Radio Science

Observation of planetary radio emissions using large arrays



[1] Planetary radio astronomy mostly concerns plasma phenomena at low frequencies (i.e., below a few hundred MHz). The low frequency limit for ground-based observations of these phenomena is given by the Earth's ionosphere, which limits ground based radio observations to frequencies ≥10 MHz. We give an overview and update on the status of a few representative ground-based radio arrays that have been used for planetary studies within the frequency range 10–200 MHz, and we discuss their potential for the four types of planetary radio emissions that can be observed within this frequency range: (1) synchrotron emission from Jupiter's radiation belts, (2) radio bursts caused by solar system planetary lightning, (3) Jupiter's magnetospheric emission, and (4) magnetospheric radio emission from extrasolar planets, for which we also give an update to previous predictive studies. Comparing the four emission modes with the characteristics of existing ground-based radio arrays, we show that the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) has the potential to bring considerable advances to those four fields of planetary radio science.