Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1303.4232 (Lotfi Ben-Jaffel et al.)

Hubble Space Telescope detection of oxygen in the atmosphere of exoplanet HD189733b    [PDF]

Lotfi Ben-Jaffel, Gilda Ballester
Detecting heavy atoms in the inflated atmospheres of giant exoplanets that orbit close to their parent stars is a key factor for understanding their bulk composition, and the processes that drive their expansion and interaction with the impinging stellar wind. Here, we use archive data obtained with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph onboard the Hubble Space Telescope to report an absorption of ~6.4+/-1.8% by neutral oxygen during the HD 189733b transit. Scaling published HI results from a simple hydrodynamic model of HD 189733b, a vertical OI column density of ~8x10^15/cm2 produces only a 3.5% attenuation, implying that non-thermal line broadening or super-solar abundances are required. We also report evidence of short-time variability in the measured stellar flux, a variability that we analyze and compare to solar flaring activity. In that frame, we find that non-statistical uncertainties in the measured fluxes are not negligible, which calls for caution when reporting transit absorptions. Despite these uncertainties, we also show a possible detection for both a transit and early-ingress absorption in the ion CII 133.5nm lines. If confirmed, this would be the second exoplanet for which an early-ingress absorption is reported. Assuming the HD 189733b magnetosphere to be at the origin of the early absorption, we use the Parker model for the stellar wind and a particle-in-cell code for the magnetosphere to show that its orientation should be deflected ~10-30{\deg} from the planet-star line, while its nose's position should be at least ~16.7 Rp upstream of the exoplanet in order to fit the CII transit light curve. The derived stand-off distance is consistent with a surface magnetic field strength of ~5.3 Gauss for the exoplanet, and a supersonic stellar wind impinging at ~250 km/s, with a temperature of 1.2x10^5K and a density ~6.3x10^6/cm^3 at the planetary orbit, yet the fit is not unique.
View original:

No comments:

Post a Comment