Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 511, L8-8 (2010/2-2)
A scenario of planet erosion by coronal radiation.
SANZ-FORCADA J., RIBAS I., MICELA G., POLLOCK A.M.T., GARCIA-ALVAREZ D., SOLANO E. and EIROA C.
Abstract (from CDS):
According to theory, high-energy emission from the coronae of cool stars can severely erode the atmospheres of orbiting planets. No observational tests of the long-term erosion effects have been made yet. We analyze the current distribution of planetary mass with X-ray irradiation of the atmospheres to make an observational assessment of the consequences of erosion by coronal radiation. We studied a large sample of planet-hosting stars with XMM-Newton, Chandra, and ROSAT, carefully identified the X-ray counterparts, and fit their spectra to accurately measure the stellar X-ray flux. The distribution of the planetary masses with X-ray flux suggests that erosion has taken place. Most surviving massive planets (Mpsini>1.5MJ) have been exposed to lower accumulated irradiation. Heavy erosion during the initial stages of stellar evolution is followed by a phase of much weaker erosion. A line dividing these two phases could be present, showing a strong dependence on planet mass. Although a larger sample will be required to establish a well-defined erosion line, the distribution found is very suggestive. The distribution of planetary mass with X-ray flux is consistent with a scenario in which planet atmospheres have suffered the effects of erosion by coronal X-ray and EUV emission. The erosion line is an observational constraint for models of atmospheric erosion.
planetary systems - stars: coronae - astrobiology - X-rays: stars
+ corrigendum vol. 520, C1
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