Scientists have now discovered a new method of calculating the magnetic field of exoplanets. The new method will do do by studying the impact of solar winds on the atmosphere of a planet. ‘Exoplanets’ refer to planets located outside our planet system and gravitating around another star, in the very same manner the planets in our solar system do around the sun. The scientists have achieved success in doing so while studying the magnetic field of an exoplanet named HD 209458 b or Osiris in the constellation Pegasus which is located at a distance of 150 light-years from our solar system.
Osiris is almost double the size of our largest planet Jupiter but one third its weight. It is almost 220 times heavier than Earth. The average temperature on its surface is nearly 1,800 °F- which makes it extremely hot. A year on Osiris is as small as 3.5 days on Earth.
Kristina Kislyakova from the Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Graz elucidated, “The planet’s magnetosphere was relatively small being only 2.9 planetary radii corresponding to a magnetic moment of only 10 percent of the magnetic moment of Jupiter.”
The first exoplanet was discovered by scientists almost 20 years back. Since then, they have made rapid progress and learned a lot about these distant heavenly bodies. Since Osiris is too close to its host star or its sun (which also explains why it completes one revolution in only 3.5 days), it is getting roasted by the latter. Also, its atmosphere is getting blown away because of the extreme heat.
The Hubble space telescope had made certain observations while this exoplanet was transiting the sun and those calculations and observations were used by these scientists to analyze the absorption of the star’s radiation by the exoplanet’s atmosphere. After that, they were also able to estimate the properties of its magnetosphere by studying the size and shape of the gaseous cloud that envelops the planet.
“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,” stated Kislyakova.
She believes that astronomers and space researchers will now be able to form an idea about the shape and size of any exoplanet’s magnetosphere if there is a high energy hydrogen cloud around it. The findings of this study were first published in Science journal.