Astronomers may have detected radio signals before an exoplanet


In our endless quest to understand the universe and our place within it, precious little blips in data can hint at a whole new world.

A dip in the light level of a star can betray the presence of orbiting planets – and now astronomers have taken the first step toward using radio-emission casks to reveal new exoplanetary secrets.

Cornell University astronomer Jake Turner and colleagues in his new paper explained, “The most promising way to detect planetary magnetic fields is to” observe, “knowledge that is valuable in the planet’s internal structure, atmospheric migration, and Will provide insight. ” Of accommodation. “

When stellar air – charged particles that flow from the host star – collide with a planet’s magnetic field, its change in speed can be detected as striking variations in radio emissions, statistically referred to as ‘blizzards’ is.

Earth has its own magnetic field trill and squeaks as it transmits solar winds. We have also heard similar cries from other planets in our solar system.

Of course, to detect the whisper of such radio signals coming from an exoplanet, we first need a way to look beyond the noise coming from Earth and elsewhere.

A few years ago, the team developed the Boralis pipeline program to do so. He tested it on Jupiter and then calculated what the radio emission of Jupiter would be as if it were far away.

There are already some temporary detectives of new planets using these radio emissions, including earlier this year that astronomers linked radio wave activity to interactions between the star GJ 1151’s magnetic field and a potential Earth-sized planet . But all these have not yet been confirmed by follow-up radio comments.

So Turner’s team decided to test the technology they developed, using the Netherlands’ Low Frequency Array Radilescope (LOFAR) to visualize three systems with known exoplanets: 55 Cancri, Upsilon Andromeda and Tau Boitis.

The Tao Boitis system, just 51 light years away, exhibited peeks into radio data that fit the researchers’ predictions from their tests with Jupiter. This came in the form of fission emission of 14–21 MHz and is certainly within three standard deviations (3.2 sigma).

In 1996, a hot-jupiter exoplanet was discovered in a 3.3128-day orbit around scorched young F-type stars and small red dwarfs forming the Tao Boitis binary system.

“We make a case for emissions by the planet itself,” Turner said. “By the strength and polarization of the radio signal and the planet’s magnetic field, it is consistent with theoretical predictions.”

If their measurements are correct, they suggest that the magnetic field strength of the planet’s surface is about 5 to 11 gauss (Jupiter’s 4 to 13 gauss, for comparison, and its magnetic field measurements showed That the metal in the planet is a core of hydrogen). The observed magnetic field emission strength also fits previous predictions.

Turner explained, “By shielding their own atmosphere from solar-wind and cosmic rays, and protecting the planet from atmospheric damage, the magnetic fields of exoplanets like Earth can contribute to their potential habitat potential.”

The signal they found is weak and still needs to be verified by other low-frequency telescopes before researchers have confirmed the true origin of the detected radio emission.

The researchers cautioned, “We cannot dismiss stellar flow as a source of emissions, but emissions from the planet are a possibility.”

If other telescopes such as LOFAR-LBA and NenuFAR can confirm these findings, then detecting such radio emissions from exoplanets would open an exciting new field of research, providing us with potential avenues to move to distant, foreign worlds Will do.

This research was published in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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