Scientists have found a new way to detect and study exoplanets

(ORDO NEWS) — In recent years, scientists have discovered thousands of different exoplanets.

Most of them were discovered by the transit method, when an optical telescope measures the brightness of a star in a certain period of time.

If the brightness of a star is slightly reduced, then this may indicate that a planet has passed in front of it, which has covered part of the world.

The transit method is quite powerful, but it has limitations. That is, the planet must necessarily pass between us and its star, otherwise we will not detect it. The transit method is also based on optical telescopes.

However, a new method created by astronomers will make it possible to detect exoplanets using radio telescopes.

Most planets do not have strong radio emission, unlike most stars. The radio signal from the stars can also be quite variable due to some phenomena, such as stellar flares.

But large gas planets like Jupiter can have strong radio emissions due to its strong magnetic field. The charged particles of the stellar wind interact with the magnetic field and emit a radio signal.

It turns out that Jupiter is so visible at radio frequencies that it can be detected using a homemade radio telescope, and astronomers have thus detected radio signals from several brown dwarfs.

Scientists have found a new way to detect and study exoplanets 2
This radio image of Jupiter was obtained by a powerful radio telescope in New Mexico. The three colors in the picture correspond to three different wavelengths of radio waves: 2 cm in blue, 3 cm in yellow, and 6 cm in red

The team of scientists studied what such a signal might look like and found some interesting things.

First, the team showed that the planet would have a distinct light curve. This is a radio signal that changes due to the movement of the planet.

This is very good, since radio observations of the motion of the planet are extremely accurate. Even more accurate than optical Doppler observations.

Second, the researchers found that radio observations could detect the passage of a planet in front of its star.

Some features will be visible in the radio signal, showing how the planet’s magnetosphere passes in front of the star.

In this way, astronomers could better understand the strength and size of this planet’s magnetosphere.

Both of these signals will be very weak, so a new generation of radio telescopes will be required to see them.

If we can detect them, then planetary radio signals will give us an accurate orbital measure of at least one planet in the system and help us figure out the composition and internal structure of an exoplanet.


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