Volume 529, May 2011
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||20 April 2011|
Mass-loss rates for transiting exoplanets⋆
Institut de planétologie et d’astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG), Université
Joseph Fourier-Grenoble 1, CNRS (UMR 5274), BP 53, 38041
Grenoble Cedex 9,
2 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA
Accepted: 23 February 2011
Exoplanets at small orbital distances from their host stars are submitted to intense levels of energetic radiations, X-rays, and extreme ultraviolet (EUV). Depending on the masses and densities of the planets and on the atmospheric heating efficiencies, the stellar energetic inputs can lead to atmospheric mass loss. These evaporation processes are observable in the ultraviolet during planetary transits. The aim of the present work is to quantify the mass-loss rates (ṁ), heating efficiencies (η), and lifetimes for the whole sample of transiting exoplanets, now including hot Jupiters, hot Neptunes, and hot super-Earths. The mass-loss rates and lifetimes are estimated from an “energy diagram” for exoplanets, which compares the planet gravitational potential energy to the stellar X/EUV energy deposited in the atmosphere. We estimate the mass-loss rates of all detected transiting planets to be within 106 to 1013 g s-1 for various conservative assumptions. High heating efficiencies would imply that hot exoplanets such the gas giants WASP-12b and WASP-17b could be completely evaporated within 1 Gyr. We also show that the heating efficiency can be constrained when ṁ is inferred from observations and the stellar X/EUV luminosity is known. This leads us to suggest that η ≈ 100% in the atmosphere of the hot Jupiter HD 209458b, while it could be lower for HD 189733b. Simultaneous observations of transits in the ultraviolet and X-rays are necessary to further constrain the exospheric properties of exoplanets.
Key words: planets and satellites: general / planets and satellites: atmospheres / ultraviolet: planetary systems / ultraviolet: stars / X-rays: stars
Table 1 is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2011
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