Alien worlds with life may snap, crackle and popMarch 25th, 2009 - 1:21 pm ICT by ANI
London, March 25 (ANI): In a new research, scientists have suggested that alien worlds which are friendly to life could snap, crackle and pop, in the form of radio signals crackling from their magnetic fields.
According to a report in New Scientist, the research was conducted by Joseph Lazio at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC and colleagues.
When struck by high-energy particles in the solar wind, an exoplanets magnetic field may produce radio signals from auroras in the planets atmosphere.
While current telescopes have yet to pick up these crackles, its an area worth exploring, said Lazio.
Because a magnetic field helps to preserve atmospheres and oceans, a magnetosphere may signify that a planet has complex surface life.
This is something we think is worth studying at a modest level, the payoff could be immense, said Lazio.
The snag is that scientists would need a space telescope 100 times as sensitive as any planned to find auroras within a few dozen light years, because the Earths atmosphere would absorb the low frequency signals.
That leads some planet hunters to doubt the ideas feasibility.
We have never directly detected the magnetosphere from any extrasolar planet, despite strong efforts, said Geoff Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley.
Yet planetary magnetospheres would be easier to spot at radio frequencies than planets themselves, said Gordon Walker of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, who has spotted an exoplanets magnetic field indirectly by studying its host star.
Its an exciting proposal, he said. (ANI)
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Tags: alien worlds, earths atmosphere, energy particles, frequency signals, geoff marcy, gordon walker, host star, joseph lazio, london march, magnetosphere, naval research laboratory, new scientist, planet hunters, planetary magnetospheres, radio signals, research scientists, space telescope, surface life, university of california berkeley, university of victoria