Scientists In The Netherlands Detect First Ever Radio Signals From A Planet Outside Our Solar-System

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Scientists In The Netherlands Detect First Ever Radio Signals From A Planet Outside Our Solar-System

For the first time in history, scientists have detected signals from a planet outside of our solar system. The remarkable discovery was made by scientists working in the Netherlands using a radio telescope to examine three stars known to have planets orbiting them.

The signals came in the form of radio emissions and are from a number of light-years away. The scientists were able to ascertain that the signal most likely came from a planet by comparing it to radio signals from Jupiter and imagining what that signal would look like had it travelled such a long-distance.

The star around which the strongest planetary signal was detected is known as Tau Boötes and is 51 light-yeas away, meaning it takes light 51 Earth years to travel from the planet to Earth. Another weaker signal was picked up around the star Upsilon Andromedae. It is hoped that if scientists are able to gain further information about the radio signals these planets give off, then it can possibly tell them what these planets are really like, and even if they may harbour life.

Jake Turner, an astronomy expert with Cornell University in the United States, said of the potentially landmark discovery:

"We present one of the first hints of detecting an exoplanet in the radio realm. 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."

He added:

"We learned from our own Jupiter what this kind of detection looks like. We went searching for it and we found it. There remains some uncertainty that the detected radio signal is from the planet. The need for follow-up observations is critical."

As Turner says, further investigations will be required to determine whether the radio emissions really are from the planet itself. In the vast expanse of space there are a number of things that can give off signals and be mistaken for other phenomena.

The radio signals are usually the result of a planet's magnetic field. It is the Earth's strong magnetic field that allows life on this planet to be protected from the Sun's solar-winds, and without which it is thought no life would survive. Our magnetic field is produced by the Earth's iron core. If exo-planets can also be shown to be producing radio emissions, it may also mean that they have magnetic fields, and possibly revolving cores, which in turn could mean that they are also protected from solar-winds and could perhaps sustain life.

The findings will be published by the Journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

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Thinking Humanity: Scientists In The Netherlands Detect First Ever Radio Signals From A Planet Outside Our Solar-System
Scientists In The Netherlands Detect First Ever Radio Signals From A Planet Outside Our Solar-System
For the first time in history, scientists have managed to detect signals from a planet outside of our solar system. The remarkable discovery was made
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