First potential radio signal from exoplanet

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An international team of scientists has collected the first possible radio signal from a planet beyond our solar system, emanating from an exoplanet system about 51 light-years away.

Using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), a radio telescope in the Netherlands, the researchers uncovered emission bursts from the Tau Bootes star-system hosting a so-called hot Jupiter, a gaseous giant planet that is very close to its own sun.

The team led by researchers from the Cornell University in the U.S. also observed other potential exoplanetary radio-emission candidates in the constellation Cancer and Upsilon Andromedae systems.

However, the study published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics found that only the Tau Bootes exoplanet system exhibited a significant radio signature.

“We present one of the first hints of detecting an exoplanet in the radio realm,” said Cornell postdoctoral researcher Jake D. Turner.

New window on exoplanets

“The signal is from the Tau Bootes system, which contains a binary star system and an exoplanet. We make the case for an emission by the planet itself,” adds Dr. Turner.

If confirmed through follow-up observations, the researchers said, this radio detection opens up a new window on exoplanets and provides a novel way to examine alien worlds that are tens of light-years away.

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