Scientists may have detected radio emissions from a planet orbiting a star beyond our sun for the first time.
The astronomers behind the new research used a radio telescope in the Netherlands to study three different stars known to host exoplanets. The researchers compared what they saw to observations of Jupiter, diluted as if being seen from a star system dozens of light-years away. And one star system stood out: Tau Boötes, which contains at least one exoplanet. If the detection holds up, it could open the door to better understanding the magnetic fields of exoplanets and therefore the exoplanets themselves, the researchers hope.
“We present one of the first hints of detecting an exoplanet in the radio realm,” Jake Turner, an astronomer at Cornell University and lead author of the new research, said in a statement. “We make the case for an emission by the planet itself. From the strength and polarization of the radio signal and the planet’s magnetic field, it is compatible with theoretical predictions.”