HUGHES A.G., BOLEY A.C., OSTEN R.A. and WHITE J.A.
Abstract (from CDS):
TRAPPIST-1 is an ultracool dwarf (UCD) with a system of seven terrestrial planets, at least three of which orbit in the habitable zone. The radio emission of such low-mass stars is poorly understood; few UCDs have been detected at radio frequencies at all, and the likelihood of detection is only loosely correlated with stellar properties. Relative to other low-mass stars, UCDs with slow rotation such as TRAPPIST-1 tend to be radio dim, whereas rapidly rotating UCDs tend to have strong radio emission-although this is not always the case. We present radio observations of TRAPPIST-1 using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array at 97.5 GHz and the Very Large Array at 44 GHz. TRAPPIST-1 was not detected at either frequency, and we place 3σ upper flux limits of 10.6 and 16.2 µJy, respectively. We use our results to constrain the magnetic properties and possible outgoing high-energy particle radiation from the star. The presence of radio emission from UCDs is indicative of a stellar environment that could pose a threat to life on surrounding planets. Gyrosynchrotron emission, discernible at frequencies between 20 and 100 GHz, is one of the only processes that can be used to infer the presence of high-energy particles released during magnetic reconnection events. Since M dwarfs are frequent hosts of terrestrial planets, characterizing their stellar emission is a crucial part of assessing habitability. Exposure to outgoing high-energy particle radiation-traceable by radio flux-can erode planetary atmospheres. While our results do not imply that the TRAPPIST-1 planets are suitable for life, we find no evidence that they are overtly unsuitable due to proton fluxes.