Strange and beautiful aurorae may glow on planets orbiting pulsars: ScienceAlert

Strange and beautiful aurorae may glow on planets orbiting pulsars: ScienceAlert

We’ve been treated to some amazing aurora displays over recent months. The opaque lights are caused by charged particles from the Sun rushing through space and upon arrival, causing the gas in the atmosphere to glow.

Researchers now believe that even on exoplanets surrounding pulsars, only auroras may be found, and they may even be detectable.

Pulsars are the remains of extremely massive stars that have reached the end of their lives. During most of a star’s life, it creates heavier and heavier elements in its core, and the outward force of thermonuclear pressure counterbalances the force of gravity.

As the star evolves, gravity eventually wins out, the star explodes, and the shock wave causes it to blow itself into pieces…almost. All that’s left is a giant, rapidly rotating neutron that releases a pulse of radiation and as it spins, a beam of radiation hurtles through space that we call these pulsars.

The first exoplanets discovered were found around pulsars. By studying the pulses of radiation from the host star, astronomers have discovered subtle irregularities in their clock-like rhythm. the case; Planets orbiting a pulsar.

In new research published on December 7 by a team of Swiss scientists, they suggest that exoplanets surrounding pulsars may experience auroras by simulating their magnetic environment.

Most pulsars travel through space without any companions, but a small percentage, up to 0.5%, are thought to have planetary companions. The paper discusses attempts to simulate the magnetic interactions of pulsars and their planets to estimate the amount of electromagnetic radiation emitted.

The simulations focused on millisecond pulsars and their surrounding planets and considered the potential consequences of planet detection using radio emission.

Two candidate planets without their own magnetic field were studied, those with conductive surfaces and those with non-electrically charged surfaces. Radio flux density (the inward or outward flow of energy – measured in Janski units) ranges from 0.1 mJ to 30 mJ (mil Janski). The frequency the team found would be higher than the level that could be absorbed by the plasma but lower than the level that would be blocked by the ionosphere.

The conclusion was positive: from the simulations the team showed, planets orbiting millisecond pulsars could certainly be seen using current radio telescope technology.

LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) or future developments of SKA (Square Kilometer Array) are certainly capable of obtaining minimum sensitivity of around 0.1 mJ and 0.001 mJ respectively. It is also possible that any afterglow in the system is also detectable.

This article was originally published by Universe Today. Read the original article.

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