In our endless search to understand the Universe and our place in it, valuable small strokes in data can impact a whole new world.
Dips in starlight levels can be the presence of orbiting planets – and now astronomers have taken the first steps toward using peeps of radio emission to reveal new exoplanetary mysteries.
“Monitoring planetary auroral radio emissions is the most promising way to detect exoplanetary magnetic fields,” explained Cornell University astronaut Jake Turner and colleagues in their new paper, “the experience will provide insights value of the planet’s inner structure, atmospheric escape, and occupancy. “
When a stellar wind – charged particles emanating from the host star – strikes a planet ‘s magnetic field, the change in speed is seen as dramatic changes in radio emissions, statistically referred to as’ bursty’.
The Earth’s own magnetic field drills and screams like alien birds as it directs solar winds. We also heard a similar call from other planets in our Solar System.
Of course, in order to detect a whirlwind of such radio signals coming from an exoplanet, we first need a way to look beyond all sounds from Earth and elsewhere.
A few years ago, the team developed the BOREALIS piping program to do just that. They tested Jupiter and then figured out what Jupiter’s radio broadcasts would look like if it were much further away.
Some promising discoveries have already been made using these radio emissions, including early this year when astronomers linked radio wave activity to interactions between the magnetic field of the star GJ 1151 and a planet of magnitude. the potential Earth. But all of these are still confirmed by ongoing radio ideas.
The Turner team therefore decided to test the approach they developed, using the Netherland’s Low Frequency Array Radiotelescope (LOFAR) to look at three systems with known exoplanets: 55 Cancri, Upsilon Andromedae, and Tau Boötis.
Only the Tau Boötis system, 51 light-years away, showed the peeps in radio data that meets the researchers ’predictions from their experiments with Jupiter. It came in the form of 14-21 MHz bursty discharges and is within about three normal gestures of detection (3.2 sigma).
In 1996, a hot-Jupiter exoplanet was discovered on a 3.3128-day orbit around the young star type F and the smallest red dwarf that makes up the binary system Tau Boötis.
“We make the case for propagation by the planet itself,” Turner said. “From the strength and polarization of the radio signal and the planet’s magnetic field, it is consistent with theoretical prediction. “
If their measurements are correct, they suggest that the strength of the planet’s surface magnetic field ranges from about 5 to 11 gauss (Jupiter ranges from 4 to 13 gauss, for comparison, and dimensions of the its magnetic field has revealed that the planet has a core of hydrogen metal). The strength of the observed magnetic field scattering also corresponds to a previous prediction.
“The magnetic field of Earth-like exoplanets may contribute to their habitual habit,” Turner explained, “by protecting the atmosphere itself from the solar wind and cosmic rays, and protecting the planet from air loss. “
The signal they detected is weak and still needs to be confirmed with other low-frequency telescopes before researchers can determine the true origin of the detected radio transmissions.
“We cannot eliminate large flames as the source of the emissions,” the researchers warned, but emissions from the planet are still possible.
If other telescopes such as LOFAR-LBA and NenuFAR can confirm these conclusions, detections of radio emissions from exoplanets will open up an exciting new field of research, giving us a way to look further afield. -into a distant alien world.
This research was published in Astronomy & Astronomy.