Researchers have discovered the first signature of a magnetic field outside our planet. The Solar System, Using space telescope data Hubble. The magnetic fields of exoplanets can perform similar functions, just as the Earth’s magnetic field acts as a shield against the sun’s energy-producing particles.
Described in an article published in the magazine Natural astronomy, This discovery is the first time such a feature has been found on an alien planet.
A magnetic field best describes observations of an extended region of charged carbon particles orbiting the planet and moving away from it in a long tail. Because magnetic fields play an important role in protecting planetary atmospheres, visualizing their signature on an extraterrestrial is a significant step in understanding how these worlds differ from other solar systems.
The team observed an exoplanet level of HAT-P-11b Neptune It is 123 light-years from Earth and, according to Hubble Transit observations, passes six times directly across the face of its host star. According to scientists, the observations were made in the ultraviolet spectrum, which is invisible to the human eye.
Further study of the relationship between magnetic field signature and planetary location
The space telescope has detected carbon ions – charged particles in contact with magnetic fields – in the planet’s magnetic field. The magnetic field is the area around a celestial body (like the Earth) that is formed by the object’s contact with the solar wind emitted by its host star.
“This is the first time that the Exoplanet’s magnetic field signature has been detected directly on a planet outside our solar system,” said Guilda Ballaster, associate research professor and associate research professor at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. “On a planet like Earth, a strong magnetic field can protect its atmosphere and surface from the direct bombardment of energetic particles that make up the solar wind. These processes severely affect the evolution of life on a planet like Earth because the magnetic field protects organisms from these energetic particles.
As the site highlights Physics, The discovery of the HAT-P-11b magnetosphere is a significant step in better understanding the whereabouts of an exoplanet. Researchers say that not all planets and moons in our solar system have their own magnetic fields, and that the relationship between magnetic fields and a planet’s habitat needs to be further explored.
“HAT-P-11b proved to be a very exciting target because Hubble’s UV transit observations revealed a magnetic field that was seen as an extended ionic component around the planet and a long tail of escape ions,” Blaster said. Used to detect magnetic fields in different planets and to evaluate their role in potential habitat.
Ballaster was the primary researcher on one of the Hubble Space Telescope programs that observed HAT-P-11b. He was instrumental in selecting this particular target for UV studies.
An important discovery was the observation of carbon ions not only around the planet, but also from a long tail extending from the planet at an average speed of 160,000 km / h. The tail has reached space for at least 1 astronomical unit, the distance between Earth and Earth Soul.
The first author of the study, Lotfi Ben-Jafel of the Paris Institute of Astrophysics, led the team, which used 3D computer simulations to model the interactions between the planet’s upper atmosphere and the magnetic field with incoming solar air.
“As the Earth’s magnetic field and its immediate space environment interact with the Sun’s wind, it contains charged particles traveling at speeds of up to 900,000 mph. .
Although the physics of the Earth and the magnetic fields of HAT-P-11b are similar, the proximity of its exoplanet to its star – only about one-twentieth the distance from Earth to the Sun – warms the atmosphere above it and mainly “boils” into space. The result is a magnetic tail.
The researchers found that the atmospheric metallicity of HAT-P-11b – the number of chemical elements in a substance heavier than hydrogen and helium – was lower than expected.
In our solar system, the icy gas planets Neptune and Uranus have metallic but weak magnetic fields, while the largest gas planets, Jupiter and Saturn, have low metallicity and strong magnetic fields.
Therefore, the authors claim that the low atmospheric metallicity of HAT-P-11b challenges current models of exoplanet formation. “Although the mass of the HAT-P-11b is only 8% larger than Jupiter, the Exoplanet looks more like a mini-Jupiter than Neptune,” Pallaster said. “The atmospheric system we see in HAT-P-11b suggests that more work needs to be done to refine current theories about how certain exoplanets are formed in general.”
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