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Space & Astronomy

Astronomers detect 'coherent' radio signal from distant planet

By T.K. Randall
April 4, 2023 · Comment icon 32 comments

Could YZ Ceti b be home to alien life ? Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
The encouraging discovery could indicate the presence of a magnetic field and the potential for alien life.
Finding extrasolar planets with the potential to host life as we know it is certainly no easy task, but this latest find - which has been reported by scientists at the US National Science Foundation (NSF) - could help point us in the direction of a candidate world that may be not all that unlike our own.

Situated around 12 light years away, the planet - named YZ Ceti b - is a rocky terrestrial world from which astronomers have been picking up an unusually coherent signal.

This doesn't mean that an intelligent alien civilization is trying to send us a message, however - the signal appears to be generated by interactions between the planet's parent star and its magnetic field.

If true, then it's an important find because the presence of a magnetic field is thought to be one of the key reasons our own planet is habitable, while others (like Mars) are not.
"We're actually seeing the aurora on the star — that's what this radio emission is," said astrophysicist Sebastian Pineda of the University of Colorado.

"There should also be aurora on the planet if it has its own atmosphere."

Whether or not this particular planet is habitable, however, remains unclear for now.

"The search for potentially habitable or life-bearing worlds in other solar systems depends in part on being able to determine if rocky, Earth-like exoplanets actually have magnetic fields," said Joe Pesce of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

"This research shows not only that this particular rocky exoplanet likely has a magnetic field but provides a promising method to find more."

Source: Independent | Comments (32)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #23 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 1 year ago
I did use a dictionary. Here is yours: noun Astronomy. a planet composed mostly of metals or silica rocks: in our solar system, the terrestrial planets are the four inner planets. -------------------------------------- Mine: ter·res·tri·al [təˈrestrēəl]   ADJECTIVE of, on, or relating to the earth:   Think there is a difference?  Anyway, too small a deal to make a talking point, later
Comment icon #24 Posted by Ell 1 year ago
Your dictionary's definition is lacking, incomplete.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 1 year ago
Not correctly it would seem.Try looking up the correct definition, it will help. The phrase is "terrestrial planet". Just in case you are still in doubt here are a few more links suggesting that one of us doesn't know the correct definition of "terrestrial planet", (and I'll give you a clue, it isn't me). https://www.britannica.com/science/terrestrial-planet https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/basics/chapter1-2/ https://www.space.com/17028-terrestrial-planets.html https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrestrial_planet https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/what-is-an-exoplanet/planet-types/terrestrial/ https://www.... [More]
Comment icon #26 Posted by Desertrat56 1 year ago
The dictionary that states terrestrial is specific to earth is probably old.  I have a similar problem with words like monsoon.  It used to mean "high, destructive winds that may cause rain in the south pacific"   - very specific definition; but now it means "rainy season" and it has even been put in the current dictionaries as such.    Our language is changing and we old people who love words and used to read the dictionary for fun have to just accept it.    
Comment icon #27 Posted by Ell 1 year ago
I am opposed to changing the definition of words: too much Orwellian "1984".   His or her problem was that he looked at the adjective meaning of 'terrestrial' when he or she ought to have looked at the noun meaning.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Desertrat56 1 year ago
I agree, I am disgusted with changing the  meaning of words but we are in the minority.   And now I have to go look at the original sentence that triggered this.   Was the word in the sentence used as a noun or adjective?  How many people even know the difference any more?
Comment icon #29 Posted by Ell 1 year ago
See posts 8 and 24.
Comment icon #30 Posted by Desertrat56 1 year ago
"Magnetic fields are ubiquitous in the solar systems gas giants, but rare in the terrestrial, rocky planets"   used as an adjective.   Seems like it was used correctly, but I see the disagreement was using a noun definition differing from an adjective definition.   I suspect that the problem is not understanding the difference.
Comment icon #31 Posted by Portre 1 year ago
Noise.
Comment icon #32 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 1 year ago
Bang on, Waspie. I had two sources, but I've seen enough here. 


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