Search for Radio Emission from HD80606b: a Highly Eccentric Exoplanet

Friday, 19 December 2014
Mary Knapp1, Daniel Winterhalter2, Joseph Lazio3, Walid Majid3, Thomas Kuiper3, William M Farrell4 and Laura Spitler5, (1)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (4)NASA Goddard SFC, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (5)Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, United States
Exoplanetary radio emission is a potential goldmine of information about a wider sample of planetary interiors, dynamos, and magnetospheres than our solar system provides. To date, however, radio searches for exoplanetary radio emission have been unsuccessful likely because the observing frequencies are too high. Using the relatively new Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), we present analyses of observations of the highly eccentric Jovian exoplanet HD80606b during five epochs before and after the planet's periastron.

All of the gas giants in the solar system, as well as the Earth, exhibit magnetospheric radio emission due to the electron cyclotron maser instability. The power of this emission is modulated by the solar wind intensity. HD80606b is in a highly eccentric (e=0.93) orbit with a 111 day period. As the planet passes from apastron (0.88 AU) to periastron (0.03 AU), it experiences widely varying stellar wind conditions which should lead to variable radio emission with the highest power corresponding to periastron passage. HD80606b has been observed previously with the VLA at 325 MHz and 1425 MHz by Lazio et. al (2010), but LOFAR's lower frequency range (30-75 MHz) and high sensitivity is better suited to Jovian-type radio emissions.

The LOFAR observations were made 48 hours and 18 hours pre-periastron, plus 18 and 48 hours post-periastron to capture the predicted strongest emission, and near apastron to provide a baseline level. The data are analyzed for both time-dependent and frequency dependent emission at each of the five observation epochs. This work presents the ongoing analysis of the data.

Part of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.