The magnetic field of the Earth is very important for our lives. It acts as a shield against solar particles. The magnetic field is the result of the churn of our planet’s core.
While magnetic fields had been found on other planets from the Solar System except for Earth, astronomers couldn’t say the same regarding exoplanets, meaning those planets located far beyond the boundaries of our Solar System. But a new study that SciTechDaily.com writes about is there to grant us a big surprise.
First magnetic field signature on an exoplanet is found
After using data provided by the Hubble Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers found the signature of a magnetic field on the exoplanet known as HAT-P-11b, which is located 123 light-years away from Earth. The astronomers found carbon ions surrounding the exoplanet in a magnetosphere.
Gilda Ballester, one of the co-authors of the paper, declared as quoted by SciTechDaily.com:
Just like Earth’s magnetic field and its immediate space environment interact with the impinging solar wind, which consists of charged particles traveling at about 900,000 mph, there are interactions between HAT-P-11b’s magnetic field and its immediate space environment with the solar wind from its host star, and those are very complex.
The scientist also explains more about how the magnetic field works:
A strong magnetic field on a planet like Earth can protect its atmosphere and surface from direct bombardment of the energetic particles that make up the solar wind. These processes heavily affect the evolution of life on a planet like Earth because the magnetic field shelters organisms from these energetic particles.
We can all consider ourselves lucky to be living on a planet that has so many right conditions for life to flourish.
The new study was published in Nature Astronomy.