April 13, 2024

LOFAR Sees Strange Radio Signals Hinting at Hidden Exoplanets

LOFAR is a prime example of a low-cost, standard style for a variety, producing optimum science. They likewise decline and approach from the LOFAR receiver in a tell-tale style, as the world orbits the host star.
The LOFAR superterp core station in Exloo, the Netherlands. Credit: ASTRON/LOFAR.
” The radio light must switch on and off like a lighthouse,” says Callingham in a current news release. “and we hope to see that periodicity in brand-new LOFAR data.”
NASAs Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) even participated the action, doing follow up observations of the target stars in the research study to rule out outstanding activity. One target star highlighted in the research study suspected of hosting an aurora generating exoplanet is GJ 1151, located 26.2 light-years remote in the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear.
The location of GJ 1151 in the sky. Credit: Stellarium.
Thats just the beginning for LOFAR. The selection needs to have the ability to spy red dwarf-exoplanet interactions out to a range of about 165 light-years incorporating potentially thousands of red dwarf systems. The Square Kilometre Array set to come online in 2029 could extend this capability even further out, to a radius of numerous light-years.
… and to believe, there was a time waaaay back prior to the 1990s when no exoplanets were understood of, and numerous astronomers argued that it could extremely well stay that way. Fast forward to 2021, and 4,848 worlds beyond our solar system are known of, discovered utilizing radial velocity, transiting, pulsar timing approaches and more, a collection that now includes low frequency radio wave detections of exo-aurorae … exciting times.
Lead image credit: An artists conception of an exoplanet causing aurorae on its host star. Credit: ASTRON/LOFAR
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LOFAR was ideal for the survey. A series of 20,000 omnidirectional antennae based at 52 sites throughout nine countries in Europe, LOFAR acts like one large, two thousand kilometer diameter low-frequency radio antenna for astronomy. Commissioned in 2012, LOFAR has actually already penetrated the re-ionization period of the early Universe, detected new pulsars in the Milky Way Galaxy, and finished big scale maps of the solar wind.
LOFAR is a prime example of a low-priced, basic style for a selection, producing optimum science. They likewise recede and approach from the LOFAR receiver in a tell-tale fashion, as the planet orbits the host star.

But the look for exo-aurora has so far been spurious at finest. This sort of interaction causes radio frequency radio waves, something that most radio observatories arent matched to find. We see a similar circumstance with aurorae on Jupiter, induced by the effective Io flux tube between the innermost Galilean moon and the world itself. This radiation source is so effective, that a home-built amateur radio telescope can select it up, and spacecraft such as NASAs Juno mission need to prevent passing near the Io flux tube or risk having its electronics fried.
The Lowdown on LOFAR
However LOFAR was perfect for the study. A series of 20,000 omnidirectional antennae based at 52 sites throughout nine nations in Europe, LOFAR acts like one big, two thousand kilometer size low-frequency radio antenna for astronomy. Commissioned in 2012, LOFAR has actually currently probed the re-ionization era of the early Universe, discovered new pulsars in the Milky Way Galaxy, and completed big scale maps of the solar wind.
LOFAR stations throughout Europe. Credit: Astron/LOFAR.
” Weve long understood that the planets of our own solar system give off effective radio waves as their magnetic fields communicate with the solar wind,” says Joseph Callingham (Leiden University) in a current news release. “However, it is only with LOFAR have we had the sensitivity to discover aurora emission outside our Solar System.”

The survey looked at red dwarf stars near our solar system. The Sun-Earth interaction in between the area weather condition emitted from the Sun and the Earths magnetosphere creates powerful aurorae, in addition to generous quantities of radio signals, and it has long been thought that interactions in other planetary systems ought to do the same.

An exciting advance in the discovery of exoplanets! @LOFAR has actually found aurorae on remote stars, suggesting surprise worlds! Article by @AstroJoeC et al. released in @NatureAstronomy today https://t.co/sbMTjBzaFh pic.twitter.com/i1P4lh27Xp
— ASTRON (@ASTRON_NL) October 11, 2021

LOFAR sees exoplanet aurorae near remote red dwarf suns.
A powerful brand-new method may assist to discover exoplanets, by means of the aurorae they cause on their host star. The finding was announced recently from ASTRONs Low Frequency Array radio telescope (LOFAR), based out of Exloo in the Netherlands, and stretched throughout websites in Europe.