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A Heavy Molecular Weight Atmosphere for the Super-Earth π Men c

Garcia Munoz, A. and Fossati, L. and Youngblood, A. and Nettelmann, Nadine and Gandolfi, D. and Cabrera Perez, Juan and Rauer, H (2021) A Heavy Molecular Weight Atmosphere for the Super-Earth π Men c. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 907, L36. Institute of Physics (IOP) Publishing. doi: 10.3847/2041-8213/abd9b8. ISSN 2041-8205.

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Strongly irradiated exoplanets develop extended atmospheres that can be utilized to probe the deeper planet layers. This connection is particularly useful in the study of small exoplanets, whose bulk atmospheres are challenging to characterize directly. Here, we report the 3.4σ detection of C II ions during a single transit of the super-Earth π Men c in front of its Sun-like host star. The transit depth and Doppler velocities are consistent with the ions filling the planet’s Roche lobe and moving preferentially away from the star, an indication that they are escaping the planet. We argue that π Men c possesses a thick atmosphere with abundant heavy volatiles(50% by mass of atmosphere) but that needs not be carbon rich. Our reasoning relies upon cumulative evidence from the reported C II detection, the non detection of H I atoms in a past transit, modeling of the planet’s interior,and the assumption that the atmosphere, having survived the most active phases of its Sun-like host star, will survive another 0.2–2 Gyr. Depending on the current mass of atmosphere, π Men c may still transition into a bare rocky core. Our findings confirm the hypothesized compositional diversity of small exoplanets, and represent a milestone toward understanding the planets’ formation and evolution paths through the investigation of their extended atmospheres.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/140743/
Document Type:Article
Title:A Heavy Molecular Weight Atmosphere for the Super-Earth π Men c
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Garcia Munoz, A.Zentrum fuer Astronomie und Astrophysik, Technische Universitaet Berlin, Germanyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-1756-4825UNSPECIFIED
Fossati, L.Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Schmiedlstrasse 6, A-8042 Graz, Austriahttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4426-9530UNSPECIFIED
Youngblood, A.NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-1176-3391UNSPECIFIED
Nettelmann, NadineUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-1608-7185UNSPECIFIED
Gandolfi, D.Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Torino, via P. Giuria 1, I-10125 Torino, Italyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-8627-9628UNSPECIFIED
Cabrera Perez, JuanUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6653-5487UNSPECIFIED
Date:February 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Astrophysical Journal Letters
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:L36
Publisher:Institute of Physics (IOP) Publishing
Keywords:Evaporation der Atmosphäre eines Exoplaneten
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Space Exploration
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Project PLATO (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Extrasolar Planets and Atmospheres
Institute of Planetary Research > Leitungsbereich PF
Deposited By: Nettelmann, Nadine
Deposited On:18 Feb 2021 13:40
Last Modified:01 Oct 2021 08:08

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