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Water loss from terrestrial planets orbiting ultracool dwarfs: implications for the planets of TRAPPIST-1
Bolmont, E.; Selsis, F.; Owen, J.E.; Ribas, I.; Raymond, S.N.; Leconte, J.; Gillon, M. (2017). Water loss from terrestrial planets orbiting ultracool dwarfs: implications for the planets of TRAPPIST-1. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 464(3): 3728-3741.
In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. OXFORD UNIV PRESS: Oxford. ISSN 0035-8711; e-ISSN 1365-2966, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 332362 [ OMA ]

Author keywords
    planets and satellites: atmospheres; planets and satellites: individual:TRAPPIST-1; planet star interactions; brown dwarfs; stars: low-mass

Authors  Top 
  • Bolmont, E., more
  • Selsis, F.
  • Owen, J.E.
  • Ribas, I.
  • Raymond, S.N.
  • Leconte, J.
  • Gillon, M., more

    Ultracool dwarfs (UCD; T-eff < similar to 3000 K) cool to settle on the main sequence after similar to 1 Gyr. For brown dwarfs, this cooling never stops. Their habitable zones (HZ) thus sweeps inward at least during the first Gyr of their lives. Assuming they possess water, planets found in the HZ of UCDs have experienced a runaway greenhouse phase too hot for liquid water prior to enter the HZ. It has been proposed that such planets are desiccated by this hot early phase and enter the HZ as dry worlds. Here, we model the water loss during this pre-HZ hot phase taking into account recent upper limits on the XUV emission of UCDs and using 1D radiation-hydrodynamic simulations. We address the whole range of UCDs but also focus on the planets recently found around the 0.08M(circle dot) dwarf TRAPPIST-1. Despite assumptions maximizing the FUV photolysis of water and the XUV-driven escape of hydrogen, we find that planets can retain significant amount of water in the HZ of UCDs, with a sweet spot in the 0.04-0.06M(circle dot) range. We also studied the TRAPPIST-1 system using observed constraints on the XUV flux. We find that TRAPPIST-1b and c may have lost as much as 15 Earth oceans and planet d - which might be inside the HZ - may have lost less than 1 Earth ocean. Depending on their initial water contents, they could have enough water to remain habitable. TRAPPIST-1 planets are key targets for atmospheric characterization and could provide strong constraints on the water erosion around UCDs.

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