Coherent radio emission from a quiescent red dwarf indicative of star-planet interaction

H. K. Vedantham, J. R. Callingham, T. W. Shimwell, C. Tasse, B. J. S. Pope, M. Bedell, I. Snellen, P. Best, M. J. Hardcastle, M. Haverkorn, A. Mechev, S. P. O'Sullivan, H. J. A. Röttgering, G. J. White

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


Low frequency (ν≲150MHz) stellar radio emission is expected to originate in the outer corona at heights comparable to and larger than the stellar radius. Such emission from the Sun has been used to study coronal structure, mass ejections, space-weather conditions around the planets (Schwenn 2006). Searches for low-frequency emission from other stars have only detected a single active flare-star (Lynch et al. 2017) that is not representative of the wider stellar population. Here we report the detection of low-frequency radio emission from a quiescent star, GJ 1151--- a member of the most common stellar type (red dwarf or spectral class M) in the Galaxy. The characteristics of the emission are similar to those of planetary auroral emissions (Zarka 1998) (e.g. Jupiter's decametric emission), suggesting a coronal structure dominated by a global magnetosphere with low plasma density. Our results show that large-scale currents that power radio aurorae operate over a vast range of mass and atmospheric composition, ranging from terrestrial planets to main-sequence stars. The Poynting flux required to produce the observed radio emission cannot be generated by GJ 1151's slow rotation, but can originate in a sub-Alfvénic interaction of its magnetospheric plasma with a short-period exoplanet. The emission properties are consistent with theoretical expectations (Zarka 2007; Lanza 2009; Saur et al. 2013; Turnpenney et al. 2018) for interaction with an Earth-size planet in a ∼1−5 day-long orbit.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2020


  • astro-ph.EP
  • astro-ph.HE
  • astro-ph.SR

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