The project aims at expanding the planetology, exoplanets and space weather fields by obtaining the first confirmed detections and subsequent in-depth studies of radio emissions from exoplanets. Origin of the emissions can be the magnetosphere of the exoplanet or its plasma interaction with its parent star. Magnetospheres of Solar System planets are very diverse, although emerging from the same basic plasma physics laws. Better sampling the parameter space by exploring various stellar luminosities and winds properties, planetary magnetic fields, geometries of interaction, will allow us to identify fundamental processes and separate them from the specificities of each system, as was done earlier for the question of planetary formation. Although recent observations at 100-200 MHz from large modern radiotelescopes may be revealing the first star-planet plasma interactions, I show why our searches must concentrate at the lowest frequencies observable from the ground, 10 to 85 MHz, and why intense enough signal should exist at these frequencies. The world’s most sensitive instrument in this range, NenuFAR, of which I am principal investigator, is now operational, and I will use it to conduct the largest ever exoplanet search program at radio frequencies. The main analysis tools have been developed and tested on LOFAR data, and the frame for interpreting theoretically the detected signals is ready. I took a large part in all these developments. I am thus at the right place and time to get the detections that will open the new field of comparative exo-magnetospheric physics and exo-space weather, as well as open a new window to study exoplanets, their magnetic field, interior structure, rotation, inclination, the parent-star interaction, and even habitability. These revolutionary developments will usher a new era in astrophysics. While studying the northern low-frequency sky with NenuFAR, I will also prepare in a timely way our exploration of the southern sky with SKA.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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