Astronauts look for possible radio transmissions from Exoplanet

By observing the cosmos with a radio telescope series, an international team of scientists led by Cornell University has discovered radio explosions emanating from the constellation Boötes. The signal could be the first radio transmission collected from a planet outside our solar system.

The team, led by postdoctoral researcher Cornell Jake D. Turner, Philippe Zarka of the Observatoire de Paris – University of Sciences Paris et Lettres and Jean-Mathias Griessmeier of the Université d’Orléans published their findings in the research section forthcoming issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics magazine, on 16 December.

“We will present one of the first recommendations for the detection of an exoplanet in the field of radio,” said Turner. We argue for distribution 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 predictions. “

Co-authors include Turner postdoctoral adviser Ray Jayawardhana, Dean Harold Tanner of Cornell College of Arts and Sciences, and professor of astronomy.

“If proven through continuous observations,” Jayawardhana said, “this radio discovery opens a new window on exoplanets, giving us an innovative way to explore an alien world tens of light-years away. . “

Using the low frequency Arra (LOFAR), a Dutch radio telescope, Turner and his colleagues discovered explosive explosions from a star system hosting a so-called hot Jupiter, a large gaseous planet very close to the sun yourself. The group also saw potential exoplanetary radioactive candidates in 55 Cancri (in cancer constellation) and Upsilon Andromedae systems. Only Tau Boötes ’exoplanet system – about 51 light-years away – featured an important radio signature, a possible window on the planet’s magnetic field.

Observing an exoplanet’s magnetic field helps astronauts determine the interior and interior of a planet, as well as the physics of star-planet interactions, said Turner, a member of Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute.

The Earth’s magnetic field protects it from the dangers of solar wind, keeping the planet inhabited. “The magnetic field of Earth-like exoplanets may increase their potential habitat,” Turner said, “by protecting the atmosphere itself from the sun’s rays and cosmic rays, and protects the planet from air loss. “

Two years ago, Turner and his colleagues examined the signatures of Jupiter’s radio broadcasts and scaled these releases to mimic the possible names of a distant exoplanet similar to Jupiter. These results became a template for detecting radio emissions from exoplanets 40 to 100 light-years away.

After poring over nearly 100-hours of radio viewing, the researchers were able to find the expected hot Jupiter signature in Tau Boötes. “We learned from our very own Jupiter what this kind of discovery is like. We went and found it,” Turner said.

The signature, however, is weak. “There is still some uncertainty that the detected radio signal is coming from the planet. The need for follow-up observations is crucial,” he said.

Turner and his team have already started a campaign using multiple radio telescopes to follow the signal from Tau Boötes.


Turner, who laid the foundation for this research while earning his doctorate at the University of Virginia, received funding from the National Science Foundation.

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