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Potential Biosignatures in Super-Earth Atmospheres I. Spectral appearance of super-Earths around M dwarfs

Rauer, H and Gebauer, S and von Paris, Philip and Cabrera, J and Godolt, M and Grenfell, J L and Belu, A and Selsis, F. and Hedelt, P and Schreier, Franz (2011) Potential Biosignatures in Super-Earth Atmospheres I. Spectral appearance of super-Earths around M dwarfs. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 529 (A8), pp. 1-14. EDP Sciences. doi: 10.1051/0004-6361/201014368. ISSN 0004-6361.

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Official URL: http://www.aanda.org/index.php?option=com_toc&url=/articles/aa/abs/2011/05/contents/contents.html


Atmospheric temperature and mixing ratio profiles of terrestrial planets vary with the spectral energy flux distribution for different types of M-dwarf stars and the planetary gravity. We investigate the resulting effects on the spectral appearance of molecular absorption bands, which are relevant as indicators for potential planetary habitability during primary and secondary eclipse for transiting terrestrial planets with Earth-like biomass emissions. Atmospheric profiles are computed using a plane-parallel, 1D climate model coupled with a chemistry model. We then calculate simulated spectra using a line-by-line radiative transfer model. We find that emission spectra during secondary eclipse show increasing absorption of methane, water, and ozone for planets orbiting quiet M0–M3 dwarfs and the active M-type star AD Leo compared with solar-type central stars. However, for planets orbiting very cool and quiet M dwarfs (M4 to M7), increasing temperatures in the mid-atmosphere lead to reduced absorption signals, which impedes the detection of molecules in these scenarios. Transmission spectra during primary eclipse show strong absorption features of CH4, N2O and H2O for planets orbiting quiet M0–M7 stars and AD Leo. The N2O absorption of an Earth-sized planet orbiting a quiet M7 star can even be as strong as the CO2 signal. However, ozone absorption decreases for planets orbiting these cool central stars owing to chemical effects in the atmosphere. To investigate the effect on the spectroscopic detection of absorption bands with potential future satellite missions, we compute signal-to-noise-ratios (SNR) for a James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)-like aperture telescope.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/70051/
Document Type:Article
Title:Potential Biosignatures in Super-Earth Atmospheres I. Spectral appearance of super-Earths around M dwarfs
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Rauer, Hheike.rauer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
von Paris, Philipphilip.vonparis (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Cabrera, Jjuan.cabrera (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Belu, AUniversity of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Selsis, F.University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Hedelt, PUniversity of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Schreier, Franzfranz.schreier (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:May 2011
Journal or Publication Title:Astronomy and Astrophysics
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1051/0004-6361/201014368
Page Range:pp. 1-14
EditorsEmailEditor's ORCID iD
Publisher:EDP Sciences
Series Name:Planets and Planetary Systems
Keywords:Biosignatures, Super-Earth, Atmospheres, Spectra
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Extrasolare Planeten (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Remote Sensing Technology Institute > Atmospheric Processors
Institute of Planetary Research > Extrasolar Planets and Atmospheres
Deposited By: Stock, Joachim Wolfgang
Deposited On:15 Jun 2011 12:47
Last Modified:01 Dec 2018 19:47

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