Exoplanets & Exomoons

GJ 367b Is A Dark, Hot, Airless Sub-Earth

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
January 4, 2024
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GJ 367b Is A Dark, Hot, Airless Sub-Earth
GJ 367b — NASA artist’s concept

We present the mid-infrared (5-12 μm) phase curve of GJ 367b observed by the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). GJ 367b is a hot (T_eq=1370 K), extremely dense (10.2 +- 1.3 g/cm^3) sub-Earth orbiting a M dwarf on a 0.32 d orbit.

We measure an eclipse depth of 79 +- 4 ppm, a nightside planet-to-star flux ratio of 4 +- 8 ppm, and a relative phase amplitude of 0.97 +- 0.10– all fully consistent with a zero-albedo planet with no heat recirculation. Su ch a scenario is also consistent with the phase offset of 11 +- 5 degrees East to within 2.2σ.

The emission spectrum is likewise consistent with a blackbody with no heat redistribution and a low albedo of A_B ~ 0.1, with the exception of one anomalous wavelength bin that we attribute to unexplained systematics. The emission spectrum puts few constraints on the surface composition, but rules out a CO2 atmosphere >~ 1 bar, an outgassed atmosphere >~10 mbar (under heavily reducing conditions), or an outgassed atmosphere >~0.01 mbar (under heavily oxidizing conditions).

The lack of day-night heat recirculation implies that 1 bar atmospheres are ruled out for a wide range of compositions, while 0.1 bar atmospheres are consistent with the data. Taken together with the fact that most of the dayside should be molten, our JWST observations suggest the planet must have lost the vast majority of its initial inventory of volatiles.

Michael Zhang, Renyu Hu, Julie Inglis, Fei Dai, Jacob L. Bean, Heather A. Knutson, Kristine Lam, Elisa Goffo, Davide Gandolfi

Comments: Accepted to ApJL
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2401.01400 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2401.01400v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Michael Zhang
[v1] Tue, 2 Jan 2024 19:00:00 UTC (4,662 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻