A huge "rogue" planet with an unexplained "glow" lurks beyond our solar system, claim scientists.
According to the researchers, this object came to be some 200 million years ago and is traveling all alone in the cosmos, with no other star in its proximity to revolve around. The planet is skirting the boundaries of our solar system - just 20 light years from Earth - and may prove to be an invaluable source of astronomic knowledge.
"This object is right at the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf, or "failed star", and is giving us some surprises", Dr Melodie Kao and astronomer at Arizona State University told The Independent.
Brown dwarves are much too large to be called planets but also too small for the fusion of hydrogen in its core, which is a primary function of stars.
The difference between a gas giant planet and a brown dwarf remains hotly debated among astronomers, but one rule of thumb that they use is the mass below which deuterium fusion ceases, known as the 'deuterium-burning limit, ' around 13 Jupiter masses. 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.
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. Being this young meant that it could, in fact, be a free-floating planet. It's an absolutely massive alien world that is almost big enough to be classified as a brown dwarf.
More baffling still is its mass and powerful magnetic field that's over 200 times stronger than Jupiter's.
It was once thought that no such object could exist and the first failed star was not discovered until 1995.
Scientists using a radio-telescope array have spotted a enormous roaming cosmic body with an abnormally strong magnetic field. Recently astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array to probe the planet's radio emissions determined the object to be a rogue planet.
The surprising find is peculiar because it could be a planet or a brown dwarf.
Discovered in 2016, the planetary mass named SIMP was originally thought to be a brown dwarf planet, or dying star. In 2001, VLA uncovered the first signs of radio flaring in a brown dwarf leading to further observations that confirmed that some of these bodies did indeed have strong auroras.