Exoplanets & Exomoons

Effects of XUV Radiation on Circumbinary Planets

By Keith Cowing
September 8, 2014
Filed under
Effects of XUV Radiation on Circumbinary Planets

Several circumbinary planets have recently been discovered. The orbit of a planet around a binary stellar system poses several dynamic constraints.

The effects that radiation from the host stars may have on the planet atmospheres must be considered. Because of the configuration of a close binary system, these stars have a high rotation rate, which causes a permanent state of high stellar activity and copious XUV radiation. The accumulated effects are stronger than for exoplanets around single stars, and cause a faster evaporation of their atmospheres. We evaluate the effects that stellar radiation has on the evaporation of exoplanets around binary systems and on the survival of these planets.

We considered the XUV spectral range to account for the photons that are easily absorbed by a planet atmosphere that is mainly composed of hydrogen. A more complex atmospheric composition is expected to absorb this radiation more efficiently. We used direct X-ray observations to evaluate the energy in the X-rays range and coronal models to calculate the (nondetectable) EUV part of the spectrum. The simulations show that exoplanets in a close orbit will suffer strong photoevaporation that may cause a total loss of atmosphere in a short time.

A binary system of two solar-like stars will be highly efficient in evaporating the atmosphere of the planet. These systems will be difficult to find, even if they are dynamically stable. Still, planets may orbit around binary systems of low mass stars for wider orbits. Currently known circumbinary planets are not substantially affected by thermal photoevaporation processes, unless Kepler-47 b has an inflated atmosphere. The distribution of the orbital periods of circumbinary planets is shifted to much longer periods than the average of Kepler planets, which supports a scenario of strong photoevaporation in close-in circumbinary planets.

J. Sanz-Forcada, S. Desidera, G. Micela (Submitted on 2 Sep 2014)

Comments: Accepted by A&A. 8 pages, 5 figures

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)

Cite as: arXiv:1409.0639 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1409.0639v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history From: Jorge Sanz-Forcada [view email] [v1] Tue, 2 Sep 2014 09:24:36 GMT (82kb)


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