless in the eras of cold, growing slowly along the veins of mineral when the world was warm again. No matter if it took a thousand years for them to complete a thought. The universe was still young, and time stretched endlessly before them...
("I have searched all our record," said Rashaverak. "We have no knowledge of such a world, or even if such a combination of suns. If it existed in our universe, the astronomers would have detected it, even if it lay beyond the range of our ships."
"Then he has left the galaxy."
"Yes. Surely it cannot be much longer now."
"Who knows? He is only dreaming. When he awakes, he is still the same. It is merely the first phase. We will know soon enough when the change begins.")
I vaguely remember reading this...............
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