In addition to being used for positioning, the magnetic field is also an important protection to protect life on earth from being hit by high-energy particles from the sun. Recently, astronomers detected repeating radio signals from an Earth-like planet 12 light-years away, suggesting that the planet may also have a magnetic field and even an atmosphere.
The planet’s magnetic field prevents the planet’s atmosphere from being depleted by high-energy particles ejected from the parent star over time. Whether a planet can maintain an atmosphere depends largely on whether the planet has a strong magnetic field. Looking for other planets outside the solar system that may be habitable or breed life , it is also necessary to determine whether terrestrial planets have magnetic fields.
To understand the magnetic interactions between distant stars and planets, astronomers Sebastian Pineda and Jackie Villadsen used a Very Large Array to observe the red dwarf star YZ Ceti and saw something that had never happened before: the star emitted repeating radio signals.
The data show that these radio signals should be produced by the particle interaction between the magnetic field of the system planet YZ Ceti b and the parent star. By measuring the radio wave strength, the strength of the planet’s magnetic field can be further determined.
This interaction will also produce auroras, but unlike the Earth-sun, YZ Ceti b is very close to its parent star, so the planetary magnetic field can draw these charged particles back to the star, and eventually the high-energy particles come into contact with the star’s magnetic field, causing The aurora appears over the star, which is the radio emission the team detected.
Scientists have previously detected magnetic fields on large exoplanets such as “hot Jupiters”, but detection on smaller terrestrial planets requires different techniques. The new research has become a potential method for detecting the magnetic fields of exoplanets in the future.
The new paper is published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
(First image source: NSF)
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