NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2019A-0223

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Program Information for 2019A-0223


PI: Carl Schmidt, Boston U., schmidtc@bu.edu
Address: Center for Space Physics, 725 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215 United States

CoI: AuréLien Wyttenbach, Leiden University
CoI: Knicole Colon, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Title: Confirming a High Velocity Exo-Exosphere at HD 80606b

Abstract: Despite being only trace species, sodium and potassium alkali metals can dominate the gas-phase absorption in exoplanetary atmospheres due to their uniquely high efficiency for resonant scattering. Alkalis have been identified in the transit spectra of 20 exoplanets to date, with additional cases sure to follow. The field is consequentially transitioning into science guided by comparison and characterization, not simply detection. An invaluable analog for such information is the alkali-rich transiting solar planet: Mercury. Purely geometrical effects give Mercury's alkali gas-phase absorption an asymmetric light curve during solar transits. Solar radiation pressure from resonant scattering strongly distorts Mercury's alkali atmosphere, forcing it into a comet-like tail measured to distances of more than 1500 planetary radii. This in turn imparts Doppler signatures in the alkali absorption during transit, since the comet-like tail is aligned towards the observer. It is therefore important to now consider how such effects might be evident in the alkali absorption by exoplanetary atmospheres. To investigate whether these well-known processes are in fact universal throughout other stellar systems, our study seeks to understand if radiation pressure on alkalis can significantly affect dynamics in exoplanet atmospheres and cause an appreciable Doppler shift of alkali absorption in transit. The atmosphere of the long period highly eccentric exoplanet HD 80606b is selected for case study.

Program Type: Standard/NASA WIYN

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2019A):  WIYN/HYDR -- 2n on Mar 10 - Mar 11 2019


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2019A-0223

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