For the first time, mysterious radio signals from distant red dwarf stars have been detected

For the first time, mysterious radio signals from distant red dwarf stars have been detected

This discovery is just the beginning of the use of the low-frequency telescope in observing relatively nearby stars.

Using the world's most powerful radio antenna, the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope of the Dutch National Observatory, scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia were able to detect radio wave signals in Unexpected, coming from distant red dwarf stars, indicating the existence of hidden planets orbiting them.

This came in a study published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters in its October 11 issue. The statement from the university stated that it is the first time that astronomers have been able to detect radio waves likely from an exoplanet, an important step for radio astronomy.

The discovery of distant dwarf stars
According to the press release issued by the university, while Dr. Benjamin Pope of the University of Queensland and his colleagues at the observatory were searching for planets using the most powerful low-frequency array, they discovered signals from 19 red dwarf stars, located about 165 light-years from Earth.

The researchers believe that it is possible that there are planets orbiting 4 of these stars, which means that it is possible to discover planets hidden around dwarf stars.

Pope said in the statement, “We have known for a long time that the planets of our solar system emit powerful radio waves, as their magnetic fields interact with the solar wind, but radio signals from planets outside our solar system have not been detected before, and therefore this discovery is an important step.” for radio astronomy and could lead to the discovery of planets across the galaxy."

According to the statement, scientists were previously only able to detect the closest stars in a fixed radio emission, such as Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star about 4.2 light years away from Earth, which is the second closest star from Earth after the Sun, as well as Capturing everything in the sky is between two stars, or a strange phenomenon such as black holes.

But now, after scientists are able to detect radio signals from distant stars, they will be able to see simple old stars when they make their observations, as they - with this information and newly discovered techniques - can search for any planets surrounding these stars or those orbiting them .

In this study, the scientific team focused on red dwarf stars, which are much smaller than the Sun and are known to have intense magnetic activity that drives stellar flares and radio emissions. This observation and search for dwarf stars has also given rise to some older, magnetically inactive stars, challenging conventional understanding.

A hand out image made available by the European Southern Observatory on August 24 2016 show an image created from pictures forming part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2 of the sky around the bright star Alpha Centauri AB also shows the much fainter red dwarf star, Proxima Centauri , the closest star to the Solar System.  The blue halo around Alpha Centauri AB is an artifact of the photographic process, the star is really pale yellow in color like the Sun.  - Scientists on August 24, 2016 announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet orbiting the star nearest our Sun, opening up the glittering prospect of a habitable world that may one day be explored by robots.  Named Proxima b, the planet is in a "temperate" zone compatible with the presence of liquid water -- a key ingredient for life.

Where do radio signals come from?
Astronomers know that the planets emit strong radio waves as their magnetic fields interact with the solar wind, and they cannot know the size of the suspected planets or whether they are habitable, as those signals that were seen are similar to the case in which Jupiter interacts with the solar wind.

In this regard, Dr. Joseph Callingham from Leiden University and lead author of the study said: “The team is confident in their interpretation of these seemingly mysterious signals, which is that they come from the magnetic communication of stars and planets orbiting in an invisible orbit, similar to the interaction between Jupiter and its moon (Io). It is the most volcanically active body in the solar system.

Callingham added, "Our Earth has auroras, known as the northern and southern lights, also emit strong radio waves, and this is the result of the interaction of the planet's magnetic field with the solar wind, but the aurora borealis on Jupiter is much stronger, as its volcanic moon spews material into space, towards Jupiter's environment in the form of particles pushing unusually strong auroras."

Confirm the existence of the proposed planets
On hidden stars, Dr. Pope said: "We can't be 100% sure that the four stars we think have planets are indeed planet hosts, but we can say that the interaction between the planets and the star is the best explanation for what we see."

On the other hand, the follow-up observations of the scientific team ruled out the existence of planets larger than Earth, and this discovery also showed that it is just the beginning of the use of the low-frequency telescope that has the ability only to observe relatively nearby stars.

However, with the Square Kilometer Array Radio Telescope in Australia and South Africa under construction, which is due to be operational in 2029, the team expects that they will be able to see hundreds of related stars located at much greater distances.
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