Astronomers have discovered a massive planet with a strange glow just outside the solar system, where it is just drifting without any kind of orbit.
There are many mysterious things about the rogue planet, which was discovered using the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array telescope in New Mexico.
Glowing Rogue Planet Bigger Than Jupiter
The mysterious planet, which was discussed in a study published in The Astrophysical Journal, was named SIMP J01365663+0933473, or SIMP for short.
The planet is considered to be a rogue one because it does not have an orbit around a parent star, unlike the planets of the solar system. The rogue planet is also 12 times bigger than Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, with a magnetic field that is 200 times stronger.
SIMP 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," said Melodie Kao, who helmed the study while she was still a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology. She is now at Arizona State University as a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow.
Brown dwarfs are objects in space that are too big to be considered as planets, but are not big enough to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen within their cores, which is the process that powers stars. They also have strong auroras, similar to the northern lights that can be seen on Earth.
SIMP was first detected in 2016 as one of five brown dwarfs, but it was later believed to be something else after astronomers collected more data to identify its age. It is now believed to be 200 million years old, and 20 light-years away from Earth. After being determined to be much younger and smaller than initially thought, SIMP may be classified as a planet, and not a brown dwarf.
The rogue plant also features a surface temperature of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to negative 234 degrees Fahrenheit on Jupiter and 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit on the sun.
Star Devours Planet
Using NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory, an international team of scientists watched a young star swallowing a pair of infant planets that collided into each other before falling into the star's rotating disk.