Astronomers Take First Radio Look for Habitability of Distant Planets

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According to Explorist

UWM astronomer David Kaplan and colleagues have begun a radio search for the magnetic fields of planets orbiting distant stars.

Image Source: Wikipedia

The team reported its initial findings in “A search for circularly polarized emission from young exoplanets,” published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The astronomers conducted a search of star fields in the constellation Scorpius using the Murchison Widefield Array in Australia. (Four of Kaplan’s students helped build the antennas for the array last year.) This search looked at  with known planets, and did a “blind search” for any signal that could be coming from planets.

Kaplan said the program is in part an indirect way to search for planets that could sustain life.

“If you think about what makes a planet habitable, you need an atmosphere,” Kaplan said. “But you also need a magnetic field to protect the planet from damaging radiation from its star.

“If a planet has a  and an atmosphere, it will have an aurora, which will emit the radio waves we’re looking for.”


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This article and images were originally posted on [Explorist] August 29, 2017 at 10:08AM

Credit to Author and Explorist