The magnetic field of the exoplanet HD 209458b has been measured for the first time. The method used to measure the magnetic field was unique and could be used by astronomers to examine other alien worlds.
Planet HD 209458b, also known as Osiris, has a slightly less mass than Jupiter. The planet is about one third bigger than the largest planet within our solar system. Osiris was the first planet on which atmosphere was discovered. The exoplanet is 150 light years from Earth and its temperatures can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.
Earth’s magnetic field protects living things on the planet from harmful radiation. Scientists will be able to gather information about the exoplanets by analyzing their magnetic fields.
Scientists were capable of determining the alignment and strength of the planet’s magnetic field by studying its atmosphere. As it orbited in the front of its stellar parent, scientists measured the way light is absorbed by the planet’s atmosphere. This made it possible for the astronomers to identify the shape and composition of the air which showed data about the planet’s magnetic activity. The effects of pressure, gravity, solar wind and many more were removed from the models on computers of the alien planet’s atmosphere.
Kristina Kislyakova, Space Research Institute at the Austrian Academy of Sciences said:
“We modeled the formation of the cloud of hot hydrogen around the planet and showed that only one configuration, which corresponds to specific values of the magnetic moment and the parameters of the stellar wind, allowed us to reproduce the observations,”
The interactions between solar winds and the top part of the atmosphere of the exoplanet were closely studied in order of providing in depth improvements to the model. The HD 209458b planet’s magnetic field has been found to be 10 percent that seen on the planet Jupiter. This method could also be applied in further studies of other planets orbiting alien stars.
Over the last 15 years since the planet HD 209458b was discovered on November 5, 1999, the exoplanet was very carefully studied by astronomers.
The scientists have written and published their way of calculating magnetic fields of planets in the Science journal.