Jake D. Turner (University of Virginia)

The search for radio emission from exoplanets using LOFAR low-frequency beam-formed observations
When Apr 18, 2017 from 02:00 PM to 03:00 PM
What
  • Special Seminar
  • Colloquium
Where SH, Lecture hall
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Detection of radio emission from exoplanets can provide information on the star-planet system that is very difficult or impossible to study otherwise, such as the planet’s magnetic field, magnetosphere, rotation period, orbit inclination, and any star-planet interactions. Such a detection in the radio domain would open up a whole new field in the study of exoplanets, however, currently there are no confirmed detections of an exoplanet at radio frequencies. In this talk, we discuss our ongoing observational campaign searching for exoplanetary radio emissions using beam-formed observations within the Low Band of the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR). To date we have observed three exoplanets: 55 Cnc, Upsilon Andromedae, and Tau Boötis. These planets were selected according to theoretical predictions, which indicated them as among the best candidates for an observation. During the observations we usually recorded three beams simultaneously, one on the exoplanet and two on patches of nearby “empty” sky. An automatic pipeline was created to automatically find RFI, calibrate the data due to instrumental effects, and to search for emission in the exoplanet beam. Additionally, we observed Jupiter with LOFAR with the same exact observational setup as the exoplanet observations. The main goals of the Jupiter observations are to train the detection algorithm and to calculate upper limits in the case of a non-detection. Preliminary results on the detection of radio emission from 55 Cnc will be discussed but data analysis is currently ongoing for the full set of data.