A remarkable population of short period transiting rocky exoplanets with equilibrium temperatures on the order of 2,000 K has recently been discovered.
- Ridden, - Harper A.
- 21 November 2018
- Thesis in Leiden Repository
A remarkable population of short period transiting rocky exoplanets with equilibrium temperatures on the order of 2,000 K has recently been discovered. Their high temperatures make them very different to the planets in our solar system. In particular, hot super-Earths are thought to have mineral atmospheres that are produced by the vaporisation of their surfaces, or large exospheres that are produced by sputtering of their exposed surfaces by intense stellar winds. Additionally, some smaller, low surface gravity hot rocky exoplanets have been found to be actively disintegrating and forming 'comet-like' dust tails that produce asymmetric transit light curves with forward scattering features. Since the gas and dust originates from the planetary surface, these planets offer the tantalising prospect of enabling us to probe the surface composition of rocky planets. The purpose of this thesis is to work towards this goal by searching for gas around hot rocky exoplanets with observational spectroscopy (Chapters 2 and 5), and by modelling the transit light curves produced by their 'comet-like' dust tails (Chapters 3 and 4).