LOFAR detects possible radio emission from an exoplanet

An international team of astronomers used the LOFAR (Low-Frequency Array) sensor network to detect radio bursts emanating from the constellation Boötis. The signal could be the first radio emission from a planet outside our solar system.

“The signal comes from the Tau Boötis system, which contains a binary star and an exoplanet. We advocate an emission from the planet itself,” said researcher Jake D. Turner, who led the study.

If the observations are confirmed, “this radio detection opens a new window to exoplanets, giving us a new way to examine alien worlds that are tens of light-years away,” said Ray Jayawardhana, another author of the study published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

The emission bursts were detected in a star system that houses a so-called hot Jupiter, a gas giant planet that is very close to its own sun. 

“It remains uncertain whether the detected radio signal is from the planet. The need for follow-up observations is critical,” said Jake D. Turner.

Turner and his team have already started a campaign using multiple radio telescopes to follow the Tau Boötis signal.