In addition to hunting for signals from alien life, the largest and most sensitive radio telescope ever built will be looking for exonsolar planets or exoplanets that have magnetic fields such as Earth within 100 light years of Earth.
Astronomers from countries including China and France have recently published their ambitious surveillance plan using the FAST Spectrum Radio Spectrum Spectrum (FAST) in the research journal Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Lee Dee, a researcher at the National Astronomical Observatory at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and chief scientist FAST, said that scientists are more concerned with living planets, which should have not only water, the corresponding temperature and atmosphere but also a magnetic field.
"The magnetic field of the Earth protects life from cosmic rays.In science fiction blockbusters, there is a scientific error" The Wandering Earth, "that is, the earth is no longer rotated, and if this happens, the magnetic field will disappear, the magnetic field, the earth's atmosphere would be blown away by the solar wind. As a result, people and most living beings would be subjected to a harsh cosmic environment and could not survive, "said Lee.
Philip Zarck, an astronomer from the Paris Observatory, said that the planets are the most conducive cradle of life. To date, about 4,000 exoplanets have been found.
In the solar system there are six magnetized planets with a planetary magnetic field: Mercury, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
"In our solar system, the magnetized planets are strong radio sources. The radionavigation of the exoplanet is aimed at the physical characteristics of the exoplanet and comparative studies of the planets of the solar system," Zarka said.
The first exoplanet was detected near the pulsar using radio astronomy. But this is a very special case. Except for this, all the extrasolar planets found so far have been detected by optical astronomy or infrared image, according to Li.
These discoveries have led scientists to believe that almost all the stars on the Milky Way have planets rotated around them. And there must be many living planets.
"In our Solar System, high-energy charged particles in the solar wind and electrons from satellites of some planets will interact with the planet's magnetosphere, generating radio emission," Lee said.
"All planets with magnetic fields in our solar system can be found by generating such radiation that can be measured and studied by radio telescopes, but the study of the magnetic fields of the planets can not be realized through optical and infrared astronomical observations.
"Do exoplanets have magnetic fields? If they are, they should also generate radio emission under the influence of the wind of their parent stars," Lee added.
Astronomers were looking for radio signals from the exoplanet, but have not found any discovery yet.
"We want to try with FAST, which is the most sensitive radio telescope in the world. If we can first detect the radio emission of an exoplanet and confirm its magnetic field, this would be a very important discovery," Lee said.
"If this window of observation is open, we will be able to study the laws of the magnetic fields of the exoplanet and whether they can live in another aspect," he said.
Most of the exoplanets were discovered by Kepler's Space Telescope. These exoplanets are far from Earth at distances of more than 500 light-years.
In 2018, NASA launched a new planet hunter satellite, the TEX transit satellite, to target the exoplanets closer to the Earth.
"If TESS can find plenty of exoplanets and we also track them, the possibility of detecting exoplanets with magnetic fields will increase," Lee said.
"We are looking for an exoplanet at a distance of 100 light years from Earth. As soon as such planets are found, it would be beneficial for scholars to conduct their careful study, and there is even the possibility of interstellar migration."
Located in the natural deep and round karst west of southwest China, Guizhou Province, FAST was completed in September 2016 and should begin regular operations in September this year.
The telescope's performance during commissioning does not appear, Lee said.
During testing and early exploitation, FAST began to make astronomical discoveries, in particular pulsars of various types, including millisecond pulsars, binary and gamma pulsars.
The team of astronomers from more than 10 countries and regions has plans to monitor for FAST to best utilize the unprecedented power of the telescope, beyond the limits of what has been done by other telescopes in the past.
They offered ambitious observations through the telescope, such as gravitational waves, exoplanets, ultra high energy cosmic rays and interstellar substances to advance human knowledge of astronomy, astrophysics and fundamental physics.
"Planning new observations to find new goals and new types of objects outside of existing ones is one of the most interesting tasks of a professional astronomer," Lee said.
Scientists believe that more discoveries that exceed expectations will be made from FAST.
"When such a powerful new telescope begins its scientific observation, often there are unexpected signals and effects," Lee said.
"As these surveillance projects will be launched over the next few years, FAST will have an impact on many areas of astronomy and astrophysics around the world, although we can not predict what it will open, a telescope can profoundly change our understanding of the universe," Lee added.
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