August 17, 2019

A Rogue Planet With No Star Has A Mighty Magnetic Field

The December 2018 Issue of Astronomy Magazine had a short article about the discovery of SIMP J01365663+0933473. This is a massive planet (probably a gas giant like Jupiter) that was too small to become a star. There are a couple of cool things about this planet.

First: It is a rogue planet. That means it doesn't orbit a star. It is floating in intersteller space about 20 years from our solar system and doesn't orbit a star.

Second: It has a magnetic field that is 4 million times stronger than the one on Earth. The star lights up with spectacular aurorea that are probably caused by a moon orbiting the planet. (Jupiters aurorae are caused by it's moon Europa in a similar way.)

This rouge planet and its moon (or moons) would provide a cool setting for a hard sci-fi story.