Dead planets may have sent zombie signals from deep space, say scientists

ESO detects atmosphere around the smallest exoplanet, GJ 1132b
경향 신문 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have previously found that giant stars like our sun, after reaching the end of their lifespan, turns into a red giant and burn all nearby planets to crisp, thus leaving just orbiting metallic cores. The red giant later gets transformed into a white dwarf, which is literally the dimming remnant of its gloriously shining days.

Now, a new study has revealed that these dead planets which were stripped down to their metallic cores still broadcast their presence by emitting radio waves. Interestingly, these radio waves can be detected by telescopes here on the earth, and studying these waves could help scientists to know more about the death of stars and its orbiting planets.

In the study report, researchers revealed that the magnetic field between a white dwarf and the lingering corpses of destroyed planets gradually forms a circuit, and this is resulting in the emission of radio waves. The study report published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society also added that this same radio wave emission can be detected from Jupiter and its moon Io, which form a circuit of their own.

"There is a sweet spot for detecting these planetary cores: a core too close to the white dwarf would be destroyed by tidal forces, and a core too far away would not be detectable. Also, if the magnetic field is too strong, it would push the core into the white dwarf, destroying it. Nobody has ever found just the bare core of a major planet before, nor a major planet only through monitoring magnetic signatures, nor a major planet around a white dwarf. Therefore, a discovery here would represent 'firsts' in three different senses for planetary systems," said Dimitri Veras, a researcher at the University of Warwick in a recent statement.

Researchers also added that this new discovery is quite exciting, as the earth will also transform into a dead junk when the sun turns into a giant red ball, thus resulting in the extinction of the solar system.