Volume 546, October 2012
|Number of page(s)||3|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||17 October 2012|
A stringent upper limit to 18 cm radio emission from the extrasolar planet system τ Boötis
Leiden Observatory, Leiden University,
Received: 13 July 2012
Accepted: 28 September 2012
Context. It has been speculated for many years that some extrasolar planets may emit strong cyclotron emission at low radio frequencies in the range 10−100 MHz. Despite several attempts no such emission has yet been seen.
Aims. The hot Jupiter system τ Boötis is one of the nearest (d = 15 pc) exoplanets known to date. The gravitational influence of this massive hot Jupiter (M = 6 Mjup) has locked the star-planet system, making the star rotate in P ~ 3.3 days, similar to the orbital period of the planet. From the well established correlation between stellar rotation and radio luminosity, it is conceivable that the τ Boötis system emits strong radio emission at significantly higher frequencies than currently probed, which we aimed to investigate with this work.
Methods. We observed τ Boötis with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) at a frequency of 1.7 GHz. for 12 h in spectral line mode, reaching a noise level of 42 μJy/beam at the position of the target.
Results. No 18 cm radio emission is detected from τ Boötis, resulting in a 3σ upper limit of 0.13 mJy, corresponding to a 18 cm radio luminosity of <3.7 × 1013 erg s-1 Hz-1. We observe τ Boötis to be two orders of magnitude fainter than expected from the stellar relation between radio luminosity and rotation velocity.
Conclusions. This implies that either the τ Boötis system is underluminous in the radio compared to similar fast-rotating stars, or that we happened to observe the target during a low state of radio emission.
Key words: planetary systems / radio continuum: stars
© ESO, 2012
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