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Astrophysics > Earth and Planetary Astrophysics

Title: Magnetospheric Emission from Extrasolar Planets

Authors: J. Lazio (NRL), T. Bastian (NRAO), G. Bryden (JPL), W. M. Farrell (NASA/GSFC), J.-M. Griessmeier (ASTRON), G. Hallinan (National U. of Ireland), J. Kasper (SAO), T. Kuiper (JPL), A. Lecacheux (Observatoire de Paris), W. Majid (JPL), R. Osten (STScI), E. Shkolnik (Carnegie), I. Stevens (Birmingham), D. Winterhalter (JPL), P. Zarka (Observatoire de Paris)
Abstract: The magnetospheric emissions from extrasolar planets represent a science frontier for the next decade. All of the solar system giant planets and the Earth produce radio emissions as a result of interactions between their magnetic fields and the solar wind. In the case of the Earth, its magnetic field may contribute to its habitability by protecting its atmosphere from solar wind erosion and by preventing energetic particles from reaching its surface. Indirect evidence for at least some extrasolar giant planets also having magnetic fields includes the modulation of emission lines of their host stars phased with the planetary orbits, likely due to interactions between the stellar and planetary magnetic fields. If magnetic fields are a generic property of giant planets, then extrasolar giant planets should emit at radio wavelengths allowing for their direct detection. Existing observations place limits comparable to the flux densities expected from the strongest emissions. Additional sensitivity at low radio frequencies coupled with algorithmic improvements likely will enable a new means of detection and characterization of extrasolar planets within the next decade.
Comments: Science white paper for Astro2010; submitted to PSF panel
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:0903.0873 [astro-ph.EP]
  (or arXiv:0903.0873v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Joseph Lazio [view email]
[v1] Wed, 4 Mar 2009 22:03:17 GMT (565kb)