Astronauts detect radio emissions from an exoplanet

  • An international team of scientists has built the first radio waves transmitted by an exoplanet.
  • The planet “Hot Jupiter” orbits a star system 40 light years from Earth.
  • The conclusions need to be confirmed, but if so, this is the first in radio astronomy.

When people think of radio waves from space, the first thought may be about monsters. However, many things can make radio waves, pulsars are famous for doing so, and the whole range of radio astronomy is dedicated to looking at materials with equipment that can see the things that we cannot.

This allows radio telescopes to be used to collect information that could never be obtained by visible light. Recently, an international team of researchers has done just that. They have identified the first ever radio transmission from a planet in another solar system and used it to gather information about the planet.

It’s not little green men, but a start.

Science has known for some time that planets emit radio emissions. Jupiter does it all the time because of the interaction of different types of radiation with its magnetic field. Previous studies have achieved a good understanding of what these emissions look like.

In this study, the authors used an estimate of what Jupiter’s emissions would look like if they were far further away to determine whether the radio emissions coming from the Tau Boötis system matched the one would expect if the system itself had a gas giant. orbiting its sun, often called “Hot Jupiter.” That system has been known to have had a planet for some time.

The network study used a decentralized radio telescope at the top of the line to gather these findings. The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) is based in the Netherlands and operated by the Dutch Institute of Radio Astronomy. Although the network includes telescopes across Europe, this study used only the main group of telescopes.

After reviewing the vast collection of radio images, the subtle signs of a gas giant circling another star began to appear. The lead author Dr. Jake D. Turner, a postgraduate researcher at Cornell University, findings of the forthcoming study:

“We will introduce one of the first recommendations for the detection of an exoplanet in the field of radio. The signal is from the Tau Boötes system, which contains a binary star and an exoplanet. We will succeed for propagation by the planet itself. From the strength and polarization of the radio signal and the magnetic field of the planet, it is consistent with theoretical prediction.

While the idea of ​​looking for exoplanets with radio telescopes is not new, this is the first time a person has picked up signals from an exoplanet. This is no small feat, and several other astronauts have been inspired to express it.

Study co-author Ray Jayawardhana explained that, if confirmed, the findings will open up a whole new realm of space exploration:

“If confirmed through continuous observation this radio detection opens a new window on exoplanets, giving us an innovative way to explore an alien world tens of light-years away.”

The study involved more than 100 hours of detecting radio signals in star systems up to 100 light-years away. The expected signs were only visible in Tau Boötes. The detected signal is relatively weak, and it is still possible that it did not come from the exoplanet. Further research will focus on confirming the findings.

Dr Turner also stated that he wanted to continue searching for other exoplanets using a larger proportion of the telescopes in the LOFAR.

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