First Magnetic Field on an Exoplanet

Recently, a team of astronomers used data from the Hubble Space Telescope for discovering the signature of a magnetic field on an Exoplanet. The findings were described in the journal called Nature Astronomy. Such a feature has been seen on an exoplanet, for the first time.

Key Points

  • A magnetic field around the planet explains the observations of an extended region of charged carbon particles. It streams away from it in a long tail.
  • Magnetic fields play a significant role in protecting planetary atmospheres.
  • Thus, the ability to detect the magnetic fields of exoplanets is a significant step of understanding what aliens’ worlds may look like, in a better manner.
  • Researchers used the Hubble for observing the exoplanet HAT-P-11b. it is a Neptune-sized planet, located at a distance of 123 light-years from Earth.
  • Observations were made in ultraviolet light spectrum.

Exoplanet or extrasolar planet

Exoplanet is a planet outside our Solar System. First possible evidence of an exoplanet was found in 1917, but was not recognized as such. First confirmed exoplanet was detected in 1992. As of December 2021, there are 4,878 confirmed exoplanets, located across 3,604 planetary systems. Out of all the systems, 807 systems are having more than one planet.

How exoplanets are detected?

There are various methods of detecting exoplanets. But Transit photometry and Doppler spectroscopy have found the most. However, these methods suffer from a clear observational bias and favours the detection of planets near the star. Hence, 85% of the detected exoplanets are inside the tidal locking zone.




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