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Astrobiology Autumn Colloquium Series - Adam Frank (University of Rochester)
WhenTuesday, Oct 8, 2019, 3 – 4 p.m.
Campus locationPhysics / Astronomy Auditorium (PAA)
Campus roomPAA 102
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Target AudienceUWAB Community including General Public

Blowing Away Exoplanets: The Photo-evaporation of Planetary Atmospheres

Mass loss from exoplanets driven by stellar photo-ionizing fluxes is now believed be a fundamental process setting the final state of planetary atmospheres and, therefore, habitability.  In this talk I present new results from 3-D AMR multi-physics simulations exploring the processes and consequences of atmospheric photo-evporation including its observation signatures.  Our models include self-consistent launching of the planetary “wind” via radiation transfer of UV photons from the host star as well as the 3-D orbital dynamics of the escaping material. Of particular interest is the stubborn mismatch between observational signatures of atmospheric mass loss in exoplanets and theoretical models.  While radiation pressure, magnetic fields and charge exchange may all play a role, none accounts for the discrepancy.  In light of this we ask which aspects of the problem can be considered to be understood.…
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