Science Current Events | Science News |

Record-Breaking Radio Waves from Ultra-Cool Star

April 30, 2012
Penn State University astronomers using the world's largest radio telescope, at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, have discovered flaring radio emissions from an ultra-cool star, not much warmer than the planet Jupiter, shattering the previous record for the lowest stellar temperature at which radio waves were detected.

The team from Penn State's Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, led by Alex Wolszczan, the discoverer of the first planets ever found outside our solar system, has been using the giant 305-m (1000-ft) telescope to look for radio signals from a class of objects known as brown dwarfs. These objects are small, cold stars that bridge the gap between Jupiter-like giant planets and normal, more-massive, hydrogen-fusing stars. The astronomers hit the jackpot with a star named J1047+21, a brown dwarf 33.6 light years away in the constellation Leo, in a result that could boost the odds of discovering life elsewhere in the universe.

Matthew Route, a graduate student at Penn State and the lead author of the discovery paper, said, "This object is the coolest brown dwarf ever detected emitting radio waves -- it's half the temperature of the previous record holder, making it only about five times hotter than Jupiter."

The new radio-star is much smaller and colder than our Sun. With a surface temperature not much higher than that of a giant planet, and a size comparable to Jupiter's, it is scarcely visible in optical light. Yet the radio flares seen at Arecibo show it must have a strong magnetic field, implying that the same could be true of other similar stars.

Wolszczan, an Evan Pugh Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the leader of the project, said, "This is a really exciting result. We hope that in the future we'll be able to detect yet colder brown dwarfs, and possibly even giant planets around other stars."

The possibility that young, hot planets around other stars could be detected in the same manner -- because they still maintain strong magnetic fields -- has implications for the chances of finding life elsewhere in our Milky Way Galaxy, Wolszczan explained. "The Earth's field protects life on its surface from harmful particles of the solar wind. Knowing whether planetary magnetic fields are common or not throughout the Galaxy will aid our efforts to understand chances that life may exist beyond the Solar System."

The discovery of radio signals from J1047+21 dramatically broadens the window through which astronomers can study the atmospheres and interiors of these tiny stars, using the radio detection of their magnetic fields as a tool. At the temperature of this brown dwarf, its atmosphere must be made of neutral gas, which would not give off radio signals like those seen. SO The energy to drive the signals is likely to come from magnetic fields deep inside the star, similar to the field that protects the Earth from dangerous high-energy particles. By monitoring the radio flares from J1047+21, astronomers will be able to tell how stable the magnetic field is over time, and, from flare duration, they can infer the size of the emitter itself. The results were published in the March 10 2012 edition of the Letters section of the Astrophysical Journal.

The Arecibo Observatory is operated by SRI International under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (AST-1100968), and in alliance with Ana G. Méndez-Universidad Metropolitana, and the Universities Space Research Association.

The Pennsylvania State University

Related Magnetic Fields Current Events and Magnetic Fields News Articles

Cosmic jets of young stars formed by magnetic fields
Astrophysical jets are counted among our Universe's most spectacular phenomena: From the centers of black holes, quasars, or protostars, these rays of matter sometimes protrude several light years into space.

Formation and large scale confinement of jets emitted by young stars elucidated
An international team of scientists has succeeded in explaining the formation and propagation over astronomical distances of jetsof matter emitted by young stars-one of the most fascinating mysteries of modern astronomy.

Magnetic mirrors enable new technologies by reflecting light in uncanny ways
As in Alice's journey through the looking-glass to Wonderland, mirrors in the real world can sometimes behave in surprising and unexpected ways, including a new class of mirror that works like no other.

Unstoppable magnetoresistance
Mazhar Ali, a fifth-year graduate student in the laboratory of Bob Cava, the Russell Wellman Moore Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, has spent his academic career discovering new superconductors, materials coveted for their ability to let electrons flow without resistance. While testing his latest candidate, the semimetal tungsten ditelluride (WTe2), he noticed a peculiar result.

Nanoparticles get a magnetic handle
A long-sought goal of creating particles that can emit a colorful fluorescent glow in a biological environment, and that could be precisely manipulated into position within living cells, has been achieved by a team of researchers at MIT and several other institutions.

Astronomers see right into heart of exploding star
An international team of astronomers has been able to see into the heart of an exploding star, by combining data from telescopes that are hundreds or even thousands of kilometres apart.

Fundamentals of physics confirmed
To explore any possible limits of the two theories, they have been experimentally verified many times already and both have passed all the tests so far. Hence, scientists look for deviations in experiments with increasing precision or under extreme conditions.

Princeton scientists observe elusive particle that is its own antiparticle
Princeton University scientists have observed an exotic particle that behaves simultaneously like matter and antimatter, a feat of math and engineering that could yield powerful computers based on quantum mechanics.

A new dimension for integrated circuits: 3-D nanomagnetic logic
Electrical engineers at the Technische Universität München (TUM) have demonstrated a new kind of building block for digital integrated circuits.

NASA's Swift Mission Observes Mega Flares from a Mini Star
On April 23, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a nearby red dwarf star. The initial blast from this record-setting series of explosions was as much as 10,000 times more powerful than the largest solar flare ever recorded.
More Magnetic Fields Current Events and Magnetic Fields News Articles

The Magnetic Fields

The Magnetic Fields
by André Breton (Author), Philippe Soupault (Author), David Gascoyne (Translator)

tr David Gascoyne

Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields
by Ron Loewinsohn (Author)

Organized around the idea that "you can't know what a magnetic field is like unless you're inside of it," Ron Loewinsohn's first novel opens from the disturbing perspective of a burglar in the midst of a robbery and travels through the thoughts and experiences (both real and imaginary) of a group of characters whose lives are connected both coincidentally and intimately. All of the characters have a common desire to imagine and invent rather horrifying stories about the lives of people around them.As the novel develops, certain phrasings and images recur improbably, drawing the reader into a subtle linguistic game that calls into question the nature of authorship, the ways we inhabit and invade each other's lives, and the shape of fiction itself.

Electricity and Magnetism: An Introduction to the Theory of Electric and Magnetic Fields, 2nd edition

Electricity and Magnetism: An Introduction to the Theory of Electric and Magnetic Fields, 2nd edition
by Oleg D. Jefimenko (Author)

This textbook of electromagnetic theory, written for an advanced undergraduate course, is characterized by its pedagogical excellence and by an abundance of novel material, problems, and illustrative examples based on the author's original research and on his contributions to Maxwell's theory of electric and magnetic phenomena. Among the many unique and novel features of the book are: author's solutions of Maxwell's equations (now referred to in the scientific literature as the "Jefimenko's equations"), a comprehensive treatment of vector-analytical operations involving retarded field integrals, a detailed discussion of electric fields outside current-carrying conductors, spectacular line-of-force photographs of electric fields inside and outside current-carrying media, calculations of...

Know Your Magnetic Field

Know Your Magnetic Field
by William E. Gray (Author)

One of the mainstays of New Thought has been the concept that diseases can be healed using mental abilities inherent in everyone. This book describes the mechanics of mind/body healing in simple terms.

Magnetic Field Therapy Handbook: Balancing Your Energy Field

Magnetic Field Therapy Handbook: Balancing Your Energy Field
by Walls (Author)

Book by Walls

Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs: A Field Guide (33 1/3)

Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs: A Field Guide (33 1/3)
by LD Beghtol (Author), Ken Emerson (Introduction)

<div><br/><div>A fully illustrated oral history of the Magnetic Fields' 1999 triple album, <em>69 Love Songs</em> - an album that was afforded "classic" status by many almost as soon as it was released. LD Beghtol's book is chatty, incestuous, funny, dark, digressive, sexy, maddening, and delightful in equal measures. It documents a vital and influential scene from the inside, involving ukuleles and tears, citations and footnotes, analogue drum machines, and floods of cognac. Oh, and a crossword puzzle too.</div><br/><div> </div><br/><div>The centre of the book is the secret history of these tuneful, acerbic, and sometimes heartbreaking songs of old love, new love, lost love, punk rock love, gay love,...

The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe

The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe
by Lynne McTaggart (Author)

In this groundbreaking classic, investigative journalist Lynne McTaggart reveals a radical new paradigm—that the human mind and body are not separate from their environment but a packet of pulsating power constantly interacting with this vast energy sea, and that consciousness may be central in shaping our world. The Field is a highly readable scientific detective story presenting a stunning picture of an interconnected universe and a new scientific theory that makes sense of supernatural phenomena. Documented by distinguished sources, The Field is a book of hope and inspiration for today's world.

PEMF - The Fifth Element of Health: Learn Why Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy Supercharges Your Health Like Nothing Else!

PEMF - The Fifth Element of Health: Learn Why Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy Supercharges Your Health Like Nothing Else!
by Bryant A. Meyers (Author)

You probably know that food, water, sunlight, and oxygen are required for life, but there is a fifth element of health that is equally vital and often overlooked: The Earth’s magnetic field and its corresponding PEMFs (pulsed electromagnetic fields). The two main components of Earth’s PEMFs, the Schumann and Geomagnetic frequencies, are so essential that NASA and the Russian space program equip their spacecrafts with devices that replicate these frequencies. These frequencies are absolutely necessary for the human body’s circadian rhythms, energy production, and even keeping the body free from pain. But there is a big problem on planet earth right now, rather, a twofold problem, as to why we are no longer getting these life-nurturing energies of the earth. In this book...

Magnetic Fields: A Comprehensive Theoretical Treatise for Practical Use

Magnetic Fields: A Comprehensive Theoretical Treatise for Practical Use
by Heinz E. Knoepfel (Author)

A unique resource for physicists and engineers working with magnetic fields An understanding of magnetic phenomena is essential for anyone working on the practical application of electromagnetic theory. Magnetic Fields: A Comprehensive Theoretical Treatise for Practical Use provides physicists and engineers with a thorough treatment of the magnetic aspects of classical electromagnetic theory, focusing on key issues and problems arising in the generation and application of magnetic fields. From magnetic potentials and diffusion phenomena to magnetohydrodynamics and properties of matter-topics are carefully selected for their relevance to the theoretical framework as well as current technologies. Outstanding in its organization, clarity, and scope, Magnetic Fields: Examines a...

Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur

Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur
by Tom Lancaster (Author), Stephen J. Blundell (Author)

Quantum field theory is arguably the most far-reaching and beautiful physical theory ever constructed, with aspects more stringently tested and verified to greater precision than any other theory in physics. Unfortunately, the subject has gained a notorious reputation for difficulty, with forbidding looking mathematics and a peculiar diagrammatic language described in an array of unforgiving, weighty textbooks aimed firmly at aspiring professionals. However, quantum field theory is too important, too beautiful, and too engaging to be restricted to the professionals. This book on quantum field theory is designed to be different. It is written by experimental physicists and aims to provide the interested amateur with a bridge from undergraduate physics to quantum field theory. The imagined...

© 2014