I’m now approaching the end of my second year of my PhD… and I have now had my first paper accepted to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society – obviously I’m pretty pleased . If anyone fancies taking a read look at [arxiv.org] – this is the preprint before it is published in the journal. Oh and the abstract looks like:
GMRT Low Frequency Observations of Extrasolar Planetary Systems
Extrasolar planets are expected to emit detectable low frequency radio emission. In this paper we present results from new low frequency observations of two extrasolar planetary systems (Epsilon Eridani and HD 128311) taken at 150 MHz with the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). These two systems have been chosen because the stars are young (with ages < 1 Gyr) and are likely to have strong stellar winds, which will increase the expected radio flux. The planets are massive (presumably) gas giant planets in longer period orbits, and hence will not be tidally locked to their host star (as is likely to be the case for short period planets) and we would expect them to have a strong planetary dynamo and magnetic field. We do not detect either system, but are able to place tight upper limits on their low frequency radio emission, at levels comparable to the theoretical predictions for these systems. From these observations we have a 2.5sigma limit of 7.8 mJy for Epsilon Eri and 15.5 mJy for HD 128311. In addition, these upper limits also provide limits on the low frequency radio emission from the stars themselves. These results are discussed and also the prospects for the future detection of radio emission from extrasolar planets.
The other day we (I and Lizzie’s family) went for a nice day out up to the home of UK Radio Astronomy. It was a very good day for it too. Nice blue skies with some interesting clouds. When we got to Jodrell Bank we found that the Lovell telescope was unfortunately parked at the zenith for some maintenance work. This is not a huge problem as you still get to see how quite enormous this structure is. I have seen quite a few radio telescopes now but the Lovell telescope always makes me go WOW! It was great fun walking around the site and though the visitor centre isn’t very large they do have quite a fun little 3D space theatre and it is all pretty cheap. Its a great family day out and since it is the 50th anniversary of the Lovell telescope and indeed Sputnik, it is worth a pop up to see it.
oh and trust me to find Ceres (a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt normally) in an odd place:
After we Jodrell we went over to Little Moreton Hall for some lunch and a nice walk around. I can’t believe I’m saying this, I might actually becoming cultured, but I joined the National Trust… only because it will be cheaper in the long run, honest! Little Moreton Hall was quite interesting – its a timber-framed, moated manor house! It was built in the 16th Century and has not changed much since the time of the Tudor’s.