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Radio Emissions from Red Dwarf Stars with Planets: The GJ 436 Campaign

posted Apr 6, 2017, 8:07 PM by Abel Mendez   [ updated Jun 23, 2017, 6:25 PM ]
Abel Méndez, PHL @ UPR Arecibo (
Jorge Zuluaga, Institute of Physics / FCEN - Universidad de Antioquia (

The activity of red dwarf stars, such as Proxima Centauri and TRAPPIST-1, are of special interest due to their potential to support habitable planets around them. Planets around these stars could experience tidal locking, strong stellar magnetic fields, strong flares and high UV and X-ray fluxes, all factors that might affect their habitability. Red dwarf stars are also known emitters of radio-flaring emissions near 5 GHz that are not always correlated with other spectral emissions. We hypothesize that periodic interaction of close-in planets with the magnetosphere of the star might produce small but detectable effects on the occurrence or shape of their radio emissions. Here we used the Arecibo Observatory to observed at 4 to 5 GHz (C-band) the red dwarf star Gliese 436. This star is not a known emitter of radio flares but has a close-in hot-neptune planet in an elliptical orbit. Our goal was to characterize its radio emissions and search for any potential correlations between its activity and the presence of its planet. For comparisons, we observed the six known flare stars Ross 128, Wolf 359, HD 95735, BD +202465, and V* RY Sex. We also observed K2-18, a red dwarf star with an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone. Radio flux calibration was done with the quasar 3C263.1 (B1140+223). We are currently analyzing over 200 Gb of data from these observations.

GJ 436 b Summary

Observation Schedule

A31232929Apr201720:4523:00Abel MendezJorge Zuluaga
A312366May201720:1522:30Abel MendezJorge Zuluaga
A31231212May201720:0022:00Abel MendezJorge Zuluaga
A31232020May201719:3021:30Abel MendezJorge Zuluaga

Stellar Data

Visual Reference Images