Sample records for terrestrial planet formation

  1. Terrestrial planet formation. (United States)

    Righter, K; O'Brien, D P


    Advances in our understanding of terrestrial planet formation have come from a multidisciplinary approach. Studies of the ages and compositions of primitive meteorites with compositions similar to the Sun have helped to constrain the nature of the building blocks of planets. This information helps to guide numerical models for the three stages of planet formation from dust to planetesimals (~10(6) y), followed by planetesimals to embryos (lunar to Mars-sized objects; few 10(6) y), and finally embryos to planets (10(7)-10(8) y). Defining the role of turbulence in the early nebula is a key to understanding the growth of solids larger than meter size. The initiation of runaway growth of embryos from planetesimals ultimately leads to the growth of large terrestrial planets via large impacts. Dynamical models can produce inner Solar System configurations that closely resemble our Solar System, especially when the orbital effects of large planets (Jupiter and Saturn) and damping mechanisms, such as gas drag, are included. Experimental studies of terrestrial planet interiors provide additional constraints on the conditions of differentiation and, therefore, origin. A more complete understanding of terrestrial planet formation might be possible via a combination of chemical and physical modeling, as well as obtaining samples and new geophysical data from other planets (Venus, Mars, or Mercury) and asteroids.

  2. Numerical simulations for terrestrial planets formation

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    Ji J.


    Full Text Available We investigate the formation of terrestrial planets in the late stage of planetary formation using two-planet model. At that time, the protostar has formed for about 3 Myr and the gas disk has dissipated. In the model, the perturbations from Jupiter and Saturn are considered. We also consider variations of the mass of outer planet, and the initial eccentricities and inclinations of embryos and planetesimals. Our results show that, terrestrial planets are formed in 50 Myr, and the accretion rate is about 60%–80%. In each simulation, 3–4 terrestrial planets are formed inside “Jupiter” with masses of 0.15–3.6 M⊕. In the 0.5–4 AU, when the eccentricities of planetesimals are excited, planetesimals are able to accrete material from wide radial direction. The plenty of water material of the terrestrial planet in the Habitable Zone may be transferred from the farther places by this mechanism. Accretion may also happen a few times between two giant planets only if the outer planet has a moderate mass and the small terrestrial planet could survive at some resonances over time scale of 108 yr.

  3. Stochasticity and predictability in terrestrial planet formation (United States)

    Hoffmann, Volker; Grimm, Simon L.; Moore, Ben; Stadel, Joachim


    Terrestrial planets are thought to be the result of a vast number of gravitational interactions and collisions between smaller bodies. We use numerical simulations to show that practically identical initial conditions result in a wide array of final planetary configurations. This is a result of the chaotic evolution of trajectories which are highly sensitive to minuscule displacements. We determine that differences between systems evolved from virtually identical initial conditions can be larger than the differences between systems evolved from very different initial conditions. This implies that individual simulations lack predictive power. For example, there is not a reproducible mapping between the initial and final surface density profiles. However, some key global properties can still be extracted if the statistical spread across many simulations is considered. Based on these spreads, we explore the collisional growth and orbital properties of terrestrial planets, which assemble from different initial conditions (we vary the initial planetesimal distribution, planetesimal masses, and giant planet orbits.). Confirming past work, we find that the resulting planetary systems are sculpted by sweeping secular resonances. Configurations with giant planets on eccentric orbits produce fewer and more massive terrestrial planets on tighter orbits than those with giants on circular orbits. This is further enhanced if the initial mass distribution is biased to the inner regions. In all cases, the outer edge of the system is set by the final location of the ν6 resonance and we find that the mass distribution peaks at the ν5 resonance. Using existing observations, we find that extrasolar systems follow similar trends. Although differences between our numerical modelling and exoplanetary systems remain, we suggest that CoRoT-7, HD 20003 and HD 20781 may host undetected giant planets.

  4. Terrestrial Planet Formation: Constraining the Formation of Mercury (United States)

    Lykawka, Patryk Sofia; Ito, Takashi


    How the four terrestrial planets of the solar system formed is one of the most fundamental questions in the planetary sciences. Particularly, the formation of Mercury remains poorly understood. We investigated terrestrial planet formation by performing 110 high-resolution N-body simulation runs using more than 100 embryos and 6000 disk planetesimals representing a primordial protoplanetary disk. To investigate the formation of Mercury, these simulations considered an inner region of the disk at 0.2-0.5 au (the Mercury region) and disks with and without mass enhancements beyond the ice line location, a IL, in the disk, where a IL = 1.5, 2.25, and 3.0 au were tested. Although Venus and Earth analogs (considering both orbits and masses) successfully formed in the majority of the runs, Mercury analogs were obtained in only nine runs. Mars analogs were also similarly scarce. Our Mercury analogs concentrated at orbits with a ˜ 0.27-0.34 au, relatively small eccentricities/inclinations, and median mass m ˜ 0.2 {M}\\oplus . In addition, we found that our Mercury analogs acquired most of their final masses from embryos/planetesimals initially located between 0.2 and ˜1-1.5 au within 10 Myr, while the remaining mass came from a wider region up to ˜3 au at later times. Although the ice line was negligible in the formation of planets located in the Mercury region, it enriched all terrestrial planets with water. Indeed, Mercury analogs showed a wide range of water mass fractions at the end of terrestrial planet formation.

  5. Lunar and terrestrial planet formation in the Grand Tack scenario (United States)

    Jacobson, S. A.; Morbidelli, A.


    We present conclusions from a large number of N-body simulations of the giant impact phase of terrestrial planet formation. We focus on new results obtained from the recently proposed Grand Tack model, which couples the gas-driven migration of giant planets to the accretion of the terrestrial planets. The giant impact phase follows the oligarchic growth phase, which builds a bi-modal mass distribution within the disc of embryos and planetesimals. By varying the ratio of the total mass in the embryo population to the total mass in the planetesimal population and the mass of the individual embryos, we explore how different disc conditions control the final planets. The total mass ratio of embryos to planetesimals controls the timing of the last giant (Moon-forming) impact and its violence. The initial embryo mass sets the size of the lunar impactor and the growth rate of Mars. After comparing our simulated outcomes with the actual orbits of the terrestrial planets (angular momentum deficit, mass concentration) and taking into account independent geochemical constraints on the mass accreted by the Earth after the Moon-forming event and on the time scale for the growth of Mars, we conclude that the protoplanetary disc at the beginning of the giant impact phase must have had most of its mass in Mars-sized embryos and only a small fraction of the total disc mass in the planetesimal population. From this, we infer that the Moon-forming event occurred between approximately 60 and approximately 130 Myr after the formation of the first solids and was caused most likely by an object with a mass similar to that of Mars. PMID:25114304

  6. Probing Terrestrial Planet Formation with Extreme Disk Variability (United States)

    Su, Kate; Rieke, George; Gaspar, Andras; Jackson, Alan


    Spitzer has advanced our knowledge about the critical stages of terrestrial planet formation (and in some cases destruction) by discovering young stars orbited by 1.) silica dust emission close to their terrestrial zones indicative of the violent collisions, and 2.) variable disk emission arising from the aftermath of asteroid-size impacts. The variable emission provides a unique opportunity to learn about asteroid-sized bodies in young exoplanetary systems and to explore planetesimal collisions and their aftermaths during the era of terrestrial-planet-building. We propose continued study of debris disk variability, focused in two areas: (1) to provide continuous monitoring of systems where our existing program has discovered substantial variations indicative of major ongoing episodes of planetesimal impacts; and (2) to investigate intensively possible variations in the dust content of systems that show prominent crystalline emission features to establish a link between the two indicators of planet building. Together these objectives will prepare us for the JWST era, when we will again obtain mid-infrared spectra of these systems, and of both higher spectral resolution and signal to noise than has been possible previously. This program will extend the time-domain study of extreme debris disks as an important heritage of the Spitzer warm mission.

  7. Formation of telluric planets and the origin of terrestrial water

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raymond Sean


    Full Text Available Simulations of planet formation have failed to reproduce Mars’ small mass (compared with Earth for 20 years. Here I will present a solution to the Mars problem that invokes large-scale migration of Jupiter and Saturn while they were still embedded in the gaseous protoplanetary disk. Jupiter first migrated inward, then “tacked” and migrated back outward when Saturn caught up to it and became trapped in resonance. If this tack occurred when Jupiter was at 1.5 AU then the inner disk of rocky planetesimals and embryos is truncated and the masses and orbits of all four terrestrial planet are quantitatively reproduced. As the giant planets migrate back outward they re-populate the asteroid belt from two different source populations, matching the structure of the current belt. C-type material is also scattered inward to the terrestrial planet-forming zone, delivering about the right amount of water to Earth on 10-50 Myr timescales.

  8. The Delivery of Water During Terrestrial Planet Formation (United States)

    O'Brien, David P.; Izidoro, Andre; Jacobson, Seth A.; Raymond, Sean N.; Rubie, David C.


    The planetary building blocks that formed in the terrestrial planet region were likely very dry, yet water is comparatively abundant on Earth. Here we review the various mechanisms proposed for the origin of water on the terrestrial planets. Various in-situ mechanisms have been suggested, which allow for the incorporation of water into the local planetesimals in the terrestrial planet region or into the planets themselves from local sources, although all of those mechanisms have difficulties. Comets have also been proposed as a source, although there may be problems fitting isotopic constraints, and the delivery efficiency is very low, such that it may be difficult to deliver even a single Earth ocean of water this way. The most promising route for water delivery is the accretion of material from beyond the snow line, similar to carbonaceous chondrites, that is scattered into the terrestrial planet region as the planets are growing. Two main scenarios are discussed in detail. First is the classical scenario in which the giant planets begin roughly in their final locations and the disk of planetesimals and embryos in the terrestrial planet region extends all the way into the outer asteroid belt region. Second is the Grand Tack scenario, where early inward and outward migration of the giant planets implants material from beyond the snow line into the asteroid belt and terrestrial planet region, where it can be accreted by the growing planets. Sufficient water is delivered to the terrestrial planets in both scenarios. While the Grand Tack scenario provides a better fit to most constraints, namely the small mass of Mars, planets may form too fast in the nominal case discussed here. This discrepancy may be reduced as a wider range of initial conditions is explored. Finally, we discuss several more recent models that may have important implications for water delivery to the terrestrial planets.


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    Lykawka, Patryk Sofia [Astronomy Group, Faculty of Social and Natural Sciences, Kinki University, Shinkamikosaka 228-3, Higashiosaka-shi, Osaka 577-0813 (Japan); Ito, Takashi, E-mail: [National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Osawa 2-21-1, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588 (Japan)


    The newly formed giant planets may have migrated and crossed a number of mutual mean motion resonances (MMRs) when smaller objects (embryos) were accreting to form the terrestrial planets in the planetesimal disk. We investigated the effects of the planetesimal-driven migration of Jupiter and Saturn, and the influence of their mutual 1:2 MMR crossing on terrestrial planet formation for the first time, by performing N-body simulations. These simulations considered distinct timescales of MMR crossing and planet migration. In total, 68 high-resolution simulation runs using 2000 disk planetesimals were performed, which was a significant improvement on previously published results. Even when the effects of the 1:2 MMR crossing and planet migration were included in the system, Venus and Earth analogs (considering both orbits and masses) successfully formed in several runs. In addition, we found that the orbits of planetesimals beyond a {approx} 1.5-2 AU were dynamically depleted by the strengthened sweeping secular resonances associated with Jupiter's and Saturn's more eccentric orbits (relative to the present day) during planet migration. However, this depletion did not prevent the formation of massive Mars analogs (planets with more than 1.5 times Mars's mass). Although late MMR crossings (at t > 30 Myr) could remove such planets, Mars-like small mass planets survived on overly excited orbits (high e and/or i), or were completely lost in these systems. We conclude that the orbital migration and crossing of the mutual 1:2 MMR of Jupiter and Saturn are unlikely to provide suitable orbital conditions for the formation of solar system terrestrial planets. This suggests that to explain Mars's small mass and the absence of other planets between Mars and Jupiter, the outer asteroid belt must have suffered a severe depletion due to interactions with Jupiter/Saturn, or by an alternative mechanism (e.g., rogue super-Earths)

  10. Scenarios of giant planet formation and evolution and their impact on the formation of habitable terrestrial planets. (United States)

    Morbidelli, Alessandro


    In our Solar System, there is a clear divide between the terrestrial and giant planets. These two categories of planets formed and evolved separately, almost in isolation from each other. This was possible because Jupiter avoided migrating into the inner Solar System, most probably due to the presence of Saturn, and never acquired a large-eccentricity orbit, even during the phase of orbital instability that the giant planets most likely experienced. Thus, the Earth formed on a time scale of several tens of millions of years, by collision of Moon- to Mars-mass planetary embryos, in a gas-free and volatile-depleted environment. We do not expect, however, that this clear cleavage between the giant and terrestrial planets is generic. In many extrasolar planetary systems discovered to date, the giant planets migrated into the vicinity of the parent star and/or acquired eccentric orbits. In this way, the evolution and destiny of the giant and terrestrial planets become intimately linked. This paper discusses several evolutionary patterns for the giant planets, with an emphasis on the consequences for the formation and survival of habitable terrestrial planets. The conclusion is that we should not expect Earth-like planets to be typical in terms of physical and orbital properties and accretion history. Most habitable worlds are probably different, exotic worlds.


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    Schlichting, Hilke E.; Warren, Paul H. [UCLA, Department of Earth and Space Science, 595 Charles E. Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (United States); Yin Qingzhu, E-mail: [UCD, Department of Geology, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 (United States)


    The final stage of terrestrial planet formation consists of the clean-up of residual planetesimals after the giant impact phase. Dynamically, a residual planetesimal population is needed to damp the high eccentricities and inclinations of the terrestrial planets to circular and coplanar orbits after the giant impact stage. Geochemically, highly siderophile element (HSE) abundance patterns inferred for the terrestrial planets and the Moon suggest that a total of about 0.01 M{sub Circled-Plus} of chondritic material was delivered as 'late veneer' by planetesimals to the terrestrial planets after the end of giant impacts. Here, we combine these two independent lines of evidence for a leftover population of planetesimals and show that: (1) a residual population of small planetesimals containing 0.01 M{sub Circled-Plus} is able to damp the high eccentricities and inclinations of the terrestrial planets after giant impacts to their observed values. (2) At the same time, this planetesimal population can account for the observed relative amounts of late veneer added to the Earth, Moon, and Mars provided that the majority of the accreted late veneer was delivered by small planetesimals with radii {approx}< 10 m. These small planetesimal sizes are required to ensure efficient damping of the planetesimal's velocity dispersion by mutual collisions, which in turn ensures sufficiently low relative velocities between the terrestrial planets and the planetesimals such that the planets' accretion cross sections are significantly enhanced by gravitational focusing above their geometric values. Specifically, we find that, in the limit that the relative velocity between the terrestrial planets and the planetesimals is significantly less than the terrestrial planets' escape velocities, gravitational focusing yields a mass accretion ratio of Earth/Mars {approx}({rho}{sub Circled-Plus }/{rho}{sub mars})(R{sub Circled-Plus }/R{sub mars}){sup 4} {approx} 17, which


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    Brasser, R.; Ida, S. [Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8550 (Japan); Matsumura, S. [School of Science and Engineering, Division of Physics, Fulton Building, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN (United Kingdom); Mojzsis, S. J. [Collaborative for Research in Origins (CRiO), Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, UCB 399, 2200 Colorado Avenue, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0399 (United States); Werner, S. C. [The Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics, University of Oslo, Sem Saelandsvei 24, NO-0371 Oslo (Norway)


    The Grand Tack model of terrestrial planet formation has emerged in recent years as the premier scenario used to account for several observed features of the inner solar system. It relies on the early migration of the giant planets to gravitationally sculpt and mix the planetesimal disk down to ∼1 au, after which the terrestrial planets accrete from material remaining in a narrow circumsolar annulus. Here, we investigate how the model fares under a range of initial conditions and migration course-change (“tack”) locations. We run a large number of N-body simulations with tack locations of 1.5 and 2 au and test initial conditions using equal-mass planetary embryos and a semi-analytical approach to oligarchic growth. We make use of a recent model of the protosolar disk that takes into account viscous heating, includes the full effect of type 1 migration, and employs a realistic mass–radius relation for the growing terrestrial planets. Our results show that the canonical tack location of Jupiter at 1.5 au is inconsistent with the most massive planet residing at 1 au at greater than 95% confidence. This favors a tack farther out at 2 au for the disk model and parameters employed. Of the different initial conditions, we find that the oligarchic case is capable of statistically reproducing the orbital architecture and mass distribution of the terrestrial planets, while the equal-mass embryo case is not.


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    Matsumura, Soko [School of Engineering, Physics, and Mathematics, University of Dundee, DD1 4HN, Scotland (United Kingdom); Brasser, Ramon; Ida, Shigeru, E-mail: [Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 152-8550 (Japan)


    Recent observations started revealing the compositions of protostellar disks and planets beyond the solar system. In this paper, we explore how the compositions of terrestrial planets are affected by the dynamical evolution of giant planets. We estimate the initial compositions of the building blocks of these rocky planets by using a simple condensation model, and numerically study the compositions of planets formed in a few different formation models of the solar system. We find that the abundances of refractory and moderately volatile elements are nearly independent of formation models, and that all the models could reproduce the abundances of these elements of the Earth. The abundances of atmophile elements, on the other hand, depend on the scattering rate of icy planetesimals into the inner disk, as well as the mixing rate of the inner planetesimal disk. For the classical formation model, neither of these mechanisms are efficient and the accretion of atmophile elements during the final assembly of terrestrial planets appears to be difficult. For the Grand Tack model, both of these mechanisms are efficient, which leads to a relatively uniform accretion of atmophile elements in the inner disk. It is also possible to have a “hybrid” scenario where the mixing is not very efficient but the scattering is efficient. The abundances of atmophile elements in this case increase with orbital radii. Such a scenario may occur in some of the extrasolar planetary systems, which are not accompanied by giant planets or those without strong perturbations from giants. We also confirm that the Grand Tack scenario leads to the distribution of asteroid analogues where rocky planetesimals tend to exist interior to icy ones, and show that their overall compositions are consistent with S-type and C-type chondrites, respectively.

  14. Formation and survival of water vapor in the terrestrial planet-forming region. (United States)

    Bethell, Thomas; Bergin, Edwin


    Recent astronomical observations have revealed what may prove to be the ubiquity of water vapor during the early stages of planet formation. We present here a simple mechanism showing how water vapor forms in situ and is capable of shielding itself from molecule-destroying stellar radiation. The absorption of this radiation by water can control the thermodynamics of the terrestrial planet-forming zone. Similar to Earth's ozone layer, which shelters the chemistry of life, the water layer protects other water molecules and allows for a rich organic chemistry. The total abundance of water vapor in the natal habitable zone is equal to that of several thousand oceans.

  15. Accurate Treatment of Collisions and Water-Delivery in Models of Terrestrial Planet Formation (United States)

    Haghighipour, Nader; Maindl, Thomas; Schaefer, Christoph


    It is widely accepted that collisions among solid bodies, ignited by their interactions with planetary embryos is the key process in the formation of terrestrial planets and transport of volatiles and chemical compounds to their accretion zones. Unfortunately, due to computational complexities, these collisions are often treated in a rudimentary way. Impacts are considered to be perfectly inelastic and volatiles are considered to be fully transferred from one object to the other. This perfect-merging assumption has profound effects on the mass and composition of final planetary bodies as it grossly overestimates the masses of these objects and the amounts of volatiles and chemical elements transferred to them. It also entirely neglects collisional-loss of volatiles (e.g., water) and draws an unrealistic connection between these properties and the chemical structure of the protoplanetary disk (i.e., the location of their original carriers). We have developed a new and comprehensive methodology to simulate growth of embryos to planetary bodies where we use a combination of SPH and N-body codes to accurately model collisions as well as the transport/transfer of chemical compounds. Our methodology accounts for the loss of volatiles (e.g., ice sublimation) during the orbital evolution of their careers and accurately tracks their transfer from one body to another. Results of our simulations show that traditional N-body modeling of terrestrial planet formation overestimates the amount of the mass and water contents of the final planets by over 60% implying that not only the amount of water they suggest is far from being realistic, small planets such as Mars can also form in these simulations when collisions are treated properly. We will present details of our methodology and discuss its implications for terrestrial planet formation and water delivery to Earth.

  16. Terrestrial planet formation in a protoplanetary disk with a local mass depletion: A successful scenario for the formation of Mars

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    Izidoro, A.; Winter, O. C. [UNESP, Univ. Estadual Paulista - Grupo de Dinâmica Orbital and Planetologia, Guaratinguetá, CEP 12.516-410, São Paulo (Brazil); Haghighipour, N. [Institute for Astronomy and NASA Astrobiology Institute, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States); Tsuchida, M., E-mail:, E-mail: [UNESP, Univ. Estadual Paulista, DCCE-IBILCE, São José do Rio Preto, CEP 15.054-000, São Paulo (Brazil)


    Models of terrestrial planet formation for our solar system have been successful in producing planets with masses and orbits similar to those of Venus and Earth. However, these models have generally failed to produce Mars-sized objects around 1.5 AU. The body that is usually formed around Mars' semimajor axis is, in general, much more massive than Mars. Only when Jupiter and Saturn are assumed to have initially very eccentric orbits (e ∼ 0.1), which seems fairly unlikely for the solar system, or alternately, if the protoplanetary disk is truncated at 1.0 AU, simulations have been able to produce Mars-like bodies in the correct location. In this paper, we examine an alternative scenario for the formation of Mars in which a local depletion in the density of the protosolar nebula results in a non-uniform formation of planetary embryos and ultimately the formation of Mars-sized planets around 1.5 AU. We have carried out extensive numerical simulations of the formation of terrestrial planets in such a disk for different scales of the local density depletion, and for different orbital configurations of the giant planets. Our simulations point to the possibility of the formation of Mars-sized bodies around 1.5 AU, specifically when the scale of the disk local mass-depletion is moderately high (50%-75%) and Jupiter and Saturn are initially in their current orbits. In these systems, Mars-analogs are formed from the protoplanetary materials that originate in the regions of disk interior or exterior to the local mass-depletion. Results also indicate that Earth-sized planets can form around 1 AU with a substantial amount of water accreted via primitive water-rich planetesimals and planetary embryos. We present the results of our study and discuss their implications for the formation of terrestrial planets in our solar system.

  17. Tectonic evolution of terrestrial planets (United States)

    Head, J. W.; Solomon, S. C.


    The tectonic style of each terrestrial planet, referring to the thickness and division of its lithosphere, can be inferred from surface features and compared to models of planetary thermal history. Factors governing planetary tectonic evolution are planet diameter, chemistry, and external and internal heat sources, all of which determine how a planet generates and rids itself of heat. The earth is distinguished by its distinct, mobile plates, which are recycled into the mantle and show large-scale lateral movements, whereas the moon, Mars, and Mercury are single spherical shells, showing no evidence of destruction and renewal of the lithospheric plates over the latter 80% of their history. Their smaller volume to surface area results in a more rapid cooling, formation, and thickening of the lithosphere. Vertical tectonics, due to lithospheric loading, is controlled by the local thickness and rheology of the lithosphere. Further studies of Venus, which displays both the craterlike surface features of the one-plate planets, and the rifts and plateaus of earth, may indicate which factors are most important in controlling the tectonic evolution of terrestrial planets.

  18. Comparative Climatology of Terrestrial Planets (United States)

    Mackwell, Stephen J.; Simon-Miller, Amy A.; Harder, Jerald W.; Bullock, Mark A.

    Public awareness of climate change on Earth is currently very high, promoting significant interest in atmospheric processes. We are fortunate to live in an era where it is possible to study the climates of many planets, including our own, using spacecraft and groundbased observations as well as advanced computational power that allows detailed modeling. Planetary atmospheric dynamics and structure are all governed by the same basic physics. Thus differences in the input variables (such as composition, internal structure, and solar radiation) among the known planets provide a broad suite of natural laboratory settings for gaining new understanding of these physical processes and their outcomes. Diverse planetary settings provide insightful comparisons to atmospheric processes and feedbacks on Earth, allowing a greater understanding of the driving forces and external influences on our own planetary climate. They also inform us in our search for habitable environments on planets orbiting distant stars, a topic that was a focus of Exoplanets, the preceding book in the University of Arizona Press Space Sciences Series. Quite naturally, and perhaps inevitably, our fascination with climate is largely driven toward investigating the interplay between the early development of life and the presence of a suitable planetary climate. Our understanding of how habitable planets come to be begins with the worlds closest to home. Venus, Earth, and Mars differ only modestly in their mass and distance from the Sun, yet their current climates could scarcely be more divergent. Our purpose for this book is to set forth the foundations for this emerging science and to bring to the forefront our current understanding of atmospheric formation and climate evolution. Although there is significant comparison to be made to atmospheric processes on nonterrestrial planets in our solar system — the gas and ice giants — here we focus on the terrestrial planets, leaving even broader comparisons

  19. The non-homogeneous accumulation model for terrestrial planet formation and the consequences for the atmosphere of Venus (United States)

    Turekian, K. K.; Clark, S. P., Jr.


    The nonhomogeneous-accumulation model for the formation of the terrestrial planets is described, and its consequences for the formation of the Venusian atmosphere are assayed in the context of our knowledge of the composition of the earth and carbonaceous chondrites. The relative abundances of the low-temperature condensibles in the reservoirs at the earth's surface are applied to Venus. Although carbonaceous chondrites show similar properties for the chemically bound elements, they show large deficiencies for the rare gases. The major gases on Venus, by volume, are predicted to be 98.12% CO2, 1.86% N2 and 0.02% Ar-40.

  20. Formation of Outer Planets: Overview (United States)

    Lissauer, Jack


    An overview of current theories of planetary formation, with emphasis on giant planets is presented. The most detailed models are based upon observation of our own Solar System and of young stars and their environments. Terrestrial planets are believe to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. According to the prevailing core instability model, giant planets begin their growth by the accumulation of small solid bodies, as do terrestrial planets. However, unlike terrestrial planets, the growing giant cores become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk disspates. The primary questions regarding the core instability model is whether planets with small cores can accrete gaseous enveloples within the lifetimes of gaseous protoplanetary disks. The main alternative giant planet formation model is the disk instability model, in which gaseous planets form directly via gravitational instabilities within protoplanetary disks. Formation of giant planets via gas instability has never been demonstrated for realistic disk conditions. Moreover, this model has difficulty explaining the supersolar abundances of heavy elements in Jupiter and Saturn, and it does not explain the orgin of planets like Uranus and Neptune.

  1. Tectonomagmatic evolution of the terrestrial planets: importance for understanding of processes of their formation and subsequent development (United States)

    Sharkov, E.; Bogatikov, O.


    Our knowledge about formation and evolution of the terrestrial planets (the Earth, Venus, Mars, Mercury and, possibly, the Moon) based on different physical and geochemical speculations and models. The main disadvantage of such hypotheses is their abstract character and ignoring any data on tectonomagmatic evolution of those planets. At the same time, just this type of data provide an important information, which is necessary for elaborating of a present-day theory of their formation and evolution. The Earth has been much better studied compared to the other planets, therefore we will discuss the main questions of planetary tectonomagmatic evolution using the Earth as example plus involve other data on the Moon and the terrestrial planets. Two dominating hypotheses about composition of the primordial Earth's crust exist now: (1) traditional implies that the primordial crust had basic composition, whereas the sialic crust resulted from a geosyncline process or, in modern terms, from processes at convergent plate margins, and (2) primordial crust was sialic; the plate tectonic mechanisms started in the Middle Paleoproterozoic and resulted in oceanic spreading and formation of the secondary oceanic crust. Both models require a global melting of a primary chondritic material to form the primordial crust. The final result depends on the degree of melt differentiation during solidification of a magmatic ocean. Such a solidification, due to differences between adiabatic and melting-points gradients had to proceed in bottom-top direction (Jeffries, 1929) and resulted in accumulation of low-temperature derivates in the primordial crust. Geological data, namely granite-dominated Archean crust, and results of studying of detrital zircon from Australia supports the primordial-sialic crust hypothesis. The Moon which is four times smaller than Earth has a basic primordial crust. Such a difference can be explained by different depths of their magmatic oceans. The Early

  2. Evolution of ore deposits on terrestrial planets (United States)

    Burns, R. G.


    Ore deposits on terrestrial planets materialized after core formation, mantle evolution, crustal development, interactions of surface rocks with the hydrosphere and atmosphere, and, where life exists on a planet, the involvement of biological activity. Core formation removed most of the siderophilic and chalcophilic elements, leaving mantles depleted in many of the strategic and noble metals relative to their chondritic abundances. Basaltic magma derived from partial melting of the mantle transported to the surface several metals contained in immiscible silicate and sulfide melts. Magmatic ore deposits were formed during cooling, fractional crystallization and density stratification from the basaltic melts. Such ore deposits found in earth's Archean rocks were probably generated during early histories of all terrestrial planets and may be the only types of igneous ores on Mars. Where plate tectonic activity was prevalent on a terrestrial planet, temporal evolution of ore deposits took place. Repetitive episodes of subduction modified the chemical compositions of the crust and upper mantles, leading to porphyry copper and molybdenum ores in calc-alkaline igneous rocks and granite-hosted tin and tungsten deposits. Such plate tectonic-induced mineralization in relatively young igneous rocks on earth may also have produced hydrothermal ore deposits on Venus in addition to the massive sulfide and cumulate chromite ores associated with Venusian mafic igneous rock. Sedimentary ore deposits resulting from mechanical and chemical weathering in reducing atmospheres in Archean earth included placer deposits (e.g., uraninite, gold, pyrite ores). Chromite, ilmenite, and other dense unreactive minerals could also be present on channel floors and in valley networks on Mars, while banded iron formations might underlie the Martian northern plains regions. As oxygen evolved in earth's atmosphere, so too did oxide ores. By analogy, gossans above sulfide ores probably occur on Mars

  3. Noble gases in meteorites and terrestrial planets (United States)

    Wacker, J. F.


    Terrestrial planets and chondrites have noble gas platforms that are sufficiently alike, especially Ne/Ar, that they may have acquired their noble gases by similar processes. Meteorites presumably obtained their noble gases during formation in the solar nebula. Adsorption onto C - the major gas carrier in chondrites - is the likely mechanism for trapping noble gases; recent laboratory simulations support this hypothesis. The story is more complex for planets. An attractive possibility is that the planets acquired their noble gases in a late accreting veneer of chondritic material. In chondrites, noble gases correlate with C, N, H, and volatile metals; by Occam's Razor, we would expect a similar coupling in planets. Indeed, the Earth's crust and mantle contain chondritic like trace volatiles and PL group metals, respectively and the Earth's oceans resemble C chondrites in their enrichment of D (8X vs 8-10X of the galactic D/H ratio). Models have been proposed to explain some of the specific noble gas patterns in planets. These include: (1) noble gases may have been directly trapped by preplanetary material instead of arriving in a veneer; (2) for Venus, irradiation of preplanetary material, followed by diffusive loss of Ne, could explain the high concentration of AR-36; (3) the Earth and Venus may have initially had similar abundances of noble gases, but the Earth lost its share during the Moon forming event; (4) noble gases could have been captured by planetestimals, possibly leading to gravitational fractionation, particularly of Xe isotopes and (5) noble gases may have been dissolved in the hot outer portion of the Earth during contact with a primordial atmosphere.

  4. Workshop on Oxygen in the Terrestrial Planets (United States)


    This volume contains abstracts that have been accepted for presentation at the Workshop on Oxygen in the Terrestrial Planets, July 20-23,2004, Santa Fe, New Mexico. The contents include: 1) Experimental Constraints on Oxygen and Other Light Element Partitioning During Planetary Core Formation; 2) In Situ Determination of Fe(3+)/SigmaFe of Spinels by Electron Microprobe: An Evaluation of the Flank Method; 3) The Effect of Oxygen Fugacity on Large-Strain Deformation and Recrystallization of Olivine; 4) Plagioclase-Liquid Trace Element Oxygen Barometry and Oxygen Behaviour in Closed and Open System Magmatic Processes; 5) Core Formation in the Earth: Constraints from Ni and Co; 6) Oxygen Isotopic Compositions of the Terrestrial Planets; 7) The Effect of Oxygen Fugacity on Electrical Conduction of Olivine and Implications for Earth s Mantle; 8) Redox Chemical Diffusion in Silicate Melts: The Impact of the Semiconductor Condition; 9) Ultra-High Temperature Effects in Earth s Magma Ocean: Pt and W Partitioning; 10) Terrestrial Oxygen and Hydrogen Isotope Variations: Primordial Values, Systematics, Subsolidus Effects, Planetary Comparisons, and the Role of Water; 11) Redox State of the Moon s Interior; 12) How did the Terrestrial Planets Acquire Their Water?; 13) Molecular Oxygen Mixing Ratio and Its Seasonal Variability in the Martian Atmosphere; 14) Exchange Between the Atmosphere and the Regolith of Mars: Discussion of Oxygen and Sulfur Isotope Evidence; 15) Oxygen and Hydrogen Isotope Systematics of Atmospheric Water Vapor and Meteoric Waters: Evidence from North Texas; 16) Implications of Isotopic and Redox Heterogeneities in Silicate Reservoirs on Mars; 17) Oxygen Isotopic Variation of the Terrestrial Planets; 18) Redox Exchanges in Hydrous Magma; 19) Hydrothermal Systems on Terrestrial Planets: Lessons from Earth; 20) Oxygen in Martian Meteorites: A Review of Results from Mineral Equilibria Oxybarometers; 21) Non-Linear Fractionation of Oxygen Isotopes Implanted in

  5. Recipes for planet formation (United States)

    Meyer, Michael R.


    Anyone who has ever used baking soda instead of baking powder when trying to make a cake knows a simple truth: ingredients matter. The same is true for planet formation. Planets are made from the materials that coalesce in a rotating disk around young stars - essentially the "leftovers" from when the stars themselves formed through the gravitational collapse of rotating clouds of gas and dust. The planet-making disk should therefore initially have the same gas-to-dust ratio as the interstellar medium: about 100 to 1, by mass. Similarly, it seems logical that the elemental composition of the disk should match that of the star, reflecting the initial conditions at that particular spot in the galaxy.

  6. The Planet Formation Imager (United States)

    Kraus, S.; Buscher, D. F.; Monnier, J. D.; PFI Science, the; Technical Working Group


    Among the most fascinating and hotly-debated areas in contemporary astrophysics are the means by which planetary systems are assembled from the large rotating disks of gas and dust which attend a stellar birth. Although important work is being done both in theory and observation, a full understanding of the physics of planet formation can only be achieved by opening observational windows able to directly witness the process in action. The key requirement is then to probe planet-forming systems at the natural spatial scales over which material is being assembled. By definition, this is the so-called Hill Sphere which delineates the region of influence of a gravitating body within its surrounding environment. The Planet Formation Imager project has crystallized around this challenging goal: to deliver resolved images of Hill-Sphere-sized structures within candidate planet-hosting disks in the nearest star-forming regions. In this contribution we outline the primary science case of PFI and discuss how PFI could significantly advance our understanding of the architecture and potential habitability of planetary systems. We present radiation-hydrodynamics simulations from which we derive preliminary specifications that guide the design of the facility. Finally, we give an overview about the interferometric and non-interferometric technologies that we are investigating in order to meet the specifications.

  7. Mars : a small terrestrial planet


    Mangold, N.; Baratoux, David; Witasse, O.; Encrenaz, T.; Sotin, C.


    Mars is characterized by geological landforms familiar to terrestrial geologists. It has a tenuous atmosphere that evolved differently from that of Earth and Venus and a differentiated inner structure. Our knowledge of the structure and evolution of Mars has strongly improved thanks to a huge amount of data of various types (visible and infrared imagery, altimetry, radar, chemistry, etc) acquired by a dozen of missions over the last two decades. In situ data have provided ground truth for rem...

  8. Mars: a small terrestrial planet (United States)

    Mangold, N.; Baratoux, D.; Witasse, O.; Encrenaz, T.; Sotin, C.


    Mars is characterized by geological landforms familiar to terrestrial geologists. It has a tenuous atmosphere that evolved differently from that of Earth and Venus and a differentiated inner structure. Our knowledge of the structure and evolution of Mars has strongly improved thanks to a huge amount of data of various types (visible and infrared imagery, altimetry, radar, chemistry, etc) acquired by a dozen of missions over the last two decades. In situ data have provided ground truth for remote-sensing data and have opened a new era in the study of Mars geology. While large sections of Mars science have made progress and new topics have emerged, a major question in Mars exploration—the possibility of past or present life—is still unsolved. Without entering into the debate around the presence of life traces, our review develops various topics of Mars science to help the search of life on Mars, building on the most recent discoveries, going from the exosphere to the interior structure, from the magmatic evolution to the currently active processes, including the fate of volatiles and especially liquid water.

  9. Planet formation around millisecond pulsars (United States)

    Banit, Menashe; Ruderman, Malvin; Shaham, Jacob


    We present a model for the formation of planets in circular orbits around millisecond pulsars. We propose that the planets originate from a circumbinary excretion disk around a binary millisecond pulsar and show how physical conditions in such a disk lead to the eventual formation of planets.

  10. Tectonic evolution of the terrestrial planets. (United States)

    Head, J W; Solomon, S C


    The style and evolution of tectonics on the terrestrial planets differ substantially. The style is related to the thickness of the lithosphere and to whether the lithosphere is divided into distinct, mobile plates that can be recycled into the mantle, as on Earth, or is a single spherical shell, as on the moon, Mars, and Mercury. The evolution of a planetary lithosphere and the development of plate tectonics appear to be influenced by several factors, including planetary size, chemistry, and external and internal heat sources. Vertical tectonic movement due to lithospheric loading or uplift is similar on all of the terrestrial planets and is controlled by the local thickness and rheology of the lithosphere. The surface of Venus, although known only at low resolution, displays features both similar to those on Earth (mountain belts, high plateaus) and similar to those on the smaller planets (possible impact basins). Improved understanding of the tectonic evolution of Venus will permit an evaluation of the relative roles of planetary size and chemistry in determining evolutionary style.

  11. Giant Planet Formation and Migration (United States)

    Paardekooper, Sijme-Jan; Johansen, Anders


    Planets form in circumstellar discs around young stars. Starting with sub-micron sized dust particles, giant planet formation is all about growing 14 orders of magnitude in size. It has become increasingly clear over the past decades that during all stages of giant planet formation, the building blocks are extremely mobile and can change their semimajor axis by substantial amounts. In this chapter, we aim to give a basic overview of the physical processes thought to govern giant planet formation and migration, and to highlight possible links to water delivery.

  12. Planet Detection Algorithms for the Terrestrial Planet Finder-C (United States)

    Kasdin, N. J.; Braems, I.


    Critical to mission planning for the terrestrial planet finder coronagraph (TPF-C) is the ability to estimate integration times for planet detection. This detection is complicated by the presence of background noise due to local and exo-zodiacal dust, by residual speckle due optical errors, and by the dependence of the PSF shape on the specific coronagraph. In this paper we examine in detail the use of PSF fitting (matched filtering) for planet detection, derive probabilistic bounds for the signal-to-noise ratio by balancing missed detection and false alarm rates, and demonstrate that this is close to the optimal linear detection technique. We then compare to a Bayesian detection approach and show that for very low background the Bayesian method offers integration time improvements, but rapidly approaches the PSF fitting result for reasonable levels of background noise. We confirm via monte-carlo simulations. This work was supported under a grant from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and by a fellowship from the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique (INRIA).

  13. The formation of planets by disc fragmentation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stamatellos Dimitris


    Full Text Available I discuss the role that disc fragmentation plays in the formation of gas giant and terrestrial planets, and how this relates to the formation of brown dwarfs and low-mass stars, and ultimately to the process of star formation. Protostellar discs may fragment, if they are massive enough and can cool fast enough, but most of the objects that form by fragmentation are brown dwarfs. It may be possible that planets also form, if the mass growth of a proto-fragment is stopped (e.g. if this fragment is ejected from the disc, or suppressed and even reversed (e.g by tidal stripping. I will discuss if it is possible to distinguish whether a planet has formed by disc fragmentation or core accretion, and mention of a few examples of observed exoplanets that are suggestive of formation by disc fragmentation.

  14. Late veneer and late accretion to the terrestrial planets (United States)

    Brasser, R.; Mojzsis, S. J.; Werner, S. C.; Matsumura, S.; Ida, S.


    It is generally accepted that silicate-metal ('rocky') planet formation relies on coagulation from a mixture of sub-Mars sized planetary embryos and (smaller) planetesimals that dynamically emerge from the evolving circum-solar disc in the first few million years of our Solar System. Once the planets have, for the most part, assembled after a giant impact phase, they continue to be bombarded by a multitude of planetesimals left over from accretion. Here we place limits on the mass and evolution of these planetesimals based on constraints from the highly siderophile element (HSE) budget of the Moon. Outcomes from a combination of N-body and Monte Carlo simulations of planet formation lead us to four key conclusions about the nature of this early epoch. First, matching the terrestrial to lunar HSE ratio requires either that the late veneer on Earth consisted of a single lunar-size impactor striking the Earth before 4.45 Ga, or that it originated from the impact that created the Moon. An added complication is that analysis of lunar samples indicates the Moon does not preserve convincing evidence for a late veneer like Earth. Second, the expected chondritic veneer component on Mars is 0.06 weight percent. Third, the flux of terrestrial impactors must have been low (≲10-6 M⊕ Myr-1) to avoid wholesale melting of Earth's crust after 4.4 Ga, and to simultaneously match the number of observed lunar basins. This conclusion leads to an Hadean eon which is more clement than assumed previously. Last, after the terrestrial planets had fully formed, the mass in remnant planetesimals was ∼10-3 M⊕, lower by at least an order of magnitude than most previous models suggest. Our dynamically and geochemically self-consistent scenario requires that future N-body simulations of rocky planet formation either directly incorporate collisional grinding or rely on pebble accretion.

  15. Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph High Accuracy Optical Propagation Project (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) project is considering several approaches to discovering planets orbiting stars far from earth and assessing their suitability to...

  16. [Extrasolar terrestrial planets and possibility of extraterrestrial life]. (United States)

    Ida, Shigeru


    Recent development of research on extrasolar planets are reviewed. About 120 extrasolar Jupiter-mass planets have been discovered through the observation of Doppler shift in the light of their host stars that is caused by acceleration due to planet orbital motions. Although the extrasolar planets so far observed may be limited to gas giant planets and their orbits differ from those of giant planets in our Solar system (Jupiter and Saturn), the theoretically predicted probability of existence of extrasolar terrestrial planets that can have liquid water ocean on their surface is comparable to that of detectable gas giant planets. Based on the number of extrasolar gas giants detected so far, about 100 life-sustainable planets may exist within a range of 200 light years. Indirect observation of extrasolar terrestrial planets would be done with space telescopes within several years and direct one may be done within 20 years. The latter can detect biomarkers on these planets as well.

  17. Abiotic production of methane in terrestrial planets. (United States)

    Guzmán-Marmolejo, Andrés; Segura, Antígona; Escobar-Briones, Elva


    On Earth, methane is produced mainly by life, and it has been proposed that, under certain conditions, methane detected in an exoplanetary spectrum may be considered a biosignature. Here, we estimate how much methane may be produced in hydrothermal vent systems by serpentinization, its main geological source, using the kinetic properties of the main reactions involved in methane production by serpentinization. Hydrogen production by serpentinization was calculated as a function of the available FeO in the crust, given the current spreading rates. Carbon dioxide is the limiting reactant for methane formation because it is highly depleted in aqueous form in hydrothermal vent systems. We estimated maximum CH4 surface fluxes of 6.8×10(8) and 1.3×10(9) molecules cm(-2) s(-1) for rocky planets with 1 and 5 M⊕, respectively. Using a 1-D photochemical model, we simulated atmospheres with volume mixing ratios of 0.03 and 0.1 CO2 to calculate atmospheric methane concentrations for the maximum production of this compound by serpentinization. The resulting abundances were 2.5 and 2.1 ppmv for 1 M⊕ planets and 4.1 and 3.7 ppmv for 5 M⊕ planets. Therefore, low atmospheric concentrations of methane may be produced by serpentinization. For habitable planets around Sun-like stars with N2-CO2 atmospheres, methane concentrations larger than 10 ppmv may indicate the presence of life.

  18. Geology and Habitability of Terrestrial Planets

    CERN Document Server

    Fishbaugh, Kathryn E; Raulin, François; Marais, David J; Korablev, Oleg


    Given the fundamental importance of and universal interest in whether extraterrestrial life has developed or could eventually develop in our solar system and beyond, it is vital that an examination of planetary habitability goes beyond simple assumptions such as, "Where there is water, there is life." This book has resulted from a workshop at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern, Switzerland (5-9 September 2005) that brought together planetary geologists, geophysicists, atmospheric scientists, and biologists to discuss the multi-faceted problem of how the habitability of a planet co-evolves with the geology of the surface and interior, the atmosphere, and the magnetosphere. Each of the six chapters has been written by authors with a range of expertise so that each chapter is itself multi-disciplinary, comprehensive, and accessible to scientists in all disciplines. These chapters delve into what life needs to exist and ultimately to thrive, the early environments of the young terrestrial pl...

  19. The early evolution of the atmospheres of terrestrial planets

    CERN Document Server

    Raulin, François; Muller, Christian; Nixon, Conor; Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings : Volume 35


    “The Early Evolution of the Atmospheres of Terrestrial Planets” presents the main processes participating in the atmospheric evolution of terrestrial planets. A group of experts in the different fields provide an update of our current knowledge on this topic. Several papers in this book discuss the key role of nitrogen in the atmospheric evolution of terrestrial planets. The earliest setting and evolution of planetary atmospheres of terrestrial planets is directly associated with accretion, chemical differentiation, outgassing, stochastic impacts, and extremely high energy fluxes from their host stars. This book provides an overview of the present knowledge of the initial atmospheric composition of the terrestrial planets. Additionally it includes some papers about the current exoplanet discoveries and provides additional clues to our understanding of Earth’s transition from a hot accretionary phase into a habitable world. All papers included were reviewed by experts in their respective fields. We are ...

  20. The origin of methane and biomolecules from a CO2 cycle on terrestrial planets (United States)

    Civiš, Svatopluk; Knížek, Antonín; Ivanek, Ondřej; Kubelík, Petr; Zukalová, Markéta; Kavan, Ladislav; Ferus, Martin


    Understanding the chemical evolution of newly formed terrestrial planets involves uncertainties in atmospheric chemical composition and assessing the plausibility of biomolecule synthesis. In this study, an original scenario for the origin of methane on Mars and terrestrial planets is suggested. Carbon dioxide in Martian and other planetary atmospheres can be abiotically converted into a mixture of methane and carbon monoxide by `methanogenesis' on porous mineral photoactive surfaces under soft ultraviolet irradiation. On young planets exposed to heavy bombardment by interplanetary matter, this process can be followed by biomolecule synthesis through the reprocessing of reactive reducing atmospheres by impact-induced shock waves. The proposed mechanism of methanogenesis may help to answer the question concerning the formation of methane and carbon monoxide by photochemical processes, the formation of biomolecules on early Earth and other terrestrial planets, and the source and seasonal variation of methane concentrations on Mars.

  1. Capture of terrestrial-sized moons by gas giant planets. (United States)

    Williams, Darren M


    Terrestrial moons with masses >0.1 M (symbol in text) possibly exist around extrasolar giant planets, and here we consider the energetics of how they might form. Binary-exchange capture can occur if a binary-terrestrial object (BTO) is tidally disrupted during a close encounter with a giant planet and one of the binary members is ejected while the other remains as a moon. Tidal disruption occurs readily in the deep gravity wells of giant planets; however, the large encounter velocities in the wells make binary exchange more difficult than for planets of lesser mass. In addition, successful capture favors massive binaries with large rotational velocities and small component mass ratios. Also, since the interaction tends to leave the captured moons on highly elliptical orbits, permanent capture is only possible around planets with sizable Hill spheres that are well separated from their host stars.

  2. Beyond the principle of plentitude: a review of terrestrial planet habitability. (United States)

    Gaidos, E; Deschenes, B; Dundon, L; Fagan, K; Menviel-Hessler, L; Moskovitz, N; Workman, M


    We review recent work that directly or indirectly addresses the habitability of terrestrial (rocky) planets like the Earth. Habitability has been traditionally defined in terms of an orbital semimajor axis within a range known as the habitable zone, but it is also well known that the habitability of Earth is due to many other astrophysical, geological, and geochemical factors. We focus this review on (1) recent refinements to habitable zone calculations; (2) the formation and orbital stability of terrestrial planets; (3) the tempo and mode of geologic activity (e.g., plate tectonics) on terrestrial planets; (4) the delivery of water to terrestrial planets in the habitable zone; and (5) the acquisition and loss of terrestrial planet carbon and nitrogen, elements that constitute important atmospheric gases responsible for habitable conditions on Earth's surface as well as being the building blocks of the biosphere itself. Finally, we consider recent work on evidence for the earliest habitable environments and the appearance of life itself on our planet. Such evidence provides us with an important, if nominal, calibration point for our search for other habitable worlds.

  3. Finding Terrestrial Planets Using External Occulters (United States)

    Heap, Sara


    In order to identify a detected exoplanet as an Earth-like (habitable) planet, we must obtain its spectrum to verify that its atmosphere shows evidence of water vapor. We argue that a regular, optical telescope combined with a large occulter to block light from the star offers the most promising, cost-effective way to detect and characterize exoplanets.

  4. Towards the Rosetta Stone of planet formation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Schmidt T.O.B.


    Full Text Available Transiting exoplanets (TEPs observed just ~10 Myrs after formation of their host systems may serve as the Rosetta Stone for planet formation theories. They would give strong constraints on several aspects of planet formation, e.g. time-scales (planet formation would then be possible within 10 Myrs, the radius of the planet could indicate whether planets form by gravitational collapse (being larger when young or accretion growth (being smaller when young. We present a survey, the main goal of which is to find and then characterise TEPs in very young open clusters.

  5. Emergence of two types of terrestrial planet on solidification of magma ocean. (United States)

    Hamano, Keiko; Abe, Yutaka; Genda, Hidenori


    Understanding the origins of the diversity in terrestrial planets is a fundamental goal in Earth and planetary sciences. In the Solar System, Venus has a similar size and bulk composition to those of Earth, but it lacks water. Because a richer variety of exoplanets is expected to be discovered, prediction of their atmospheres and surface environments requires a general framework for planetary evolution. Here we show that terrestrial planets can be divided into two distinct types on the basis of their evolutionary history during solidification from the initially hot molten state expected from the standard formation model. Even if, apart from their orbits, they were identical just after formation, the solidified planets can have different characteristics. A type I planet, which is formed beyond a certain critical distance from the host star, solidifies within several million years. If the planet acquires water during formation, most of this water is retained and forms the earliest oceans. In contrast, on a type II planet, which is formed inside the critical distance, a magma ocean can be sustained for longer, even with a larger initial amount of water. Its duration could be as long as 100 million years if the planet is formed together with a mass of water comparable to the total inventory of the modern Earth. Hydrodynamic escape desiccates type II planets during the slow solidification process. Although Earth is categorized as type I, it is not clear which type Venus is because its orbital distance is close to the critical distance. However, because the dryness of the surface and mantle predicted for type II planets is consistent with the characteristics of Venus, it may be representative of type II planets. Also, future observations may have a chance to detect not only terrestrial exoplanets covered with water ocean but also those covered with magma ocean around a young star.

  6. Design and Performance of the Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph (United States)

    White, Mary L.; Shaklan, Stuart; Lisman, P. Doulas; Ho, Timothy; Mouroulis, Pantazis; Basinger, Scott; Ledeboer, Bill; Kwack, Eug; Kissil, Andy; Mosier, Gary; hide


    Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph, one of two potential architectures, is described. The telescope is designed to make a visible wavelength survey of the habitable zones of at least thirty stars in search of earth-like planets. The preliminary system requirements, optical parameters, mechanical and thermal design, operations scenario and predicted performance is presented. The 6-meter aperture telescope has a monolithic primary mirror, which along with the secondary tower, are being designed to meet the stringent optical tolerances of the planet-finding mission. Performance predictions include dynamic and thermal finite element analysis of the telescope optics and structure, which are used to make predictions of the optical performance of the system.

  7. Origin of noble gases in the terrestrial planets (United States)

    Pepin, Robert O.


    Current models of the origin of noble gases in the terrestrial planets are reviewed. Primary solar system volatile sources and processes are examined along with the current data base on noble gases and its applications to evolutionary processing. Models of atmospheric evolution by hydrodynamic escape are addressed.

  8. A Google Earth Grand Tour of the Terrestrial Planets (United States)

    De Paor, Declan; Coba, Filis; Burgin, Stephen


    Google Earth is a powerful instructional resource for geoscience education. We have extended the virtual globe to include all terrestrial planets. Downloadable Keyhole Markup Language (KML) files (Google Earth's scripting language) associated with this paper include lessons about Mercury, Venus, the Moon, and Mars. We created "grand…


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Koll, Daniel D. B.; Abbot, Dorian S., E-mail: [Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637 (United States)


    Next-generation space telescopes will allow us to characterize terrestrial exoplanets. To do so effectively it will be crucial to make use of all available data. We investigate which atmospheric properties can, and cannot, be inferred from the broadband thermal phase curve of a dry and tidally locked terrestrial planet. First, we use dimensional analysis to show that phase curves are controlled by six nondimensional parameters. Second, we use an idealized general circulation model to explore the relative sensitivity of phase curves to these parameters. We find that the feature of phase curves most sensitive to atmospheric parameters is the peak-to-trough amplitude. Moreover, except for hot and rapidly rotating planets, the phase amplitude is primarily sensitive to only two nondimensional parameters: (1) the ratio of dynamical to radiative timescales and (2) the longwave optical depth at the surface. As an application of this technique, we show how phase curve measurements can be combined with transit or emission spectroscopy to yield a new constraint for the surface pressure and atmospheric mass of terrestrial planets. We estimate that a single broadband phase curve, measured over half an orbit with the James Webb Space Telescope, could meaningfully constrain the atmospheric mass of a nearby super-Earth. Such constraints will be important for studying the atmospheric evolution of terrestrial exoplanets as well as characterizing the surface conditions on potentially habitable planets.

  10. Studies of Constraints from the Terrestrial Planets, Asteroid Belt and Giant Planet Obliquities on the Early Solar System Instability (United States)

    Nesvorny, David

    The planetary instability has been invoked as a convenient way to explain several observables in the present Solar System. This theory, frequently referred to under a broad and somewhat ill-defined umbrella as the ‘Nice model’, postulates that at least one of the ice giants suffered scattering encounters with Jupiter and Saturn. This could explain several things, including the excitation of the proper eccentric mode in Jupiter's orbit, survival of the terrestrial planets during giant planet migration, and, if the instability was conveniently delayed, also the Late Heavy Bombardment of the Moon. These properties/events would be unexpected if the migration histories of the outer planets were ideally smooth (at least no comprehensive model has yet been fully developed to collectively explain them). Additional support for the planetary instability comes from the dynamical properties of the asteroid and Kuiper belts, Trojans, and planetary satellites. We created a large database of dynamical evolutions of the outer planets through and 100 Myr past the instability (Nesvorny and Morbidelli 2012. Many of these dynamical histories have been found to match constraints from the orbits of the outer planets themselves. We now propose to test these different scenarios using constraints from the terrestrial planets, asteroid belt and giant planet obliquities. As we explain in the proposal narrative, we will bring all these constraints together in an attempt to develop a comprehensive model of early Solar System's evolution. This will be a significant improvement over the past work, where different constraints were considered piecewise and in various approximations. Our work has the potential to generate support for the Nice-type instability, or to rule it out, which could help in sparking interest in developing better models. RELEVANCE The proposed research is fundamental to understanding the formation and early evolution of the Solar System. This is a central theme of NASA

  11. Sulfuric acid aerosols in the atmospheres of the terrestrial planets (United States)

    McGouldrick, Kevin; Toon, Owen B.; Grinspoon, David H.


    Clouds and hazes composed of sulfuric acid are observed to exist or postulated to have once existed on each of the terrestrial planets with atmospheres in our solar system. Venus today maintains a global cover of clouds composed of a sulfuric acid/water solution that extends in altitude from roughly 50 km to roughly 80 km. Terrestrial polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) form on stratospheric sulfuric acid aerosols, and both PSCs and stratospheric aerosols play a critical role in the formation of the ozone hole. Stratospheric aerosols can modify the climate when they are enhanced following volcanic eruptions, and are a current focus for geoengineering studies. Rain is made more acidic by sulfuric acid originating from sulfur dioxide generated by industry on Earth. Analysis of the sulfur content of Martian rocks has led to the hypothesis that an early Martian atmosphere, rich in SO 2 and H 2O, could support a sulfur-infused hydrological cycle. Here we consider the plausibility of frozen sulfuric acid in the upper clouds of Venus, which could lead to lightning generation, with implications for observations by the European Space Agency's Venus Express and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Venus Climate Orbiter (also known as Akatsuki). We also present simulations of a sulfur-rich early Martian atmosphere. We find that about 40 cm/yr of precipitation having a pH of about 2.0 could fall in an early Martian atmosphere, assuming a surface temperature of 273 K, and SO 2 generation rates consistent with the formation of Tharsis. This modeled acid rain is a powerful sink for SO 2, quickly removing it and preventing it from having a significant greenhouse effect.

  12. Extrasolar planets formation, detection and dynamics

    CERN Document Server

    Dvorak, Rudolf


    This latest, up-to-date resource for research on extrasolar planets covers formation, dynamics, atmospheres and detection. After a look at the formation of giant planets, the book goes on to discuss the formation and dynamics of planets in resonances, planets in double stars, atmospheres and habitable zones, detection via spectra and transits, and the history and prospects of ESPs as well as satellite projects.Edited by a renowned expert in solar system dynamics with chapters written by the leading experts in the method described -- from the US and Europe -- this is an ideal textbook for g

  13. Mantles of terrestrial planets immediately following magma ocean solidification (United States)

    Scheinberg, A. L.; Elkins-Tanton, L. T.; Zhong, S.; Parmentier, E.


    Energy of accretion in terrestrial planets is expected to create liquid silicate magma oceans. Their solidification processes create silicate differentiation and set the initial mantle structure for the planet. Solidification results in a compositionally unstable density profile, leading to cumulate Rayleigh-Taylor overturn in the early stages of planetary history. The pattern and timescale of overturn, in which cold, dense surface material sinks to the core mantle boundary, has implications for core dynamo production, volatile escape and fundamental differences between differently-sized bodies. Our fully spherical mantle models reaffirm previous work suggesting harmonic degree of overturn is dependent on viscosity contrast and layer thickness. We then explore the dependence of overturn morphology in the early mantles of Mars, Earth, Mercury and the Moon on these parameters and on the respective planets’ characteristics using a composition- and temperature-dependent viscosity model. Initial results indicate that fractional solidification and overturn in terrestrial planets always creates some radius range in which the mantle is azimuthally compositionally heterogeneous. After overturn, compositional stability in the mantle suppresses the onset of thermal convection; the broad conclusions of this work indicate that the earliest solid mantle of terrestrial planets is compositionally differentiated and stable.

  14. Origins and Destinations: Tracking Planet Composition through Planet Formation Simulations (United States)

    Chance, Quadry


    There are now several thousand confirmed exoplanets, a number which far exceeds our resources to study them all in detail. In particular, planets around M dwarfs provide the best opportunity for in-depth study of their atmospheres by telescopes in the near future. The question of which M dwarf planets most merit follow-up resources is a pressing one, given that NASA’s TESS mission will soon find hundreds of such planets orbiting stars bright enough for both ground and spaced-based observation.Our work aims to predict the approximate composition of planets around these stars through n-body simulations of the last stage of planet formation. With a variety of initial disk conditions, we investigate how the relative abundances of both refractory and volatile compounds in the primordial planetesimals are mapped to the final planet outcomes. These predictions will serve to provide a basis for making an educated guess about (a) which planets to observe with precious resources like JWST and (b) how to identify them based on dynamical clues.

  15. Water vapour and hydrogen in the terrestrial-planet-forming region of a protoplanetary disk. (United States)

    Eisner, J A


    Planetary systems (ours included) formed in disks of dust and gas around young stars. Disks are an integral part of the star and planet formation process, and knowledge of the distribution and temperature of inner-disk material is crucial for understanding terrestrial planet formation, giant planet migration, and accretion onto the central star. Although the inner regions of protoplanetary disks in nearby star-forming regions subtend only a few nano-radians, near-infrared interferometry has recently enabled the spatial resolution of these terrestrial zones. Most observations have probed only dust, which typically dominates the near-infrared emission. Here I report spectrally dispersed near-infrared interferometric observations that probe the gas (which dominates the mass and dynamics of the inner disk), in addition to the dust, within one astronomical unit (1 au, the Sun-Earth distance) of the young star MWC 480. I resolve gas, including water vapour and atomic hydrogen, interior to the edge of the dust disk; this contrasts with results of previous spectrally dispersed interferometry observations. Interactions of this accreting gas with migrating planets may lead to short-period exoplanets like those detected around main-sequence stars. The observed water vapour is probably produced by the sublimation of migrating icy bodies, and provides a potential reservoir of water for terrestrial planets.

  16. Architecture trade study for the Terrestrial Planet Finder Interferometer (United States)

    Lay, Oliver P.; Gunter, Steven M.; Hamlin, Louise A.; Henry, Curt A.; Li, Ying-Yong; Martin, Stefan R.; Purcell, George H., Jr.; Ware, Brent; Wertz, Julie A.; Noecker, M. Charley


    The Terrestrial Planet Finder Interferometer (TPF-I) is a space-based NASA mission for the direct detection of Earth-like planets orbiting nearby stars. At the mid-infrared wavelength range of interest, a sun-like star is ~107 times brighter than an earth-like planet, with an angular offset of ~50 mas. A set of formation-flying collector telescopes direct the incoming light to a common location where the beams are combined and detected. The relative locations of the collecting apertures, the way that the beams are routed to the combiner, and the relative amplitudes and phases with which they are combined constitute the architecture of the system. This paper evaluates six of the most promising solutions: the Linear Dual Chopped Bracewell (DCB), X-Array, Diamond DCB, Z-Array, Linear-3 and Triangle architectures. Each architecture is constrained to fit inside the shroud of a Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle using a parametric model for mass and volume. Both single and dual launch options are considered. The maximum separation between spacecraft is limited by stray light considerations. Given these constraints, the performance of each architecture is assessed by modeling the number of stars that can be surveyed and characterized spectroscopically during the mission lifetime, and by modeling the imaging properties of the configuration and the robustness to failures. The cost and risk for each architecture depends on a number of factors, including the number of launches, and mass margin. Quantitative metrics are used where possible. A matrix of the architectures and ~30 weighted discriminators was formed. Each architecture was assigned a score for each discriminator. Then the scores were multiplied by the weights and summed to give a total score for each architecture. The X-Array and Linear DCB were judged to be the strongest candidates. The simplicity of the three-collector architectures was not rated to be sufficient to compensate for their reduced performance and

  17. On the Present and Past Secular Architecture of the Terrestrial Planets (United States)

    Agnor, Craig B.


    Understanding the origin, stability, and long-term evolution of the solar system is a classic problem in dynamical astronomy.Over time-scales longer than 0.1Myr the orbital evolution of the solar system is primarily driven by secular dynamics (i.e., those related to orbital precession). Indeed, using a linearised model of the solar system, Laplace and Lagrange were able to show that secular variations of the terrestrial planets' eccentricities are bounded and stable from orbit crossing.The secular architecture the terrestrial planets is often described in terms of the eccentricity and inclination amplitudes of the linear eigenmodes or in terms of the system's so-called angular momentum deficit. These quantities are constant in the linear approximation and their values for the observed solar system have been used as constraints on the primordial evolution of the planets, including models of terrestrial planet formation (e.g., Raymond et al. 2009, Jacobson and Morbidelli 2014), giant planet migration (e.g., Brasser et al. 2009, Agnor and Lin 2012) and aspects of the terrestrial late veneer (e.g., Raymond et al. 2013). However, as is well-known, the orbital evolution of the terrestrial planets is not linear and the secular amplitudes change with time. Long-term integrations and analytic arguments have shown the evolution of the inner planets to be chaotic with characteristic lyapunov times of \\sim 5 Myr (e.g., Laskar 1989, Batygin & Laughlin 2008). This nonlinear behaviour is driven by the interaction of secular resonances (e.g., Laskar 1990, Lithwick and Wu 2011). The resulting chaotic orbital diffusion of the terrestrial planets may be modest or lead to instability of the system (Laskar 2008). Further, orbital integrations demonstrate that Mercury may evolve to orbit crossing with Venus over the next 5Gyr with a probability of about one percent (Laskar and Gastineau 2009). At the meeting I will present results of new long-term orbital integrations of the solar


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wordsworth, Robin; Pierrehumbert, Raymond [Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, 5734 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (United States)


    Detection of life on other planets requires identification of biosignatures, i.e., observable planetary properties that robustly indicate the presence of a biosphere. One of the most widely accepted biosignatures for an Earth-like planet is an atmosphere where oxygen is a major constituent. Here we show that lifeless habitable zone terrestrial planets around any star type may develop oxygen-dominated atmospheres as a result of water photolysis, because the cold trap mechanism that protects H{sub 2}O on Earth is ineffective when the atmospheric inventory of non-condensing gases (e.g., N{sub 2}, Ar) is low. Hence the spectral features of O{sub 2} and O{sub 3} alone cannot be regarded as robust signs of extraterrestrial life.

  19. Origin and evolution of life on terrestrial planets. (United States)

    Brack, A; Horneck, G; Cockell, C S; Bérces, A; Belisheva, N K; Eiroa, Carlos; Henning, Thomas; Herbst, Tom; Kaltenegger, Lisa; Léger, Alain; Liseau, Réne; Lammer, Helmut; Selsis, Franck; Beichman, Charles; Danchi, William; Fridlund, Malcolm; Lunine, Jonathan; Paresce, Francesco; Penny, Alan; Quirrenbach, Andreas; Röttgering, Huub; Schneider, Jean; Stam, Daphne; Tinetti, Giovanna; White, Glenn J


    The ultimate goal of terrestrial planet-finding missions is not only to discover terrestrial exoplanets inside the habitable zone (HZ) of their host stars but also to address the major question as to whether life may have evolved on a habitable Earth-like exoplanet outside our Solar System. We note that the chemical evolution that finally led to the origin of life on Earth must be studied if we hope to understand the principles of how life might evolve on other terrestrial planets in the Universe. This is not just an anthropocentric point of view: the basic ingredients of terrestrial life, that is, reduced carbon-based molecules and liquid H(2)O, have very specific properties. We discuss the origin of life from the chemical evolution of its precursors to the earliest life-forms and the biological implications of the stellar radiation and energetic particle environments. Likewise, the study of the biological evolution that has generated the various life-forms on Earth provides clues toward the understanding of the interconnectedness of life with its environment.

  20. The Potential for Volcanism and Tectonics on Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets (United States)

    Quick, Lynnae C.; Roberge, Aki


    JWST and other next-generation space telescopes (e.g., LUVOIR, HabEx, & OST) will usher in a new era of exoplanet characterization that may lead to the identification of habitable, Earth-like worlds. Like the planets and moons in our solar system, the surfaces and interiors of terrestrial exoplanets may be shaped by volcanism and tectonics (Fu et al., 2010; van Summeren et al., 2011; Henning and Hurford, 2014). The magnitude and rate of occurrence of these dynamic processes can either facilitate or preclude the existence of habitable environments. Likewise, it has been suggested that detections of cryovolcanism on icy exoplanets, in the form of geyser-like plumes, could indicate the presence of subsurface oceans (Quick et al., 2017).The presence of volcanic and tectonic activity on solid exoplanets will be intimately linked to planet size and heat output in the form of radiogenic and/or tidal heating. In order to place bounds on the potential for such activity, we estimated the heat output of a variety of exoplanets observed by Kepler. We considered planets whose masses and radii range from 0.067 ME (super-Ganymede) to 8 ME (super-Earth), and 0.5 to 1.8 RE, respectively. These heat output estimates were then compared to those of planets, moons, and dwarf planets in our solar system for which we have direct evidence for the presence/absence of volcanic and tectonic activity. After exoplanet heating rates were estimated, depths to putative molten layers in their interiors were also calculated. For planets such as TRAPPIST-1h, whose densities, orbital parameters, and effective temperatures are consistent with the presence of significant amounts of H2O (Luger et al., 2017), these calculations reveal the depths to internal oceans which may serve as habitable niches beneath surface ice layers.

  1. Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph : technology and mission design studies (United States)

    Ford, Virginia G.


    The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) coronagraph study involves exploring the technologies that enable a coronagraph style instrument to image and characterize earth-like planets orbiting nearby stars. Testbeds have been developed to demonstrate the emerging technologies needed for this effort and an architecture study has resulted in designs of a facility that will provide the environment needed for the technology to function in this role. A broad community of participants is involved in this work through studies, analyses, fabrication of components, and participation in the design effort. The scope of activities - both on the technology side and in the architecture study side - will be presented in this paper. The status and the future plans of the activities will be reviewed.

  2. Metrology system for the Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph (United States)

    Shaklin, Stuart; Marchen, Luis; Zhao, Feng; Peters, Robert D.; Ho, Tim; Holmes, Buck


    The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) employs an aggressive coronagraph designed to obtain better than 1e-10 contrast inside the third Airy ring. Minute changes in low-order aberration content scatter significant light at this position. One implication is the requirement to control low-order aberrations induced by motion of the secondary mirror relative to the primary mirror; sub-nanometer relative positional stability is required. We propose a 6-beam laser truss to monitor the relative positions of the two mirrors. The truss is based on laser metrology developed for the Space Interferometry Mission.

  3. Planetary Systems and the Formation of Habitable Planets (United States)

    Dvorak, Rudolf; Maindl, Thomas I.; Burger, Christoph; Schäfer, Christoph; Speith, Roland


    As part of a national scientific network 'Pathways to Habitability' the formation of planets and the delivery of water onto these planets is a key question as water is essential for the development of life. In the first part of the paper we summarize the state of the art of planet formation - which is still under debate in the astronomical community - before we show our results on this topic. The outcome of our numerical simulations depends a lot on the choice of the initial distribution of planetesimals and planetary embryos after gas disappeared in the protoplanetary disk. We also take into account that some of these planetesimals of sizes in the order of the mass of the Moon already contained water; the quantity depends on the distance from the Sun - close-by bodies are dry, but starting from a distance of about 2 AU they can contain substantial amounts of water. We assume that the gas giants and terrestrial planets are already formed when we check the collisions of the small bodies containing water (in the order of a few percent) with the terrestrial planets. We thus are able to give an estimate of the respective contribution to the actual water content (of some Earth-oceans) in the mantle, in the crust and on the surface of Earth. In the second part we discuss in more detail how the formation of larger bodies after a collision may happen as the outcome depends on parameters like collision velocity, impact angle, and the materials involved. We present results obtained by SPH (Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics) simulations. We briefly describe this method and show different scenarios with respect to the formed bodies, possible fragmentation and the water content before and after the collision. In an appendix we discuss detection methods for extrasolar planets (close to 2000 such objects have been discovered so far).

  4. Global models of planet formation and evolution (United States)

    Mordasini, C.; Mollière, P.; Dittkrist, K.-M.; Jin, S.; Alibert, Y.


    Despite the strong increase in observational data on extrasolar planets, the processes that led to the formation of these planets are still not well understood. However, thanks to the high number of extrasolar planets that have been discovered, it is now possible to look at the planets as a population that puts statistical constraints on theoretical formation models. A method that uses these constraints is planetary population synthesis where synthetic planetary populations are generated and compared to the actual population. The key element of the population synthesis method is a global model of planet formation and evolution. These models directly predict observable planetary properties based on properties of the natal protoplanetary disc, linking two important classes of astrophysical objects. To do so, global models build on the simplified results of many specialized models that address one specific physical mechanism. We thoroughly review the physics of the sub-models included in global formation models. The sub-models can be classified as models describing the protoplanetary disc (of gas and solids), those that describe one (proto)planet (its solid core, gaseous envelope and atmosphere), and finally those that describe the interactions (orbital migration and N-body interaction). We compare the approaches taken in different global models, discuss the links between specialized and global models, and identify physical processes that require improved descriptions in future work. We then shortly address important results of planetary population synthesis like the planetary mass function or the mass-radius relationship. With these statistical results, the global effects of physical mechanisms occurring during planet formation and evolution become apparent, and specialized models describing them can be put to the observational test. Owing to their nature as meta models, global models depend on the results of specialized models, and therefore on the development of

  5. Unique Spectroscopy and Imaging of Terrestrial Planets with JWST (United States)

    Villanueva, Geronimo Luis; JWST Mars Team


    In this talk, I will present the main capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) for performing observations of terrestrial planets, using Mars as a test case. The distinctive vantage point of JWST at the Sun-Earth Lagrange point (L2) will allow sampling the full observable disk, permitting the study of short-term phenomena, diurnal processes (across the East-West axis) and latitudinal processes between the hemispheres (including seasonal effects) with excellent spatial resolutions (0.07 arcsec at 2 um). Spectroscopic observations will be achievable in the 0.7-5 um spectral region with NIRSpec at a maximum resolving power of 2700, and with 8000 in the 1-1.25 um range. Imaging will be attainable with NIRCam at 4.3 um and with two narrow filters near 2 um, while the nightside will be accessible with several filters in the 0.5 to 2 um. Such a powerful suite of instruments will be a major asset for the exploration and characterization of Mars, and terrestrial planets in general. Some science cases include the mapping of the water D/H ratio, investigations of the Martian mesosphere via the characterization of the non-LTE CO2 emission at 4.3 um, studies of chemical transport via observations of the O2 nightglow at 1.27 um, high cadence mapping of the variability dust and water ice clouds, and sensitive searches for trace species and hydrated features on the planetary surface.

  6. Primordial atmosphere incorporation in planetary embryos and the origin of Neon in terrestrial planets (United States)

    Jaupart, Etienne; Charnoz, Sebatien; Moreira, Manuel


    The presence of Neon in terrestrial planet mantles may be attributed to the implantation of solar wind in planetary precursors or to the dissolution of primordial solar gases captured from the accretionary disk into an early magma ocean. This is suggested by the Neon isotopic ratio similar to those of the Sun observed in the Earth mantle. Here, we evaluate the second hypothesis. We use general considerations of planetary accretion and atmospheric science. Using current models of terrestrial planet formation, we study the evolution of standard planetary embryos with masses in a range of 0.1-0.2 MEarth, where MEarth is the Earth's mass, in an annular region at distances between 0.5 and 1.5 Astronomical Units from the star. We determine the characteristics of atmospheres that can be captured by such embryos for a wide range of parameters and calculate the maximum amount of Neon that can be dissolved in the planet. Our calculations may be directly transposed to any other planet. However, we only know of the amount of Neon in the Earth's solid mantle. Thus we use Earth to discuss our results. We find that the amount of dissolved Neon is too small to account for the present-day Neon contents of the Earth's mantle, if the nebular gas disk completely disappears before the largest planetary embryos grow to be ∼0.2 MEarth. This leaves solar irradiation as the most likely source of Neon in terrestrial planets for the most standard case of planetary formation models.

  7. The formation of planets in circumbinary discs (United States)

    Pelupessy, F. I.; Portegies Zwart, S.


    We examine the formation of planets around binary stars in light of the recently discovered systems Kepler 16, 34 and 35. We conduct hydrodynamical simulations of self-gravitating discs around binary systems. The selected binary and disc parameters are chosen consistent with observed systems. The discs are evolved until they settle in a quasi-equilibrium and the resulting systems are compared with the parameters of Kepler 16, 34 and 35. We find a close correspondence of the peak density at the inner disc gap and the orbit of the observed planets. We conclude, based on our simulations, that the orbits of the observed Kepler planets are determined by the size of the inner disc gap which for these systems results from the binary driving. This mediates planet formation either through the density enhancement or through planetary trapping at the density gradient inversion in the inner disc. For all three systems the current eccentricity of the planetary orbit is less than the disc eccentricity in the simulations. This, together with the long-term stability of the orbits argues against in situ formation (e.g. a direct collapse scenario of the material in the ring). Conducting additional simulations of systems with a wider range of parameters (taken from a survey of eclipsing binaries), we find that the planet semimajor axis and binary eccentricity in such a scenario should be tightly correlated providing an observational test of this formation mechanism.

  8. Terrestrial exo-planet science by nulling interferometry: instrument design and scientific performance (United States)

    Wallner, Oswald; Ergenzinger, Klaus; Johann, Ulrich


    The detection of terrestrial exo-planets in the habitable zone of Sun-like stars as well as the proof of biomarkers is one of the most exciting goals in Astrophysics today. A nulling interferometer operated in the mid-infrared wavelength regime allows for overcoming the obstacles of huge contrast ratio and small angular separation between star and planet. Dedicated missions, as ESA's DARWIN or NASA's TPF-I, are implemented as a closely controlled formation of free-flying spacecraft which carry the distributed payload. We discuss various implementation alternatives and present an optimized design of the DARWIN instrument including the science payload and the formation-flying subsystem. We analyze the achievable scientific performance of the DARWIN instrument by taking into account the target properties and the instrument performance. We show that the DARWIN mission is feasible and that the mission goals can be fulfilled.

  9. Surface history of Mercury - Implications for terrestrial planets (United States)

    Murray, B. C.; Strom, R. G.; Trask, N. J.; Gault, D. E.


    A plausible surface history of Mercury is presented which is suggested by Mariner 10 television pictures. Five periods are postulated which are delineated by successive variations in the modification of the surface by external and internal processes: accretion and differentiation, terminal heavy bombardment, formation of the Caloris basin, flooding of that basin and other areas, and light cratering accumulated on the smooth plains. Each period is described in detail; the overall history is compared with the surface histories of Venus, Mars, and the moon; and the implications of this history for earth are discussed. It is tentatively concluded that: Mercury is a differentiated planet most likely composed of a large iron core enclosed by a relatively thin silicate layer; heavy surface bombardment occurred about four billion years ago, which probably affected all the inner planets, and was followed by a period of volcanic activity; no surface modifications caused by tectonic, volcanic, or atmospheric processes took place after the volcanic period.

  10. Refractory Abundances of Terrestrial Planets and Their Stars: Testing [Si/Fe] Correlations with TESS and PLATO (United States)

    Wolfgang, Angie; Fortney, Jonathan


    In standard models for planet formation, solid material in protoplanetary disks coagulate and collide to form rocky bodies. It therefore seems reasonable to assume that their chemical composition will follow the abundances of refractory elements, such as Si and Fe, in the host star, which has also accreted material from the disk. Backed by planet formation simulations which validate this assumption, planetary internal structure models have begun to use stellar abundances to break degeneracies in low-mass planet compositions inferred only from mass and radius. Inconveniently, our own Solar System contradicts this approach, as its terrestrial bodies exhibit a range of rock/iron ratios and the Sun's [Si/Fe] ratio is offset from the mean planetary [Si/Fe]. In this work, we explore what number and quality of observations we need to empirically measure the exoplanet-star [Si/Fe] correlation, given future transit missions, RV follow-up, and stellar characterization. Specifically, we generate synthetic datasets of terrestrial planet masses and radii and host star abundances assuming that the planets’ bulk [Si/Fe] ratio exactly tracks that of their host stars. We assign measurement uncertainties corresponding to expected precisions for TESS, PLATO, Gaia, and future RV instrumentation, and then invert the problem to infer the planet-star [Si/Fe] correlation given these observational constraints. Comparing the result to the generated truth, we find that 1% precision on the planet radii is needed to test whether [Si/Fe] ratios are correlated between exoplanet and host star. On the other hand, lower precisions can test for systematic offsets between planet and star [Si/Fe], which can constrain the importance of giant impacts for extrasolar terrestrial planet formation.

  11. Compositional constraints on giant planet formation (United States)

    Owen, Tobias; Encrenaz, Therese


    Using Ockham's razor as a guide, we have tried to find the simplest model for the formation of giant planets that can explain current observations of atmospheric composition. While this "top-down" approach is far from sufficient to define such models, it establishes a set of boundary conditions whose satisfaction is necessary. Using Jupiter as the prototype, we find that a simple model for giant planet formation that begins with a solar nebula of uniform composition and relies on accretion of low temperature icy planetesimals plus collapse of surrounding solar nebula gas supplies that satisfaction. We compare the resulting predictions of elemental abundances and isotope ratios in the atmospheres of the other giants with those from contrasting models and suggest some key measurements to make further progress.

  12. Dust to Dust: Evidence for Planet Formation?


    Schneider, G.; Hines, D. C.; Silverstone, M. D.; Weinberger, A J; Becklin, E. E.; Smith, B. A.


    We discuss the properties of several circumstellar debris disk systems imaged with the Hubble Space Telescope's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer in a survey of young stars with known far-IR excesses. These dusty disks around young ($\\sim$ 5--8 Myr) unembedded stars exhibit morphological anisotropies and other characteristics which are suggestive of recent or on-going planet formation. We consider evidence for the evolution of populations of collisionally produced disk grains...

  13. Conditions of Passage and Entrapment of Terrestrial Planets in Spin-Orbit Resonances (United States)


    May 25 ABSTRACT The dynamical evolution of terrestrial planets resembling Mercury in the vicinity of spin-orbit resonances is investigated using... planet and assuming a zero obliquity. We find that a Mercury -like planet with a current value of orbital eccentricity (0.2056) is always captured in... Mercury rarely fails to align itself into this state of unstable equilibrium before it traverses 2:1 resonance. Key words: celestial mechanics – planets

  14. Implications of the TTV-detection of close-in terrestrial planets around M stars for their origin and dynamical evolution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rastegar S.


    Full Text Available It has been shown that an Earth-size planet or a super-Earth, in resonance with a transiting Jupiter-like body around an M star, can create detectable TTV signals (Kirste & Haghighipour, 2011. Given the low masses of M stars and their circumstellar disks, it is expected that the transiting giant planet to have formed at large distances and migrated to its close-in orbit. That implies, the terrestrial planet has to form during the migration of the giant planet, be captured in resonances, and migrate with the giant body to short-period orbits. To determine the possibility of this scenario, we have studied the dynamics of a disk of protoplanetary embryos and the formation of terrestrial planets during the migration of a Jupiter-like planet around an M star. Results suggest that unless the terrestrial planet was also formed at large distances and carried to its close-in resonant orbit by the giant planet, it is unlikely for this object to form in small orbits. We present the details of our simulations and discuss the implication of the results for the origin of the terrestrial planet.

  15. Abiotic nitrogen fixation on terrestrial planets: reduction of NO to ammonia by FeS. (United States)

    Summers, David P; Basa, Ranor C B; Khare, Bishun; Rodoni, David


    Understanding the abiotic fixation of nitrogen and how such fixation can be a supply of prebiotic nitrogen is critical for understanding both the planetary evolution of, and the potential origin of life on, terrestrial planets. As nitrogen is a biochemically essential element, sources of biochemically accessible nitrogen, especially reduced nitrogen, are critical to prebiotic chemistry and the origin of life. Loss of atmospheric nitrogen can result in loss of the ability to sustain liquid water on a planetary surface, which would impact planetary habitability and hydrological processes that shape the surface. It is known that NO can be photochemically converted through a chain of reactions to form nitrate and nitrite, which can be subsequently reduced to ammonia. Here, we show that NO can also be directly reduced, by FeS, to ammonia. In addition to removing nitrogen from the atmosphere, this reaction is particularly important as a source of reduced nitrogen on an early terrestrial planet. By converting NO directly to ammonia in a single step, ammonia is formed with a higher product yield (~50%) than would be possible through the formation of nitrate/nitrite and subsequent conversion to ammonia. In conjunction with the reduction of NO, there is also a catalytic disproportionation at the mineral surface that converts NO to NO₂ and N₂O. The NO₂ is then converted to ammonia, while the N₂O is released back in the gas phase, which provides an abiotic source of nitrous oxide.

  16. The LAPS Project: A tutorial, online model to simulate the atmosphere of any terrestrial planet (United States)

    Turbet, M.; Schott, C.; Forget, F.


    The LAPS (Live Atmospheres-of-Planets Simulator) is a live 1-D radiative-convective version of the LMD Global Climate Model, available on The LAPS provides an accelerated and interactive simulation of the climate of any terrestrial planet and exoplanet.

  17. The interplay between X-ray photoevaporation and planet formation


    Rosotti, Giovanni P.; Ercolano, Barbara; Owen, James. E.; Armitage, Philip J.


    We assess the potential of planet formation instigating the early formation of a photoevaporation driven gap, up to radii larger than typical for photoevaporation alone. For our investigation we make use of hydrodynamics models of photoevaporating discs with a giant planet embedded. We find that, by reducing the mass accretion flow onto the star, discs that form giant planets will be dispersed at earlier times than discs without planets by X-ray photoevaporation. By clearing the portion of th...

  18. The origins of volatiles in the terrestrial planets (United States)

    Halliday, Alex N.


    , presumably in the form of water, would need to predate it. Therefore, Earth probably acquired volatile elements from chondritic material admixed with Solar and cometary contributions during the main stages of accretion, but this was accompanied or followed by greater but variable depletion in 1H, 12C, 14N and 130Xe possibly supplemented by the addition of a late veneer. Venus and Mars display a broadly similar pattern of C and N depletion relative to noble gases when chondrite normalised, based on the minimum budgets deduced from their atmospheres. The strong depletion of 1H, 12C, 14N and 130Xe relative to other noble gases in terrestrial planets, and possibly Xe isotopic fractionation as well, could be explained by the early removal of these elements from the inner circumstellar disk, from the planets, or from silicate reservoirs themselves. Some of the lost 1H, 12C, 14N and possibly 130Xe could be in the metallic cores of terrestrial planets. However, carbon, nitrogen and xenon also all form low temperature species with ionization potentials less than that of hydrogen. The depletion of these four elements as well as the strong Xe isotopic fractionation may therefore also relate to loss of ions formed from solar EUV in the inner circumstellar disk and in protoplanetary atmospheres.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jang-Condell, Hannah, E-mail: [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Wyoming, 1000 East University, Department 3905, Laramie, WY 82071 (United States)


    To date, several exoplanets have been discovered orbiting stars with close binary companions (a ≲ 30 AU). The fact that planets can form in these dynamically challenging environments implies that planet formation must be a robust process. The initial protoplanetary disks in these systems from which planets must form should be tidally truncated to radii of a few AU, which indicates that the efficiency of planet formation must be high. Here, we examine the truncation of circumstellar protoplanetary disks in close binary systems, studying how the likelihood of planet formation is affected over a range of disk parameters. If the semimajor axis of the binary is too small or its eccentricity is too high, the disk will have too little mass for planet formation to occur. However, we find that the stars in the binary systems known to have planets should have once hosted circumstellar disks that were capable of supporting planet formation despite their truncation. We present a way to characterize the feasibility of planet formation based on binary orbital parameters such as stellar mass, companion mass, eccentricity, and semimajor axis. Using this measure, we can quantify the robustness of planet formation in close binaries and better understand the overall efficiency of planet formation in general.

  20. Constraints from Comets on the Formation and Volatile Acquisition of the Planets and Satellites (United States)

    Mandt, K. E.; Mousis, O.; Marty, B.; Cavalié, T.; Harris, W.; Hartogh, P.; Willacy, K.


    Comets play a dual role in understanding the formation and evolution of the solar system. First, the composition of comets provides information about the origin of the giant planets and their moons because comets formed early and their composition is not expected to have evolved significantly since formation. They, therefore serve as a record of conditions during the early stages of solar system formation. Once comets had formed, their orbits were perturbed allowing them to travel into the inner solar system and impact the planets. In this way they contributed to the volatile inventory of planetary atmospheres. We review here how knowledge of comet composition up to the time of the Rosetta mission has contributed to understanding the formation processes of the giant planets, their moons and small icy bodies in the solar system. We also discuss how comets contributed to the volatile inventories of the giant and terrestrial planets.

  1. Hydrocode modeling of oblique impacts into terrestrial planets (United States)

    Kendall, Jordan D.

    The abundance of moderately siderophile elements ("iron-loving"; e.g., Co, Ni) in the Earth's mantle is 10 to 100 times larger than predicted by chemical equilibrium between silicate melt and iron at low pressure, but it does match expectation for equilibrium at high pressure and temperature. Recent studies of differentiated planetesimal impacts assume that planetesimal cores survive the impact intact as concentrated masses that passively settle from a zero initial velocity and undergo turbulent entrainment in a global magma ocean; under these conditions, cores greater than 10 km in diameter do not fully mix without a sufficiently deep magma ocean. I have performed hydrocode simulations that revise this assumption and yield a clearer picture of the impact process for differentiated planetesimals possessing iron cores with radius = 100 km that impact into magma oceans. The impact process strips away the silicate mantle of the planetesimal and then stretches the iron core, dispersing the liquid iron into a much larger volume of the underlying liquid silicate mantle. Lagrangian tracer particles track the initially intact iron core as the impact stretches and disperses the core. The final displacement distance of initially closest tracer pairs gives a metric of core stretching. The statistics of stretching imply mixing that separates the iron core into sheets, ligaments, and smaller fragments, on a scale of 10 km or less. The impact dispersed core fragments undergo further mixing through turbulent entrainment as the molten iron fragments sink through the magma ocean and settle deeper into the planet. My results thus support the idea that iron in the cores of even large differentiated planetesimals can chemically equilibrate deep in a terrestrial magma ocean. The largest known impact on the Moon formed the South Pole-Aitken (SP-A) basin and excavated material as deep as the mantle. Here I suggest that large impacts eject enough material to cover the farside of the Moon

  2. The Atmospheres of the Terrestrial Planets:Clues to the Origins and Early Evolution of Venus, Earth, and Mars (United States)

    Baines, Kevin H.; Atreya, Sushil K.; Bullock, Mark A.; Grinspoon, David H,; Mahaffy, Paul; Russell, Christopher T.; Schubert, Gerald; Zahnle, Kevin


    We review the current state of knowledge of the origin and early evolution of the three largest terrestrial planets - Venus, Earth, and Mars - setting the stage for the chapters on comparative climatological processes to follow. We summarize current models of planetary formation, as revealed by studies of solid materials from Earth and meteorites from Mars. For Venus, we emphasize the known differences and similarities in planetary bulk properties and composition with Earth and Mars, focusing on key properties indicative of planetary formation and early evolution, particularly of the atmospheres of all three planets. We review the need for future in situ measurements for improving our understanding of the origin and evolution of the atmospheres of our planetary neighbors and Earth, and suggest the accuracies required of such new in situ data. Finally, we discuss the role new measurements of Mars and Venus have in understanding the state and evolution of planets found in the habitable zones of other stars.

  3. A New Family of Planets ? "Ocean Planets"


    Leger, A.; Selsis, F.; Sotin, C.; Guillot, T.; Despois, D.; Lammer, H.; Ollivier, M.; Brachet, F.; Labeque, A.; Valette, C.


    A new family of planets is considered which is between rochy terrestrial planets and gaseous giant ones: "Ocean-Planets". We present the possible formation, composition and internal models of these putative planets, including that of their ocean, as well as their possible Exobiology interest. These planets should be detectable by planet detection missions such as Eddington and Kepler, and possibly COROT (lauch scheduled in 2006). They would be ideal targets for spectroscopic missions such as ...

  4. Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph 2005: Overview of Technology Development and System Design Studies (United States)

    Ford, Virginia G.


    Technology research, design trades, and modeling and analysis guide the definition of a Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph Mission that will search for and characterize earth-like planets around near-by stars. Operating in visible wavebands, this mission will use coronagraphy techniques to suppress starlight to enable capturing and imaging the reflected light from a planet orbiting in the habitable zone of its parent star. The light will be spectrally characterized to determine the presence of life-indicating chemistry in the planet atmosphere.

  5. Atmospheric circulation modeling of super Earths and terrestrial extrasolar planets using the SPARC/MITgcm (United States)

    Kataria, T.; Showman, A. P.; Haberle, R. M.; Marley, M. S.; Fortney, J. J.; Freedman, R. S.


    The field of exoplanets continues to be a booming field of research in astronomy and planetary science, with numerous ground-based (e.g., SuperWASP, HARPS-N and S) and space-based surveys (e.g., Kepler) that detect and characterize planets ranging from hot Jupiters, Jovian-sized planets orbiting less than 0.1 AU from their star, to super Earths and terrestrial exoplanets, planets that have masses equal to or less than 10 times that of Earth with a range of orbital distances. Atmospheric circulation modeling plays an important role in the characterization of these planets, helping to constrain observations that probe their atmospheres. These models have proven successful in understanding observations of transiting exoplanets (when the planet passes in front of the star along our line of sight) particularly when the planet is passing through secondary eclipse (when the planet's dayside is visible). In modeling super Earths and terrestrial exoplanets, we must consider not only planets with thick fluid envelopes, but also traditional terrestrial planets with solid surfaces and thinner atmospheres. To that end, we present results from studies investigating the atmospheric circulation of these classes of planets using the SPARC/MITgcm, a state-of-the-art model which couples the MIT General Circulation Model with a plane-parallel, two-stream, non-gray radiative transfer model. We will present results from two studies, the first focusing on the circulation of GJ 1214b, a super-Earth detected by the MEarth ground-based survey, and a second study which explores the circulation of terrestrial exoplanets orbiting M-dwarfs.

  6. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Terrestrial Planets: Building Blocks and Differentiation (United States)


    The session "Terrestrial Planets: Building Blocks and Differentiation: included the following topics:Magnesium Isotopes in the Earth, Moon, Mars, and Pallasite Parent Body: High-Precision Analysis of Olivine by Laser-Ablation Multi-Collector ICPMS; Meteoritic Constraints on Collision Rates in the Primordial Asteroid Belt and Its Origin; New Constraints on the Origin of the Highly Siderophile Elements in the Earth's Upper Mantle; Further Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd Isotopic Data on Planetary Materials and Consequences for Planetary Differentiation; A Deep Lunar Magma Ocean Based on Neodymium, Strontium and Hafnium Isotope Mass Balance Partial Resetting on Hf-W System by Giant Impacts; On the Problem of Metal-Silicate Equilibration During Planet Formation: Significance for Hf-W Chronometry ; Solid Metal-Liquid Metal Partitioning of Pt, Re, and Os: The Effect of Carbon; Siderophile Element Abundances in Fe-S-Ni-O Melts Segregated from Partially Molten Ordinary Chondrite Under Dynamic Conditions; Activity Coefficients of Silicon in Iron-Nickel Alloys: Experimental Determination and Relevance for Planetary Differentiation; Reinvestigation of the Ni and Co Metal-Silicate Partitioning; Metal/Silicate Paritioning of P, Ga, and W at High Pressures and Temperatures: Dependence on Silicate Melt Composition; and Closure of the Fe-S-Si Liquid Miscibility Gap at High Pressure and Its Implications for Planetary Core Formation.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yang, Jun; Abbot, Dorian S. [Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637 (United States); Liu, Yonggang [Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544 (United States); Hu, Yongyun, E-mail: [Laboratory for Climate and Atmosphere-Ocean Studies, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing (China)


    Surface liquid water is essential for standard planetary habitability. Calculations of atmospheric circulation on tidally locked planets around M stars suggest that this peculiar orbital configuration lends itself to the trapping of large amounts of water in kilometers-thick ice on the night side, potentially removing all liquid water from the day side where photosynthesis is possible. We study this problem using a global climate model including coupled atmosphere, ocean, land, and sea ice components as well as a continental ice sheet model driven by the climate model output. For a waterworld, we find that surface winds transport sea ice toward the day side and the ocean carries heat toward the night side. As a result, nightside sea ice remains O(10 m) thick and nightside water trapping is insignificant. If a planet has large continents on its night side, they can grow ice sheets O(1000 m) thick if the geothermal heat flux is similar to Earth's or smaller. Planets with a water complement similar to Earth's would therefore experience a large decrease in sea level when plate tectonics drives their continents onto the night side, but would not experience complete dayside dessiccation. Only planets with a geothermal heat flux lower than Earth's, much of their surface covered by continents, and a surface water reservoir O(10%) of Earth's would be susceptible to complete water trapping.

  8. Is There a Temperature Limit in Planet Formation at 1000 K? (United States)

    Demirci, Tunahan; Teiser, Jens; Steinpilz, Tobias; Landers, Joachim; Salamon, Soma; Wende, Heiko; Wurm, Gerhard


    Dust drifting inward in protoplanetary disks is subject to increasing temperatures. In laboratory experiments, we tempered basaltic dust between 873 K and 1273 K and find that the dust grains change in size and composition. These modifications influence the outcome of self-consistent low speed aggregation experiments showing a transition temperature of 1000 K. Dust tempered at lower temperatures grows to a maximum aggregate size of 2.02 ± 0.06 mm, which is 1.49 ± 0.08 times the value for dust tempered at higher temperatures. A similar size ratio of 1.75 ± 0.16 results for a different set of collision velocities. This transition temperature is in agreement with orbit temperatures deduced for observed extrasolar planets. Most terrestrial planets are observed at positions equivalent to less than 1000 K. Dust aggregation on the millimeter-scale at elevated temperatures might therefore be a key factor for terrestrial planet formation.

  9. Nitrogen fixation on early Mars and other terrestrial planets: experimental demonstration of abiotic fixation reactions to nitrite and nitrate. (United States)

    Summers, David P; Khare, Bishun


    Understanding the abiotic fixation of nitrogen is critical to understanding planetary evolution and the potential origin of life on terrestrial planets. Nitrogen, an essential biochemical element, is certainly necessary for life as we know it to arise. The loss of atmospheric nitrogen can result in an incapacity to sustain liquid water and impact planetary habitability and hydrological processes that shape the surface. However, our current understanding of how such fixation may occur is almost entirely theoretical. This work experimentally examines the chemistry, in both gas and aqueous phases, that would occur from the formation of NO and CO by the shock heating of a model carbon dioxide/nitrogen atmosphere such as is currently thought to exist on early terrestrial planets. The results show that two pathways exist for the abiotic fixation of nitrogen from the atmosphere into the crust: one via HNO and another via NO(2). Fixation via HNO, which requires liquid water, could represent fixation on a planet with liquid water (and hence would also be a source of nitrogen for the origin of life). The pathway via NO(2) does not require liquid water and shows that fixation could occur even when liquid water has been lost from a planet's surface (for example, continuing to remove nitrogen through NO(2) reaction with ice, adsorbed water, etc.).

  10. KOI-3158: The oldest known system of terrestrial-size planets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Campante T. L.


    Full Text Available The first discoveries of exoplanets around Sun-like stars have fueled efforts to find ever smaller worlds evocative of Earth and other terrestrial planets in the Solar System. While gas-giant planets appear to form preferentially around metal-rich stars, small planets (with radii less than four Earth radii can form under a wide range of metallicities. This implies that small, including Earth-size, planets may have readily formed at earlier epochs in the Universe’s history when metals were far less abundant. We report Kepler spacecraft observations of KOI-3158, a metal-poor Sun-like star from the old population of the Galactic thick disk, which hosts five planets with sizes between Mercury and Venus. We used asteroseismology to directly measure a precise age of 11.2 ± 1.0 Gyr for the host star, indicating that KOI-3158 formed when the Universe was less than 20 % of its current age and making it the oldest known system of terrestrial-size planets. We thus show that Earth-size planets have formed throughout most of the Universe’s 13.8-billion-year history, providing scope for the existence of ancient life in the Galaxy.

  11. The origin of high eccentricity planets: The dispersed planet formation regime for weakly magnetized disks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yusuke Imaeda


    Full Text Available In the tandem planet formation regime, planets form at two distinct sites where solid particles are densely accumulated due to the on/off state of the magnetorotational instability (MRI. We found that tandem planet formation can reproduce the solid component distribution of the Solar System and tends to produce a smaller number of large planets through continuous pebble flow into the planet formation sites. In the present paper, we investigate the dependence of tandem planet formation on the vertical magnetic field of the protoplanetary disk. We calculated two cases of Bz=3.4×10−3 G and Bz=3.4×10−5 G at 100 AU as well as the canonical case of Bz=3.4×10−4 G. We found that tandem planet formation holds up well in the case of the strong magnetic field (Bz=3.4×10−3 G. On the other hand, in the case of a weak magnetic field (Bz=3.4×10−5 G at 100 AU, a new regime of planetary growth is realized: the planets grow independently at different places in the dispersed area of the MRI-suppressed region of r=8−30 AU at a lower accretion rate of M˙<10−7.4 M⊙yr−1. We call this the “dispersed planet formation” regime. This may lead to a system with a larger number of smaller planets that gain high eccentricity through mutual collisions.

  12. Planet Formation Instrument for the Thirty Meter Telescope

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Macintosh, B; Troy, M; Graham, J; Doyon, R


    In the closing years of the 20th Century humankind began its exploration of the planetary systems in the solar neighborhood. Precision radial velocity measurements have now yielded the discovery of over 160 planets. Direct imaging of these planets, as opposed to detection of the effects of orbital motion on their parent star, is now feasible, and the first young planet in a wide orbit may have been detected using adaptive optics systems. Gemini and the VLT are building the first generation of high contrast adaptive optics systems, which deliver planet-imaging performance within few Airy rings of the host star. These systems will make the first surveys of the outer regions of solar systems by detecting the self-luminous radiation of young planets. These instruments will establish whether Jovian planets form predominantly through 'top-down' (global gravitational instability) or 'bottom-up' (core accretion) processes. The 8-m 'extreme' AO systems cannot see close enough to the host stars to image Doppler planets, and they cannot reach the relatively distant, young clusters and associations where planets are forming. The Planet Formation Instrument will use the nearly four-fold improved angular resolution of TMT to peer into the inner solar systems of Doppler-planet bearing stars to yield a unified sample of planets with known Keplerian orbital elements and atmospheric properties. In star formation regions, where T Tauri stars (young solar type stars) are found in abundance, PFI can see into the snow line, where the icy cores of planets like Jupiter must have formed. Thus, TMT will be the first facility to witness the formation of new planets.

  13. Evolving dynamical regimes during secular cooling of terrestrial planets : insights and inferences from numerical models

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Thienen, Peter van


    Although plate tectonics is the present-day mode of geodynamics on Earth, it is not so on Mars and Venus, and probably also not during the early history of the Earth. In this thesis, the conditions under which plate tectonics may operate on terrestrial planets are investigated. Numerical model

  14. Using large impacts to constrain the thermal evolution of the terrestrial planets (United States)

    Padovan, S.; Tosi, N.; Plesa, A.-C.; Ruedas, T.


    Thermal evolution models of the terrestrial planets are directly constrained by only few observations (nature, volume, and age of the crust). In this work we show how local data sets, pertaining to the volume and time of emplacement of volcanic material within large impact basins, can provide additional constraints on the global evolution of Mercury, Mars, and the Moon.

  15. Collisional Mass Loss and Change of Volatile Content in Planet Formation (United States)

    Maindl, Thomas I.; Haghighipour, Nader; Burger, Christoph; Bancelin, David; Schaefer, Christoph


    It is widely accepted that the majority of Earth’s water was delivered to it by water carrying planetesimals and planetary embryos from the outer part of the asteroid belt. Modern planet formation simulations show this process with high resolution, but typically still treat embryo growth and water delivery in a rudimentary way: perfect merging is assumed whenever a collision occurs. This neglects collisional loss of material - especially volatiles - and hence leads to planetary water contents that are far too high. Faced with the challenge of estimating planetary embryo growth and their water content with increased accuracy, we study typical collision scenarios from our previous n-body simulations. These scenarios differ in the masses of the involved planetary embryos, their water contents, the impact angles, and the collision speeds. We perform several suites of detailed simulations with our smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) collision code covering part of the mentioned parameter space. We thrive for deriving a reasonable analytic estimate for collisional mass loss and volatile transfer that can (a) be included efficiently in planet formation simulations and (b) be used as a post-formation means to estimate realistic water budgets of terrestrial planets. While more extensive parameter studies are needed for deriving such a relation, we present first results valid for the simulated range of masses, velocities, and collision angles and discuss their implications for models of terrestrial planet formation.

  16. Water and the Interior Structure of Terrestrial Planets and Icy Bodies (United States)

    Monteux, J.; Golabek, G. J.; Rubie, D. C.; Tobie, G.; Young, E. D.


    Water content and the internal evolution of terrestrial planets and icy bodies are closely linked. The distribution of water in planetary systems is controlled by the temperature structure in the protoplanetary disk and dynamics and migration of planetesimals and planetary embryos. This results in the formation of planetesimals and planetary embryos with a great variety of compositions, water contents and degrees of oxidation. The internal evolution and especially the formation time of planetesimals relative to the timescale of radiogenic heating by short-lived 26Al decay may govern the amount of hydrous silicates and leftover rock-ice mixtures available in the late stages of their evolution. In turn, water content may affect the early internal evolution of the planetesimals and in particular metal-silicate separation processes. Moreover, water content may contribute to an increase of oxygen fugacity and thus affect the concentrations of siderophile elements within the silicate reservoirs of Solar System objects. Finally, the water content strongly influences the differentiation rate of the icy moons, controls their internal evolution and governs the alteration processes occurring in their deep interiors.

  17. Formation and evolution of Martian gullies: a terrestrial perspective (United States)

    Haas, T. D.


    Martian Gullies (alcove-fan systems) are among the youngest landforms that may have formed by liquid water on Mars, and therefore of critical importance in resolving the planet's most recent climatic history. Water-free sediment flows, often associated to CO2 ice, debris flows and fluvial flows have all been identified in gullies. These processes require different amounts of liquid water, and therefore their contribution to gully-formation is of key importance for climatic inferences. In contrast to CO2-aided flows, there are terrestrial analogues for debris flows and fluvial flows. Here I compare the morphology, morphometry and sedimentology of the surface and subsurface deposits of Martian gullies as seen on HiRISE imagery to terrestrial analogues in order to determine their formative processes and the climate in which Martian gullies formed. Terrestrial analogues from the hyperarid Atacama Desert (Chile) and Death Valley (USA), the arctic region of Svalbard and a small-scale experimental setup are visited to do so. Secondly, a sediment budget analysis is performed on geophysical-flow deposits in Martian gullies, to infer their return period as well as the amounts of water needed for their formation. Finally, the effect of time on Martian gully evolution is evaluated by comparing the size and morphology of gullies and associated landforms with their host crater age (and thus their time of potential activity). In short, the sedimentology in vertical exposures in Martian gullies is consistent with a formation by debris flows, while surficial debris-flow signatures have often been removed by erosion. Boulder mobility calculations imply that significant gully formation by fluvial sheetfloods is unlikely. Sediment budget analyses of debris-flow deposits in Istok crater imply that debris flows occurred at Earth-like frequencies during high-obliquity periods in the last million years on Mars and that melting must have yielded centimeters of liquid water in the gully

  18. CoRoT: a first space mission to find terrestrial planets (United States)

    Barge, P.; Baglin, A.; Auvergne, M.; Buey, J.-T.; Catala, C.; Michel, E.; Weiss, W. W.; Deleuil, M.; Jorda, L.; Moutou, C.; COROT Team


    CoRoT is a space mission devoted to broadband star photometry in visible light during long observing runs. Developed by CNES with a wide european cooperation, it will be launched in 2006 with two pionneering scientific programs: star seismology and detection of terrestrial planets. CoRoT will use the transit method looking for terrestrial planets slightly larger than the Earth. It will check the existence (or absence) of big ``hot-terrestrials" and will discover, quite certainly, a large number of close-in giants. Our understanding on the origin and evolution of these ``hot" planets will certainly be greatly improved thanks to the strong sample enlargement and to the possibility to measure the planet mass from Doppler follow-up. We give in this paper a brief overview of the instrument, the satellite and the expected detection capabilities. Planetary radii will be measured down to Uranus size around solar type stars and down to Earth size around M type stars. Orbital periods will be determined up to 75 days.

  19. Determining Symmetry Properties of Gravitational Fields of Terrestrial Group Planets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R.A. Kascheev


    Full Text Available Numerous models of gravity fields of the Solar system bodies have been constructed recently owing to successful space missions. These models are sets of harmonic coefficients of gravity potential expansion in series of spherical functions, which is Laplace series. The sets of coefficients are different in quantity of numerical parameters, sources and composition of the initial observational data, methods to obtain and process them, and, consequently, in a variety of properties and accuracy characteristics. For this reason, the task of comparison of different models of celestial bodies considered in the paper is of interest and relevant. The main purpose of this study is comparison of the models of gravitational potential of the Earth, Moon, Mars, and Venus with the quantitative criteria of different types of symmetries developed by us. It is assumed that some particular symmetry of the density distribution function of the planetary body causes similar symmetry of its gravitational potential. The symmetry of gravitational potential, in its turn, imposes additional conditions (restrictions, which must be satisfied by the harmonic coefficients. The paper deals with seven main types of symmetries: central, axial, two symmetries specular relative to the equatorial planes and prime meridian, as well as three rotational symmetries (at π angle around the coordinate system axes. According to the results of calculations carried out for the Earth, Moon, Mars, and Venus, the values of the criteria vary considerably for different types of symmetries and for different planets. It means that the specific value of each criterion corresponding to a particular celestial body is indicative of the properties and internal structure characteristics of the latter and, therefore, it can be used as a tool for comparative planetology. On the basis of the performed calculations, it is possible to distinguish two groups of celestial bodies having similar properties of

  20. The provenances of asteroids, and their contributions to the volatile inventories of the terrestrial planets

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Alexander, C M O'D; Bowden, R; Fogel, M L; Howard, K T; Herd, C D K; Nittler, L R


    Determining the source(s) of hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen accreted by Earth is important for understanding the origins of water and life and for constraining dynamical processes that operated during planet formation...

  1. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Discussion of the nature, origin and role of the intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon. Ph.D. Thesis (United States)

    Leake, M. A.


    The nature and origin of the intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon as determined through geologic mapping, crater statistics, and remotely sensed data are summarized. Implications of these results regarding scarp formation, absolute ages, and terrestrial planet surfaces are included. The role of the intercrater plains is defined and future work which might lead to a better understanding of these units and terrestrial planet evolution is outlined.

  2. The interplay between X-ray photoevaporation and planet formation (United States)

    Rosotti, Giovanni; Ercolano, Barbara; Owen, James; Armitage, Phil


    Planets form from gas and dust discs that orbit young stars. The evolution and final dispersal of protoplanetary discs holds therefore a particular importance, especially in terms of timescales. In particular, observations reveal that most (if not all) discs go through the "transitional disc" phase, which is currently interpreted as the last stage before the disc dispersal. Photoevaporation and planet formation have been studied as possible physical mechanisms responsible for the formation of these discs. While it is likely that more than one mechanism is at play, the interplay between them has until now not been studied in detail. I will show results from 2d simulations of protoplanetary discs undergoing X-ray photoevaporation with an embedded giant planet. By reducing the mass accretion flow onto the star, discs thatw form giant planets will be dispersed at earlier times than discs without planets by X-ray photoevaporation. This process, planet formation induced photoevaporation (PIPE), is able to produce transition disc that for a given mass accretion rate have larger holes when compared to standard X-ray photoevaporation. This constitutes a possible route for the formation of the observed class of accreting transition discs with large holes, which are otherwise difficult to explain by planet formation or photoevaporation alone. Moreover, assuming that a planet is able to filter dust completely, PIPE produces a transition disc with a large hole and may provide a mechanism to quickly shut down accretion. This process appears to be too slow however to explain the observed desert in the population of transition disc with large holes and low mass accretion rates.

  3. Seven temperate terrestrial planets around the nearby ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 (United States)

    Gillon, Michaël; Triaud, Amaury H. M. J.; Demory, Brice-Olivier; Jehin, Emmanuël; Agol, Eric; Deck, Katherine M.; Lederer, Susan M.; de Wit, Julien; Burdanov, Artem; Ingalls, James G.; Bolmont, Emeline; Leconte, Jeremy; Raymond, Sean N.; Selsis, Franck; Turbet, Martin; Barkaoui, Khalid; Burgasser, Adam; Burleigh, Matthew R.; Carey, Sean J.; Chaushev, Aleksander; Copperwheat, Chris M.; Delrez, Laetitia; Fernandes, Catarina S.; Holdsworth, Daniel L.; Kotze, Enrico J.; Van Grootel, Valérie; Almleaky, Yaseen; Benkhaldoun, Zouhair; Magain, Pierre; Queloz, Didier


    One focus of modern astronomy is to detect temperate terrestrial exoplanets well-suited for atmospheric characterisation. A milestone was recently achieved with the detection of three Earth-sized planets transiting (i.e. passing in front of) a star just 8% the mass of the Sun 12 parsecs away1. Indeed, the transiting configuration of these planets combined with the Jupiter-like size of their host star - named TRAPPIST-1 - makes possible in-depth studies of their atmospheric properties with current and future astronomical facilities1,2,3. Here we report the results of an intensive photometric monitoring campaign of that star from the ground and with the Spitzer Space Telescope. Our observations reveal that at least seven planets with sizes and masses similar to the Earth revolve around TRAPPIST-1. The six inner planets form a near-resonant chain such that their orbital periods (1.51, 2.42, 4.04, 6.06, 9.21, 12.35 days) are near ratios of small integers. This architecture suggests that the planets formed farther from the star and migrated inward4,5. The seven planets have equilibrium temperatures low enough to make possible liquid water on their surfaces6,7,8. PMID:28230125

  4. Tandem planet formation for solar system-like planetary systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yusuke Imaeda


    Full Text Available We present a new united theory of planet formation, which includes magneto-rotational instability (MRI and porous aggregation of solid particles in a consistent way. We show that the “tandem planet formation” regime is likely to result in solar system-like planetary systems. In the tandem planet formation regime, planetesimals form at two distinct sites: the outer and inner edges of the MRI suppressed region. The former is likely to be the source of the outer gas giants, and the latter is the source for the inner volatile-free rocky planets. Our study spans disks with a various range of accretion rates, and we find that tandem planet formation can occur for M˙=10−7.3-10−6.9M⊙yr−1. The rocky planets form between 0.4–2 AU, while the icy planets form between 6–30 AU; no planets form in 2–6 AU region for any accretion rate. This is consistent with the gap in the solid component distribution in the solar system, which has only a relatively small Mars and a very small amount of material in the main asteroid belt from 2–6 AU. The tandem regime is consistent with the idea that the Earth was initially formed as a completely volatile-free planet. Water and other volatile elements came later through the accretion of icy material by occasional inward scattering from the outer regions. Reactions between reductive minerals, such as schreibersite (Fe3P, and water are essential to supply energy and nutrients for primitive life on Earth.

  5. Probing Planet Formation with APOGEE: A Dichotomy in Planet Orbital-Periods and Stellar Metallicities (United States)

    Wilson, Robert Forrest; Teske, Johanna; Majewski, Steven R.; Cunha, Katia; Smith, Verne; Souto, Diogo; Bender, Chad; Mahadevan, Suvrath; Troup, Nicholas; ALLENDE PRIETO, CARLOS; Stassun, Keivan G.; Skrutskie, Michael; ALMEIDA, ANDRES; Brinkmann, Jonathan; APOGEE


    The Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) is a near-infrared (1.5-1.7 microns), high resolution (R~22,500), high S/N (>100), spectroscopic survey as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Among the goals of this survey is multi-epoch monitoring of exoplanetary systems discovered by the Kepler mission, resulting in very high S/N (typically a few hundred) observations of Planet-hosting stars. The combined visits and sensitivity of the Sloan 2.5-meter telescope yield stellar parameters for a large number of planet-hosting systems with higher precision (e.g., $\\sigma_{[Fe/H]} earth) exoplanetary systems. In particular, we find that planets with orbital periods P ≤ 8.5 days have statistically more metal-enriched hosts than planets with P > 8.5 days. This dichotomy implies that there may be different formation histories between these two populations. For example, there may be a protoplanetary disk inner-radius (such as the gas co-rotation radius or the dust-sublimation radius) with a metallicity-dependence at the time of planet formation that allows small, rocky planets to either form or migrate closer in to their host star in metal-rich conditions. In addition, based on previous work about the "Evaporation Valley", there is theoretical support that this critical period of 8.5 days may be tied to the bulk composition of the two exoplanet populations.

  6. X-ray insights into star and planet formation


    Feigelson, Eric D.


    Although stars and planets form in cold environments, X-rays are produced in abundance by young stars. This review examines the implications of stellar X-rays for star and planet formation studies, highlighting the contributions of NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Chandra X-ray Observatory. Seven topics are covered: X-rays from protostellar outflow shocks, X-rays from the youngest protostars, the stellar initial mass function, the structure of young stellar clusters, the...

  7. The carbonate-silicate cycle and CO2/climate feedbacks on tidally locked terrestrial planets. (United States)

    Edson, Adam R; Kasting, James F; Pollard, David; Lee, Sukyoung; Bannon, Peter R


    Atmospheric gaseous constituents play an important role in determining the surface temperatures and habitability of a planet. Using a global climate model and a parameterization of the carbonate-silicate cycle, we explored the effect of the location of the substellar point on the atmospheric CO(2) concentration and temperatures of a tidally locked terrestrial planet, using the present Earth continental distribution as an example. We found that the substellar point's location relative to the continents is an important factor in determining weathering and the equilibrium atmospheric CO(2) level. Placing the substellar point over the Atlantic Ocean results in an atmospheric CO(2) concentration of 7 ppmv and a global mean surface air temperature of 247 K, making ∼30% of the planet's surface habitable, whereas placing it over the Pacific Ocean results in a CO(2) concentration of 60,311 ppmv and a global temperature of 282 K, making ∼55% of the surface habitable.

  8. Space Weather Storm Responses at Mars: Lessons from A Weakly Magnetized Terrestrial Planet (United States)

    Luhmann, J. G.; Dong, C. F.; Ma, Y. J.; Curry, S. M.; Li, Yan; Lee, C. O.; Hara, T.; Lillis, R.; Halekas, J.; Connerney, J. E.; Espley, J.; Brain, D. A.; Dong, Y.; Jakosky, B. M.; Thiemann, E.; Eparvier, F.; Leblanc, F.; Withers, P.; Russell, C. T.


    Much can be learned from terrestrial planets that appear to have had the potential to be habitable, but failed to realize that potential. Mars shows evidence of a once hospitable surface environment. The reasons for its current state, and in particular its thin atmosphere and dry surface, are of great interest for what they can tell us about habitable zone planet outcomes. A main goal of the MAVEN mission is to observe Mars' atmosphere responses to solar and space weather influences, and in particular atmosphere escape related to space weather `storms' caused by interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs). Numerical experiments with a data-validated MHD model suggest how the effects of an observed moderately strong ICME compare to what happens during a more extreme event. The results suggest the kinds of solar and space weather conditions that can have evolutionary importance at a planet like Mars.

  9. Water loss from terrestrial planets with CO{sub 2}-rich atmospheres

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wordsworth, R. D.; Pierrehumbert, R. T., E-mail: [Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, 60637 IL (United States)


    Water photolysis and hydrogen loss from the upper atmospheres of terrestrial planets is of fundamental importance to climate evolution but remains poorly understood in general. Here we present a range of calculations we performed to study the dependence of water loss rates from terrestrial planets on a range of atmospheric and external parameters. We show that CO{sub 2} can only cause significant water loss by increasing surface temperatures over a narrow range of conditions, with cooling of the middle and upper atmosphere acting as a bottleneck on escape in other circumstances. Around G-stars, efficient loss only occurs on planets with intermediate CO{sub 2} atmospheric partial pressures (0.1-1 bar) that receive a net flux close to the critical runaway greenhouse limit. Because G-star total luminosity increases with time but X-ray and ultraviolet/ultravoilet luminosity decreases, this places strong limits on water loss for planets like Earth. In contrast, for a CO{sub 2}-rich early Venus, diffusion limits on water loss are only important if clouds caused strong cooling, implying that scenarios where the planet never had surface liquid water are indeed plausible. Around M-stars, water loss is primarily a function of orbital distance, with planets that absorb less flux than ∼270 W m{sup –2} (global mean) unlikely to lose more than one Earth ocean of H{sub 2}O over their lifetimes unless they lose all their atmospheric N{sub 2}/CO{sub 2} early on. Because of the variability of H{sub 2}O delivery during accretion, our results suggest that many 'Earth-like' exoplanets in the habitable zone may have ocean-covered surfaces, stable CO{sub 2}/H{sub 2}O-rich atmospheres, and high mean surface temperatures.

  10. Formation of Extrasolar Giant Planets by Core Nucleated Accretion (United States)

    Bodenheimer, Peter

    Central objectives: Improving our understanding of extra-solar gas giant planet formation through the Core-Nucleated Accretion model, based on constraints derived from extrasolar planet observations. More specifically, we will determine: (1) the physical conditions in a protoplanetary disk, at various distances from the star, that may lead to the formation of gas giant planets; (2) the effects of planetary migration, due to resonant torques, on realistic planet formation models, when disk evolution is taken into account; (3) luminosities, surface temperatures, and other observable properties of giant planets formed through core-nucleated accretion, which will help in the characterization of young planet candidates detected via imaging techniques. Methods and techniques: We will pursue these objectives mainly by means of numerical modeling. A number of state-of-the-art codes will be employed to model in detail different processes at various stages of the planet's growth. (1) A multi-zone accretion code will be used to model accretion of planetesimals onto the solid core. This approach will allow us to account for the evolution of the size distribution of the planetesimals, the variations of their velocity distribution relative to the planet's core, the orbital spacing of potential competing cores, and a time variable rate of accretion of small planetesimals with a range of sizes as well as of stochastic impacts of larger bodies. All these effects will provide a more accurate determination of the time scales for the growth of a giant planet's solid core. (2) A planet formation code that includes a large number of physical effects, calculated in a detailed manner, will be used to model the planet evolution until gas accretion ends. The code computes the interaction of the planetesimals with the protoplanet's envelope and determines whether the planetesimals reach the core or are dissolved in the envelope. The calculation of the thermal structure of the envelope takes

  11. Remote sensing of planetary properties and biosignatures on extrasolar terrestrial planets. (United States)

    Des Marais, David J; Harwit, Martin O; Jucks, Kenneth W; Kasting, James F; Lin, Douglas N C; Lunine, Jonathan I; Schneider, Jean; Seager, Sara; Traub, Wesley A; Woolf, Neville J


    The major goals of NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) and the European Space Agency's Darwin missions are to detect terrestrial-sized extrasolar planets directly and to seek spectroscopic evidence of habitable conditions and life. Here we recommend wavelength ranges and spectral features for these missions. We assess known spectroscopic molecular band features of Earth, Venus, and Mars in the context of putative extrasolar analogs. The preferred wavelength ranges are 7-25 microns in the mid-IR and 0.5 to approximately 1.1 microns in the visible to near-IR. Detection of O2 or its photolytic product O3 merits highest priority. Liquid H2O is not a bioindicator, but it is considered essential to life. Substantial CO2 indicates an atmosphere and oxidation state typical of a terrestrial planet. Abundant CH4 might require a biological source, yet abundant CH4 also can arise from a crust and upper mantle more reduced than that of Earth. The range of characteristics of extrasolar rocky planets might far exceed that of the Solar System. Planetary size and mass are very important indicators of habitability and can be estimated in the mid-IR and potentially also in the visible to near-IR. Additional spectroscopic features merit study, for example, features created by other biosignature compounds in the atmosphere or on the surface and features due to Rayleigh scattering. In summary, we find that both the mid-IR and the visible to near-IR wavelength ranges offer valuable information regarding biosignatures and planetary properties; therefore both merit serious scientific consideration for TPF and Darwin.

  12. High-resolution spectroscopic view of planet formation sites (United States)

    Regály, Zsolt; Kiss, Laszlo; Sándor, Zsolt; Dullemond, Cornelis P.


    Theories of planet formation predict the birth of giant planets in the inner, dense, and gas-rich regions of the circumstellar disks around young stars. These are the regions from which strong CO emission is expected. Observations have so far been unable to confirm the presence of planets caught in formation. We have developed a novel method to detect a giant planet still embedded in a circumstellar disk by the distortions of the CO molecular line profiles emerging from the protoplanetary disk's surface. The method is based on the fact that a giant planet significantly perturbs the gas velocity flow in addition to distorting the disk surface density. We have calculated the emerging molecular line profiles by combining hydrodynamical models with semianalytic radiative transfer calculations. Our results have shown that a giant Jupiter-like planet can be detected using contemporary or future high-resolution near-IR spectrographs such as VLT/CRIRES or ELT/METIS. We have also studied the effects of binarity on disk perturbations. The most interesting results have been found for eccentric circumprimary disks in mid-separation binaries, for which the disk eccentricity - detectable from the asymmetric line profiles - arises from the gravitational effects of the companion star. Our detailed simulations shed new light on how to constrain the disk kinematical state as well as its eccentricity profile. Recent findings by independent groups have shown that core-accretion is severely affected by disk eccentricity, hence detection of an eccentric protoplanetary disk in a young binary system would further constrain planet formation theories.

  13. How can periodic orbits puzzle out the coexistence of terrestrial planets with giant eccentric ones? (United States)

    Antoniadou, K. I.; Libert, A.-S.


    Hitherto unprecedented detections of exoplanets have been triggered by missions and ground based telescopes. The quest of ``exo-Earths'' has become intriguing and the long-term stability of planetary orbits is a crucial factor for the biosphere to evolve. Planets in mean-motion resonances (MMRs) prompt the investigation of the dynamics in the framework of the three-body problem, where the families of stable periodic orbits constitute the backbone of stability domains in phase space. In this talk, we address the question of the possible coexistence of terrestrial planets with a giant companion on circular or eccentric orbit and explore the extent of the stability regions, when both the eccentricity of the outer giant planet and the semi-major axis of the inner terrestrial one vary, i.e. we investigate both non-resonant and resonant configurations. The families of periodic orbits in the restricted three-body problem are computed for the 3/2, 2/1, 5/2, 3/1, 4/1 and 5/1 MMRs. We then construct maps of dynamical stability (DS-maps) to identify the boundaries of the stability domains where such a coexistence is allowed. Guided by the periodic orbits, we delve into regular motion in phase space and propose the essential values of the orbital elements, in order for such configurations to survive long time spans and hence, for observations to be complemented or revised.

  14. The role of pre-impact topography in impact melt emplacement on terrestrial planets (United States)

    Neish, C. D.; Herrick, R. R.; Zanetti, M.; Smith, D.


    On terrestrial planets, flow-like deposits of impact melt are commonly found exterior to fresh impact craters. Often, these deposits are asymmetric about the crater rim, and the direction of flow may relate to either the pre-impact topography or the impact azimuth. In this work, we seek to determine the primary mechanism responsible for impact melt emplacement on two very different terrestrial worlds: the Moon and Venus. Newly derived stereo topography data allows us to investigate the role of pre-impact topography in melt emplacement on Venus for the first time. We determine that pre-impact topography plays an important role in melt emplacement around complex craters on the Moon but not on Venus. This difference may relate to the differences in gravity (and hence, crater depth and melt volume) on the two worlds. Melt trapped in the relatively deep lunar craters may require additional momentum to be pushed over the crater rim, and therefore emerges preferentially from the region of rim crest low. This added momentum might come from uplift during the crater modification stage. For the shallower craters on Venus, the downrange momentum imparted in oblique impacts may be sufficient to push the melt up and over the crater rim, explaining the correlation between melt direction and impact azimuth. Understanding the emplacement of impact melt on terrestrial planets of different sizes and geologic histories provides added insight into the impact cratering process.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zuluaga, Jorge I.; Bustamante, Sebastian; Cuartas, Pablo A. [Instituto de Fisica-FCEN, Universidad de Antioquia, Calle 67 No. 53-108, Medellin (Colombia); Hoyos, Jaime H., E-mail:, E-mail:, E-mail:, E-mail: [Departamento de Ciencias Basicas, Universidad de Medellin, Carrera 87 No. 30-65, Medellin (Colombia)


    Magnetic protection of potentially habitable planets plays a central role in determining their actual habitability and/or the chances of detecting atmospheric biosignatures. Here we develop a thermal evolution model of potentially habitable Earth-like planets and super-Earths (SEs). Using up-to-date dynamo-scaling laws, we predict the properties of core dynamo magnetic fields and study the influence of thermal evolution on their properties. The level of magnetic protection of tidally locked and unlocked planets is estimated by combining simplified models of the planetary magnetosphere and a phenomenological description of the stellar wind. Thermal evolution introduces a strong dependence of magnetic protection on planetary mass and rotation rate. Tidally locked terrestrial planets with an Earth-like composition would have early dayside magnetopause distances between 1.5 and 4.0 R{sub p} , larger than previously estimated. Unlocked planets with periods of rotation {approx}1 day are protected by magnetospheres extending between 3 and 8 R{sub p} . Our results are robust in comparison with variations in planetary bulk composition and uncertainties in other critical model parameters. For illustration purposes, the thermal evolution and magnetic protection of the potentially habitable SEs GL 581d, GJ 667Cc, and HD 40307g were also studied. Assuming an Earth-like composition, we found that the dynamos of these planets are already extinct or close to being shut down. While GL 581d is the best protected, the protection of HD 40307g cannot be reliably estimated. GJ 667Cc, even under optimistic conditions, seems to be severely exposed to the stellar wind, and, under the conditions of our model, has probably suffered massive atmospheric losses.

  16. Accretion disks before (?) the main planet formation phase

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Dominik, C.


    Protoplanetary disks are the sites of planet formation and therefore one of the foremost targets of future facilities in astronomy. In this review, I will discuss the main options for using JWST and concurrent facilities to study the early, gas-rich, massive phases of protoplanetary disks. We

  17. Planet Formation Imager (PFI) : science vision and key requirements

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kraus, S.; Monnier, J.D.; Ireland, M.J.; Duchene, G.; Espaillat, C.; Honig, S.; Juhasz, A.; Mordasini, C.; Olofsson, J.; Paladini, C.; Stassun, K.; Turner, N.; Vasisht, G.; Harries, T.J.; Bate, M.R.; Gonzalez, J-F.; Matter, A.; Zhu, Z.; Panic, O.; Regaly, Z.; Morbidelli, A.; Meru, F.; Wolf, S.; Ilee, J.; Berger, J-P.; Zhao, M.; Kral, Q.; Morlok, A.; Bonsor, A.; Ciardi, D.; Kane, S.R.; Kratter, K.; Laughlin, G.; Pepper, J.; Raymond, S.; Labadie, L.; Nelson, R.P.; Weigelt, G.; Brummelaar, ten T.; Pierens, A.; Oudmaijer, R.; Kley, W.; Pope, B.; Jensen, E.L.N.; Bayo, A.; Smith, M.; Boyajian, T.; Quiroga-Nunez, L.H.; Millan-Gabet, R.; Chiavassa, A.; Gallenne, A.; Reynolds, M.; Wit, de W-J.; Wittkowski, M.; Millour, F.; Gandhi, P.; Ramos, A. C.; Alonso, H. A.; Packham, C.; Kishimoto, M.; Tristram, K.R.W.; Pott, J.-U.; Surdej, J.; Buscher, D.; Haniff, C.; Lacour, S.; Petrov, R.; Ridgway, S.; Tuthill, P.; Belle, van G.; Armitage, P.; Baruteau, C.; Benisty, M.; Bitsch, B.; Paardekooper, S-J.; Pinte, C.; Masset, F.; Rosotti, G.P.


    The Planet Formation Imager (PFI) project aims to provide a strong scientific vision for ground-based optical astronomy beyond the upcoming generation of Extremely Large Telescopes. We make the case that a breakthrough in angular resolution imaging capabilities is required in order to unravel the

  18. The origin of methane and biomolecules from a CO2 cycle on terrestrial planets

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Civiš, Svatopluk; Knížek, Antonín; Ivanek, Ondřej; Kubelík, Petr; Zukalová, Markéta; Kavan, Ladislav; Ferus, Martin


    Roč. 1, č. 10 (2017), s. 721-726 E-ISSN 2397-3366 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA17-05076S; GA ČR GA13-07724S Grant - others:Akademie věd - GA AV ČR(CZ) R200401721; Akademie věd - GA AV ČR(CZ) R200401521 Institutional support: RVO:61388955 Keywords : biomolecules * CO2 cycle on terrestrial planets * Mars Subject RIV: CF - Physical ; Theoretical Chemistry OBOR OECD: Physical chemistry

  19. The building blocks of planets within the `terrestrial' region of protoplanetary disks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Boekel, R.J.H.M.; Min, M.; Leinert, C.; Waters, L.B.F.M.; Richichi, A.; Chesneau, O.; Dominik, C.; Jaffe, W.; Dutrey, A.; Graser, U.; Henning, T.; de Jong, J.; Köhler, R.; de Koter, A.; Lopez, B.; Malbet, F.; Morel, S.; Paresce, F.; Perrin, G.; Preibisch, T.; Przygodda, F.; Schöller, M.; Wittkowski, M.


    Our Solar System was formed from a cloud of gas and dust. Most of the dust mass is contained in amorphous silicates, yet crystalline silicates are abundant throughout the Solar System, reflecting the thermal and chemical alteration of solids during planet formation. (Even primitive bodies such as

  20. Dynamics of the accumulation process of the Earth group of planets: Formation of the reverse rotation of Venus (United States)

    Koslov, N. N.; Eneyev, T. M.


    A numerical simulation of the process of formation of the terrestrial planets is carried within the framework of a new theory for the accumulation of planetary and satellite systems. The numerical simulation permitted determining the parameters of the protoplanetary disk from which Mercury, Venus and the Earth were formed as result of the evolution. The acquisition of a slow retrograde rotation for Venus was discovered during the course of the investigation, whereas Mercury and the Earth acquired direct rotation about their axes. Deviations of the semimajor axes of these three planets as well as the masses of the Earth and Venus from the true values are small as a rule (l 10%). It is shown that during the accumulation of the terrestrial planets, there existed a profound relationship between the process of formation of the orbits and masses of the planet and the process of formation of their rotation about their axes. Estimates are presented for the radii of the initial effective bodies and the time of evolution for the terrestrial accumulation zone.

  1. Critical Masses for Various Terrestrial Planet Atmospheric Gases and Water in/on Mars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lin-gun Liu


    Full Text Available The lower critical mass boundaries (CM for various atmospheric gas species on terrestrial planets are estimated. The CM is different for different gas molecules. Except for He, the observed atmospheric compositions of the terrestrial planets are consistent with these estimates. The lower CM boundary for gaseous H2O is calculated as 8.06 × 1026 g, which is significantly greater than the Martian mass (6.419 × 1026 g. Thus, Mars is not capable of retaining H2O in its atmosphere. If the speculated ocean on Mars and the claimed H2O ice in the Martian soil are true, both the ocean and ice had to be derived earlier from H2O degassed from the Martian interior after the surface temperature cooled much below 100°C. These watery bodies cannot be sustained for long durations because evaporation and sublimation would turn them into gaseous H2O, which would be lost to outer-space. It is concluded that H2O in/on Mars is inherent and that the primordial planetesimals that formed Mars must have contained appreciable amounts of hydrous minerals, if the oceans and/or H2O ice on Mars are true.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lenardic, A. [Department of Earth Science, Rice University, MS 126, P.O. Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251-1892 (United States); Crowley, J. W., E-mail:, E-mail: [Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Harvard University, 20 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)


    A model of coupled mantle convection and planetary tectonics is used to demonstrate that history dependence can outweigh the effects of a planet's energy content and material parameters in determining its tectonic state. The mantle convection-surface tectonics system allows multiple tectonic modes to exist for equivalent planetary parameter values. The tectonic mode of the system is then determined by its specific geologic and climatic history. This implies that models of tectonics and mantle convection will not be able to uniquely determine the tectonic mode of a terrestrial planet without the addition of historical data. Historical data exists, to variable degrees, for all four terrestrial planets within our solar system. For the Earth, the planet with the largest amount of observational data, debate does still remain regarding the geologic and climatic history of Earth's deep past but constraints are available. For planets in other solar systems, no such constraints exist at present. The existence of multiple tectonic modes, for equivalent parameter values, points to a reason why different groups have reached different conclusions regarding the tectonic state of extrasolar terrestrial planets larger than Earth ({sup s}uper-Earths{sup )}. The region of multiple stable solutions is predicted to widen in parameter space for more energetic mantle convection (as would be expected for larger planets). This means that different groups can find different solutions, all potentially viable and stable, using identical models and identical system parameter values. At a more practical level, the results argue that the question of whether extrasolar terrestrial planets will have plate tectonics is unanswerable and will remain so until the temporal evolution of extrasolar planets can be constrained.

  3. Correlations between Compositions and Orbits Established by the Giant Impact Era of Planet Formation (United States)

    Dawson, Rebekah I.; Lee, Eve J.; Chiang, Eugene


    The giant impact phase of terrestrial planet formation establishes connections between super-Earths’ orbital properties (semimajor axis spacings, eccentricities, mutual inclinations) and interior compositions (the presence or absence of gaseous envelopes). Using N-body simulations and analytic arguments, we show that spacings derive not only from eccentricities, but also from inclinations. Flatter systems attain tighter spacings, a consequence of an eccentricity equilibrium between gravitational scatterings, which increase eccentricities, and mergers, which damp them. Dynamical friction by residual disk gas plays a critical role in regulating mergers and in damping inclinations and eccentricities. Systems with moderate gas damping and high solid surface density spawn gas-enveloped super-Earths with tight spacings, small eccentricities, and small inclinations. Systems in which super-Earths coagulate without as much ambient gas, in disks with low solid surface density, produce rocky planets with wider spacings, larger eccentricities, and larger mutual inclinations. A combination of both populations can reproduce the observed distributions of spacings, period ratios, transiting planet multiplicities, and transit duration ratios exhibited by Kepler super-Earths. The two populations, both formed in situ, also help to explain observed trends of eccentricity versus planet size, and bulk density versus method of mass measurement (radial velocities versus transit timing variations). Simplifications made in this study—including the limited time span of the simulations, and the approximate treatments of gas dynamical friction and gas depletion history—should be improved on in future work to enable a detailed quantitative comparison to the observations.

  4. THE PROJECT: an Observatory / Transport Spaceship for Discovering and Populating Habitable Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets (United States)

    Kilston, S.


    Recent extrasolar planet discoveries and related progress in astrophysics have refined our knowledge of the implications of the Drake equation. The Space Interferometry Mission and the planned Terrestrial Planet Finder will deepen this understanding, and begin pointing the way to places we need to explore at closer range. If the correct resolution of the Fermi paradox regarding intelligent extraterrestrials (``where are they?") is found to lie in the actual scarcity of such beings, it may turn out that we are more advanced than most other life-forms in our galaxy. In this case, a main purpose in finding planets may be to find places for us to go: astronomy will once again play a major role in human navigation and migration. We describe a strawman design concept for an astronomical observatory ship designed for launch beyond our solar system within several hundred years. This ship design would employ plausible physics, biology, technology, sociology, and economics to carry one million passengers in a one-G environment shielded from space radiation. A cruising speed under 0.01 c, slower than in many science-fiction concepts, minimizes power requirements and the danger from collisional impacts. The ship would contain all subsystems needed to sustain multi-generational life on a voyage of thousands of years, as well as the observatories to identify for human settlement a habitable extrasolar planet. Even the modestly advanced technology described here could spread intelligent life throughout our galaxy within 40 million years, a very small fraction of the galaxy's age. Motivation for such an ambitious project is three-fold: expanding our knowledge of the universe, enlisting the efforts and enthusiasms of humankind toward a very grand goal which will stimulate progress in all aspects of our cultures and technologies, and participating in the process of spreading life so its survivability and fruition are enhanced.

  5. Geometric principles for constructing radar panoramas of the surface of Venus: Hypsometric features of the Moon and terrestrial planets (United States)

    Rzhiga, O. N.; Tyuflin, Y. S.; Belenkiy, Y. G.; Rodionova, Z. F.; Dekhtyareva, K. I.


    The physographic curves of the moon and terrestrial planets, drawn both for the entire surface as a whole and for individual hemispheres, were compared to discover the common consistencies and individual features in the distribution of hypsometric levels. In 1983 to 1984 the automated interplanetary stations (AMS) Venera 15 and 16 made radar maps of the planet Venus. The synthesized images are the basic initial material for photogrammetric and catrographic processing to create maps of the Venus surface. These principles are discussed.

  6. Planet formation in transition disks: Modeling, spectroscopy, and theory (United States)

    Liskowsky, Joseph Paul

    An important field of modern astronomy is the study of planets. Literally for millennia, careful observers of the night sky have tracked these 'wanderers', with their peculiar motions initiating avenues of inquiry not able to elucidated by a study of the stars alone: we have discovered that the planets (as well as Earth) orbit the sun and that the stars are so far away, even their relative positions do not seem to shift perceptibly when Earth's position moves hundreds of millions of miles. With the advent of the telescope, and subsequent improvements upon it over the course of centuries, accelerating to the dramatically immense telescopes available today and those on the horizon, we have been able to continuously probe farther and in more detail than the previous generation of scientists and telescopes allowed. Now, we are just entering the time when detection of planets outside of our own solar system has become possible, and we have found that planets are extraordinarily common in the galaxy (and by extrapolation, the universe). At the time of this document's composition, there are several thousand such examples of planets around other stars (being dubbed 'exoplanets'). We have discovered that planets are plentiful, but multiple open questions remain which are relevant to this work: How do planets form and, when a planet does form from its circumstellar envelope, what are the important processes that influence its formation? This work adds to the understanding of circumstellar disks, the intermediate stage between a cold collapsing cloud (of gas and dust) and a mature planetary system. Specifically, we study circumstellar disks in an evolved state termed 'transition disks'. This state corresponds to a time period where the dust in the disk has either undergone grain growth—where the microscopic grains have clumped together to form far fewer dust particles of much higher mass, or the inner portion (or an inner annulus) of the disk has lost a large amount of gas

  7. Polyamorphic Transformations in Fe-Ni-C Liquids: Implications for Chemical Evolution of Terrestrial Planets: Fe-Ni-C liquid structural change

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lai, Xiaojing [Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu HI USA; Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu HI USA; Chen, Bin [Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu HI USA; Wang, Jianwei [Department of Geology and Geophysics, Center for Computation and Technology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge LA USA; Kono, Yoshio [HPCAT, Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Argonne IL USA; Zhu, Feng [Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI USA


    During the formation of the Earth's core, the segregation of metallic liquids from silicate mantle should have left behind evident geochemical imprints on both the mantle and the core. Some distinctive geochemical signatures of the mantle-derived rocks likely own their origin to the metal-silicate differentiation of the primitive Earth, setting our planet apart from undifferentiated meteorites as well as terrestrial planets or moons isotopically and compositionally. Understanding the chemical evolution of terrestrial planetary bodies requires knowledge on properties of both liquid iron alloys and silicates equilibrating under physicochemical conditions pertinent to the deep magma ocean. Here we report experimental and computational results on the pressure-induced structural evolution of iron-nickel liquids alloyed with carbon. Our X-ray diffraction experiments up to 7.3 gigapascals (GPa) demonstrate that Fe-Ni (Fe90Ni10) liquids alloyed with 3 and 5 wt % carbon undergo a polyamorphic liquid structure transition at approximately 5 GPa. Corroborating the experimental observations, our first-principles molecular dynamic calculations reveal that the structural transitions result from the marked prevalence of three-atom face-sharing polyhedral connections in the liquids at >5 GPa. The structure and polyamorphic transitions of liquid iron-nickel-carbon alloys govern their physical and chemical properties and may thus cast fresh light on the chemical evolution of terrestrial planets and moons.

  8. Planetary Systems Detection, Formation and Habitability of Extrasolar Planets

    CERN Document Server

    Ollivier, Marc; Casoli, Fabienne; Encrenaz, Thérèse; Selsis, Franck


    Over the past ten years, the discovery of extrasolar planets has opened a new field of astronomy, and this area of research is rapidly growing, from both the observational and theoretical point of view. The presence of many giant exoplanets in the close vicinity of their star shows that these newly discovered planetary systems are very different from the solar system. New theoretical models are being developed in order to understand their formation scenarios, and new observational methods are being implemented to increase the sensitivity of exoplanet detections. In the present book, the authors address the question of planetary systems from all aspects. Starting from the facts (the detection of more than 300 extraterrestrial planets), they first describe the various methods used for these discoveries and propose a synthetic analysis of their global properties. They then consider the observations of young stars and circumstellar disks and address the case of the solar system as a specific example, different fr...

  9. X-ray insights into star and planet formation. (United States)

    Feigelson, Eric D


    Although stars and planets form in cold environments, X-rays are produced in abundance by young stars. This review examines the implications of stellar X-rays for star and planet formation studies, highlighting the contributions of NASA's (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Chandra X-ray Observatory. Seven topics are covered: X-rays from protostellar outflow shocks, X-rays from the youngest protostars, the stellar initial mass function, the structure of young stellar clusters, the fate of massive stellar winds, X-ray irradiation of protoplanetary disks, and X-ray flare effects on ancient meteorites. Chandra observations of star-forming regions often show dramatic star clusters, powerful magnetic reconnection flares, and parsec-scale diffuse plasma. X-ray selected samples of premain sequence stars significantly advance studies of star cluster formation, the stellar initial mass function, triggered star-formation processes, and protoplanetary disk evolution. Although X-rays themselves may not play a critical role in the physics of star formation, they likely have important effects on protoplanetary disks by heating and ionizing disk gases.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Carrasco-González, Carlos; Rodríguez, Luis F.; Galván-Madrid, Roberto [Instituto de Radioastronomía y Astrofísica UNAM, Apartado Postal 3-72 (Xangari), 58089 Morelia, Michoacán, México (Mexico); Henning, Thomas; Linz, Hendrik; Birnstiel, Til; Boekel, Roy van; Klahr, Hubert [Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie Heidelberg, Königstuhl 17, D-69117 Heidelberg (Germany); Chandler, Claire J.; Pérez, Laura [National Radio Astronomy Observatory, P.O. Box O, 1003 Lopezville Road, Socorro, NM 87801-0387 (United States); Anglada, Guillem; Macias, Enrique; Osorio, Mayra [Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC), Apartado 3004, E-18080 Granada (Spain); Flock, Mario [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States); Menten, Karl [Jansky Fellow of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (United States); Testi, Leonardo [European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, D-85748 Garching bei München (Germany); Torrelles, José M. [Institut de Ciències de l’Espai (CSIC-IEEC) and Institut de Ciències del Cosmos (UB-IEEC), Martí i Franquès 1, E-08028 Barcelona (Spain); Zhu, Zhaohuan, E-mail:, E-mail:, E-mail:, E-mail:, E-mail: [Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544 (United States)


    The first long-baseline ALMA campaign resolved the disk around the young star HL Tau into a number of axisymmetric bright and dark rings. Despite the very young age of HL Tau, these structures have been interpreted as signatures for the presence of (proto)planets. The ALMA images triggered numerous theoretical studies based on disk–planet interactions, magnetically driven disk structures, and grain evolution. Of special interest are the inner parts of disks, where terrestrial planets are expected to form. However, the emission from these regions in HL Tau turned out to be optically thick at all ALMA wavelengths, preventing the derivation of surface density profiles and grain-size distributions. Here, we present the most sensitive images of HL Tau obtained to date with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array at 7.0 mm wavelength with a spatial resolution comparable to the ALMA images. At this long wavelength, the dust emission from HL Tau is optically thin, allowing a comprehensive study of the inner disk. We obtain a total disk dust mass of (1–3) × 10{sup −3} M {sub ⊙}, depending on the assumed opacity and disk temperature. Our optically thin data also indicate fast grain growth, fragmentation, and formation of dense clumps in the inner densest parts of the disk. Our results suggest that the HL Tau disk may be actually in a very early stage of planetary formation, with planets not already formed in the gaps but in the process of future formation in the bright rings.

  11. Magma ocean fractional crystallization and cumulate overturn in terrestrial planets: Implications for Mars (United States)

    Elkins-Tanton, L. T.; Parmentier, E. M.; Hess, P. C.


    Crystallization of a magma ocean on a large terrestrial planet that is significantly melted by the energy of accretion may lead to an unstable cumulate density stratification, which may overturn to a stable configuration. Overturn of the initially unstable stratification may produce an early basaltic crust and differentiated mantle reservoirs. Such a stable compositional stratification can have important implications for the planet's subsequent evolution by delaying or suppressing thermal convection and by influencing the distribution of radiogenic heat sources. We use simple models for fractional crystallization of a martian magma ocean, and calculate the densities of the resulting cumulates. While the simple models presented do not include all relevant physical processes, they are able to describe to first order a number of aspects of martian evolution. The models describe the creation of magma source regions that differentiated early in the history of Mars, and present the possibility of an early, brief magnetic field initiated by cold overturned cumulates falling to the core- mantle boundary. In a model that includes the density inversion at about 7.5 GPa, where olivine and pyroxene float in the remaining magma ocean liquids while garnet sinks, cumulate overturn sequesters alumina in the deep martian interior. The ages and compositions of source regions are consistent with SNC meteorite data.

  12. 3D hydrodynamic simulations of tidal disruption of terrestrial planets around white dwarfs (United States)

    Liu, Shangfei; Zhang, Jinsu; Lin, Douglas N. C.


    Recent K2 mission spotted striking variability due to a group of minor bodies transiting white dwarf WD 1145+017 with periods ranging from 4.5 hours to 4.9 hours. One of the formation scenarios is that those transiting objects are the debris of a tidally disrupted minor planet. This scenario is consistent with fact that the white dwarf also hosts a dusty disk and displays strong metal atmospheric pollution. In this work, we perform state-of-the-art three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations to study the consequences of tidal disruption of planets with various differentiated compositions by a white dwarf. We study the general outcomes of tidal disruption including partially disruption and total disruption. We also apply our results to the WD 1145+017 system to infer the physical and orbital properties of the progenitor.

  13. Tracing the ingredients for a habitable earth from interstellar space through planet formation. (United States)

    Bergin, Edwin A; Blake, Geoffrey A; Ciesla, Fred; Hirschmann, Marc M; Li, Jie


    We use the C/N ratio as a monitor of the delivery of key ingredients of life to nascent terrestrial worlds. Total elemental C and N contents, and their ratio, are examined for the interstellar medium, comets, chondritic meteorites, and terrestrial planets; we include an updated estimate for the bulk silicate Earth (C/N = 49.0 ± 9.3). Using a kinetic model of disk chemistry, and the sublimation/condensation temperatures of primitive molecules, we suggest that organic ices and macromolecular (refractory or carbonaceous dust) organic material are the likely initial C and N carriers. Chemical reactions in the disk can produce nebular C/N ratios of ∼1-12, comparable to those of comets and the low end estimated for planetesimals. An increase of the C/N ratio is traced between volatile-rich pristine bodies and larger volatile-depleted objects subjected to thermal/accretional metamorphism. The C/N ratios of the dominant materials accreted to terrestrial planets should therefore be higher than those seen in carbonaceous chondrites or comets. During planetary formation, we explore scenarios leading to further volatile loss and associated C/N variations owing to core formation and atmospheric escape. Key processes include relative enrichment of nitrogen in the atmosphere and preferential sequestration of carbon by the core. The high C/N bulk silicate Earth ratio therefore is best satisfied by accretion of thermally processed objects followed by large-scale atmospheric loss. These two effects must be more profound if volatile sequestration in the core is effective. The stochastic nature of these processes hints that the surface/atmospheric abundances of biosphere-essential materials will likely be variable.

  14. United theory of planet formation (i): Tandem regime (United States)

    Ebisuzaki, Toshikazu; Imaeda, Yusuke


    The present paper is the first one of a series of papers that present the new united theory of planet formation, which includes magneto-rotational instability and porous aggregation of solid particles in an consistent way. We here describe the ;tandem; planet formation regime, in which a solar system like planetary systems are likely to be produced. We have obtained a steady-state, 1-D model of the accretion disk of a protostar taking into account the magneto-rotational instability (MRI) and and porous aggregation of solid particles. We find that the disk is divided into an outer turbulent region (OTR), a MRI suppressed region (MSR), and an inner turbulent region (ITR). The outer turbulent region is fully turbulent because of MRI. However, in the range, rout(= 8 - 60 AU) from the central star, MRI is suppressed around the midplane of the gas disk and a quiet area without turbulence appears, because the degree of ionization of gas becomes low enough. The disk becomes fully turbulent again in the range rin(= 0.2 - 1 AU), which is called the inner turbulent region, because the midplane temperature become high enough (>1000 K) due to gravitational energy release. Planetesimals are formed through gravitational instability at the outer and inner MRI fronts (the boundaries between the MRI suppressed region (MSR) and the outer and inner turbuent regions) without particle enhancement in the original nebula composition, because of the radial concentration of the solid particles. At the outer MRI front, icy particles grow through low-velocity collisions into porous aggregates with low densities (down to ∼10-5 gcm-3). They eventually undergo gravitational instability to form icy planetesimals. On the other hand, rocky particles accumulate at the inner MRI front, since their drift velocities turn outward due to the local maximum in gas pressure. They undergo gravitational instability in a sub-disk of pebbles to form rocky planetesimals at the inner MRI front. They are likely

  15. Characterizing Debris Disks in the Late Stages of Planet Formation (United States)

    White, Jacob


    The planet formation process shapes the morphology and grain size distribution of circumstellar disks, encoding the formation history of a given system. Remnants of planet formation, such as comets and asteroids, collisionally evolve and can replenish the dust and small solids that would otherwise be cleared on short timescales. These grains are observed through reprocessed starlight at submm to cm wavelengths.The spectrum of the mm/cm emission reveals details of the grain population. However, one confounding parameter in studying these grains around stars is the stars themselves. The emission from stars in the mm/cm is nontrivial and generally not well-constrained. I will present examples of debris systems (HD 141569 and Fomalhaut) studied by ALMA and the VLA, in which unconstrained stellar emission may be contributing to the observed flux densities. Such contamination in turn biases the inferred emission from the disk and the corresponding dust properties. In some cases, the behavior of the observed A/B stars can exhibit an emission profile that has similarities to that of the Sun's mm/cm emission, although the same processes are not thought to necessarily occur in the atmospheres of massive stars.To address the uncertainty in stellar emission at mm/cm wavelengths, we present ongoing radio observations (JCMT, SMA, VLA) of Sirius A, which is a bright, nearby star with no known debris. We seek to use this system to set an observationally determined standard for stellar atmosphere modeling and debris disk studies around A stars, as well as to take the first step toward characterizing potential intrinsic uncertainty in stellar emission at these wavelengths. This talk will highlight the effort to characterize stellar atmospheres through a project known as MESAS (Measuring the Emission of Stellar Atmospheres at Submillimeter/millimeter wavelengths) which is imperative to the success of current and future debris disk studies.

  16. Characterizing Debris Disks and the Late Stages of Planet Formation (United States)

    White, Jacob


    The planet formation process shapes the morphology and grain size distribution of circumstellar disks, encoding the formation history of a given system. Remnants of planet formation, such as comets and asteroids, collisionally evolve and can replenish the dust and small solids that would otherwise be cleared on short timescales. These grains are observed through reprocessed starlight at submm to cm wavelengths.The spectrum of the mm/cm emission reveals details of the grain population. However, one confounding parameter in studying these grains around stars is the stars themselves. The emission from stars in the mm/cm is nontrivial and generally not well-constrained. I will present examples of debris systems (HD 141569 and Fomalhaut) studied by ALMA and the VLA, in which unconstrained stellar emission may be contributing to the observed flux densities. Such contamination in turn biases the inferred emission from the disk and the corresponding dust properties. In some cases, the behavior of the observed A/B stars can exhibit an emission profile that has similarities to that of the Sun's mm/cm emission, although the same processes are not thought to necessarily occur in the atmospheres of massive stars.To address the uncertainty in stellar emission at mm/cm wavelengths, we present ongoing radio observations (JCMT, SMA, VLA) of Sirius A, which is a bright, nearby star with no known debris. We seek to use this system to set an observationally determined standard for stellar atmosphere modeling and debris disk studies around A stars, as well as to take the first step toward characterizing potential intrinsic uncertainty in stellar emission at these wavelengths. This talk will highlight the effort to characterize stellar atmospheres through a project known as MESAS (Measuring the Emission of Stellar Atmospheres at Submillimeter/millimeter wavelengths) which is imperative to the success of current and future debris disk studies.

  17. The SEEDS of Planet Formation: Observations of Transitional Disks (United States)

    Grady, Carol A.


    As part of its 5-year study, the Strategic Exploration of Exoplanets and Disk Systems (SEEDS) has already observed a number of YSOs with circumstellar disks, including 13 0.5-8 Myr old A-M stars with indications that they host wide gaps or central cavities in their circumstellar disks in millimeter or far-IR observations, or from deficits in warm dust thermal emission. For 8 of the disks, the 0.15" inner working angle of HiCIAO+A0188 samples material in the millimeter or mid-IR identified cavity. In one case we report detection of a previously unrecognized wide gap. For the remaining 4 stars, the SEEDS data sample the outer disk: in 3 cases, we present the first NIR imagery of the disks. The data for the youngest sample members 1-2 Myr) closely resemble coeval primordial disks. After approximately 3 Myr, the transitional disks show a wealth of structure including spiral features, rings, divots, and in some cases, largely cleared gaps in the disks which are not seen in coeval primordial disks. Some of these structural features are predicted consequences of Jovian-mass planets having formed in the disk, while others are novel features. We discuss the implications for massive planet formation timescales and mechanisms.

  18. On the evolution of terrestrial planets: Bi-stability, stochastic effects, and the non-uniqueness of tectonic states

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew B. Weller


    Full Text Available The Earth is the only body in the solar system for which significant observational constraints are accessible to such a degree that they can be used to discriminate between competing models of Earth's tectonic evolution. It is a natural tendency to use observations of the Earth to inform more general models of planetary evolution. However, our understating of Earth's evolution is far from complete. In recent years, there has been growing geodynamic and geochemical evidence that suggests that plate tectonics may not have operated on the early Earth, with both the timing of its onset and the length of its activity far from certain. Recently, the potential of tectonic bi-stability (multiple stable, energetically allowed solutions has been shown to be dynamically viable, both from analytical analysis and through numeric experiments in two and three dimensions. This indicates that multiple tectonic modes may operate on a single planetary body at different times within its temporal evolution. It also allows for the potential that feedback mechanisms between the internal dynamics and surface processes (e.g., surface temperature changes driven by long term climate evolution, acting at different thermal evolution times, can cause terrestrial worlds to alternate between multiple tectonic states over giga-year timescales. The implication within this framework is that terrestrial planets have the potential to migrate through tectonic regimes at similar ‘thermal evolution times’ (e.g., points were they have a similar bulk mantle temperature and energies, but at very different ‘temporal times’ (time since planetary formation. It can be further shown that identical planets at similar stages of their evolution may exhibit different tectonic regimes due to random variations. Here, we will discuss constraints on the tectonic evolution of the Earth and present a novel framework of planetary evolution that moves toward probabilistic arguments based on

  19. Repercussions of thermal atmospheric tides on the rotation of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone (United States)

    Auclair-Desrotour, P.; Mathis, S.; Laskar, J.


    Semidiurnal atmospheric thermal tides are important for terrestrial exoplanets in the habitable zone of their host stars. With solid tides, they torque these planets, thus contributing to determine their rotation states as well as their climate. Given the complex dynamics of thermal tides, analytical models are essential to understand its dependence on the structure and rotation of planetary atmospheres and the tidal frequency. In this context, the state of the art model proposed in the 60’s by Lindzen and Chapman explains well the properties of thermal tides in the asymptotic regime of Earth-like rapid rotators but predicts a non-physical diverging tidal torque in the vicinity of the spin-orbit synchronization. In this work, we present a new model that addresses this issue by taking into account dissipative processes through a Newtonian cooling. First, we recover the tidal torque recently obtained with numerical simulations using General Circulation Models (GCM). Second, we show that the tidal response is very sensitive to the atmospheric structure, particularly to the stability with respect to convection. A strong stable stratification is able to annihilate the atmospheric tidal torque, leading to synchronization, while a convective atmosphere will be submitted to a strong torque, leading to a non-synchronized rotation state.

  20. Does Si Play a Role in the Formation of Extrasolar Planet Systems?

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    With the high signal-to-noise ratio spectra, we obtained Si abundances of 22 extrasolar planet host stars, and discussed some constraints on the planet formation. Using our silicon abundance results and other authors' Si abundance studies about planets-harboring stars, we investigated the correlation between the ...

  1. The SEEDs of Planet Formation: Indirect Signatures of Giant Planets in Transitional Disks (United States)

    Grady, Carol; Currie, T.


    We live in a planetary system with 2 gas giant planets, and as a resu lt of RV, transit, microlensing, and transit timing studies have ide ntified hundreds of giant planet candidates in the past 15 years. Su ch studies have preferentially concentrated on older, low activity So lar analogs, and thus tell us little about .when, where, and how gian t planets form in their disks, or how frequently they form in disks associated with intermediate-mass stars.

  2. Scaling of time-dependent stagnant lid convection: Application to small-scale convection on Earth and other terrestrial planets (United States)

    Solomatov, V. S.; Moresi, L.-N.


    Small-scale convection associated with instabilities at the bottom of the lithospheric plates on the Earth and other terrestrial planets occurs in the stagnant lid regime of temperature-dependent viscosity convection. Systematic numerical simulations of time-dependent, internally heated stagnant lid convection suggest simple scaling relationships for a variety of convective parameters and in a broad range of power law viscosities. Application of these scaling relationships to the Earth's oceanic lithosphere shows that for either diffusion or dislocation viscosity of olivine, convective instabilities occur in the lower part of the lithosphere between 85 and 100 km depth (the rheological sublayer). ``Wet'' olivine satisfies constraints on the heat flux and mantle temperature better than ``dry'' olivine, supporting the view that the upper mantle of the Earth is wet. This is also consistent with the fact that the rheological sublayer is located below the Gutenberg discontinuity which was proposed to represent a sharp change in water content. The viscosity of asthenosphere is (3-6)×1018Pas, consistent with previous estimates. The velocities of cold plumes are relatively high reaching several meters per year in the dislocation creep regime. A low value of the heat flux in old continental cratons suggests that continental lithosphere might be convectively stable unless it is perturbed by processes associated with plate tectonics and hot plumes. The absence of plate tectonics on other terrestrial planets and the low heat transport efficiency of stagnant lid convection can lead to widespread melting during the thermal evolution of the terrestrial planets. If the terrestrial planets are dry, small-scale convection cannot occur at subsolidus temperatures.

  3. The provenances of asteroids, and their contributions to the volatile inventories of the terrestrial planets. (United States)

    Alexander, C M O'D; Bowden, R; Fogel, M L; Howard, K T; Herd, C D K; Nittler, L R


    Determining the source(s) of hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen accreted by Earth is important for understanding the origins of water and life and for constraining dynamical processes that operated during planet formation. Chondritic meteorites are asteroidal fragments that retain records of the first few million years of solar system history. The deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) values of water in carbonaceous chondrites are distinct from those in comets and Saturn's moon Enceladus, implying that they formed in a different region of the solar system, contrary to predictions of recent dynamical models. The D/H values of water in carbonaceous chondrites also argue against an influx of water ice from the outer solar system, which has been invoked to explain the nonsolar oxygen isotopic composition of the inner solar system. The bulk hydrogen and nitrogen isotopic compositions of CI chondrites suggest that they were the principal source of Earth's volatiles.

  4. Collisional erosion and the non-chondritic composition of the terrestrial planets. (United States)

    O'Neill, Hugh St C; Palme, Herbert


    The compositional variations among the chondrites inform us about cosmochemical fractionation processes during condensation and aggregation of solid matter from the solar nebula. These fractionations include: (i) variable Mg-Si-RLE ratios (RLE: refractory lithophile element), (ii) depletions in elements more volatile than Mg, (iii) a cosmochemical metal-silicate fractionation, and (iv) variations in oxidation state. Moon- to Mars-sized planetary bodies, formed by rapid accretion of chondrite-like planetesimals in local feeding zones within 106 years, may exhibit some of these chemical variations. However, the next stage of planetary accretion is the growth of the terrestrial planets from approximately 102 embryos sourced across wide heliocentric distances, involving energetic collisions, in which material may be lost from a growing planet as well as gained. While this may result in averaging out of the 'chondritic' fractionations, it introduces two non-chondritic chemical fractionation processes: post-nebular volatilization and preferential collisional erosion. In the latter, geochemically enriched crust formed previously is preferentially lost. That post-nebular volatilization was widespread is demonstrated by the non-chondritic Mn/Na ratio in all the small, differentiated, rocky bodies for which we have basaltic samples, including the Moon and Mars. The bulk silicate Earth (BSE) has chondritic Mn/Na, but shows several other compositional features in its pattern of depletion of volatile elements suggestive of non-chondritic fractionation. The whole-Earth Fe/Mg ratio is 2.1+/-0.1, significantly greater than the solar ratio of 1.9+/-0.1, implying net collisional erosion of approximately 10 per cent silicate relative to metal during the Earth's accretion. If this collisional erosion preferentially removed differentiated crust, the assumption of chondritic ratios among all RLEs in the BSE would not be valid, with the BSE depleted in elements according to their

  5. Alpha Elements' Effects on Planet Formation and the Hunt for Extragalactic Planets (United States)

    Penny, Matthew; Rodriguez, Joseph E.; Beatty, Thomas; Zhou, George


    A star's likelihood of hosting a giant planet is well known to be strongly dependent on metallicity. However, little is known about what elements cause this correlation (e.g. bulk metals, iron, or alpha elements such as silicon and oxygen). This is likely because most planet searches target stars in the Galactic disk, and due to Galactic chemical evolution, alpha element abundances are themselves correlated with metallicity within a population. We investigate the feasibility of simultaneous transiting planet search towards the alpha-poor Sagittarius dwarf galaxy and alpha-rich Galactic bulge in a single field of view of DECam, that would enable a comparative study of planet frequency over an [alpha/Fe] baseline of ~0.4 dex. We show that a modestly sized survey could detect planet candidates in both populations, but that false positive rejection in Sgr Dwarf may be prohibitively expensive. Conversely, two-filter survey observations alone would be sufficient to rule out a large fraction of bulge false positives, enabling statistical validation of candidates with a modest follow-up investment. Although over a shorter [alpha/Fe] baseline, this survey would provide a test of whether it is alpha or iron that causes the planet metallicity correlation.

  6. ARTEMiS (Automated Robotic Terrestrial Exoplanet Microlensing Search): A possible expert-system based cooperative effort to hunt for planets of Earth mass and below (United States)

    Dominik, M.; Horne, K.; Allan, A.; Rattenbury, N. J.; Tsapras, Y.; Snodgrass, C.; Bode, M. F.; Burgdorf, M. J.; Fraser, S. N.; Kerins, E.; Mottram, C. J.; Steele, I. A.; Street, R. A.; Wheatley, P. J.; Wyrzykowski, Ł.


    The technique of gravitational microlensing is currently unique in its ability to provide a sample of terrestrial exoplanets around both Galactic disk and bulge stars, allowing to measure their abundance and determine their distribution with respect to mass and orbital separation. Thus, valuable information for testing models of planet formation and orbital migration is gathered, constituting an important piece in the puzzle for the existence of life forms throughout the Universe. In order to achieve these goals in reasonable time, a well-coordinated effort involving a network of either 2m or 4×1m telescopes at each site is required. It could lead to the first detection of an Earth-mass planet outside the Solar system, and even planets less massive than Earth could be discovered. From April 2008, ARTEMiS (Automated Robotic Terrestrial Exoplanet Microlensing Search) is planned to provide a platform for a three-step strategy of survey, follow-up, and anomaly monitoring. As an expert system embedded in eSTAR (e-Science Telescopes for Astronomical Research), ARTEMiS will give advice for follow-up based on a priority algorithm that selects targets to be observed in order to maximize the expected number of planet detections, and will also alert on deviations from ordinary microlensing light curves by means of the SIGNALMEN anomaly detector. While the use of the VOEvent (Virtual Observatory Event) protocol allows a direct interaction with the telescopes that are part of the HTN (Heterogeneous Telescope Networks) consortium, additional interfaces provide means of communication with all existing microlensing campaigns that rely on human observers. The success of discovering a planet by microlensing critically depends on the availability of a telescope in a suitable location at the right time, which can mean within 10 min. To encourage follow-up observations, microlensing campaigns are therefore releasing photometric data in real time. On ongoing planetary anomalies, world

  7. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Thermal models of Mercury. Ph.D. Thesis (United States)

    Leake, M. A.


    Recent and more complex thermal models of Mercury and the terrestrial planets are discussed or noted. These models isolate a particular aspect of the planet's thermal history in an attempt to understand that parameter. Among these topics are thermal conductivity, convection, radiogenic sources of heat, other heat sources, and the problem of the molten core and regenerative dynamo.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schlaufman, Kevin C., E-mail: [Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States)


    It has long been known that stars with high metallicity are more likely to host giant planets than stars with low metallicity. Yet the connection between host star metallicity and the properties of small planets is only just beginning to be investigated. It has recently been argued that the metallicity distribution of stars with exoplanet candidates identified by Kepler provides evidence for three distinct clusters of exoplanets, distinguished by planet radius boundaries at 1.7 R{sub ⨁} and 3.9 R{sub ⨁}. This would suggest that there are three distinct planet formation pathways for super-Earths, mini-Neptunes, and giant planets. However, as I show through three independent analyses, there is actually no evidence for the proposed radius boundary at 1.7 R{sub ⨁}. On the other hand, a more rigorous calculation demonstrates that a single, continuous relationship between planet radius and metallicity is a better fit to the data. The planet radius and metallicity data therefore provides no evidence for distinct categories of small planets. This suggests that the planet formation process in a typical protoplanetary disk produces a continuum of planet sizes between 1 R{sub ⨁} and 4 R{sub ⨁}. As a result, the currently available planet radius and metallicity data for solar-metallicity F and G stars give no reason to expect that the amount of solid material in a protoplanetary disk determines whether super-Earths or mini-Neptunes are formed.

  9. Multilingual Maps of the Terrestrial Planets and their Moons: the East and Central European Edition (United States)

    Hargitai, H.; Berczi, Sz.

    added more details. We also look for a new color-code, since the natural terrestrial map colors scheme can not be used here: colors like blue or green can be misinterpreted easily. The colors on a terrestrial topographic map use a color system that reflects general vegetation cover (green) and the hydrologic system (blue). Part of this color system, however, can also be found in nature: in yellowing leaves (green-yellow-brown). On Mars or the Moon we try to find a color system that reflect the general colors of these planets but also allows discretion of the colors that reflect height or/and terrain type. The maps are available via internet for free pdf download at References: Hargitai H. I., Rükl A., Gabzdyl P., Roša D., Kundera T., Marjanac T., Ozimkowsky W., Peneva E., Bandrova T., Oreshina L. S., Baeva L. Y, Krasnopevtseva B. V, Shingareva K. B. (2001-2006) Maps of Mars, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Phobos and Deimos, Central European Edition. Budapest 2 Shingareva K. B., J. Zimbelman, M. Buchroithner, H. I. Hargitai (2006): The Realization of ICA Commission Projects on Planetary Cartography Cartographica Volume 40, issue 4. 3

  10. On the Minimum Core Mass for Giant Planet Formation (United States)

    Youdin, Andrew; Piso, A.


    In the core accretion hypothesis, giant planets form by accreting gas from the protoplanetary disk onto a solid core. Ten Earth masses (10 M_E) is often quoted as the minimum or critical core mass required to form a gas giant. However, the critical core mass can vary greatly depending on various quantities, including: the location in and conditions of the disk, the atmospheric composition and opacity (which may differ from the disk) and the accretion rate of planetesimals or smaller solids. To investigate these issues, we consider the growth of atmospheres in the limiting case of a fixed core mass with no ongoing accretion of solids. We thus obtain absolute lower limits on the critical core mass because additional heat sources limit the ability of the atmosphere to cool and undergo Kelvin-Helmholtz contraction. To study this contraction over a wide range of parameter space, we develop a simplified two-layer cooling model. The model's main approximation is that atmospheric luminosity is primarily generated in the convective interior, so that the luminosity generated in the radiative exterior can be neglected. We focus our attention on the outer region of protoplanetary disks, where our approximations are more valid, and where direct imaging searches are finding giant planets that constrain formation models. To form a gas giant, we require that runaway gas growth occurs within 3 Myr, a characteristic disk lifetime, though the time to grow the core (in situ or otherwise) is not included. Our main finding is that the critical core mass declines with distance in the disk. For our standard model, the critical core mass drops from 8.5 M_E at 5 AU to 3.5 M_E at 100 AU. This result arises primarily from lower disk temperatures. A lower disk density or pressure (at fixed temperature) only modestly increases critical core masses. Lowering the opacity also gives lower critical core masses. We also develop a simplified analytic cooling model, which explains the basic trends and

  11. The formation of giant planets in wide orbits by photoevaporation-synchronized migration (United States)

    Guilera, O. M.; Miller Bertolami, M. M.; Ronco, M. P.


    The discovery of giant planets in wide orbits represents a major challenge for planet formation theory. In the standard core accretion paradigm, planets are expected to form at radial distances ≲20 au in order to form massive cores (with masses ≳10 M⊕) able to trigger the gaseous runaway growth before the dissipation of the disc. This has encouraged authors to find modifications of the standard scenario as well as alternative theories like the formation of planets by gravitational instabilities in the disc to explain the existence of giant planets in wide orbits. However, there is not yet consensus on how these systems are formed. In this Letter, we present a new natural mechanism for the formation of giant planets in wide orbits within the core accretion paradigm. If photoevaporation is considered, after a few Myr of viscous evolution a gap in the gaseous disc is opened. We found that, under particular circumstances planet migration becomes synchronized with the evolution of the gap, which results in an efficient outward planet migration. This mechanism is found to allow the formation of giant planets with masses Mp ≲ 1MJup in wide stable orbits as large as ∼130 au from the central star.

  12. HD 106315 and GJ 9827: Understanding the Formation and Evolution of Small Planets (United States)

    Rodriguez, Joseph; Vanderburg, Andrew; Eastman, Jason; Zhou, George


    The success of ground-based transit and RV surveys, and the Kepler/K2 mission, has shifted the exoplanet field from pure discovery to a combination of discovery, demographic analysis, and atmospheres, with the goal of understanding how planets form and evolve. The discovery of super Earth and sub-Neptune sized planets, planets with no analogue in our own solar system, span a known transition from dense rock composition to thick gaseous atmospheres. Recently, we have discovered two exoplanet systems using data from the K2 mission which provide a great opportunity to understand how small planets form and evolve. HD 106315 hosts a sub-Neptune size planet on a 9.5 day period and a Neptune on a 21 day period. The host star’s brightness and higher than typical rotation period make HD 106315c one of the best small planets known to measure its spin-orbit alignment. This measurement may provide insight into its formation history as misaligned planets suggest a dynamical migration history. GJ 9827 hosts three super Earth planets that span the known rock to gas transition. From studying the atmospheres of these planets, we may better understand the mechanisms involved in creating the observed dichotomy at 1.6 Earth radii. I will discuss our recent results on these two systems and their importance to understanding the formation and evolution of small planets.

  13. Highest volcanoes on terrestrial planets and dwarf-planets adorn the deepest depressions of their respective bodies (United States)

    Kochemasov, G. G.


    Four highest volcanoes of the inner solar system tower above four largest and deepest hemispheric depressions of the Earth, Moon, Mars, and Vesta. Of course, this is not a mere coincidence; behind of this fundamental fact stays an equally fundamental planetary regulation. The wave planetology based on elliptical keplerian orbits of cosmic bodies evoking their wave warping shows that the fundamental wave 1 inevitably produces hemispheric tectonic dichotomy. One hemisphere rises, the opposite falls. The uprising half increases its planetary radius and space and thus is intensively cut by numerous faults and rifts. The antipodean subsiding half decreases its radius and space and thus is intensively compacted and affected by folds and faults. Forming extra material finds its way out in form of volcanic ridges and volcanoes. The strongest compaction caused by the wave 1 subsidence produces most voluminous eruptions. That is why the relation exists between the largest and deepest hemispheric basins and the highest basic volcanoes having mantle roots [1-4]. On the Earth's Pacific Ocean floor stay the Hawaiian volcanoes; on the lunar Procellarum Ocean occurs Crater Copernicus (erroneously taken as an impact feature); Martian Vastitas Borealis is adorned with Olympus Mons; Vestan Reasilvia Basin (obviously tectonic not impact feature) has the central mountain -the highest volcanic peak in the Solar system (Fig. 1-4). A regular row of increasing heights of these largest volcanoes extends in the outward direction. A study of the dwarf-planet Ceres only begins(DAWN project). Already the first distant images of this globe about 950 km in diameter have shown that it is, as was predicted [5], tectonically two-faced or dichotomous body (Fig. 5, 6). It seems that on its relatively even subsided hemisphere there are some elevated locations often bright white in color (Fig. 6). They could represent prominent "edifices" covered with frozen ices -degassing traces [6].


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dressing, Courtney D.; Charbonneau, David; Dumusque, Xavier; Gettel, Sara; Latham, David W.; Buchhave, Lars A.; Johnson, John Asher; Lopez-Morales, Mercedes [Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States); Pepe, Francesco; Udry, Stéphane; Lovis, Christophe [Observatoire Astronomique de l' Université de Genève, 51 ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Versoix (Switzerland); Collier Cameron, Andrew; Haywood, Raphaëlle D. [SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St. Andrews, North Haugh, St. Andrews Fife KY16 9SS (United Kingdom); Molinari, Emilio; Cosentino, Rosario; Fiorenzano, Aldo F. M.; Harutyunyan, Avet [INAF - Fundación Galileo Galilei, Rambla José Ana Fernandez Pérez 7, E-38712 Breña Baja (Spain); Affer, Laura [INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, I-90124 Palermo (Italy); Bonomo, Aldo S. [INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Torino, via Osservatorio 20, I-10025 Pino Torinese (Italy); Figueira, Pedro, E-mail: [Centro de Astrofìsica, Universidade do Porto, Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762 Porto (Portugal); and others


    Kepler-93b is a 1.478 ± 0.019 R {sub ⊕} planet with a 4.7 day period around a bright (V = 10.2), astroseismically characterized host star with a mass of 0.911 ± 0.033 M {sub ☉} and a radius of 0.919 ± 0.011 R {sub ☉}. Based on 86 radial velocity observations obtained with the HARPS-N spectrograph on the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo and 32 archival Keck/HIRES observations, we present a precise mass estimate of 4.02 ± 0.68 M {sub ⊕}. The corresponding high density of 6.88 ± 1.18 g cm{sup –3} is consistent with a rocky composition of primarily iron and magnesium silicate. We compare Kepler-93b to other dense planets with well-constrained parameters and find that between 1 and 6 M {sub ⊕}, all dense planets including the Earth and Venus are well-described by the same fixed ratio of iron to magnesium silicate. There are as of yet no examples of such planets with masses >6 M {sub ⊕}. All known planets in this mass regime have lower densities requiring significant fractions of volatiles or H/He gas. We also constrain the mass and period of the outer companion in the Kepler-93 system from the long-term radial velocity trend and archival adaptive optics images. As the sample of dense planets with well-constrained masses and radii continues to grow, we will be able to test whether the fixed compositional model found for the seven dense planets considered in this paper extends to the full population of 1-6 M {sub ⊕} planets.

  15. Seven temperate terrestrial planets around the nearby ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. (United States)

    Gillon, Michaël; Triaud, Amaury H M J; Demory, Brice-Olivier; Jehin, Emmanuël; Agol, Eric; Deck, Katherine M; Lederer, Susan M; de Wit, Julien; Burdanov, Artem; Ingalls, James G; Bolmont, Emeline; Leconte, Jeremy; Raymond, Sean N; Selsis, Franck; Turbet, Martin; Barkaoui, Khalid; Burgasser, Adam; Burleigh, Matthew R; Carey, Sean J; Chaushev, Aleksander; Copperwheat, Chris M; Delrez, Laetitia; Fernandes, Catarina S; Holdsworth, Daniel L; Kotze, Enrico J; Van Grootel, Valérie; Almleaky, Yaseen; Benkhaldoun, Zouhair; Magain, Pierre; Queloz, Didier


    One aim of modern astronomy is to detect temperate, Earth-like exoplanets that are well suited for atmospheric characterization. Recently, three Earth-sized planets were detected that transit (that is, pass in front of) a star with a mass just eight per cent that of the Sun, located 12 parsecs away. The transiting configuration of these planets, combined with the Jupiter-like size of their host star-named TRAPPIST-1-makes possible in-depth studies of their atmospheric properties with present-day and future astronomical facilities. Here we report the results of a photometric monitoring campaign of that star from the ground and space. Our observations reveal that at least seven planets with sizes and masses similar to those of Earth revolve around TRAPPIST-1. The six inner planets form a near-resonant chain, such that their orbital periods (1.51, 2.42, 4.04, 6.06, 9.1 and 12.35 days) are near-ratios of small integers. This architecture suggests that the planets formed farther from the star and migrated inwards. Moreover, the seven planets have equilibrium temperatures low enough to make possible the presence of liquid water on their surfaces.

  16. Investigating Planet Formation and Evolution with KELT-11b: An Extremely Inflated Planet Transiting a Metal-Rich Subgiant Star (United States)

    Colon, Knicole D.; KELT Collaboration


    KELT-11b is a recently discovered transiting planet orbiting a bright, metal-rich, subgiant star. The planet has a mass of just 0.2 Jupiter masses and a radius of 1.4 Jupiter radii, making it one of the most inflated planets known to date. We will review the discovery process for this unique exoplanet and present observations from the Spitzer Space Telescope that were used to refine the properties of the system. The high-precision photometry from Spitzer was also used to demonstrate the precision with which we can measure stellar and planetary parameters, when used in conjunction with to-be-released precise parallax measurements from Gaia. Such measurements are critical for detailed studies of exoplanets, such as our upcoming program to use the Hubble Space Telescope to study the atmosphere of KELT-11b via transmission spectroscopy. We will describe our upcoming Hubble program, which we anticipate will not only provide one of the first water abundance measurements for a sub-Saturn-mass planet but will also probe the metallicity of a planet with a metal-rich and evolved host star for the first time. We expect that the Hubble observations will enable meaningful comparison with objects in the Solar System as well as with the other few exoplanets known in the sub-Saturn population. Furthermore, such Hubble observations can be used to test predictions from planet formation models of inflated exoplanets. With such unique attributes, the KELT-11 system is poised to become a benchmark for the study of inflated exoplanets around evolved stars.

  17. Martian mud volcanism: Terrestrial analogs and implications for formational scenarios (United States)

    Skinner, J.A.; Mazzini, A.


    The geology of Mars and the stratigraphic characteristics of its uppermost crust (mega-regolith) suggest that some of the pervasively-occurring pitted cones, mounds, and flows may have formed through processes akin to terrestrial mud volcanism. A comparison of terrestrial mud volcanism suggests that equivalent Martian processes likely required discrete sedimentary depocenters, volatile-enriched strata, buried rheological instabilities, and a mechanism of destabilization to initiate subsurface flow. We outline five formational scenarios whereby Martian mud volcanism might have occurred: (A) rapid deposition of sediments, (B) volcano-induced destabilization, (C) tectonic shortening, (D) long-term, load-induced subsidence, and (E) seismic shaking. We describe locations within and around the Martian northern plains that broadly fit the geological context of these scenarios and which contain mud volcano-like landforms. We compare terrestrial and Martian satellite images and examine the geological settings of mud volcano provinces on Earth in order to describe potential target areas for piercement structures on Mars. Our comparisons help to evaluate not only the role of water as a functional component of geological processes on Mars but also how Martian mud volcanoes could provide samples of otherwise inaccessible strata, some of which could contain astrobiological evidence.

  18. Impact cratering as a major process in planet formation: Projectile identification of meteorite craters (United States)

    Schmidt, G.; Kratz, K.


    Martian crust). To date, about 20 iron meteorites and about 20 chondrites have been identified as projectiles of the 176 known impact craters on Earth. The projectiles for the other 136 impact craters are still unknown. Recently, non-magmatic irons (i.e., irons with unfractionated trace element patterns) have been suggested as projectiles for Rochechouart and Sääksjärvi impact craters (Tagle et al. 2009), in contradiction to previous studies (Janssens et al 1977; Schmidt et al. 1997). Melt rocks from many impact craters on Earth (e.g., Rochechouart, Sääksjärvi, Dellen, Mien, Boltysh) are depleted in Os relatively to Ir and Ru. Subchondritic Os/Ir (about 3 times lower than Os/Ir in the metal phase of non-magmatic irons), fractionated Ru/Ir and Rh/Os ratios are strong arguments to conclude that about 50% of the currently identified iron projectiles from terrestrial impact craters are related to magmatic irons. References: Janssens et al. (1977) Journal of Geophysical Research 82, 750-758; Kleine et al. (2009) Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (GCA) 73, 5150-5188; Schmidt et al. (1997) GCA 61, 2977-2987; Schmidt (2009) Workshop on Planet Formation and Evolution, Tübingen; Schmidt and Kratz (2004) Lunar and Planetary Institute Contribution, 9017; Tagle et al. (2009) GCA 73, 4891-4906.

  19. A Preliminary Analysis of College Students’ Preinstructional Ideas About Planet Formation (United States)

    Simon, Molly; Impey, Chris David; Buxner, Sanlyn


    From as early as nursery school, children are taught about planet Earth and “our place in space.” Learning about the Solar System transcends K-12 education, and is considered one of the top-ten most frequently discussed topics in undergraduate introductory astronomy courses for non-majors. All too frequently, however, the discussion stops after a brief overview of each planet, and students are left to ponder how the Solar System came to be in the first place. The topic of planet formation has grown in importance in any astronomy class in light of the discovery of nearly 5,000 exoplanet candidates, where the properties of exoplanetary systems have cast light on the general process of planet formation. This highly active research field has been slow to be properly represented in the astronomy classroom for non-majors. For this work, we presented students in six undergraduate 100 and 200-level astronomy courses at the University of Arizona with one of three short answer questions on the topic of planet formation. The questions were administered on the first day of the Fall 2016 semester before any related material was taught. We will present an analysis of these responses, and discuss any common trends, themes, and misconceptions that appear from the dataset. These responses will lend to the development of the Planet Formation Concept Inventory (PFCI) that will be used by ASTR 101 instructors to evaluate students’ understanding of planet formation before and after instruction.

  20. Radioactive Elements on Mercury's Surface from MESSENGER: Implications for the Planet's Formation and Evolution

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Patrick N. Peplowski; Larry G. Evans; Steven A. Hauck; Timothy J. McCoy; William V. Boynton; Jeffery J. Gillis-Davis; Denton S. Ebel; John O. Goldsten; David K. Hamara; David J. Lawrence; Ralph L. McNutt; Larry R. Nittler; Sean C. Solomon; Edgar A. Rhodes; Ann L. Sprague; Richard D. Starr; Karen R. Stockstill-Cahill


    ...) in Mercury's northern hemisphere. The abundance of the moderately volatile element K, relative to Th and U, is inconsistent with physical models for the formation of Mercury requiring extreme heating of the planet or its precursor...

  1. Extrasolar planet population synthesis. I. Method, formation tracks, and mass-distance distribution (United States)

    Mordasini, C.; Alibert, Y.; Benz, W.


    Context: With the high number of extrasolar planets discovered by now, it has become possible to use the properties of this planetary population to constrain theoretical formation models in a statistical sense. This paper is the first in a series in which we carry out a large number of planet population synthesis calculations within the framework of the core accretion scenario. We begin the series with a paper mainly dedicated to the presentation of our approach, but also the discussion of a representative synthetic planetary population of solar like stars. In the second paper we statistically compare the subset of detectable planets to the actual extrasolar planets. In subsequent papers, we shall extend the range of stellar masses and the properties of protoplanetary disks. Aims: The last decade has seen a large observational progress in characterizing both protoplanetary disks, and extrasolar planets. Concurrently, progress was made in developing complex theoretical formation models. The combination of these three developments allows a new kind of study: the synthesis of a population of planets from a model, which is compared with the actual population. Our aim is to obtain a general overview of the population, to check if we quantitatively reproduce the most important observed properties and correlations, and to make predictions about the planets that are not yet observable. Methods: Based as tightly as possible on observational data, we have derived probability distributions for the most important initial conditions for the planetary formation process. We then draw sets of initial conditions from these distributions and obtain the corresponding synthetic planets with our formation model. By repeating this step many times, we synthesize the populations. Results: Although the main purpose of this paper is the description of our methods, we present some key results: we find that the variation of the initial conditions in the limits occurring in nature leads to the

  2. Constraints on the Mineral Evolution of Terrestrial Planets Using Statistical Correlations Among the Mineral-Forming Elements (United States)

    Hummer, D. R.; Hazen, R. M.; Golden, J.; Downs, R. T.


    The mineralogy of terrestrial planets is governed not only by size, bulk chemical composition, planetary differentiation processes, and secondary geochemical processes, but also by the fundamental way in which a planet's constituent elements parse themselves into mineral species. To gain insight into which elements tend to associate with each other to form minerals, we have used the IMA mineralogical database ( to conduct a statistical analysis of the number of known mineral species containing each of the 72 mineral-forming elements, as well as how many species contain both X and Y for every possible X-Y pair of elements. The frequency with which elements X and Y occur together in the nominal chemical formulae of minerals was compared with the expected rate of co-occurrence (assuming that elements are distributed among mineral species randomly). The results reveal that among the most strongly correlated element pairs are H-O, Na-Si, Al-Si, S-Ag, O-Si, Si-Ca, and O-Ca. Examples of strongly anti-correlated pairs are O-S, O-Ag, Si-S, O-Sb, O-Se, H-Ag, and Si-As. The strength of these correlations and anti-correlations varied by many orders of magnitude (as measured by their p-value in a chi-squared test for variable dependence), ranging from near 1 to an astounding 10-304. Out of 2520 unique element pairs, 1688 were statistically significant (p-value groups, 2) crystal chemical considerations of size and charge similarities among cations, especially within silicate structures, 3) group relationships on the periodic table, and 4) soft vs. hard ion relationships. These principles, along with the specific correlations they produce, can serve as a valuable guide in explaining the mineral evolution of Earth's crust, and predicting the mineralogy of terrestrial planets even when the bulk composition is significantly different than that of Earth.

  3. Collisional Fragmentation Is Not a Barrier to Close-in Planet Formation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wallace, Joshua; Tremaine, Scott [Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544 (United States); Chambers, John, E-mail: [Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington, DC 20015 (United States)


    Collisional fragmentation is shown to not be a barrier to rocky planet formation at small distances from the host star. Simple analytic arguments demonstrate that rocky planet formation via collisions of homogeneous gravity-dominated bodies is possible down to distances of order the Roche radius ( r {sub Roche}). Extensive N -body simulations with initial bodies ≳1700 km that include plausible models for fragmentation and merging of gravity-dominated bodies confirm this conclusion and demonstrate that rocky planet formation is possible down to ∼1.1 r {sub Roche}. At smaller distances, tidal effects cause collisions to be too fragmenting to allow mass buildup to a final, dynamically stable planetary system. We argue that even differentiated bodies can accumulate to form planets at distances that are not much larger than r {sub Roche}.

  4. On the Formation of Rings around Giant Planets (United States)

    Hyodo, Ryuki; Charnoz, Sebastien; Genda, Hidenori; Ohtsuki, Keiji


    The origin and age of the rings around giant planets are intensively debated. It has been proposed that Saturn's rings may form by tidal disruption of a Titan-sized primordial satellite that migrates inward due to the gas drag [1]. On the other hand, rings around giant planets may form by tidal disruption of a passing large Kuiper belt object during the late heavy bombardment [2].Recently, it is suggested that a proto-Rhea and a proto-Dione might have experienced a catastrophic collision (only 100 Myr ago) [3]. Following their arguments, we performed SPH simulations of impacts between such objects and found that the impact is indeed catastrophic [4]. Then, we investigated the long-term evolution of the debris by using N-body simulations and analytical arguments. We found that the debris quickly re-accrete into new generation of Rhea- or Dione-like satellite(s) as proposed by the previous work [3], but we didn't see any significant spreading of the debris to form Saturn's rings [4].In this work, we will discuss the current understanding of the origin of rings around giant planets by referring our recent papers [2,4].[1] Canup, R. 2010, Nature, 468, 943[2] Hyodo, R., Charnoz, S., Ohtsuki, K. & Genda, H. 2017, Icarus, 282, 195[3] Cuk, M., Dones, L., & Nesvorny, D. 2016, ApJ, 820, 97[4] Hyodo, R., & Charnoz, S. 2017, AJ, 154, 34

  5. Signposts of Planet Formation in the Disk of GM Aur (United States)

    Hornbeck, Jeremy; Grady, Carol; Williger, Gerard; Brown, A.; Perrin, M.; Wisniewski, J.


    Rice et al. noted that transitional disks hosting massive Jovian-mass planets should have suppressed accretion onto the star, while bringing about an absence of silicate emission. Their models also predict systems with less massive planets should permit small grain dust and some gas to filter into the cavity, leaving larger grains confined to the outer disk. Such systems are expected to have polarized light originating within the cavity, silicate emission, and small-grain reflection nebulosity detectable in FUV high-contrast imagery. A further consequence is that molecular gas should be less abundant in the inner disk due to photodissociation by the stellar FUV radiation field. GM Aur is a T-Tauri star/transitional disk system, where both silicate emission and a 24 AU cavity has been detected. We continue the analysis of GM Aur with FUV and optical HST imagery and report the presence of small-grain reflection nebulosity detected from 1400 - 2000 A in the cavity region, as well as a molecular outflow that has an inner radius corresponding to the cavity wall. These data, together with the presence of silicate emission, suggest that GM Aur hosts a planet with likely mass between 1 and 5 Mass of Jupiter

  6. Origin of hot Super-Earths and the vortex-assisted mode of planet formation. (United States)

    Lyra, Wladimir

    In spite of steady advances, planet formation remains, by and large, a mystery. Although a relatively consistent theory has been developed in the past two decades, its application to the observed distribution of exoplanets has not fared too well. If the statistics of discovered exoplanets suggest that planets form efficiently, there are still fundamental unsolved problems, such as excessive inward drift of grains in protoplanetary disks during planet formation. State-of-the-art theories invoke dust traps to overcome this problem, and recent high-resolution observations of protoplanetary disks show a highcontrast crescent-shaped emission on one side of the star, originating from millimetersized grains. The favored hypothesis borrows from the planet formation literature by suggesting that this asymmetry is the result of dust trapping in giant anticyclonic vortices. This idea, however, is not without problems. Vortices have been extensively studied, and some of their understood properties conflict with them being the culprit of the observed asymmetries. Understanding these conflicts will provide constraints for the theory and advance our interpretation of the observations. In this proposal, we aim to show that vortex trapping is a viable mechanism for planet formation. This is possible because 1) large-scale vortices are expected at turbulent/quiescent transitions in the disk 2) vortices are expected in the laminar zones 3) vortices should be excellent traps for grains and thus planet formation sites; 4) grain drift from outer radii brings more planet building blocks to the vortex; and 5) The turbulent/laminar zone boundary is also a migration stopping point. We propose a set of hydrodynamical simulations including embedded solid particles to decisively demonstrate the efficiency of vortex-assisted planet formation.

  7. The Sustainability of Habitability on Terrestrial Planets: Insights, Questions, and Needed Measurements from Mars for Understanding the Evolution of Earth-like Worlds


    Ehlmann, B. L.; Dressing, C.D.; Farley, K. A.; Fischer, W. W.; Knutson, H. A.; Stevenson, D. J.; Yung, Y. L.


    What allows a planet to be both within a potentially habitable zone and sustain habitability over long geologic time? With the advent of exoplanetary astronomy and the ongoing discovery of terrestrial-type planets around other stars, our own solar system becomes a key testing ground for ideas about what factors control planetary evolution. Mars provides the solar system's longest record of the interplay of the physical and chemical processes relevant to habitability on an accessible rocky pla...


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Boley, A. C. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, The University of British Columbia, 6224 Agricultural Road, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z1 (Canada); Morris, M. A. [Center for Meteorite Studies, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 876004, Tempe, AZ 88287-6004 (United States); Ford, E. B. [Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, The Pennsylvania State University, 525 Davey Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802 (United States)


    We present a solution to the long outstanding meter barrier problem in planet formation theory. As solids spiral inward due to aerodynamic drag, they will enter disk regions that are characterized by high temperatures, densities, and pressures. High partial pressures of rock vapor can suppress solid evaporation, and promote collisions between partially molten solids, allowing rapid growth. This process should be ubiquitous in planet-forming disks, which may be evidenced by the abundant class of Systems with Tightly packed Inner Planets discovered by the NASA Kepler Mission.

  9. Effect of Fe Content on Olivine Viscosity at the P-T Conditions of Terrestrial-Planet Interiors (United States)

    Raterron, P.; Holyoke, C. W., III; Tokle, L.; Hilairet, N.; Merkel, S.; Hirth, G.; Weidner, D. J.


    The top parts of the mantle of terrestrial planets are olivine-rich, with Fe/(Mg+Fe) ratio lower than 2% for Mercury, up to 25-30% for Mars, and intermediate compositions for the Earth, the Moon and Venus. Results of experiments at low pressure (Zhao et al., 2009, EPSL, 287, 229-240) indicate that increasing Fe content dramatically decreases olivine viscosity. Thus, the Martian upper mantle may be 10 times less viscous than the Earth's at the same conditions. However, there is no data available on the effect of iron on olivine plasticity at pressures relevant to planetary interiors. We deformed polycrystalline olivine specimens with various Fe contents ranging from 0% (pure forsterite) to 100% (pure fayalite), at temperatures (T) in excess of 1000°C and pressures (P) in the range of 2 - 6 GPa, in the Deformation-DIA apparatus (D-DIA) coupled with X-ray synchrotron radiation. Pressure, differential stress and strain rate were measured in situ by X-ray diffraction and radiography. Stacked cylindrical specimens with different iron contents were deformed in series to compare their viscosities at identical T, P and differential stress. We observed that increasing pressure dramatically decreases the viscosity contrast between Fe-poor olivine and Fe-rich olivine, while increasing differential stress has the opposite effect. Hence, the range of viscosities expected in planetary mantles - in the low-P and high-stress regime of the uppermost mantle and in the high-P and low-stress regime of the deep mantle - may be radically different, depending on their iron contents. We will present these new data which may have significant implications for the convection mode and thermal history of terrestrial-planet mantles.

  10. The Role of Comets as Possible Contributors of Water and Prebiotic Organics to Terrestrial Planets (United States)

    Mumma, Michael J.; Charnley, S. B.


    The question of exogenous delivery of organics and water to Earth and other young planets is of critical importance for understanding the origin of Earth's water, and for assessing the prospects for existence of Earth-like exo-planets. Viewed from a cosmic perspective, Earth is a dry planet yet its oceans are enriched in deuterium by a large factor relative to nebular hydrogen. Can comets have delivered Earth's water? The deuterium content of comets is key to ,assessing their role as contributors of water to Earth. Icy bodies today reside in two distinct reservoirs, the Oort Cloud and the Kuiper Disk (divided into the classical disk, the scattered disk, and the detached or extended disk populations). Orbital parameters can indicate the cosmic storage reservoir for a given comet. Knowledge of the diversity of comets within a reservoir assists in assessing their possible contribution to early Earth, but requires quantitative knowledge of their components - dust and ice. Strong gradients in temperature and chemistry in the proto-planetary disk, coupled with dynamical dispersion of an outer disk of icy planetesimals, imply that comets from KD and OC reservoirs should have diverse composition. The primary volatiles (native to the nucleus) provide the preferred metric for building a taxonomy for comets, and the number of comets so quantified is growing rapidly. Taxonomies based on native species (primary volatiles) are now beginning to emerge [1, 2, 3]. The measurement of cosmic parameters such as the nuclear spin temperatures for H2O, NH3 and CH4, and of enrichment factors for isotopologues (D/H in water and hydrogen cyanide, N-14/N-15 in CN and hydrogen cyanide) provide additional tests of the origin of cometary material. I will provide an overview of these aspects, and implications for the origin of Earth's water and prebiotic organics.

  11. Asteroid impacts on terrestrial planets: the effects of super-Earths and the role of the ν6 resonance (United States)

    Smallwood, Jeremy L.; Martin, Rebecca G.; Lepp, Stephen; Livio, Mario


    With N-body simulations of a planetary system with an asteroid belt, we investigate how the asteroid impact rate on the Earth is affected by the architecture of the planetary system. We find that the ν6 secular resonance plays an important role in the asteroid collision rate with the Earth. Compared to exoplanetary systems, the Solar system is somewhat special in its lack of a super-Earth mass planet in the inner Solar system. We therefore first consider the effects of the presence of a super-Earth in the terrestrial planet region. We find a significant effect for super-Earths with a mass of around 10 M⊕ and a separation greater than about 0.7 au. For a super-Earth which is interior to the Earth's orbit, the number of asteroids colliding with Earth increases the closer the super-Earth is to the Earth's orbit. This is the result of multiple secular resonance locations causing more asteroids to be perturbed on to Earth-crossing orbits. When the super-Earth is placed exterior to Earth's orbit, the collision rate decreases substantially because the ν6 resonance no longer exists in the asteroid belt region. We also find that changing the semimajor axis of Saturn leads to a significant decrease in the asteroid collision rate, though increasing its mass increases the collision rate. These results may have implications for the habitability of exoplanetary systems.

  12. N-body simulations of planet formation: understanding exoplanet system architectures (United States)

    Coleman, Gavin; Nelson, Richard


    Observations have demonstrated the existence of a significant population of compact systems comprised of super-Earths and Neptune-mass planets, and a population of gas giants that appear to occur primarily in either short-period (100 days) orbits. The broad diversity of system architectures raises the question of whether or not the same formation processes operating in standard disc models can explain these planets, or if different scenarios are required instead to explain the widely differing architectures. To explore this issue, we present the results from a comprehensive suite of N-body simulations of planetary system formation that include the following physical processes: gravitational interactions and collisions between planetary embryos and planetesimals; type I and II migration; gas accretion onto planetary cores; self-consistent viscous disc evolution and disc removal through photo-evaporation. Our results indicate that the formation and survival of compact systems of super-Earths and Neptune-mass planets occur commonly in disc models where a simple prescription for the disc viscosity is assumed, but such models never lead to the formation and survival of gas giant planets due to migration into the star. Inspired in part by the ALMA observations of HL Tau, and by MHD simulations that display the formation of long-lived zonal flows, we have explored the consequences of assuming that the disc viscosity varies in both time and space. We find that the radial structuring of the disc leads to conditions in which systems of giant planets are able to form and survive. Furthermore, these giants generally occupy those regions of the mass-period diagram that are densely populated by the observed gas giants, suggesting that the planet traps generated by radial structuring of protoplanetary discs may be a necessary ingredient for forming giant planets.

  13. Towards Understanding the Climate of Venus Applications of Terrestrial Models to Our Sister Planet

    CERN Document Server

    Bonnet, Roger-Maurice; Grinspoon, David; Koumoutsaris, Symeon; Lebonnois, Sebastien; Titov, Dmitri


    ESA’s Venus Express Mission has monitored Venus since April 2006, and scientists worldwide have used mathematical models to investigate its atmosphere and model its circulation. This book summarizes recent work to explore and understand the climate of the planet through a research program under the auspices of the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern, Switzerland. Some of the unique elements that are discussed are the anomalies with Venus’ surface temperature (the huge greenhouse effect causes the surface to rise to 460°C, without which would plummet as low as -40°C), its unusual lack of solar radiation (despite being closer to the Sun, Venus receives less solar radiation than Earth due to its dense cloud cover reflecting 76% back) and the juxtaposition of its atmosphere and planetary rotation (wind speeds can climb up to 200 m/s, much faster than Venus’ sidereal day of 243 Earth-days).

  14. The Evolution of CO in Protoplanetary Disks During Planet Formation (United States)

    Schwarz, Kamber; Bergin, Edwin


    CO has long been used as a tracer of gas mass. However, recent observations have revealed a low CO to dust mass ratio in numerous protoplanetary disks. In at least some of these systems it is the CO, rather than the total gas mass, which is missing. During my PhD I have used models of protoplanetary disk chemistry as well as millimeter observations to explore the causes and extent of CO depletion in disks. My ALMA observations of CO isotopologues in the TW Hya protoplanetary disk revealed that CO is under-abundant in that system by nearly two orders of magnitude, failing to return to ISM abundances even inside the midplane CO snow line. I have also explored the physical conditions needed to remove carbon from gas phase CO via chemically process using a large grid of chemical models. My analysis reveals that in the warm molecular layer, a wide range of physical conditions can result in an order of magnitude reduction of CO in the outer disk. In the inner disk, ionization, such as from cosmic rays, is needed for chemical reprocessing to occur. However, it is very difficult for chemical processes alone to result in two orders of magnitude of depletion, such as is seen in TW Hya and inferred for other disks. In the midplane, where planets form, it is even more difficult to remove carbon from CO without invoking cosmic rays. My work shows that while CO is missing from the gas in protoplanetary disks, chemistry is unlikely to be the sole cause.

  15. A terrestrial planet candidate in a temperate orbit around Proxima Centauri. (United States)

    Anglada-Escudé, Guillem; Amado, Pedro J; Barnes, John; Berdiñas, Zaira M; Butler, R Paul; Coleman, Gavin A L; de la Cueva, Ignacio; Dreizler, Stefan; Endl, Michael; Giesers, Benjamin; Jeffers, Sandra V; Jenkins, James S; Jones, Hugh R A; Kiraga, Marcin; Kürster, Martin; López-González, Marίa J; Marvin, Christopher J; Morales, Nicolás; Morin, Julien; Nelson, Richard P; Ortiz, José L; Ofir, Aviv; Paardekooper, Sijme-Jan; Reiners, Ansgar; Rodríguez, Eloy; Rodrίguez-López, Cristina; Sarmiento, Luis F; Strachan, John P; Tsapras, Yiannis; Tuomi, Mikko; Zechmeister, Mathias


    At a distance of 1.295 parsecs, the red dwarf Proxima Centauri (α Centauri C, GL 551, HIP 70890 or simply Proxima) is the Sun's closest stellar neighbour and one of the best-studied low-mass stars. It has an effective temperature of only around 3,050 kelvin, a luminosity of 0.15 per cent of that of the Sun, a measured radius of 14 per cent of the radius of the Sun and a mass of about 12 per cent of the mass of the Sun. Although Proxima is considered a moderately active star, its rotation period is about 83 days (ref. 3) and its quiescent activity levels and X-ray luminosity are comparable to those of the Sun. Here we report observations that reveal the presence of a small planet with a minimum mass of about 1.3 Earth masses orbiting Proxima with a period of approximately 11.2 days at a semi-major-axis distance of around 0.05 astronomical units. Its equilibrium temperature is within the range where water could be liquid on its surface.

  16. Formation of Authigenic Sulfates in Cold Dry Glaciers: Terrestrial and Planetary Implications of Sublimites (United States)

    Massé, M.; Rondeau, B.; Ginot, P.; Schmitt, B.; Bourgeois, O.; Mitri, G.


    Salts are common on planetary surfaces, and sulfates have been widely observed on Earth, Mars (Gendrin et al., 2005) and on some of Jupiter's and Saturn's icy moons like Europa (Dalton et al., 2007). These minerals can form under a wide range of conditions, and the determination of sulfate formation processes can provide key elements for deciphering past planetary surface conditions. Most terrestrial sulfates form as evaporites in warm environments with high water/rock ratios, but these conditions are rarely encountered on other planets. Here we describe the formation of cryogenic sulfates in an extreme cold and dry environment: the Guanaco glacier located in the Chilean Andes (Fig.1a, Rabatel et al., 2011). Field analyses reveal that it is a cold-based glacier, its surface temperature remains below 0°C throughout the year, and ablation occurs mostly by sublimation. Ablation creates ice cliffs punctuated of pluricentimetric whitish, tapered crystals embedded in the ice (Fig.1b, c). By Raman and chemistry, they proved to be gypsum, covered by micrometric crystals of jarosite, halotrichite and native sulfur. The euhedral morphology of these soft minerals indicates that they are neoformed and have not been transported in the ice. This is supported by the absence of gypsum crystals in ice cores drilled through the glacier. We infer that the crystallization thus occurred at the glacier surface during ice sublimation and does not involve liquid water. To distinguish this original salt formation process from the more common evaporites, we name these minerals "sublimites". Though this formation process is uncommon and generates minor quantities of sulfates on Earth, it may be dominant on other bodies in the Solar System where sublimation is effective. Examples of planetary sublimites may include gypsum on the North Polar Cap of Mars (Massé et al., 2012), and other sulfates on icy moons where sublimation has been observed (Howard et al., 2008).

  17. Effect of Giant Planet Formation on the Compositional Mixture of the Asteroid Belt (United States)

    Kretke, Katherine A.; Bottke, William; Kring, David A.; Levison, Harold F.


    The asteroid belt is observed to be a mixture of objects with different compositions, with volatile-poor asteroids (mostly S-complex) dominant in the inner asteroid belt while volatile-rich (mostly C-complex) asteroids dominate the outer asteroid belt. While this general compositional stratification was originally thought to be an indicator of the primordial temperature gradient in the protoplanetary disk, the very distinct properties of these populations suggest that they must represent two completely decoupled reservoirs, not a simple gradient (e.g., Warren 2011). It is possible to create this general stratification (as well as the observed mixing) as the implantation of outer Solar System material into the asteroid belt by the early migration of the giant planets (e.g. the Grand Tack, Walsh et al. 2011). However, this presupposes that the inner and outer Solar System materials were still sorted in their primordial locations prior to any migration of the planets. The lack of a fully dynamically self-consistent model of giant planet core formation has prevented the study of how the core formation process itself may result in dynamical mixing in the early Solar System's history. Recently, pebble accretion, the process by which planetesimals can grow to giant planet cores via the accretion of small, rapidly drifting sub-meter-sized bodies known as ``pebbles,'' (Lambrechts & Johansen 2012, Levison, Kretke & Duncan 2015) finally offers such a model. Here we show how the process of giant planet formation will impact the surrounding planetesimal population, possibly resulting in the observed compositional mixture of the asteroid belt, without requiring a dramatic migration of the giant planets. For example, preliminary runs suggest planetesimals from the Jupiter-formation zone can be implanted in the outer main belt via interactions with scattered Jupiter-zone protoplanets. This could potentially provide an alternative non-Grand Tack solution to the origin of many C

  18. Modulation of Terrestrial Convection by Tropospheric Humidity, and Implications for Other Planets (United States)

    Genio, Anthony Del


    For decades, deep cumulus convection was viewed as consisting partly of undilute plumes that do not interact with their surrounding environment in order to explain their observed tendency to reach or penetrate the tropical tropopause. This behavior was built into all cumulus parameterizations used in terrestrial global climate and numerical weather prediction models, and it still persists in some models today. In the past decade, though, some embarrassing failures of global models have come to light, notably their tendency to rain over land near noon rather than in late afternoon or evening as observed, and the absence in the models of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), the major source of intraseasonal (30-90 day) precipitation variability in the Indian Ocean, West Pacific, and surrounding continental regions. In the past decade it has become clear that an important missing component of parameterizations is strong turbulent entrainment of drier environmental air into cumulus updrafts, which reduces the buoyancy of the updrafts and thus limits their vertical development. Tropospheric humidity thus serves as a throttle on convective penetration to high altitudes and delays the convective response to large-scale destabilizing influences in the environment.

  19. Dynamical rearrangement of super-Earths during disk dispersal. II. Assessment of the magnetospheric rebound model for planet formation scenarios (United States)

    Liu, Beibei; Ormel, Chris W.


    Context. The Kepler mission has provided a large sample to statistically analyze the orbital properties of the super-Earth planet population. We hypothesize that these planets formed early and consider the problem of matching planet formation theory to the current orbital configurations. Two scenarios - disk migration and in-situ formation - have been proposed to explain the origin of these planets. In the migration scenario, planets migrate inward to the inner disk due to planet-disk interaction, whereas in the in-situ scenario planets assemble locally. Therefore, planets formed by migration are expected to end up in resonances, whereas those formed in-situ are expected to stay in short period ratios and in non-resonant orbits. Both predictions are at odds with observations. Aims: We investigate whether a preferred formation scenario can be identified through a comparison between the magnetospheric rebound model and the Kepler data. Methods: We conduct N-body simulations of two-planet systems during the disk dispersal phase. Several distributions of model parameters are considered and we make a statistical comparison between the simulations and the Kepler observations. Results: Comparing the migration and the in-situ scenarios, we find that magnetospheric rebound tends to erase the difference in the orbital configuration that was initially presented. After disk dispersal, not all planets are in resonance in the migration scenario, whereas planets do not remain in compact configurations in the in-situ scenario. In both scenarios, the orbits of planets increase with the cavity expansion, and their period ratios have a wider distribution. Conclusions: From a statistical perspective, the magnetospheric rebound model reproduces several observed properties of Kepler planets, such as the fact that a significant number of planets are not in resonances and planet pairs can end up at large period ratios. The disparity in orbital configuration between the two formation

  20. Building the Terrestrial Planets: Constraining Planetary Accretion in the inner Solar System (United States)

    Raymond, Sean N.; O'Brien, D. P.; Morbidelli, A.; Kaib, N. A.


    We present results of N-body simulations of planetary accretion with the goal of reproducing the inner Solar System. Planetary embryos and planetesimals evolve and grow under the influence of Jupiter and Saturn, which are assumed to have formed during the short gaseous phase of the Solar Nebula. We compare the results of these simulations to the current Solar System in order to constrain the configuration of Jupiter and Saturn at early times, analyzing cases that are both consistent and contrary to the 'Nice model.' We attempt to reproduce 1) the masses and orbits of Venus, Earth and Mars -- Mars' relatively small mass in particular has not been adequately reproduced in previous simulations; 2) the structure of the asteroid belt -- we show that a remnant embryo larger than the Moon is inconsistent with the main belt structure; and 3) the water content of the Earth, assuming that it was delivered in the form of water-rich primitive asteroidal material. We find that Jupiter and Saturn are the most important factor in the outcome, exciting asteroidal bodies via secular and mean motion resonances. A configuration with the giant planets on circular orbits can form a water-rich Earth and Venus but Mars' mass is too large by a factor of 5-10. A configuration with Jupiter and Saturn in their current locations but with slightly higher eccentricities produces Earth, Venus, Mars and the asteroid belt, but does not allow water delivery to Earth. Further simulations with a range of configurations of Jupiter and Saturn are currently underway in order to better reproduce all of the above characteristics of the inner Solar System. This will allow us to constrain Jupiter and Saturn's orbits at early times and test the validity of scenarios such as the 'Nice model.'

  1. Comet capture from molecular clouds: a dynamical constraint on star and planet formation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Clube, S.V.M.; Napier, W.M.


    The process is analysed whereby successive clouds of comets are captured into and ejected from the Solar System during spiral arm passages in accord with the theory of episodic terrestrial catastrophism. Geophysical and biological phenomena are thereby expected to reveal Galactic periodicities, including cycles of 50 or 100 Myr, and 25-30 Myr. A large number density of comets in giant molecular clouds is implied, indicating that the aggregation of planetesimals to form stars and planets could well take place in compact systems of near zero energy. It is shown that the source of such systems of planetesimals may be inferred from studies of isotope anomalies in cometary and meteoritic material.

  2. The Development of the Planet Formation Concept Inventory: A Preliminary Analysis of Version 1 (United States)

    Simon, Molly; Impey, Chris David; Buxner, Sanlyn


    The topic of planet formation is poorly represented in the educational literature, especially at the college level. As recently as 2014, when developing the Test of Astronomy Standards (TOAST), Slater (2014) noted that for two topics (formation of the Solar System and cosmology), “high quality test items that reflect our current understanding of students’ conceptions were not available [in the literature]” (Slater,2014, p. 8). Furthermore, nearly half of ASTR 101 enrollments are at 2 year/community colleges where both instructors and students have little access to current research and models of planet formation. In response, we administered six student replied response (SSR) short answer questions on the topic of planet formation to n = 1,050 students enrolled in introductory astronomy and planetary science courses at The University of Arizona in the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. After analyzing and coding the data from the SSR questions, we developed a preliminary version of the Planet Formation Concept Inventory (PFCI). The PFCI is a multiple-choice instrument with 20 planet formation-related questions, and 4 demographic-related questions. We administered version 1 of the PFCI to six introductory astronomy and planetary science courses (n ~ 700 students) during the Fall 2017 semester. We provided students with 7-8 multiple-choice with explanation of reasoning (MCER) questions from the PFCI. Students selected an answer (similar to a traditional multiple-choice test), and then briefly explained why they chose the answer they did. We also conducted interviews with ~15 students to receive feedback on the quality of the questions and clarity of the instrument. We will present an analysis of the MCER responses and student interviews, and discuss any modifications that will be made to the instrument as a result.

  3. Tracing the Evolution of Dust in Protoplanetary Disks — The First Steps of Planet Formation (United States)

    Oliveira, I.; Pontoppidan, K. M.; van Dishoeck, E. F.; Merin, B.


    I will present results from my PhD thesis, focused on surveys of young stars and their dusty disks in nearby clusters. The results inform on timescales and mechanisms of giant planet formation, in context with characteristics of planetary systems.

  4. NACP Site: Terrestrial Biosphere Model Output Data in Original Format (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set contains the original model output data submissions from the 24 terrestrial biosphere models (TBM) that participated in the North American Carbon...

  5. NACP Site: Terrestrial Biosphere Model Output Data in Original Format (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — ABSTRACT: This data set contains the original model output data submissions from the 24 terrestrial biosphere models (TBM) that participated in the North American...

  6. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution: Introduction. Ph.D. Thesis (United States)

    Leake, M. A.


    The relative ages of various geologic units and structures place tight constraints on the origin of the Moon and the planet Mercury, and thus provide a better understanding of the geologic histories of these bodies. Crater statistics, a reexamination of lunar geologic maps, and the compilation of a geologic map of a quarter of Mercury's surface based on plains units dated relative to crater degradation classes were used to determine relative ages. This provided the basis for deducing the origin of intercrater plains and their role in terrestrial planet evolution.

  7. XUV-exposed, non-hydrostatic hydrogen-rich upper atmospheres of terrestrial planets. Part I: atmospheric expansion and thermal escape. (United States)

    Erkaev, Nikolai V; Lammer, Helmut; Odert, Petra; Kulikov, Yuri N; Kislyakova, Kristina G; Khodachenko, Maxim L; Güdel, Manuel; Hanslmeier, Arnold; Biernat, Helfried


    The recently discovered low-density "super-Earths" Kepler-11b, Kepler-11f, Kepler-11d, Kepler-11e, and planets such as GJ 1214b represent the most likely known planets that are surrounded by dense H/He envelopes or contain deep H₂O oceans also surrounded by dense hydrogen envelopes. Although these super-Earths are orbiting relatively close to their host stars, they have not lost their captured nebula-based hydrogen-rich or degassed volatile-rich steam protoatmospheres. Thus, it is interesting to estimate the maximum possible amount of atmospheric hydrogen loss from a terrestrial planet orbiting within the habitable zone of late main sequence host stars. For studying the thermosphere structure and escape, we apply a 1-D hydrodynamic upper atmosphere model that solves the equations of mass, momentum, and energy conservation for a planet with the mass and size of Earth and for a super-Earth with a size of 2 R(Earth) and a mass of 10 M(Earth). We calculate volume heating rates by the stellar soft X-ray and extreme ultraviolet radiation (XUV) and expansion of the upper atmosphere, its temperature, density, and velocity structure and related thermal escape rates during the planet's lifetime. Moreover, we investigate under which conditions both planets enter the blow-off escape regime and may therefore experience loss rates that are close to the energy-limited escape. Finally, we discuss the results in the context of atmospheric evolution and implications for habitability of terrestrial planets in general.

  8. Can planet formation resolve the dust budget crisis in high-redshift galaxies? (United States)

    Forgan, D. H.; Rowlands, K.; Gomez, H. L.; Gomez, E. L.; Schofield, S. P.; Dunne, L.; Maddox, S.


    The process of planet formation offers a rich source of dust production via grain growth in protostellar discs, and via grinding of larger bodies in debris disc systems. Chemical evolution models, designed to follow the build up of metals and dust in galaxies, do not currently account for planet formation. We consider the possibility that the apparent underprediction of dust mass in high-redshift galaxies by chemical evolution models could be in part, due to these models neglecting this process, specifically due to their assumption that a large fraction of the dust mass is removed from the interstellar medium during star formation (so-called astration). By adding a planet formation phase into galaxy chemical evolution, we demonstrate that the dust budget crisis can be partially ameliorated by a factor of 1.3-1.5 only if (I) circumstellar discs prevent a large fraction of the dust mass entering the star during its birth, and (II) that dust mass is preferentially liberated via jets, winds and outflows rather than accreted into planetary-mass bodies.

  9. The Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST): A Search for Terrestrial Extra-solar Planets via Gravitational Microlensing (United States)

    Bennett, D. P.; Clampin, M.; Cook, K. H.; Drake, A.; Gould, A.; Horne, K.; Horner, S.; Jewitt, D.; Langston, G.; Lauer, T.; Lumsdaine, A.; Minniti, D.; Peale, S.; Rhie, S. H.; Shao, M.; Stevenson, R.; Tenerelli, D.; Tytler, D.; Woolf, N.


    GEST is a comprehensive extra-solar planet search mission sensitive to planets with masses as low as that of Mars. GEST will monitor the Galactic bulge for 8 months per year for three years to detect planets via gravitational microlensing and transits. GEST's microlensing survey will detect low-mass planets at separations of > 0.6 AU via high signal-to-noise variations of gravitational microlensing light curves. These planetary signals do not require follow-up observations to confirm the planetary interpretation, and they yield direct measurements of the star:planet mass ratio. GEST will be able to detect 100 Earth-mass planets at 1 AU (assuming 1 such planet per star) and will detect its first Earth-mass planets within a few months of launch. The GEST microlensing survey is the only proposed planet search program sensitive to old, free-floating planets. GEST's transit survey will search ~ 108 Galactic bulge stars for giant planets at separations of GEST will survey ~ 1200 square degrees for Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and operate a Participating Scienctist Program (PSP) with observational programs selected via competitive proposals. The KBO survey should discover 100,000 new KBOs.

  10. Possible planet formation in the young, low-mass, multiple stellar system GG Tau A. (United States)

    Dutrey, Anne; Di Folco, Emmanuel; Guilloteau, Stéphane; Boehler, Yann; Bary, Jeff; Beck, Tracy; Beust, Hervé; Chapillon, Edwige; Gueth, Fredéric; Huré, Jean-Marc; Pierens, Arnaud; Piétu, Vincent; Simon, Michal; Tang, Ya-Wen


    The formation of planets around binary stars may be more difficult than around single stars. In a close binary star (with a separation of less than a hundred astronomical units), theory predicts the presence of circumstellar disks around each star, and an outer circumbinary disk surrounding a gravitationally cleared inner cavity around the stars. Given that the inner disks are depleted by accretion onto the stars on timescales of a few thousand years, any replenishing material must be transferred from the outer reservoir to fuel planet formation (which occurs on timescales of about one million years). Gas flowing through disk cavities has been detected in single star systems. A circumbinary disk was discovered around the young low-mass binary system GG Tau A (ref. 7), which has recently been shown to be a hierarchical triple system. It has one large inner disk around the single star, GG Tau Aa, and shows small amounts of shocked hydrogen gas residing within the central cavity, but other than a single weak detection, the distribution of cold gas in this cavity or in any other binary or multiple star system has not hitherto been determined. Here we report imaging of gas fragments emitting radiation characteristic of carbon monoxide within the GG Tau A cavity. From the kinematics we conclude that the flow appears capable of sustaining the inner disk (around GG Tau Aa) beyond the accretion lifetime, leaving time for planet formation to occur there. These results show the complexity of planet formation around multiple stars and confirm the general picture predicted by numerical simulations.

  11. Resolving the late planet formation stages around young M-stars (United States)

    Millar-Blanchaer, Maxwell


    Recent discoveries of earth-like planets around M-stars have highlighted the importance of understanding planet formation around late-type stars. However, this effort has been hampered by the lack of resolved observations of protoplanetary disks. In particular, scattered light images of M-star disks near the age of dispersal are critical to making further progress. The Upper Sco region provides a promising venue to remedy this situation, as it is the closest region with an age of 5-11 Myrs, commensurate with dispersal timescales. We propose to observe three M-star protoplanetary disks in the Upper Sco association using HST/STIS coronography to resolve the disks in scattered-light for the first time and to search for morphological signatures of forming planets. These three disks have been selected based on ALMA mm-dust and CO measurements that display radii within the STIS field of view and outside its inner working angle (IWA). We will use these observations to carry out a comparative study of the evolutionary state between M-star disks in Upper Sco and the younger 1-2 Myr Taurus region, leveraging both previous scattered-light images of disks in Taurus, as well as previous observations of the mm-dust and CO in both regions. All three targets are too faint to be observed using ground-based AO. Therefore, HST/STIS is the only instrument able to make these important measurements. These observations will act as critical diagnostics of the evolutionary state of nearby M-star protoplanetary disks, that will inform theories of planet formation and will further our understanding of the evolution of the planets around M-stars, such as our nearest neighbor Proxima Centauri b.

  12. The Earliest Stages of Star and Planet Formation: Core Collapse, and the Formation of Disks and Outflows (United States)

    Li, Z.-Y.; Banerjee, R.; Pudritz, R. E.; Jørgensen, J. K.; Shang, H.; Krasnopolsky, R.; Maury, A.

    The formation of stars and planets are connected through disks. Our theoretical understanding of disk formation has undergone drastic changes in recent years, and we are on the brink of a revolution in disk observation enabled by the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). Large rotationally supported circumstellar disks, although common around more evolved young stellar objects (YSOs), are rarely detected during the earliest, "class 0" phase; however, a few excellent candidates have been discovered recently around both low- and high-mass protostars. In this early phase, prominent outflows are ubiquitously observed; they are expected to be associated with at least small magnetized disks. Whether the paucity of large Keplerian disks is due to observational challenges or intrinsically different properties of the youngest disks is unclear. In this review, we focus on the observations and theory of the formation of early disks and outflows and their connections with the first phases of planet formation. Disk formation — once thought to be a simple consequence of the conservation of angular momentum during hydrodynamic core collapse — is far more subtle in magnetized gas. In this case, the rotation can be strongly magnetically braked. Indeed, both analytic arguments and numerical simulations have shown that disk formation is suppressed in the strict ideal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) limit for the observed level of core magnetization. We review what is known about this "magnetic braking catastrophe," possible ways to resolve it, and the current status of early disk observations. Possible resolutions include non-ideal MHD effects (ambipolar diffusion, Ohmic dissipation, and the Hall effect), magnetic interchange instability in the inner part of protostellar accretion flow, turbulence, misalignment between the magnetic field and rotation axis, and depletion of the slowly rotating envelope by outflow stripping or accretion. Outflows are also intimately linked to disk

  13. The Sustainability of Habitability on Terrestrial Planets: Insights, Questions, and Needed Measurements from Mars for Understanding the Evolution of Earth-Like Worlds (United States)

    Ehlmann, B. L.; Anderson, F. S.; Andrews-Hanna, J.; Catling, D. C.; Christensen, P. R.; Cohen, B. A.; Dressing, C. D.; Edwards, C. S.; Elkins-Tanton, L. T.; Farley, K. A.; hide


    What allows a planet to be both within a potentially habitable zone and sustain habitability over long geologic time? With the advent of exoplanetary astronomy and the ongoing discovery of terrestrial-type planets around other stars, our own solar system becomes a key testing ground for ideas about what factors control planetary evolution. Mars provides the solar systems longest record of the interplay of the physical and chemical processes relevant to habitability on an accessible rocky planet with an atmosphere and hydrosphere. Here we review current understanding and update the timeline of key processes in early Mars history. We then draw on knowledge of exoplanets and the other solar system terrestrial planets to identify six broad questions of high importance to the development and sustaining of habitability (unprioritized): (1) Is small planetary size fatal? (2) How do magnetic fields influence atmospheric evolution? (3) To what extent does starting composition dictate subsequent evolution, including redox processes and the availability of water and organics? (4) Does early impact bombardment have a net deleterious or beneficial influence? (5) How do planetary climates respond to stellar evolution, e.g., sustaining early liquid water in spite of a faint young Sun? (6) How important are the timescales of climate forcing and their dynamical drivers? Finally, we suggest crucial types of Mars measurements (unprioritized) to address these questions: (1) in situ petrology at multiple units/sites; (2) continued quantification of volatile reservoirs and new isotopic measurements of H, C, N, O, S, Cl, and noble gases in rocks that sample multiple stratigraphic sections; (3) radiometric age dating of units in stratigraphic sections and from key volcanic and impact units; (4) higher-resolution measurements of heat flux, subsurface structure, and magnetic field anomalies coupled with absolute age dating. Understanding the evolution of early Mars will feed forward to

  14. The sustainability of habitability on terrestrial planets: Insights, questions, and needed measurements from Mars for understanding the evolution of Earth-like worlds (United States)

    Ehlmann, B. L.; Anderson, F. S.; Andrews-Hanna, J.; Catling, D. C.; Christensen, P. R.; Cohen, B. A.; Dressing, C. D.; Edwards, C. S.; Elkins-Tanton, L. T.; Farley, K. A.; Fassett, C. I.; Fischer, W. W.; Fraeman, A. A.; Golombek, M. P.; Hamilton, V. E.; Hayes, A. G.; Herd, C. D. K.; Horgan, B.; Hu, R.; Jakosky, B. M.; Johnson, J. R.; Kasting, J. F.; Kerber, L.; Kinch, K. M.; Kite, E. S.; Knutson, H. A.; Lunine, J. I.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Mangold, N.; McCubbin, F. M.; Mustard, J. F.; Niles, P. B.; Quantin-Nataf, C.; Rice, M. S.; Stack, K. M.; Stevenson, D. J.; Stewart, S. T.; Toplis, M. J.; Usui, T.; Weiss, B. P.; Werner, S. C.; Wordsworth, R. D.; Wray, J. J.; Yingst, R. A.; Yung, Y. L.; Zahnle, K. J.


    What allows a planet to be both within a potentially habitable zone and sustain habitability over long geologic time? With the advent of exoplanetary astronomy and the ongoing discovery of terrestrial-type planets around other stars, our own solar system becomes a key testing ground for ideas about what factors control planetary evolution. Mars provides the solar system's longest record of the interplay of the physical and chemical processes relevant to habitability on an accessible rocky planet with an atmosphere and hydrosphere. Here we review current understanding and update the timeline of key processes in early Mars history. We then draw on knowledge of exoplanets and the other solar system terrestrial planets to identify six broad questions of high importance to the development and sustaining of habitability (unprioritized): (1) Is small planetary size fatal? (2) How do magnetic fields influence atmospheric evolution? (3) To what extent does starting composition dictate subsequent evolution, including redox processes and the availability of water and organics? (4) Does early impact bombardment have a net deleterious or beneficial influence? (5) How do planetary climates respond to stellar evolution, e.g., sustaining early liquid water in spite of a faint young Sun? (6) How important are the timescales of climate forcing and their dynamical drivers? Finally, we suggest crucial types of Mars measurements (unprioritized) to address these questions: (1) in situ petrology at multiple units/sites; (2) continued quantification of volatile reservoirs and new isotopic measurements of H, C, N, O, S, Cl, and noble gases in rocks that sample multiple stratigraphic sections; (3) radiometric age dating of units in stratigraphic sections and from key volcanic and impact units; (4) higher-resolution measurements of heat flux, subsurface structure, and magnetic field anomalies coupled with absolute age dating. Understanding the evolution of early Mars will feed forward to

  15. PENTACLE: Parallelized particle-particle particle-tree code for planet formation (United States)

    Iwasawa, Masaki; Oshino, Shoichi; Fujii, Michiko S.; Hori, Yasunori


    We have newly developed a parallelized particle-particle particle-tree code for planet formation, PENTACLE, which is a parallelized hybrid N-body integrator executed on a CPU-based (super)computer. PENTACLE uses a fourth-order Hermite algorithm to calculate gravitational interactions between particles within a cut-off radius and a Barnes-Hut tree method for gravity from particles beyond. It also implements an open-source library designed for full automatic parallelization of particle simulations, FDPS (Framework for Developing Particle Simulator), to parallelize a Barnes-Hut tree algorithm for a memory-distributed supercomputer. These allow us to handle 1-10 million particles in a high-resolution N-body simulation on CPU clusters for collisional dynamics, including physical collisions in a planetesimal disc. In this paper, we show the performance and the accuracy of PENTACLE in terms of \\tilde{R}_cut and a time-step Δt. It turns out that the accuracy of a hybrid N-body simulation is controlled through Δ t / \\tilde{R}_cut and Δ t / \\tilde{R}_cut ˜ 0.1 is necessary to simulate accurately the accretion process of a planet for ≥106 yr. For all those interested in large-scale particle simulations, PENTACLE, customized for planet formation, will be freely available from under the MIT licence.

  16. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Alternative thermal histories. Ph.D. Thesis (United States)

    Leake, M. A.


    Interpretations supporting a differentiated, once active Mercury are listed. Alternative scenarios of the planet's thermal history involve: different distributions of accreted materials, including uranium and thorium-rich materials; variations of early melting; and different modes of plains and scarp formation. Arguments are advanced which strongly favor plains formation by volcanism, lack of a primordial surface, and possible identification of remnant tensional features. Studies of remotely sensed data which strongly suggest a modestly homogeneous surface of silicates imply core separation. Reasons for accepting or rejecting various hypotheses for thermal histories of the planet are mentioned.

  17. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Thermal histories of Mercury and the Moon. Ph.D. Thesis (United States)

    Leake, M. A.


    To determine a planet's thermal history, a wide range of data is necessary. These data include remote sensing results, photogeologic evidence, magnetic field and remanent magnetization data, composition and ages of samples, and physical parameters of the planet and its orbit. Few of these data form unambiguous constraints for thermal models of Mercury. Igneous Chronology as the time history of the differentiation and igneous activity, is defined. Igneous Chronology is used here in the sense of the apparent igneous or relative chronology of geologic events, such as plains formation (through whatever mechanism) relative to the crater production and tectonic history (lineament and scarp formation).

  18. Does Intrinsic T Tauri X-Ray Luminosity Control Protoplanetary Disk Evolution and Planet Formation? (United States)

    Drake, Jeremy


    Surveys of young clusters have found a surprisingly large X-ray luminosity spread among otherwise similar T Tauri stars - by more than two orders of magnitude. It cannot be explained by flares or variability on timescales of < 10 days, and points to large intrinsic Lx differences. T Tauri X-rays and associated energetic particles dominate the ionization of protoplanetary disks, driving MHD turbulent viscosity, accretion and photoevaporation. The types of planets formed in coagulation models depends on the viscosity, implying the X-ray luminosity of the star determines the outcome of planet formation. We propose a crucial test of this: whether Chandra observations of young clusters that have been observed at least twice, years apart, reveal larger Lx variations on longer timescales.

  19. Formation and Stability of Prebiotically Relevant Vesicular Systems in Terrestrial Geothermal Environments


    Manesh Prakash Joshi; Anupam Samanta; Gyana Ranjan Tripathy; Sudha Rajamani


    Terrestrial geothermal fields and oceanic hydrothermal vents are considered as candidate environments for the emergence of life on Earth. Nevertheless, the ionic strength and salinity of oceans present serious limitations for the self-assembly of amphiphiles, a process that is fundamental for the formation of first protocells. Consequently, we systematically characterized the efficiency of amphiphile assembly, and vesicular stability, in terrestrial geothermal environments, both, under simula...

  20. Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST): A Proposed Space-Based Microlensing Survey for Terrestrial Extra-Solar Planets (United States)

    Bennett, D.; Rhie, S. H.

    We present a conceptual design for a space based Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST) which will use the gravitational microlensing technique to detect extra solar planets with masses as low as that of Mars at all separations >~ 1 AU. The microlensing data would be collected by a diffraction limited, wide field imaging telescope of ~ 1.5m aperture equipped with a large array of red-optimized CCD detectors. Such a system would be able to monitor $\\sim 2\\times 10^8$ stars in $\\sim 6$ square degrees of the Galactic bulge at intervals of 20-30 minutes, and it would observe $\\sim 12000$ microlensing events in three bulge seasons. If planetary systems like our own are common, GEST should be able to detect $\\sim 5000$ planets over a 2.5 year lifetime. If gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn are rare, then GEST would detect $\\sim 1300$ planets in a 2.5 year mission if we assume that most planetary systems are dominated by planets of about Neptune's' mass. Such a mission would also discover $\\sim 100$ planets of an Earth mass or smaller if such planets are common. This is a factor of $\\sim 50$ better than the most ambitious ground based programs that have been proposed. GEST will also be sensitive to planets which have been separated from their parent stars.

  1. Radioactive elements on Mercury's surface from MESSENGER: implications for the planet's formation and evolution. (United States)

    Peplowski, Patrick N; Evans, Larry G; Hauck, Steven A; McCoy, Timothy J; Boynton, William V; Gillis-Davis, Jeffery J; Ebel, Denton S; Goldsten, John O; Hamara, David K; Lawrence, David J; McNutt, Ralph L; Nittler, Larry R; Solomon, Sean C; Rhodes, Edgar A; Sprague, Ann L; Starr, Richard D; Stockstill-Cahill, Karen R


    The MESSENGER Gamma-Ray Spectrometer measured the average surface abundances of the radioactive elements potassium (K, 1150 ± 220 parts per million), thorium (Th, 220 ± 60 parts per billion), and uranium (U, 90 ± 20 parts per billion) in Mercury's northern hemisphere. The abundance of the moderately volatile element K, relative to Th and U, is inconsistent with physical models for the formation of Mercury requiring extreme heating of the planet or its precursor materials, and supports formation from volatile-containing material comparable to chondritic meteorites. Abundances of K, Th, and U indicate that internal heat production has declined substantially since Mercury's formation, consistent with widespread volcanism shortly after the end of late heavy bombardment 3.8 billion years ago and limited, isolated volcanic activity since.

  2. Using NIRISS to study the formation and evolution of stars, disks, and planets (United States)

    Johnstone, Doug I.; JWST NIRISS GTO Team


    NIRISS on JWST is a powerful instrument for the study of star, disk, and planet formation and evolution. In this talk I will highlight the Wide Field Slitless Spectroscopy (WFSS) and Aperture Masking Interferometry (AMI) modes of NIRISS, along with lessons learned determining optimal observing strategies and project implementation in APT. The NIRISS WFSS mode uses a grism to provide modest resolution (R ~ 150) spectra of all sources within the observed field of view. Cold low-mass objects are distinct at NIRISS wavelengths (1.5 and 2.0 microns, in this case), and can be characterized through their speactra by their temperature and surface gravity sensitive molecular absorption features. Thus, WFSS observations will be an efficient way to locate and enumerate the young brown dwarfs and rogue planets in nearby star-forming regions. Alternatively, the NIRISS AMI mode offers the highest spatial resolution available on JWST at wavelengths greater than 2.5 micron, 70 - 400 mas, and modest inner working angle contrast, dm ~ 10, for individual bright sources. A significant advantage of observing from space is that, along with the phase closure, the interferometric phase amplitudes can also be recovered allowing some reconstruction of extended emission. Observations with AMI will be made of candidate and postulated planets forming within transition disks around young stars and for somewhat older planets in known extra-solar planetary systems. The AMI mode will also be used to study the zodiacal light in a bright debris disk system and to search for binary companions of Y dwarfs.

  3. Forming the Flora Family: Implications for the Near-Earth Asteroid Population and Large Terrestrial Planet Impactors (United States)

    Vokrouhlický, David; Bottke, William F.; Nesvorný, David


    Formed from a catastrophic collision of a parent body larger than 150 km in diameter, the Flora family is located in the innermost part of the main belt near the {ν }6 secular resonance. Objects in this region, when pushed onto planet-crossing orbits, tend to have relatively high probabilities of striking the Earth. These factors suggest that Flora may be a primary source of present-day LL chondrite-like NEOs and Earth/Moon impactors. To investigate this possibility, we used collisional and dynamical models to track the evolution of Flora family members. We created an initial Flora family and followed test asteroids 1 and 3 km in diameter using a numerical code that accounted for both planetary perturbations and nongravitational effects. Our Flora family members reproduce the observed semimajor axis, eccentricity, and inclination distributions of the real family after ≃ 1 to 1.4 Gyr. A consistency with the surface age inferred from crater spatial densities found on (951) Gaspra may favor the latter age. Our combined collisional and dynamical runs indicate that the family has lost nearly 90% of its initial kilometer-sized members. At its peak, 100{--}300 {Myr} after the family-forming event, Flora family members filled NEO space with nearly 1000 D≥slant 1 {km} size bodies before fading to its present contribution of 35-50 such NEOs. Therefore, it is not currently a major source of large NEOs. We also find 700-950 and 35-47 kilometer-sized asteroids struck the Earth and Moon, respectively, most within the first 300 Myr after family formation. These results imply that Flora played a major role in providing impacts to the mid-Proterozoic Earth.

  4. The effect of planets beyond the ice line on the accretion of volatiles by habitable-zone rocky planets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Quintana, Elisa V. [SETI Institute, 189 Bernardo Avenue, Suite 100, Mountain View, CA 94043 (United States); Lissauer, Jack J., E-mail: [Space Science and Astrobiology Division 245-3, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States)


    Models of planet formation have shown that giant planets have a large impact on the number, masses, and orbits of terrestrial planets that form. In addition, they play an important role in delivering volatiles from material that formed exterior to the snow line (the region in the disk beyond which water ice can condense) to the inner region of the disk where terrestrial planets can maintain liquid water on their surfaces. We present simulations of the late stages of terrestrial planet formation from a disk of protoplanets around a solar-type star and we include a massive planet (from 1 M {sub ⊕} to 1 M {sub J}) in Jupiter's orbit at ∼5.2 AU in all but one set of simulations. Two initial disk models are examined with the same mass distribution and total initial water content, but with different distributions of water content. We compare the accretion rates and final water mass fraction of the planets that form. Remarkably, all of the planets that formed in our simulations without giant planets were water-rich, showing that giant planet companions are not required to deliver volatiles to terrestrial planets in the habitable zone. In contrast, an outer planet at least several times the mass of Earth may be needed to clear distant regions of debris truncating the epoch of frequent large impacts. Observations of exoplanets from radial velocity surveys suggest that outer Jupiter-like planets may be scarce, therefore, the results presented here suggest that there may be more habitable planets residing in our galaxy than previously thought.

  5. Millimeter-Radio Observations of the Hallmarks of Planet Formation in Circumstellar Disks (United States)

    Andrews, S. M.


    Some of the fundamental processes involved in the assembly of planetary systems are just now becoming accessible to astronomical observations of circumstellar disks. The new promise of observational work in the field of planet formation makes for a very dynamic research scenario, which is certain to be amplified in the coming years as the revolutionary ALMA facility ramps up to full operations. To highlight some of the new directions being explored in this field, I will describe how we are using high angular resolution measurements at mm-radio wavelengths to study two crucial aspects of the formation and early evolution of planetary systems: (1) the growth and migration of disk solids, and (2) the interactions between a young planetary system and its natal, gas-rich disk. For the former, I will demonstrate that we have identified evidence for spatial variations in both the particle size distribution and (potentially) the gas:dust mass ratio in young disks, and how those could translate into new constraints on models of grain growth and radial drift. And for the latter, I will review what we have learned from directly resolved radio observations of large, dust-depleted cavities in the centers of so-called “transition” disks, including their surprisingly high frequency and some possibilities for the observational study of planet-disk interactions.

  6. Sulfur Saturation Limits in Silicate Melts and their Implications for Core Formation Scenarios for Terrestrial Planets (United States)

    Holzheid, Astrid; Grove, Timothy L.


    This study explores the controls of temperature, pressure, and silicate melt composition on S solubility in silicate liquids. The solubility of S in FeO-containing silicate melts in equilibrium with metal sulfide increases significantly with increasing temperature but decreases with increasing pressure. The silicate melt structure also exercises a control on S solubility. Increasing the degree of polymerization of the silicate melt structure lowers the S solubility in the silicate liquid. The new set of experimental data is used to expand the model of Mavrogenes and O'Neill(1999) for S solubility in silicate liquids by incorporating the influence of the silicate melt structure. The expected S solubility in the ascending magma is calculated using the expanded model. Because the negative pressure dependence of S solubility is more influential than the positive temperature dependence, decompression and adiabatic ascent of a formerly S-saturated silicate magma will lead to S undersaturation. A primitive magma that is S-saturated in its source region will, therefore, become S-undersaturated as it ascends to shallower depth. In order to precipitate magmatic sulfides, the magma must first cool and undergo fractional crystallization to reach S saturation. The S content in a metallic liquid that is in equilibrium with a magma ocean that contains approx. 200 ppm S (i.e., Earth's bulk mantle S content) ranges from 5.5 to 12 wt% S. This range of S values encompasses the amount of S (9 to 12 wt%) that would be present in the outer core if S is the light element. Thus, the Earth's proto-mantle could be in equilibrium (in terms of the preserved S abundance) with a core-forming metallic phase.

  7. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Chronology of surface history of Mercury. Ph.D. Thesis (United States)

    Leake, M. A.


    Phases in the history of the planet Mercury include: (1) condensation and accretion; (2) heating; (3) planetary expansion during heavy bombardment; (4) tidal spin-down and lineament formation; (5) P5 plains emplacement; (6) P4 plains emplacement; (7) peak planetary volume in P3 period; (8) scarp formation; (9) Caloris Basin formation, late class 3; (10) scarp formation and P2 plains formation; (11) smooth plains formation in and around large basins; (12) late or local tectonic stress; and (13) quiescent class 1 period. Although the cooling and contraction of the lithosphere are complete, the core remains molten as an active dynamo, producing the magnetic fields detected by Mariner 10. Plains produced since core formation (P3 to P-1) should record its magnetic activity. Cratering during the Class 2 and Class 1 periods is probably not enough to distribute ballistic materials and homogenize any color differences.

  8. Gas-phase spectra of MgO molecules: a possible connection from gas-phase molecules to planet formation (United States)

    Kloska, Katherine A.; Fortenberry, Ryan C.


    A more fine-tuned method for probing planet-forming regions, such as protoplanetary discs, could be rovibrational molecular spectroscopy observation of particular premineral molecules instead of more common but ultimately less related volatile organic compounds. Planets are created when grains aggregate, but how molecules form grains is an ongoing topic of discussion in astrophysics and planetary science. Using the spectroscopic data of molecules specifically involved in mineral formation could help to map regions where planet formation is believed to be occurring in order to examine the interplay between gas and dust. Four atoms are frequently associated with planetary formation: Fe, Si, Mg and O. Magnesium, in particular, has been shown to be in higher relative abundance in planet-hosting stars. Magnesium oxide crystals comprise the mineral periclase making it the chemically simplest magnesium-bearing mineral and a natural choice for analysis. The monomer, dimer and trimer forms of (MgO)n with n = 1-3 are analysed in this work using high-level quantum chemical computations known to produce accurate results. Strong vibrational transitions at 12.5, 15.0 and 16.5 μm are indicative of magnesium oxide monomer, dimer and trimer making these wavelengths of particular interest for the observation of protoplanetary discs and even potentially planet-forming regions around stars. If such transitions are observed in emission from the accretion discs or absorptions from stellar spectra, the beginning stages of mineral and, subsequently, rocky body formation could be indicated.

  9. Formation of Ocean Sedimentary Rocks as Active Planets and Life-Like Systems (United States)

    Miura, Y.


    Wet shocked rocks are discarded globally and enriched elements in ocean-sedimentary rocks, which is strong indicator of ocean water of other planets. Ocean-sedimentary rocks are strong indicator of water planets and possible exo-life on planet Mars.

  10. Far-Infrared Space Interferometers: Future Windows on Star and Planet Formation (United States)

    Leisawitz, David


    Far-IR space interferometers will provide observational access to a spectral region containing many important cooling and diagnostic spectral lines and the bulk of the thermal emission from dust at angular scales critical to advancing our understanding of the star and planet formation process. We will describe concepts for the Space Infrared Interferometric Telescope (SPIRIT) and the Submillimeter Probe of the Evolution of Cosmic Structure (SPECS). Both of these candidate NASA missions are imaging and spectral Michelson interferometers operating in the wavelength range -40 - 800 microns. SPIRIT, which could be launched in a decade as a NASA Origins Probe, is built on a deployable boom and has a maximum baseline length of -30 - 50 m, yielding sub-arcsecond resolution in the far-IR. SPIRIT will thus provide far-IR/sub-mm measurements complementary to the near- and mid-IR measurements obtainable with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and well matched to JWST observations in angular resolution. Ultimately SPECS, a NASA Vision Mission, will use formation flying to attain baseline lengths up to 1 km, and thus angular resolution comparable to that of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array. We will report preliminary results of the NASA-sponsored SPIRIT and SPECS mission studies, which are now underway.

  11. XUV-exposed, non-hydrostatic hydrogen-rich upper atmospheres of terrestrial planets. Part II: hydrogen coronae and ion escape. (United States)

    Kislyakova, Kristina G; Lammer, Helmut; Holmström, Mats; Panchenko, Mykhaylo; Odert, Petra; Erkaev, Nikolai V; Leitzinger, Martin; Khodachenko, Maxim L; Kulikov, Yuri N; Güdel, Manuel; Hanslmeier, Arnold


    We studied the interactions between the stellar wind plasma flow of a typical M star, such as GJ 436, and the hydrogen-rich upper atmosphere of an Earth-like planet and a "super-Earth" with a radius of 2 R(Earth) and a mass of 10 M(Earth), located within the habitable zone at ∼0.24 AU. We investigated the formation of extended atomic hydrogen coronae under the influences of the stellar XUV flux (soft X-rays and EUV), stellar wind density and velocity, shape of a planetary obstacle (e.g., magnetosphere, ionopause), and the loss of planetary pickup ions on the evolution of hydrogen-dominated upper atmospheres. Stellar XUV fluxes that are 1, 10, 50, and 100 times higher compared to that of the present-day Sun were considered, and the formation of high-energy neutral hydrogen clouds around the planets due to the charge-exchange reaction under various stellar conditions was modeled. Charge-exchange between stellar wind protons with planetary hydrogen atoms, and photoionization, lead to the production of initially cold ions of planetary origin. We found that the ion production rates for the studied planets can vary over a wide range, from ∼1.0×10²⁵ s⁻¹ to ∼5.3×10³⁰ s⁻¹, depending on the stellar wind conditions and the assumed XUV exposure of the upper atmosphere. Our findings indicate that most likely the majority of these planetary ions are picked up by the stellar wind and lost from the planet. Finally, we estimated the long-time nonthermal ion pickup escape for the studied planets and compared them with the thermal escape. According to our estimates, nonthermal escape of picked-up ionized hydrogen atoms over a planet's lifetime within the habitable zone of an M dwarf varies between ∼0.4 Earth ocean equivalent amounts of hydrogen (EO(H)) to <3 EO(H) and usually is several times smaller in comparison to the thermal atmospheric escape rates.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Madhusudhan, Nikku [Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544 (United States); Mousis, Olivier [Institut UTINAM, CNRS-UMR 6213, Observatoire de Besancon, BP 1615, F-25010 Besancon Cedex (France); Johnson, Torrence V. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States); Lunine, Jonathan I., E-mail: [Department of Astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 (United States)


    The recent inference of a carbon-rich atmosphere, with C/O {>=} 1, in the hot Jupiter WASP-12b motivates the exotic new class of carbon-rich planets (CRPs). We report a detailed study of the atmospheric chemistry and spectroscopic signatures of carbon-rich giant (CRG) planets, the possibility of thermal inversions in their atmospheres, the compositions of icy planetesimals required for their formation via core accretion, and the apportionment of ices, rock, and volatiles in their envelopes. Our results show that CRG atmospheres probe a unique region in composition space, especially at high temperature (T). For atmospheres with C/O {>=} 1, and T {approx}> 1400 K in the observable atmosphere, most of the oxygen is bound up in CO, while H{sub 2}O is depleted and CH{sub 4} is enhanced by up to two or three orders of magnitude each, compared to equilibrium compositions with solar abundances (C/O = 0.54). These differences in the spectroscopically dominant species for the different C/O ratios cause equally distinct observable signatures in the spectra. As such, highly irradiated transiting giant exoplanets form ideal candidates to estimate atmospheric C/O ratios and to search for CRPs. We also find that the C/O ratio strongly affects the abundances of TiO and VO, which have been suggested to cause thermal inversions in highly irradiated hot Jupiter atmospheres. A C/O = 1 yields TiO and VO abundances of {approx}100 times lower than those obtained with equilibrium chemistry assuming solar abundances, at P {approx} 1 bar. Such a depletion is adequate to rule out thermal inversions due to TiO/VO even in the most highly irradiated hot Jupiters, such as WASP-12b. We estimate the compositions of the protoplanetary disk, the planetesimals, and the envelope of WASP-12b, and the mass of ices dissolved in the envelope, based on the observed atmospheric abundances. Adopting stellar abundances (C/O = 0.44) for the primordial disk composition and low-temperature formation conditions

  13. The metallicities of stars with and without transiting planets

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Buchhave, Lars A.; Latham, David W.


    Host star metallicities have been used to infer observational constraints on planet formation throughout the history of the exoplanet field. The giant planet metallicity correlation has now been widely accepted, but questions remain as to whether the metallicity correlation extends to the small...... terrestrial-sized planets. Here, we report metallicities for a sample of 518 stars in the Kepler field that have no detected transiting planets and compare their metallicity distribution to a sample of stars that hosts small planets (). Importantly, both samples have been analyzed in a homogeneous manner...... using the same set of tools (Stellar Parameters Classification tool). We find the average metallicity of the sample of stars without detected transiting planets to be and the sample of stars hosting small planets to be . The average metallicities of the two samples are indistinguishable within...

  14. Formation mechanisms of trichloromethyl-containing compounds in the terrestrial environment

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Breider, Florian; Albers, Christian Nyrop


    Natural trichloromethyl compounds present in the terrestrial environment are important contributors to chlorine in the lower atmosphere and may be also a cause for concern when high concentrations are detected in soils and groundwater. During the last decade our knowledge of the mechanisms involved...... in the formation of these compounds has grown. This critical review summarizes our current understanding and uncertainties on the mechanisms leading to the formation of natural trichloromethyl compounds. The objective of the review is to gather information regarding the natural processes that lead to the formation...... and that significant knowledge may therefore be transferred between the scientific disciplines of chemical chlorination and natural organohalogens. There is however still a need for additional research before we understand fully the mechanisms occurring during the formation of natural trichloromethyl compounds...

  15. Formation and Stability of Prebiotically Relevant Vesicular Systems in Terrestrial Geothermal Environments. (United States)

    Joshi, Manesh Prakash; Samanta, Anupam; Tripathy, Gyana Ranjan; Rajamani, Sudha


    Terrestrial geothermal fields and oceanic hydrothermal vents are considered as candidate environments for the emergence of life on Earth. Nevertheless, the ionic strength and salinity of oceans present serious limitations for the self-assembly of amphiphiles, a process that is fundamental for the formation of first protocells. Consequently, we systematically characterized the efficiency of amphiphile assembly, and vesicular stability, in terrestrial geothermal environments, both, under simulated laboratory conditions and in hot spring water samples (collected from Ladakh, India, an Astrobiologically relevant site). Combinations of prebiotically pertinent fatty acids and their derivatives were evaluated for the formation of vesicles in aforesaid scenarios. Additionally, the stability of these vesicles was characterized over multiple dehydration-rehydration cycles, at elevated temperatures. Among the combinations that were tested, mixtures of fatty acid and its glycerol derivatives were found to be the most robust, also resulting in vesicles in all of the hot spring waters that were tested. Importantly, these vesicles were stable at high temperatures, and this fatty acid system retained its vesicle forming propensity, even after multiple cycles of dehydration-rehydration. The remaining systems, however, formed vesicles only in bicine buffer. Our results suggest that certain prebiotic compartments would have had a selective advantage in terrestrial geothermal niches. Significantly, our study highlights the importance of validating results that are obtained under 'buffered' laboratory conditions, by verifying their plausibility in prebiotically analogous environments.

  16. Studying Star and Planet Formation with the Submillimeter Probe of the Evolution of Cosmic Structure (United States)

    Rinehart, Stephen A.


    The Submillimeter Probe of the Evolution of Cosmic Structure (SPECS) is a far- infrared/submillimeter (40-640 micrometers) spaceborne interferometry concept, studied through the NASA Vision Missions program. SPECS is envisioned as a 1-km baseline Michelson interferometer with two 4- meter collecting mirrors. To maximize science return, SPECS will have three operational modes: a photometric imaging mode, an intermediate spectral resolution mode (R approximately equal to 1000-3000), and a high spectral resolution mode (R approximately equal to 3 x 10(exp 5)). The first two of these modes will provide information on all sources within a 1 arcminute field-of-view (FOV), while the the third will include sources in a small (approximately equal to 5 arcsec) FOV. With this design, SPECS will have angular resolution comparable to the Hubble Space Telescope (50 mas) and sensitivity more than two orders of magnitude better than Spitzer (5sigma in 10ks of approximately equal to 3 x 10(exp 7) Jy Hz). We present here some of the results of the recently-completed Vision Mission Study for SPECS, and discuss the application of this mission to future studies of star and planet formation.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wurm, Gerhard [Fakultaet fuer Physik, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Lotharstr. 1, D-47057 Duisburg (Germany); Trieloff, Mario [Institut fuer Geowissenschaften, Universitaet Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 234-236, D-69120 Heidelberg (Germany); Rauer, Heike, E-mail: [Institut fuer Planetenforschung, Extrasolare Planeten und Atmosphaeren, Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Rutherfordstrasse 2, D-12489 Berlin (Germany)


    Mercury's high uncompressed mass density suggests that the planet is largely composed of iron, either bound within metal (mainly Fe-Ni) or iron sulfide. Recent results from the MESSENGER mission to Mercury imply a low temperature history of the planet which questions the standard formation models of impact mantle stripping or evaporation to explain the high metal content. Like Mercury, the two smallest extrasolar rocky planets with mass and size determination, CoRoT-7b and Kepler-10b, were found to be of high density. As they orbit close to their host stars, this indicates that iron-rich inner planets might not be a nuisance of the solar system but be part of a general scheme of planet formation. From undifferentiated chondrites, it is also known that the metal to silicate ratio is highly variable, which must be ascribed to preplanetary fractionation processes. Due to this fractionation, most chondritic parent bodies-most of them originated in the asteroid belt-are depleted in iron relative to average solar system abundances. The astrophysical processes leading to metal silicate fractionation in the solar nebula are essentially unknown. Here, we consider photophoretic forces. As these forces particularly act on irradiated solids, they might play a significant role in the composition of planetesimals forming at the inner edge of protoplanetary disks. Photophoresis can separate high thermal conductivity materials (iron) from lower thermal conductivity solids (silicate). We suggest that the silicates are preferentially pushed into the optically thick disk. Subsequent planetesimal formation at the edge moving outward leads to metal-rich planetesimals close to the star and metal depleted planetesimals farther out in the nebula.

  18. Planets a very short introduction

    CERN Document Server

    Rothery, David A


    Planets: A Very Short Introduction demonstrates the excitement, uncertainties, and challenges faced by planetary scientists, and provides an overview of our Solar System and its origins, nature, and evolution. Terrestrial planets, giant planets, dwarf planets and various other objects such as satellites (moons), asteroids, trans-Neptunian objects, and exoplanets are discussed. Our knowledge about planets has advanced over the centuries, and has expanded at a rapidly growing rate in recent years. Controversial issues are outlined, such as What qualifies as a planet? What conditions are required for a planetary body to be potentially inhabited by life? Why does Pluto no longer have planet status? And Is there life on other planets?

  19. Fracture characterization of flysch formation by terrestrial digital photogrammetry: an example in the Antola Formation (upper Staffora Valley, Italy) (United States)

    Meisina, Claudia; Menegoni, Niccolò; Perotti, Cesare


    Geomechanical characterization of flysch formations plays an important role for its implication in slope stability and fluids circulation, especially in Apenninic areas. The Antola Formation of Upper Cretaceous age crops out extensively in the Northern Apennines and provides an important case of study. It consists of turbiditic graded units of calcareous sandstones, sandstones, marlstones, and shales and is interpreted as a deep-sea basin plain deposit, with lateral facies variations which range from proximal, thick-bedded turbidities to distal turbidites that show predominantly thickening upward cycles and have a high percentage of shale. It is in general characterized by folds developed in absence of metamorphism and a usually high degree of fracturation. The presence of well developed fracture networks enhances circulation of fluid and therefore alteration of the less competent layers causing problems of slope stability. Fracture characterization of Antola Formation based on field survey is very time consuming and often limited by the insufficient availability and inaccessibility of outcrops. For this reason, terrestrial remote sensing and in particular terrestrial digital photogrammetry has been applied to investigate the geomechanical features of the formation in the upper Staffora Valley (Northern Italy). Digital photogrammetry allows to generate by Structure from Motion (SfM) technique a 3D point cloud that represents the Digital Outcrop Model (DOM). New technologies allow to associate appropriate texture to the point cloud from the images, in order to preserve important visual information. The analysis of several textured 3D DOMs allows to digitally acquire a large amount of data on discontinuities parameters such as orientation, spacing, aperture, persistence and filling, in order to better characterize the rock mass. Some tests performed by field survey data acquisition to validate the digitally collected data, gave positive results, showing differences


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Piso, Ana-Maria A.; Murray-Clay, Ruth A. [Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States); Youdin, Andrew N., E-mail: [Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, 933 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States)


    Giant planet formation by core accretion requires a core that is sufficiently massive to trigger runaway gas accretion in less than the typical lifetime of protoplanetary disks. We explore how the minimum required core mass, M {sub crit}, depends on a non-ideal equation of state (EOS) and on opacity changes due to grain growth across a range of stellocentric distances from 5-100 AU. This minimum M {sub crit} applies when planetesimal accretion does not substantially heat the atmosphere. Compared to an ideal gas polytrope, the inclusion of molecular hydrogen (H{sub 2}) dissociation and variable occupation of H{sub 2} rotational states increases M {sub crit}. Specifically, M {sub crit} increases by a factor of ∼2 if the H{sub 2} spin isomers, ortho- and parahydrogen, are in thermal equilibrium, and by a factor of ∼2-4 if the ortho-to-para ratio is fixed at 3:1. Lower opacities due to grain growth reduce M {sub crit}. For a standard disk model around a Solar mass star, we calculate M {sub crit} ∼ 8 M {sub ⊕} at 5 AU, decreasing to ∼5 M {sub ⊕} at 100 AU, for a realistic EOS with an equilibrium ortho-to-para ratio and for grain growth to centimeter-sizes. If grain coagulation is taken into account, M {sub crit} may further reduce by up to one order of magnitude. These results for the minimum critical core mass are useful for the interpretation of surveys that find exoplanets at a range of orbital distances.

  1. Evaluation of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Formation and Diversity in a Modified Dynamic Global Vegetation Model (United States)

    Zeng, X.; Shao, P.; Song, X.


    Terrestrial ecosystem formation and diversity have great impact on the stability and frangibility of ecosystem. It is important that Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVMs) can capture these essential properties so that they can correctly simulate the succession and transition of terrestrial ecosystem in company with the global climate change. Previous studies have shown that DGVMs can roughly reproduce the spatial distributions of different vegetation types as well as the dependence of the vegetation distribution on climate conditions, however, the capability of DGVMs to reproduce the global vegetation distribution and ecosystem formation has not been fully evaluated. This study is based on our modified DGVM coupled with the Community Land Model (CLM-DGVM). The modified CLM-DGVM can simulate 12 plant functional types (PFTs) besides the bare soil. It allows two or more PFTs coexisting in a grid cell, in contrast to the DGVMs which tend to generate the ecosystem with single dominant plant functional type and hence lose the functional diversity of ecosystem. Our results show that the density distributions of fractional coverage (DDFC) of three vegetation categories (e.g., forest, grassland, and shrubland) and PFTs are different with the observation. In particular, the model overestimates the DDFC over regions with tree coverage larger than 70%, but underestimates the DDFC over regions with tree coverage less than 40%. Furthermore, the functional diversity of PFTs in each gridcell is generally lower than that in the observation. Sensitivity tests show that substantial changes in the terrestrial ecosystem usually occur within the areas where two or more PFTs coexist with comparable fractions, i.e., and the functional diversity is high. These results imply that current CLM-DGVM may not be able to appropriately produce the averaged amplitude and spatial pattern of the transition in global ecosystem. Therefore, we suggest that extensive studies are required to improve

  2. Observing the On-going Formation of Planets and its Effects on Their Parent Discs (United States)

    Willson, Matthew Alexander


    As the number of known exoplanetary systems has grown, it has become increasing apparent that our current understanding of planet formation is insufficient to explain the broad but distinct distributions of planets and planetary systems we observe. In particular, constructing a coherent model of planetary formation and migration within a circumstellar disc which is capable of producing both hot Jupiters or Solar System-like planetary system is high challenging. Resolved observations of where planets form and how they influence their parent discs provides essential information for tackling this important question. A promising technique for detecting close-in companions is Sparse Aperture Masking (SAM). The technique uses a mask to transform a single aperture telescope into a compact interferometric array capable of reliably detecting point sources at the diffraction limit or closer to a bright star with superior contrasts than extreme AO systems at the cost of smaller fields of view. Applying image reconstruction techniques to the interferometric information allows an observer to recover detailed structure in the circumstellar material. In this thesis I present work on the interpretation of SAM interferometry data on protoplanetary discs through the simulation of a number of scenarios expected to be commonly seen, and the application of this technique to a number of objects. Analysing data taken as part of a SAM survey of transitional and pre-transitional discs using the Keck-II/NIRC2 instrument, I detected three companion candidates within the discs of DM Tau, LkHα 330, and TW Hya, and resolved a gap in the disc around FP Tau as indicated by flux from the disc rim. The location of all three of the companions detected as part of the survey are positioned in interesting regions of their parent discs. The candidate, LkHα 330 b is a potentially cavity opening companion due to its close radial proximity to the inner rim of the outer disc. DM Tau b is located

  3. Direct measurement of the heat exchanges in a buoyancy driven two-phase flow; application to the planets core formation (United States)

    Wacheul, Jean-Baptiste; Le Bars, Michael; Ecoulement tournant et geophysique Team


    Telluric planet formation involved the settling of large amounts of liquid iron coming from impacting planetesimals into a viscous magma ocean as deep as thousands of kilometers. During this "iron rain", the initial state of planets was mostly determined by exchanges of heat and elements between the two phases. Most models of planet formation simply assume that the metal rapidly equilibrated with the whole mantle. Here we report the results of experiments on which we performed measurements of the diffusive exchanges integrated during the fall, in addition to measuring the dynamical variables of the flow on high speed videos recordings. Using a balloon filled with liquid gallium alloy as an analogue for the iron core of the impactor and a viscous fluid as an analogue for the silicate magma, we were able to produce flows matching the dynamical regime of the geophysical inspiration. We find that the early representations of this flow as an iron "rain" is far from the experiments, both in terms of fluid mechanics and diffusive exchanges during the phase where most of the equilibration is accomplished. Indeed, the equilibration coefficient at a given depth depends both on the size of the metal diapir and on the viscosity of the ambient fluid, whereas the falling speed is only controlled by the size. Various scalings chosen in the literature for the diffusive exchanges, and we find good agreement with the hypothesis and scaling of a turbulent thermal.

  4. Using Schumann Resonance Measurements for Constraining the Water Abundance on the Giant Planets - Implications for the Solar System Formation (United States)

    Simoes, Fernando; Pfaff, Robert; Hamelin, Michel; Klenzing, Jeffrey; Freudenreich, Henry; Beghin, Christian; Berthelier, Jean-Jacques; Bromund, Kenneth; Grard, Rejean; Lebreton, Jean-Pierre; hide


    The formation and evolution of the Solar System is closely related to the abundance of volatiles, namely water, ammonia, and methane in the protoplanetary disk. Accurate measurement of volatiles in the Solar System is therefore important to understand not only the nebular hypothesis and origin of life but also planetary cosmogony as a whole. In this work, we propose a new, remote sensing technique to infer the outer planets water content by measuring Tremendously and Extremely Low Frequency (TLF-ELF) electromagnetic wave characteristics (Schumann resonances) excited by lightning in their gaseous envelopes. Schumann resonance detection can be potentially used for constraining the uncertainty of volatiles of the giant planets, mainly Uranus and Neptune, because such TLF-ELF wave signatures are closely related to the electric conductivity profile and water content.

  5. Hydrothermal simulation experiments as a tool for studies of the origin of life on Earth and other terrestrial planets: a review. (United States)

    Holm, Nils G; Andersson, Eva


    life on Earth and probably also to the other terrestrial planets.

  6. New insights to the formation of modern dolomite in a terrestrial low-temperature environment (United States)

    Zünterl, Andrea; Baldermann, Andre; Boch, Ronny; Dietzel, Martin


    Although dolomite [CaMg(CO3)2] is a rock-forming mineral in ancient carbonate platforms, its occurrence in modern-marine carbonate-depositing settings and in particular in terrestrial, low-temperature environments is scarce - an enigma that is referred to as the "dolomite problem". At present, it is generally accepted that microbial activity, bacterially-mediated sulfate reduction, high aqueous Mg/Ca ratios and anoxic conditions favour the nucleation and crystal growth of dolomite; albeit the precise reaction paths causing the formation of dolomite at low temperatures remain questionable. Here, we present a novel study about the environmental controls and reaction mechanisms leading to the formation of authigenic Mg-Ca carbonates in (active) fault zones of the Erzberg (Styria, Austria) - Europe's largest iron ore opencast mine. Our petrographic and mineralogical results revealed the presence of ˜2-20 cm thick laminated successions of embedded needle-shaped, radiating aragonite and blocky low-Mg calcite (a repetitive sequence also-called "erzbergite") and subsequently deposited (Ca-rich) non-stoichiometric dolomite, which is clogging former voids and unconsolidated sediment in the heavily deteriorated fault zone. First U-Th age determinations of the respective aragonite layers indicate its formation at ˜19,000-13,000 years BP, also suggesting a "young" age of the sedimentary dolomite. Based on the combination of X-ray diffraction and electron microprobe analyses we identified two types of matrix-replacing dolomite: type 1 dolomite is nearly stoichiometric (˜51 mol% CaCO3) and shows a high degree of cation ordering (0.4-0.6), whereas type 2 dolomite is characterized by Ca-excess (˜55 mol% CaCO3) and a low degree of ordering (<0.3). Both types of dolomite grow on the extent of matrix minerals, such as detrital low-Mg calcite, ankerite, siderite, quartz, goethite, chlorite and illitic clay minerals, implying a low-temperature origin of the Ca-excess dolomite and

  7. Direct Imaging of Warm Extrasolar Planets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Macintosh, B


    One of the most exciting scientific discoveries in the last decade of the twentieth century was the first detection of planets orbiting a star other than our own. By now more than 130 extrasolar planets have been discovered indirectly, by observing the gravitational effects of the planet on the radial velocity of its parent star. This technique has fundamental limitations: it is most sensitive to planets close to their star, and it determines only a planet's orbital period and a lower limit on the planet's mass. As a result, all the planetary systems found so far are very different from our own--they have giant Jupiter-sized planets orbiting close to their star, where the terrestrial planets are found in our solar system. Such systems have overturned the conventional paradigm of planet formation, but have no room in them for habitable Earth-like planets. A powerful complement to radial velocity detections of extrasolar planets will be direct imaging--seeing photons from the planet itself. Such a detection would allow photometric measurements to determine the temperature and radius of a planet. Also, direct detection is most sensitive to planets in wide orbits, and hence more capable of seeing solar systems resembling our own, since a giant planet in a wide orbit does not preclude the presence of an Earth-like planet closer to the star. Direct detection, however, is extremely challenging. Jupiter is roughly a billion times fainter than our sun. Two techniques allowed us to overcome this formidable contrast and attempt to see giant planets directly. The first is adaptive optics (AO) which allows giant earth-based telescopes, such as the 10 meter W.M. Keck telescope, to partially overcome the blurring effects of atmospheric turbulence. The second is looking for young planets: by searching in the infrared for companions to young stars, we can see thermal emission from planets that are still warm with the heat of their formation. Together with a UCLA team that

  8. Redox Variations in Early Solar System Materials and Implications for Late Stage Planetary Accretion and Planet Formation (United States)

    Righter, K.


    Oxygen fugacity plays an important role in determining the detailed physical and chemical aspects of planets and their building blocks. Basic chemical properties such as the amount of oxidized Fe in a mantle (as FeO), the nature of alloying elements in the core (S, C, H, O, Si), and the solubility of various volatile elements in the silicate and metallic portions of embryos and planets can influence physical properties such as the size of the core, the liquidus and solidus of the mantle and core, and the speciation of volatile compounds contributing to atmospheres. This paper will provide an overview of the range of fO2 variation observed in primitive and differentiated materials that may have participated in accretion (cosmic dust, Star-dust and meteorites), a comparison to observations of planetary fO2 (Mercury, Mars and Earth), and a discus-sion of timing of variation of fO2 within both early and later accreted materials. This overview is meant to promote discussion and interaction between students of these two stages of planet formation to identify areas where more work is needed.

  9. Infrared Extinction and the Initial Conditions for Star and Planet Formation (United States)

    Lada, Charles J.


    This grant funded a research program to use infrared extinction measurements to probe the detailed structure of dark molecular clouds and investigate the physical conditions which give rise to star and planet formation. The goals of the this program were to: 1) acquire deep infrared and molecular-line observations of a carefully selected sample of nearby dark clouds, 2) reduce and analyze the data obtained in order to produce detailed extinction maps of the clouds, 3) use the results to measure and quantitatively describe the physical conditions of the dense gas and dust that produce stars and their accompanying planetary systems in molecular clouds. The goals of this project were met and exceeded as described below. 1) The infrared data for the project were obtained in a number of observing runs using the 3.5-meter NTT and 8-meter VLT telescopes of the European Southern Observatory in Chile and the 1.2-meter telescope of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Arizona, the 1 0-meter Keck telescope in Hawaii, the 6.5-meter MMT of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Arizona, and the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. The molecular-line data was obtained in three runs using the IRAM 30-meter telescope in Spain and one run with the ESO-15 meter millimeter-wave telescope in Chile. Millimeter-wave continuum measurements were obtained with the 15-meter JCMT in Hawaii. 2) Considerable effort was expended to reduce the infrared imaging observations including the development of custom software to produce high quality photometry and source astrometry. All the millimeter-line data was reduced using standard reduction routines. The highlights of the infrared analysis were the production of detailed extinction maps and the construction of profiles of the density structure of the B68, Coalsack, B335 and Lupus clouds. 3) The principal scientific accomplishments of this research program include the following: We were able to use our infrared observations to determine the

  10. Classifying Planets: Nature vs. Nurture (United States)

    Beichman, Charles A.


    The idea of a planet was so simple when we learned about the solar system in elementary school. Now students and professional s alike are faced with confusing array of definitions --- from "Brown Dwarfs” to "Super Jupiters", from "Super Earths” to "Terrestrial Planets", and from "Planets” to "Small, Sort-of Round Things That Aren't Really Planets". I will discuss how planets might be defined by how they formed, where they are found, or by the life they might support.

  11. The Evaporation Valley in the Kepler Planets (United States)

    Owen, James E.; Wu, Yanqin


    A new piece of evidence supporting the photoevaporation-driven evolution model for low-mass, close-in exoplanets was recently presented by the California-Kepler Survey. The radius distribution of the Kepler planets is shown to be bimodal, with a “valley” separating two peaks at 1.3 and 2.6 R ⊕. Such an “evaporation valley” had been predicted by numerical models previously. Here, we develop a minimal model to demonstrate that this valley results from the following fact: the timescale for envelope erosion is the longest for those planets with hydrogen/helium-rich envelopes that, while only a few percent in weight, double its radius. The timescale falls for envelopes lighter than this because the planet’s radius remains largely constant for tenuous envelopes. The timescale also drops for heavier envelopes because the planet swells up faster than the addition of envelope mass. Photoevaporation therefore herds planets into either bare cores (˜1.3 R ⊕), or those with double the core’s radius (˜2.6 R ⊕). This process mostly occurs during the first 100 Myr when the stars’ high-energy fluxes are high and nearly constant. The observed radius distribution further requires the Kepler planets to be clustered around 3 M ⊕ in mass, born with H/He envelopes more than a few percent in mass, and that their cores are similar to the Earth in composition. Such envelopes must have been accreted before the dispersal of the gas disks, while the core composition indicates formation inside the ice line. Lastly, the photoevaporation model fails to account for bare planets beyond ˜30-60 days; if these planets are abundant, they may point to a significant second channel for planet formation, resembling the solar system terrestrial planets.

  12. Headlines: Planet Earth: Improving Climate Literacy with Short Format News Videos (United States)

    Tenenbaum, L. F.; Kulikov, A.; Jackson, R.


    One of the challenges of communicating climate science is the sense that climate change is remote and unconnected to daily life--something that's happening to someone else or in the future. To help face this challenge, NASA's Global Climate Change website has launched a new video series, "Headlines: Planet Earth," which focuses on current climate news events. This rapid-response video series uses 3D video visualization technology combined with real-time satellite data and images, to throw a spotlight on real-world events.. The "Headlines: Planet Earth" news video products will be deployed frequently, ensuring timeliness. NASA's Global Climate Change Website makes extensive use of interactive media, immersive visualizations, ground-based and remote images, narrated and time-lapse videos, time-series animations, and real-time scientific data, plus maps and user-friendly graphics that make the scientific content both accessible and engaging to the public. The site has also won two consecutive Webby Awards for Best Science Website. Connecting climate science to current real-world events will contribute to improving climate literacy by making climate science relevant to everyday life.

  13. Introduction to astrochemistry chemical evolution from interstellar clouds to star and planet formation

    CERN Document Server

    Yamamoto, Satoshi


    This important book describes the basic principles of astrochemistry—an interdisciplinary field combining astronomy, physics, and chemistry—with particular emphasis on its physical and chemical background. Chemical processes in diffuse clouds, dense quiescent molecular clouds, star-forming regions, and protoplanetary disks are discussed. A brief introduction to molecular spectroscopy and observational techniques is also presented. These contents provide astronomers with a comprehensive understanding of how interstellar matter is evolved and brought into stars and planets, which is ultimately related to the origin of the solar system. The subject matter will also be understandable and useful for physical chemists who are interested in exotic chemical processes occurring in extreme physical conditions. The book is a valuable resource for all researchers beginning at the graduate level.

  14. Constraints on planetary formation from the discovery & study of transiting Extrasolar Planets


    Triaud, Amaury


    En collaboration avec le consortium WASP (Wide Angle Search for Planets) composés d'universités britanniques, une cinquantaine de nouvelles planètes semblables à Jupiter, mais situées sur des orbites de quelques jours seulement, ont été découvertes autour d'étoiles proche et brillantes, dans le ciel de l'hémisphère Sud. La luminosité de l'étoile hôte permet une caractérisation approfondie de ces objets. Le signal lumineux produit lors du passage d'une planète devant son étoile donne la possib...

  15. Planet formation in binary systems: simulating coagulation using analytically determined collision velocities. (United States)

    Silsbee, Kedron; Rafikov, Roman


    The existence of planets in tight binary systems presents an interesting puzzle. It is thought that cores of giant planets form via agglomeration of planetesimals in mutual collisions. However, in tight binary systems, one would naïvely expect the collision velocities between planetesimals to be so high that even 100 km bodies would be destroyed, rather than growing in mutual collisions. In these systems, planetesimals are perturbed by gravity from the companion star, and gravity and gas drag from a massive eccentric gas disk. There is a damaging secular resonance that occurs due to the combination of disk gravity and gravity from the binary companion, however the disk gravity can also create locations of low relative eccentricity between planetesimals of different sizes that would not exist if the disk gravity were ignored. Because the gas drag acts more strongly on smaller planetesimals, orbital eccentricity and apsidal angle depend on planetesimal size. Consequently, planetesimal collision velocities depend on the sizes of the collision partners. Same-size bodies collide at low velocity because their orbits are apsidally aligned. Therefore, often in a given environment some collisions will lead to planetesimal growth, and some to erosion or destruction. This variety of collisional outcomes makes it difficult to determine whether any planetesimals can grow to large sizes. We run a multi-annulus coagulation/fragmentation simulation that also includes the effect of size-dependent radial drift of planetesimals to determine the minimum size of initial planetesimal necessary for growth to large sizes in collisions. The minimum initial size of planetesimal necessary for growth depends greatly on the disk mass, eccentricity and the degree of apsidal alignment with the binary. We find that in a wide variety of situations, it is a reasonable approximation that growth occurs as long as there are no collisions capable of completely destroying a planetesimal, but erosion by

  16. Mars’ Growth Stunted by an Early Giant Planet Instability (United States)

    Clement, Matthew; Kaib, Nathan A.; Raymond, Sean N.; Walsh, Kevin J.


    Many dynamical aspects of the solar system can be explained by the outer planets experiencing a period of orbital instability. Though often correlated with a perceived delayed spike in the lunar cratering record known as the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB), recent work suggests that this event may have occurred during the epoch of terrestrial planet formation. Though current simulations of terrestrial accretion can reproduce many observed qualities of the solar system, replicating the small mass of Mars requires modification to standard planet formation models. Here we use direct numerical simulations to show that an early instability in the outer solar system regularly yields properly sized Mars analogues. In 80% of simulations, we produce a Mars of the appropriate mass. Our most successful outcomes occur when the terrestrial planets evolve 10 million years (Myr), and accrete several Mars sized embryos in the Mars forming region before the instability takes place. Mars is left behind as a stranded embryo, while the remainder of these bodies are either ejected from the system or scattered towards the inner solar system where they deliver water to Earth. An early giant planet instability can thus replicate both the inner and outer solar system in a single model.

  17. Metagenomic analysis of carbon cycling and biogenic methane formation in terrestrial serpentinizing fluid springs (United States)

    Woycheese, K. M.; Meyer-Dombard, D. R.; Cardace, D.; Arcilla, C. A.; Ono, S.


    The products of serpentinization are proposed to support a hydrogen-driven microbial biosphere in ultrabasic, highly reducing fluids. Shotgun metagenomic analysis of microbial communities collected from terrestrial serpentinizing springs in the Philippines and Turkey suggest that mutualistic relationships may help microbial communities thrive in highly oligotrophic environments. Understanding how these relationships affect production of methane in the deep subsurface is critical to applications such as carbon sequestration and natural gas production. There is conflicting evidence regarding whether methane and C2-C6 alkanes in serpentinizing ecosystems are produced abiogenically or through biotic reactions such as methanogenesis1, 2. While geochemical analysis of methane from serpentinizing ecosystems has previously indicated abiogenic and/or mixed formation3, 4, methanogens have been detected in an increasing number of investigations2. Here, putative metabolisms were identified via assembly and annotation of metagenomic sequence data from the Philippines and Turkey. At both sites, hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis and homoacetogenesis were identified as the principal autotrophic carbon fixation pathways. Heterotrophic acetogenesis and acetoclastic methanogenesis were also detected in sequence data. Other heterotrophic metabolic pathways identified included sulfate reduction, methanotrophy, and biodegradation of aromatic carbon compounds. Many of these metabolic pathways have been shown to be favorable under conditions typical of serpentinizing habitats5. Metagenomic analysis strongly suggests that at least some of the methane originating from these serpentinizing ecosystems may be biologically derived. Ongoing work will further clarify the mechanisms of methane formation by examining the clumped isotopologue ratios of dissolved methane in serpentinizing fluids. 1. Wang et al. (2015). Science. 348. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa4326 2. Kohl et al. (2016). JGR. Biogeosci

  18. Formation mechanism of calcified roots in terrestrial sediments: insights from a multitechnique and multiscale characterization strategy (United States)

    El Khatib, Rime; Huguet, Arnaud; Bernard, Sylvain; Gocke, Martina; Wiesenberg, Guido; Derenne, Sylvie


    Root remains encrusted by secondary carbonates, e.g. carbonated rhizoliths, are common in many soils and terrestrial sediments from various environmental settings. Rhizoliths usually exhibit a cylindrical shape and may have different sizes (from a few µm up to several cm). These objects have been known for ages and intensively used as proxies for paleoenvironmental reconstruction. It is generally assumed that such encrustation is controlled or induced by complex organic-mineral interactions at the plant tissue scale, even though this has never been investigated in detail. The aim of this work was to better constrain the mechanisms of rhizolith formation, which remain unclear so far. Rhizoliths at different stages of encrustation and surrounding sediment were sampled at different depths from a loess-paleosol sequence (Nussloch, SW Germany). They were characterised using a multi-scale and multi-technique approach. The use of SEM and TEM to investigate rhizolith samples has offered a unique combination of chemical and structural information with submicrometer spatial resolution, while solid-state 13C NMR of decarbonated rhizoliths along with liquid and gas chromatography analyses of organic extracts have provided information at a molecular level. SEM and TEM reveal that the precipitation of secondary carbonates does not only occur around, but also within the plant root cells and evidence the close relationship existing between organic and inorganic phases within these complex systems. The fine-scale preservation of root cellular ultrastructure with remarkable integrity observed for samples at all stages of encrustation has likely been promoted by this intra-cellular carbonate precipitation. In parallel, gas and liquid chromatography analyses showed that microbial biomarkers were predominant in the former roots, in contrast with the surrounding sediment, dominated by plant biomarkers. This suggests that the molecular signatures of the organic matter differ between

  19. The sustainability of habitability on terrestrial planets: Insights, questions, and needed measurements from Mars for understanding the evolution of Earth-like worlds

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    B L Ehlmann; F S Anderson; J Andrews-Hanna; D C Catling; P R Christensen; B A Cohen; C D Dressing; C S Edwards; L T Elkins-Tanton; K A Farley; C I Fassett; W W Fischer; A A Fraeman; M P Golombek; V E Hamilton; A G Hayes; C D K Herd; B Horgan; R Hu; B M Jakosky; J R Johnson; J F Kasting; L Kerber; K M Kinch; E S Kite; H A Knutson; J I Lunine; P R Mahaffy; N Mangold; F M McCubbin; J F Mustard; P B Niles; C Quantin-Nataf; M S Rice; K M Stack; D J Stevenson; S T Stewart; M J Toplis; T Usui; B P Weiss; S C Werner; R D Wordsworth; J J Wray; R A Yingst; Y L Yung; K J Zahnle


    ... control planetary evolution. Mars provides the solar system's longest record of the interplay of the physical and chemical processes relevant to habitability on an accessible rocky planet with an atmosphere and hydrosphere...

  20. The sustainability of habitability on terrestrial planets: Insights, questions, and needed measurements from Mars for understanding the evolution of Earth‐like worlds

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Ehlmann, B. L; Anderson, F. S; Andrews‐Hanna, J; Catling, D. C; Christensen, P. R; Cohen, B. A; Dressing, C. D; Edwards, C. S; Elkins‐Tanton, L. T; Farley, K. A; Fassett, C. I; Fischer, W. W; Fraeman, A. A; Golombek, M. P; Hamilton, V. E; Hayes, A. G; Herd, C. D. K; Horgan, B; Hu, R; Jakosky, B. M; Johnson, J. R; Kasting, J. F; Kerber, L; Kinch, K. M; Kite, E. S; Knutson, H. A; Lunine, J. I; Mahaffy, P. R; Mangold, N; McCubbin, F. M; Mustard, J. F; Niles, P. B; Quantin‐Nataf, C; Rice, M. S; Stack, K. M; Stevenson, D. J; Stewart, S. T; Toplis, M. J; Usui, T; Weiss, B. P; Werner, S. C; Wordsworth, R. D; Wray, J. J; Yingst, R. A; Yung, Y. L; Zahnle, K. J


    .... Mars provides the solar system's longest record of the interplay of the physical and chemical processes relevant to habitability on an accessible rocky planet with an atmosphere and hydrosphere...

  1. Does asteroid 4 Vesta, with watery 1 Ceres and the Galilean moons, record the Ringwood-mode iron core construction now predicated for Earth and even apply to the other terrestrial planets? (United States)

    Osmaston, M. F.


    I reason that Vesta, the source of HED but too small for appreciable magmatic resurfacing after accretion had ended, preserves valuable clues as to how the Earth and the other terrestrials were built. Setting the scene. Core formation in the terrestrial planets has long been attributed to the percolation of molten iron accreted from the solar nebula, either inward from the surface or from a magma ocean at depth. But it has been found [1,2] that the 56Fe/54Fe ratio in Earth peridotites still has a chondritic ratio, which rules out that Fe percolation has occurred. So we must revert now to Ringwood's model (1960-1978) e.g.[3] for core formation. This uses the nebula to reduce hot FeO in lavas erupted in volcanoes at the protoplanet's surface. The Fe, which then drains to the bottom of the magma chamber and solidifies, is subsequently 'loadsubducted' rapidly to form the core. For Earth's core alone this would generate ~400 earth-ocean volumes of reaction water, a Solar System benefit already foreseen by Ringwood, water being low in star-forming clouds. The heat for the volcanism is internal (accretion, gravitation, radiogenic) so orbital distance in the presence of nebular opacity is immaterial; and important for making the cores in the Galilean moons, otherwise labelled as being at the 'snowline' in the disc. In order to work, prior iron accretion to form the body must have been in oxide form. Thermodynamically this is correct if the nebula is cool (ringwoodite at the bottom of the upper mantle [8]. Vesta as a record of Ringwood-mode (RM) core formation. Based on its 220km diameter core [9] and a 500km mean overall diameter, the water generated by RM core formation would have given it a water-laden atmosphere containing an effective surface water layer over 30km deep. Current flows in this, presumably below a frozen lid, appear to have carved early deep channels in the uncoherent regolith, well seen as a.m.- conserving spiral channels (5.3hr rotationperiod) outboard

  2. The Demographics of Rocky Free-floating Planets and their Detectability by WFIRST (United States)

    Barclay, Thomas; Quintana, Elisa V.; Raymond, Sean N.; Penny, Matthew T.


    Planets are thought to form via accretion from a remnant disk of gas and solids around a newly formed star. During this process, material in the disk either remains bound to the star as part of either a planet, a smaller celestial body, or makes up part of the the interplanetary medium; falls into the star; or is ejected from the system. Herein we use dynamical models to probe the abundance and properties of ejected material during late-stage planet formation and estimate their contribution to the free-floating planet population. We present 300 N-body simulations of terrestrial planet formation around a solar-type star, with and without giant planets present, using a model that accounts for collisional fragmentation. In simulations with Jupiter and Saturn analogs, about one-third of the initial (˜5 M ⊕) disk mass is ejected, about half in planets more massive than Mercury but with a mass lower than 0.3 M ⊕, and the remainder in smaller bodies. Most ejections occur within 25 Myr, which is shorter than the timescale typically required for Earth-mass planets to grow (30-100 Myr). When giant planets are omitted from our simulations, almost no material is ejected within 200 Myr and only about 1% of the initial disk is ejected by 2 Gyr. We show that about 2.5 terrestrial-mass planets are ejected per star in the Galaxy. We predict that the space-borne microlensing search for free-floating planets from the Wide-Field Infra-Red Space Telescope will discover up to 15 Mars-mass planets, but few free-floating Earth-mass planets.

  3. The formation and early evolution of stars from dust to stars and planets

    CERN Document Server

    Schulz, Norbert S


    Starburst regions in nearby and distant galaxies have a profound impact on our understanding of the early universe. This new, substantially updated and extended edition of Norbert Schulz’s unique book "From Dust to Stars" describes complex physical processes involved in the creation and early evolution of stars. It illustrates how these processes reveal themselves from radio wavelengths to high energy X-rays and gamma–rays, with special reference towards high energy signatures. Several sections devoted to key analysis techniques demonstrate how modern research in this field is pursued and new chapters are introduced on massive star formation, proto-planetary disks and observations of young exoplanets. Recent advances and contemporary research on the theory of star formation are explained, as are new observations, specifically from the three great observatories of the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory which all now operate at the same time and make high r...

  4. NanoRocks: Design and performance of an experiment studying planet formation on the International Space Station. (United States)

    Brisset, Julie; Colwell, Joshua; Dove, Adrienne; Maukonen, Doug


    In an effort to better understand the early stages of planet formation, we have developed a 1.5U payload that flew on the International Space Station (ISS) in the NanoRacks NanoLab facility between September 2014 and March 2016. This payload, named NanoRocks, ran a particle collision experiment under long-term microgravity conditions. The objectives of the experiment were (a) to observe collisions between mm-sized particles at relative velocities of experiment camera. During the 18 months the payload stayed on ISS, we obtained 158 videos, thus recording a great number of collisions. The average particle velocities in the sample cells after each shaking event were around 1 cm/s. After shaking stopped, the inter-particle collisions damped the particle kinetic energy in less than 20 s, reducing the average particle velocity to below 1 mm/s, and eventually slowing them to below our detection threshold. As the particle velocity decreased, we observed the transition from bouncing to sticking collisions. We recorded the formation of particle clusters at the end of each experiment run. This paper describes the design and performance of the NanoRocks ISS payload.

  5. Dust in brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets. V. Cloud formation in carbon- and oxygen-rich environments (United States)

    Helling, Ch.; Tootill, D.; Woitke, P.; Lee, G.


    Context. Recent observations indicate potentially carbon-rich (C/O > 1) exoplanet atmospheres. Spectral fitting methods for brown dwarfs and exoplanets have invoked the C/O ratio as additional parameter but carbon-rich cloud formation modeling is a challenge for the models applied. The determination of the habitable zone for exoplanets requires the treatment of cloud formation in chemically different regimes. Aims: We aim to model cloud formation processes for carbon-rich exoplanetary atmospheres. Disk models show that carbon-rich or near-carbon-rich niches may emerge and cool carbon planets may trace these particular stages of planetary evolution. Methods: We extended our kinetic cloud formation model by including carbon seed formation and the formation of C[s], TiC[s], SiC[s], KCl[s], and MgS[s] by gas-surface reactions. We solved a system of dust moment equations and element conservation for a prescribed Drift-Phoenixatmosphere structure to study how a cloud structure would change with changing initial C/O0 = 0.43...10.0. Results: The seed formation efficiency is lower in carbon-rich atmospheres than in oxygen-rich gases because carbon is a very effective growth species. The consequence is that fewer particles make up a cloud if C/O0 > 1. The cloud particles are smaller in size than in an oxygen-rich atmosphere. An increasing initial C/O ratio does not revert this trend because a much greater abundance of condensible gas species exists in a carbon-rich environment. Cloud particles are generally made of a mix of materials: carbon dominates if C/O0 > 1 and silicates dominate if C/O0 < 1. A carbon content of 80-90% carbon is reached only in extreme cases where C/O0 = 3.0 or 10.0. Conclusions: Carbon-rich atmospheres form clouds that are made of particles of height-dependent mixed compositions, sizes and numbers. The remaining gas phase is far less depleted than in an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Typical tracer molecules are HCN and C2H2 in combination with a featureless

  6. Three regimes of extrasolar planet radius inferred from host star metallicities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Buchhave, Lars A.; Bizzarro, Martin; Latham, David W.


    Approximately half of the extrasolar planets (exoplanets) with radii less than four Earth radii are in orbits with short periods. Despite their sheer abundance, the compositions of such planets are largely unknown. The available evidence suggests that they range in composition from small, high......-density rocky planets to low-density planets consisting of rocky cores surrounded by thick hydrogen and helium gas envelopes. Here we report the metallicities (that is, the abundances of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium) of more than 400 stars hosting 600 exoplanet candidates, and find...... that the exoplanets can be categorized into three populations defined by statistically distinct (~4.5σ) metallicity regions. We interpret these regions as reflecting the formation regimes of terrestrial-like planets (radii less than 1.7 Earth radii), gas dwarf planets with rocky cores and hydrogen-helium envelopes...

  7. Internal Representation and Memory Formation of Odor Preference Based on Oscillatory Activities in a Terrestrial Slug (United States)

    Sekiguchi, Tatsuhiko; Furudate, Hiroyuki; Kimura, Tetsuya


    The terrestrial slug "Limax" exhibits a highly developed ability to learn odors with a small nervous system. When a fluorescent dye, Lucifer Yellow (LY), is injected into the slug's body cavity after odor-taste associative conditioning, a group of neurons in the procerebral (PC) lobe, an olfactory center of the slug, is labeled by LY. We examined…

  8. Time of Formation and Chemical Alteration of Planetesimals, Icy Satellites, and Dwarf Planets in the Outer Solar System (United States)

    Castillo-Rogez, J.; Johnson, T.; Matson, D.; Vance, S.; Choukroun, M.; Lunine, J.


    We consider various scenarios for the early chronology of outer solar system icy objects (e.g., planetesimals, satellites, dwarf planets) depending on the time at which these objects formed with respect to the production of calcium-aluminum inclusions. The latter is our time of reference for computing the amount of short-lived radioisotopes accreted in these objects. We especially focus on hydrothermal activity that could have taken place in icy planetesimals and the consequences on the early history of bigger objects depending on the time and duration of accretion, i.e. whether or not short-lived radioisotopes were still in significant abundance in planetesimals when icy satellites and dwarf planets formed. Chemical alteration as a result of 26Al-triggered differentiation has been studied in the case of meteorite parent bodies, but the consequences of such a phenomenon in the case of outer Solar system objects has not been thoroughly addressed. However, various recent observations suggest that the outer Solar system could have formed in a few My after the beginning of the Solar system. In such conditions meteorite parent bodies and icy objects (from planetesimals to large icy objects) could have had a similar early history. Early melting is accompanied by hydrothermal circulation and resulting aqueous alteration and redistribution of major elements between the rock phase and the volatile phase. This can result in partial hydration of the silicate phase, formation of salt compounds in small objects from which molecular hydrogen can easily escape, as well as leaching of long-lived radioisotopes from the rock phase. Melting can also result in the destabilization of clathrate hydrates and thus degassing of major species predicted by cosmochemical models, with implications for the diversity of compositions of planetesimals in the early outer Solar System. We consider several classes of planetesimals, characterized by their size, time of formation, initial rock mass

  9. Role of tectonomagmatic processes for surface environmental changes and evolution of biosphere on terrestrial planets: Evidence for evolution of the life on the Earth (United States)

    Sharkov, Evgenii; Bogina, Maria

    It is known that ecological systems on the Earth in the Middle Paleoproterozoic was experienced fundamental change, which finally led to the appearance of multicellular organisms. Though life has been already existed in the Paleoarchean (Harris et al., 2009 and references herein), the multicellular organisms appeared only in the middle Paleoproterozoic about 1.6 Ga ago. It was preceded by fundamental change of tectononagmatic processes at period from 2.35 to 2.0 Ga, when early Precambrian high-Mg magmas, derived from depleted mantle, were gradually changed by geochemical-enriched Fe-Ti picrites and basalts, similar to Phanerozoic within-plate magmas. A drastic change of the tectonic pattern occurred at ca. 2 Ga when plate-tectonics changed plume-tectonics of the early Precambrian. Since that time tectonomagmatic processes irretrievably changed over the whole Earth and gradually change of ancient continental crust for secondary oceanic (basaltic) crust has occurred. New type of magmatic melts, appeared in the Middle Paleoproterozoic, was characterized by elevated and high contents of Fe, Ti, Cu, P, Mn, alkalis, LREE, and other incompatible elements (Zr, Ba, Sr, U, Th, F, etc.). A large-scale influx of alkalis in the World Ocean presumably neutralized its water, making it more suitable for the life, while input of Fe-group metals, P, and other trace elements, which are required for metabolism and fermentation, rapidly expanded the possibility for the development of bio-sphere. This caused a rapid evolution of organic life, especially photosynthesizing cyanobacteria and, subsequently, the emergence of oxidizing atmosphere, marked by formation of cupriferous red beds at all Precambrian shields and generation of first hydrocarbon deposits (Melezhik et al., 2005). A drop in atmospheric CO2 presumably suppressed the greenhouse effect, while significant intensification of relief ruggedness caused by wide development of plate tectonics after 2 Ga resulted in the change of

  10. Direct Imaging of the Water Snow Line at the Time of Planet Formation using Two ALMA Continuum Bands (United States)

    Banzatti, A.; Pinilla, P.; Ricci, L.; Pontoppidan, K. M.; Birnstiel, T.; Ciesla, F.


    Molecular snow lines in protoplanetary disks have been studied theoretically for decades because of their importance in shaping planetary architectures and compositions. The water snow line lies in the planet formation region at ≲10 AU, and so far its location has been estimated only indirectly from spatially unresolved spectroscopy. This work presents a proof-of-concept method to directly image the water snow line in protoplanetary disks through its physical and chemical imprint on the local dust properties. We adopt a physical disk model that includes dust coagulation, fragmentation, drift, and a change in fragmentation velocities of a factor of 10 between dry silicates and icy grains as found by laboratory work. We find that the presence of a water snow line leads to a sharp discontinuity in the radial profile of the dust emission spectral index αmm due to replenishment of small grains through fragmentation. We use the ALMA simulator to demonstrate that this effect can be observed in protoplanetary disks using spatially resolved ALMA images in two continuum bands. We explore the model dependence on the disk viscosity and find that the spectral index reveals the water snow line for a wide range of conditions, with opposite trends when the emission is optically thin rather than thick. If the disk viscosity is low (αvisc structure with a minimum at αmm ˜ 2 in the optically thick regime, possibly similar to what has been measured with ALMA in the innermost region of the HL Tau disk.

  11. Exploring Disks Around Planets (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna


    Giant planets are thought to form in circumstellar disks surrounding young stars, but material may also accrete into a smaller disk around the planet. Weve never detected one of these circumplanetary disks before but thanks to new simulations, we now have a better idea of what to look for.Image from previous work simulating a Jupiter-mass planet forming inside a circumstellar disk. The planet has its own circumplanetary disk of accreted material. [Frdric Masset]Elusive DisksIn the formation of giant planets, we think the final phase consists of accretion onto the planet from a disk that surrounds it. This circumplanetary disk is important to understand, since it both regulates the late gas accretion and forms the birthplace of future satellites of the planet.Weve yet to detect a circumplanetary disk thus far, because the resolution needed to spot one has been out of reach. Now, however, were entering an era where the disk and its kinematics may be observable with high-powered telescopes (like the Atacama Large Millimeter Array).To prepare for such observations, we need models that predict the basic characteristics of these disks like the mass, temperature, and kinematic properties. Now a researcher at the ETH Zrich Institute for Astronomy in Switzerland, Judit Szulgyi, has worked toward this goal.Simulating CoolingSzulgyi performs a series of 3D global radiative hydrodynamic simulations of 1, 3, 5, and 10 Jupiter-mass (MJ) giant planets and their surrounding circumplanetary disks, embedded within the larger circumstellar disk around the central star.Density (left column), temperature (center), and normalized angular momentum (right) for a 1 MJ planet over temperatures cooling from 10,000 K (top) to 1,000 K (bottom). At high temperatures, a spherical circumplanetary envelope surrounds the planet, but as the planet cools, the envelope transitions around 64,000 K to a flattened disk. [Szulgyi 2017]This work explores the effects of different planet temperatures and

  12. Covariant C and O Isotope Trends in Some Terrestrial Carbonates and ALH 84001: Possible Linkage Through Similar Formation Processes (United States)

    Volk, Kathryn E.; Niles, Paul B.; Socki, Richard A.


    Carbonate minerals found on the surface of Mars and in martian meteorites indicate that liquid water has played a significant role in the planet's history. These findings have raised questions regarding the history of the martian hydrosphere and atmosphere as well as the possibility of life. Sunset Crater, Arizona is a dry environment with relatively high evaporation and brief periods of precipitation. This environment resembles Mars and may make Sunset Crater a good analog to martian carbonates. In this study we sought to identify discrete micro-scale isotopic variation within the carbonate crusts in Sunset Crater to see if they resembled the micro-scale isotope variation found in ALH 84001 carbonates. Sunset Crater carbonate formation may be used as a martian analog and ultimately provide insight into carbonate formation in ALH 84001.

  13. Planets in Binary Star Systems

    CERN Document Server

    Haghighipour, Nader


    The discovery of extrasolar planets over the past decade has had major impacts on our understanding of the formation and dynamical evolution of planetary systems. There are features and characteristics unseen in our solar system and unexplainable by the current theories of planet formation and dynamics. Among these new surprises is the discovery of planets in binary and multiple-star systems. The discovery of such "binary-planetary" systems has confronted astrodynamicists with many new challenges, and has led them to re-examine the theories of planet formation and dynamics. Among these challenges are: How are planets formed in binary star systems? What would be the notion of habitability in such systems? Under what conditions can binary star systems have habitable planets? How will volatiles necessary for life appear on such planets? This volume seeks to gather the current research in the area of planets in binary and multistar systems and to familiarize readers with its associated theoretical and observation...

  14. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Areal measurement of Mercury's first quadrant. Ph.D. Thesis (United States)

    Leake, M. A.


    Various linear and areal measurements of Mercury's first quadrant which were used in geological map preparation, map analysis, and statistical surveys of crater densities are discussed. Accuracy of each method rests on the determination of the scale of the photograph, i.e., the conversion factor between distances on the planet (in km) and distances on the photograph (in cm). Measurement errors arise due to uncertainty in Mercury's radius, poor resolution, poor coverage, high Sun angle illumination in the limb regions, planetary curvature, limited precision in measuring instruments, and inaccuracies in the printed map scales. Estimates are given for these errors.

  15. Archaeology of Extrasolar Rocky Minor Planets (United States)

    Farihi, Jay


    Recent and ongoing work has demonstrated that empirical constraints on the frequency and chemistry of rocky planet formation around other stars, and signatures of water therein, can be found via the asteroidal debris orbiting and polluting white dwarf stars. These stellar remnants yield observable information that can be acquired no other way: the frequency, bulk chemical composition, and minimum mass of rocky minor planets around other stars. Asteroids are ancient planetesimals, the building blocks of the terrestrial planets. In the Solar System, we indirectly measure the composition of asteroids by studying meteorites. Analogously, we can obtain a picture of terrestrial planet formation at A- and F-type stars by studying the composition of extant asteroids as they fall onto and chemically pollute their white dwarf remnants. Critically, it is possible to identify significant amounts of water in these asteroidal systems, providing an indication of (current or prior) habitable environments as well as extrasolar testing grounds for models of water delivery to the Earth. I will present the latest and new developments in this area of research. I hope to include some results of an ongoing HST COS effort to study asteroidal debris as a function of post-main sequence age and main-sequence progenitor mass. Other highlights are two stars polluted by the debris of rocky planetary bodies sufficiently large to have been differentiated, and thus at least as large as Vesta or Ceres, the two largest asteroids in the Solar System. Currently, there is at least one compelling case for the accretion of water-rich, asteroidal debris, while the totality of known polluted white dwarfs hints at a significant population of water-rich asteroid analogs orbiting other stars.

  16. Ovarian control of oostegite formation in the terrestrial isopod, Armadillidium vulgare (Malacostraca, Crustacea). (United States)

    Suzuki, S; Yamasaki, K


    The correlation between oostegite formation and ovarian maturation was investigated in the isopod Armadillidium vulgare. Females whose ovaries had been removed and males whose androgenic glands had been removed were used in these experiments. Ovariectomy of puberal females did not stop oostegite formation. Whether oostegites develop in puberal females whose ovaries have been removed depends upon the degree of maturation of the ovaries at the time of removal. On the other hand, ovariectomized juvenile females and andrectomized juvenile males were unable to form oostegites when they attained puberty. An extract of vitellogenic ovaries induced oostegite formation in ovariectomized females and andrectomized males, but not in intact males. The ability of ovarian extracts to induce oostegite formation was dose-dependent. The nature of this ovarian factor that induces oostegite formation in A. vulgare remains to be elucidated.

  17. Testing giant planet formation in the transitional disk of SAO 206462 using deep VLT/SPHERE imaging (United States)

    Maire, A.-L.; Stolker, T.; Messina, S.; Müller, A.; Biller, B. A.; Currie, T.; Dominik, C.; Grady, C. A.; Boccaletti, A.; Bonnefoy, M.; Chauvin, G.; Galicher, R.; Millward, M.; Pohl, A.; Brandner, W.; Henning, T.; Lagrange, A.-M.; Langlois, M.; Meyer, M. R.; Quanz, S. P.; Vigan, A.; Zurlo, A.; van Boekel, R.; Buenzli, E.; Buey, T.; Desidera, S.; Feldt, M.; Fusco, T.; Ginski, C.; Giro, E.; Gratton, R.; Hubin, N.; Lannier, J.; Le Mignant, D.; Mesa, D.; Peretti, S.; Perrot, C.; Ramos, J. R.; Salter, G.; Samland, M.; Sissa, E.; Stadler, E.; Thalmann, C.; Udry, S.; Weber, L.


    Context. The SAO 206462 (HD 135344B) disk is one of the few known transitional disks showing asymmetric features in scattered light and thermal emission. Near-infrared scattered-light images revealed two bright outer spiral arms and an inner cavity depleted in dust. Giant protoplanets have been proposed to account for the disk morphology. Aims: We aim to search for giant planets responsible for the disk features and, in the case of non-detection, to constrain recent planet predictions using the data detection limits. Methods: We obtained new high-contrast and high-resolution total intensity images of the target spanning the Y to the K bands (0.95-2.3 μm) using the VLT/SPHERE near-infrared camera and integral field spectrometer. Results: The spiral arms and the outer cavity edge are revealed at high resolutions and sensitivities without the need for aggressive image post-processing techniques, which introduce photometric biases. We do not detect any close-in companions. For the derivation of the detection limits on putative giant planets embedded in the disk, we show that the knowledge of the disk aspect ratio and viscosity is critical for the estimation of the attenuation of a planet signal by the protoplanetary dust because of the gaps that these putative planets may open. Given assumptions on these parameters, the mass limits can vary from 2-5 to 4-7 Jupiter masses at separations beyond the disk spiral arms. The SPHERE detection limits are more stringent than those derived from archival NaCo/L' data and provide new constraints on a few recent predictions of massive planets (4-15 MJ) based on the spiral density wave theory. The SPHERE and ALMA data do not favor the hypotheses on massive giant planets in the outer disk (beyond 0.6''). There could still be low-mass planets in the outer disk and/or planets inside the cavity. Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO programmes 095.C

  18. Cold oceans enhance terrestrial new-particle formation in near-coastal forests

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Kulmala


    Full Text Available The world's forests produce atmospheric aerosol by emitting volatile organic compounds (VOC which, after being oxidized in the atmosphere, readily condense on the omnipresent nanometer-sized nuclei and grow them to climatically relevant sizes. The cooling effect of aerosols is the greatest uncertainty in current climate models and estimates of radiative forcing. Therefore, identifying the environmental factors influencing the biogenic formation of aerosols is crucial. In this paper, we connected biogenic aerosol formation events observed in a Eucalypt forest in South-East Australia during July 2005–December 2006 to air mass history using 96-h back trajectories. Formation of new particles was most frequent in the dry westerly and south-westerly air masses. According to NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index measurements, photosynthesis was not significantly higher in this direction compared to the north-east direction. It is unlikely, therefore, that differences in photosynthesis-derived organic precursor emissions would have been significant enough to lead to the clear difference in NPF frequency between these two directions. Instead, the high evaporation rates above the Pacific Ocean resulted in humid winds from the north-east that effectively suppressed new-particle formation in the forest hundreds of kilometers inland. No other factor varied as significantly in tune with new-particle formation as humidity and we concluded that, in addition to local meteorological factors in the forest, the magnitude of evaporation from oceans hundreds of kilometers upwind can effectively suppress or enhance new-particle formation. Our findings indicate that, unlike warm waters, the cold polar oceans provide excellent clean and dry background air that enhances aerosol formation above near-coastal forests in Fennoscandia and South-East Australia.

  19. The Role of Carbon in Core Formation Under Highly Reducing Conditions With Implications for the Planet Mercury (United States)

    Vander Kaaden, Kathleen E..; McCubbin, Francis M.; Ross, D. Kent; Draper, David S.


    Results from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft have shown elevated abundances of carbon on the surface of Mercury. Furthermore, the X-Ray Spectrometer on board MESSENGER measured elevated abundances of sulfur and low abundances of iron, suggesting the planet's oxygen fugacity (fO2) is several log10 units below the Iron-Wüstite (IW) buffer. Similar to the role of other volatiles (e.g. sulfur) on highly reducing planetary bodies, carbon is expected to behave differently than it would under higher fO2. As discussed by Nittler et al. and Hauck et al., under such highly reducing conditions, the majority of the iron partitions into the core. On Mercury, this resulted in a relatively large core and a thin mantle. Using a composition similar to the largest volcanic field on the planet (the northern volcanic plains), Vander Kaaden and McCubbin conducted sink-float experiments to determine the density of melts and minerals on Mercury. They showed that graphite would be the only buoyant mineral in a mercurian magma ocean. Therefore, Vander Kaaden and McCubbin proposed a possible primary flotation crust on the planet composed of graphite. Concurrently, Peplowski et al. used GRS data from MESSENGER to show an average northern hemisphere abundance of C on the planet of 1.4 +/- 0.9 wt%. However, as this result was only at the one-sigma detection limit, possible carbon abundances at the three-sigma detection limit for Mercury range from 0 to 4.1 wt% carbon. Additionally, Murchie et al. investigated the possible darkening agent on Mercury and concluded that coarse-grained graphite could darken high reflectance plains to the low reflectance material. To further test the possibility of elevated abundances of carbon in Mercury's crust, Peplowski et al. used the low-altitude MESSENGER data to show that carbon is the only material consistent with both the visible to near-infrared spectra and the neutron measurements of low

  20. Taxonomy of the extrasolar planet. (United States)

    Plávalová, Eva


    When a star is described as a spectral class G2V, we know that the star is similar to our Sun. We know its approximate mass, temperature, age, and size. When working with an extrasolar planet database, it is very useful to have a taxonomy scale (classification) such as, for example, the Harvard classification for stars. The taxonomy has to be easily interpreted and present the most relevant information about extrasolar planets. I propose an extrasolar planet taxonomy scale with four parameters. The first parameter concerns the mass of an extrasolar planet in the form of units of the mass of other known planets, where M represents the mass of Mercury, E that of Earth, N Neptune, and J Jupiter. The second parameter is the planet's distance from its parent star (semimajor axis) described in a logarithm with base 10. The third parameter is the mean Dyson temperature of the extrasolar planet, for which I established four main temperature classes: F represents the Freezing class, W the Water class, G the Gaseous class, and R the Roasters class. I devised one additional class, however: P, the Pulsar class, which concerns extrasolar planets orbiting pulsar stars. The fourth parameter is eccentricity. If the attributes of the surface of the extrasolar planet are known, we are able to establish this additional parameter where t represents a terrestrial planet, g a gaseous planet, and i an ice planet. According to this taxonomy scale, for example, Earth is 1E0W0t, Neptune is 1N1.5F0i, and extrasolar planet 55 Cnc e is 9E-1.8R1.

  1. Observations and interpretations at Vredefort, Sudbury, and Chicxulub: Towards an empirical model of terrestrial impact basin formation (United States)

    Grieve, Richard A. F.; Reimold, W. Uwe; Morgan, Joanna; Riller, Ulrich; Pilkington, Mark


    The structural, topographic and other characteristics of the Vredefort, Sudbury, and Chicxulub impact structures are described. Assuming that the structures originally had the same morphology, the observations/interpretations for each structure are compared and extended to the other structures. This does not result in any major inconsistencies but requires that the observations be scaled spatially. In the case of Vredefort and Sudbury, this is accomplished by scaling the outer limit of particular shock metamorphic features. In the case of Chicxulub, scaling requires a reasoned assumption as to the formation mechanism of an interior peak ring. The observations/interpretations are then used to construct an integrated, empirical kinematic model for a terrestrial peak-ring basin. The major attributes of the model include: a set of outward-directed thrusts in the parautochthonous rocks of the outermost environs of the crater floor, some of which are pre-existing structures that have been reactivated during transient cavity formation; inward-directed motions along the same outermost structures and along a set of structures, at intermediate radial distances, during transient cavity collapse; structural uplift in the center followed by a final set of radially outward-directed thrusts at the outer edges of the structural uplift, during uplift collapse. The rock displacements on the intermediate, inward and innermost, outward sets of structures are consistent with the assumption that a peak ring will result from the convergence of the collapse of the transient cavity rim area and the collapse of the structural uplift.

  2. Microlensing Discovery of an Earth-Mass Planet (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna


    What do we know about planet formation around stars that are so light that they cant fuse hydrogen in their cores? The new discovery of an Earth-mass planet orbiting what is likely a brown dwarf may help us better understand this process.Planets Around Brown Dwarfs?Comparison of the sizes of the Sun, a low-mass star, a brown dwarf, Jupiter, and Earth. [NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCB]Planets are thought to form from the material inprotoplanetary disks around their stellar hosts. But the lowest-mass end of the stellar spectrum brown dwarfs, substellar objects so light that they straddle the boundary between planet and star will have correspondingly light disks. Do brown dwarfs disks typically have enough mass to form Earth-mass planets?To answer this question, scientists have searched for planets around brown dwarfs with marginal success. Thus far, only four such planets have been found and these systems may not be typical, since they were discovered via direct imaging. To build a more representative sample, wed like to discover exoplanets around brown dwarfs via a method that doesnt rely on imaging the faint light of the system.A diagram of how planets are detected via gravitational microlensing. The detectable planet is in orbit around the foreground lens star. [NASA]Lensed Light as a GiveawayConveniently, such a method exists and its recently been used to make a major discovery! The planet OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb was detected as a result of a gravitational microlensing event that was observed both from the ground and from space.The discovery of a planet via microlensing occurs when the light of a distant source star is magnified by a passing foreground star hosting a planet. The light curve of the source shows a distinctive magnification signature as a result of the gravitational lensing from the foreground star, and the gravitational field of the lensing stars planet can add its own detectable blip to the curve.OGLE-2016-BLG-1195LbThe magnification curve of OGLE-2016-BLG-1195

  3. MESSENGER: Exploring the Innermost Planet (United States)

    Solomon, S. C.


    One of Earth's closest planetary neighbors, Mercury remained comparatively unexplored for the more than three decades that followed the three flybys of the innermost planet by the Mariner 10 spacecraft in 1974-75. Mariner 10 imaged 45% of Mercury's surface at about 1 km/pixel average resolution, confirmed Mercury's anomalously high bulk density and implied large fractional core size, discovered Mercury's internal magnetic field, documented that H and He are present in the planet's tenuous exosphere, and made the first exploration of Mercury's magnetosphere and solar wind environment. Ground-based astronomers later reported Na, K, and Ca in Mercury's exosphere; the presence of deposits in the floors of polar craters having radar characteristics best matched by water ice; and strong evidence from the planet's forced libration amplitude that Mercury has a fluid outer core. Spacecraft exploration of Mercury resumed with the selection for flight, under NASA's Discovery Program, of the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission. Launched in 2004, MESSENGER flew by the innermost planet three times in 2008-2009 en route to becoming the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury in March of this year. MESSENGER's first chemical remote sensing measurements of Mercury's surface indicate that the planet's bulk silicate fraction differs from those of the other inner planets, with a low-Fe surface composition intermediate between basalts and ultramafic rocks and best matched among terrestrial rocks by komatiites. Moreover, surface materials are richer in the volatile constituents S and K than predicted by most planetary formation models. Global image mosaics and targeted high-resolution images (to resolutions of 10 m/pixel) reveal that Mercury experienced globally extensive volcanism, including large expanses of plains emplaced as flood lavas and widespread examples of pyroclastic deposits likely emplaced during explosive eruptions of volatile

  4. Magic Planet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jacobsen, Aase Roland


    Med den digitale globe som omdrejningspunkt bestemmer publikum, hvilken planet, der er i fokus. Vores solsystem udforskes interaktivt. Udgivelsesdato: november......Med den digitale globe som omdrejningspunkt bestemmer publikum, hvilken planet, der er i fokus. Vores solsystem udforskes interaktivt. Udgivelsesdato: november...

  5. Experimental shock metamorphism of terrestrial basalts: Agglutinate-like particle formation, petrology, and magnetism (United States)

    Badyukov, Dmitrii D.; Bezaeva, Natalia S.; Rochette, Pierre; Gattacceca, Jérôme; Feinberg, Joshua M.; Kars, Myriam; Egli, Ramon; Raitala, Jouko; Kuzina, Dilyara M.


    Hypervelocity impacts occur on bodies throughout our solar system, and play an important role in altering the mineralogy, texture, and magnetic properties in target rocks at nanometer to planetary scales. Here we present the results of hypervelocity impact experiments conducted using a two-stage light-gas gun with 5 mm spherical copper projectiles accelerated toward basalt targets with 6 km s-1 impact velocities. Four different types of magnetite- and titanomagnetite-bearing basalts were used as targets for seven independent experiments. These laboratory impacts resulted in the formation of agglutinate-like particles similar in texture to lunar agglutinates, which are an important fraction of lunar soil. Materials recovered from the impacts were examined using a suite of complementary techniques, including optical and scanning electron microscopy, micro-Raman spectroscopy, and high- and low-temperature magnetometry, to investigate the texture, chemistry, and magnetic properties of newly formed agglutinate-like particles and were compared to unshocked basaltic parent materials. The use of Cu-projectiles, rather than Fe- and Ni-projectiles, avoids magnetic contamination in the final shock products and enables a clearer view of the magnetic properties of impact-generated agglutinates. Agglutinate-like particles show shock features, such as melting and planar deformation features, and demonstrate shock-induced magnetic hardening (two- to seven-fold increases in the coercivity of remanence Bcr compared to the initial target materials) and decreases in low-field magnetic susceptibility and saturation magnetization.

  6. Integrated Record of Terrestrial Biotic Change from the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation of northern New Mexico (United States)

    Irmis, R. B.; Lindström, S.; Dunlavey, M.; Whiteside, J. H.


    The Triassic Period was an interval of major biotic and environmental changes sandwiched between two major mass extinctions. During the Late Triassic (235-201.3 Ma), dinosaurs originated and diversified across Pangaea, and several major extant vertebrate groups also appeared for the first time. Unfortunately, few detailed stratigraphically-precise local-regional paleontological records exist for continental Triassic strata, which hinders any attempt to understand the tempo and mode of biotic change through the Late Triassic. We present a new stratigraphically well-constrained fossil vertebrate and palynomorph record (10-15 Ma in duration) from the upper Chinle Formation of the Chama Basin, northern New Mexico, an area that is famous for preserving one of the best records of early dinosaurs in North America. Our data indicate that vertebrate faunas were generally stable, experiencing only one identifiable species turnover event. Dinosaurs, although relatively diverse, were never abundant components of the fauna. Contemporaneous palynological records indicate that floral composition fluctuated considerably. The drought-tolerant conifer pollen Enzonalasporites and other gymnosperms such as Alisporites and Protodiploxypinus dominate most palynofloral assemblages, but there is a distinct increase in fern spore abundance near the top of the section. In combination with evidence of variability from organic carbon stable isotopes, these data indicate that the vertebrate fauna, including early dinosaurs, remained stable over millions of years despite living within a dynamic ecosystem associated with rapidly changing environmental conditions.

  7. Observed properties of extrasolar planets. (United States)

    Howard, Andrew W


    Observational surveys for extrasolar planets probe the diverse outcomes of planet formation and evolution. These surveys measure the frequency of planets with different masses, sizes, orbital characteristics, and host star properties. Small planets between the sizes of Earth and Neptune substantially outnumber Jupiter-sized planets. The survey measurements support the core accretion model, in which planets form by the accumulation of solids and then gas in protoplanetary disks. The diversity of exoplanetary characteristics demonstrates that most of the gross features of the solar system are one outcome in a continuum of possibilities. The most common class of planetary system detectable today consists of one or more planets approximately one to three times Earth's size orbiting within a fraction of the Earth-Sun distance.

  8. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Constuction of the paleogeologic maps. Ph.D. Thesis (United States)

    Leake, M. A.


    The Post Caoris surface was derived from the geologic map by plotting all Class 1 and 2 features. To construct the Caloris surface, Class 3 craters were plotted onto the map, as well as all Class 3 plains. However, if P3 plains were adjacent to P2 units, and appeared continuous with other exposures of P3 material, the P2 unit was assumed to overlie the C3 and P3 material. The younger superposed craters were ignored with respect to the Class 3 surface. The boundaries of P3 materials were then continued under the superposed units, using a minimum of reasonable assumptions. For instance, if P2 and P4 plains were adjacent units, no P3 plains were presumed to lie under the P2 material. Similarly, all C3 craters were considered to have some deposits of impact melt after formation, even if they are mapped containing younger units. C3 craters which were superposed with younger units, C1 or C2 craters, and perhaps P2 plains, were redrawn as if later materials had not been emplaced, i.e., in their post impact, pre-degradation states.

  9. New Uses for the Kepler Telescope: A Survey of the Ecliptic Plane For Transiting Planets and Star Formation


    Beichman, Charles; Ciardi, David; Akeson, Rachel; Plavchan, Peter; Howell, Steve; Christiansen, Jesse; Kane, Stephen; Cody, Ann Marie; Stauffer, John; Vasisht, Gautam; Covey, Kevin


    With the loss of two reaction wheels, the period of Kepler's ultra-high precision photometric performance is at an end. Yet Kepler retains unique capabilities impossible to replicate from the ground or with existing or future space missions. This White Paper calls for the use of Kepler to conduct a survey in the ecliptic plane to search for planet transits around stars at high galactic latitudes and to study star forming regions to investigate physics of very young stars not studied by Kepler...

  10. Ground-based hyperspectral imaging and terrestrial laser scanning for fracture characterization in the Mississippian Boone Formation (United States)

    Sun, Lei; Khan, Shuhab D.; Sarmiento, Sergio; Lakshmikantha, M. R.; Zhou, Huawei


    Petroleum geoscientists have been using cores and well logs to study source rocks and reservoirs, however, the inherent discontinuous nature of these data cannot account for horizontal heterogeneities. Modern exploitation requires better understanding of important source rocks and reservoirs at outcrop scale. Remote sensing of outcrops is becoming a first order tool for reservoir analog studies including horizontal heterogeneities. This work used ground-based hyperspectral imaging, terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), and high-resolution photography to study a roadcut of the Boone Formation at Bella Vista, northwest Arkansas, and developed an outcrop model for reservoir analog analyses. The petroliferous Boone Formation consists of fossiliferous limestones interbedded with chert of early Mississippian age. We used remote sensing techniques to identify rock types and to collect 3D geometrical data. Mixture tuned matched filtering classification of hyperspectral data show that the outcrop is mostly limestones with interbedded chert nodules. 1315 fractures were classified according to their strata-bounding relationships, among these, larger fractures are dominantly striking in ENE - WSW directions. Fracture extraction data show that chert holds more fractures than limestones, and both vertical and horizontal heterogeneities exist in chert nodule distribution. Utilizing ground-based remote sensing, we have assembled a virtual outcrop model to extract mineral composition as well as fracture data from the model. We inferred anisotropy in vertical fracture permeability based on the dominancy of fracture orientations, the preferential distribution of fractures and distribution of chert nodules. These data are beneficial in reservoir analogs to study rock mechanics and fluid flow, and to improve well performances.

  11. Mars’ peculiar formation (United States)

    Woo, Man Yin; Brasser, Ramon; Mojzsis, Stephen; Matsumura, Soko; Ida, Shigeru


    The formation of the terrestrial planets is a long standing problem. Mars probably holds the key to solving this mystery because of the substantial amount of data gathered from space missions, martian meteorites and its obvious differences when compared to Earth. Recent elemental and isotopic abundances suggest that Mars’ composition is significantly different from that of Earth. Therefore, Mars should have accreted most of its mass in a region different from Earth’s, most likely further from the Sun. These compositional differences should be explained with planet formation models. We tested the probability of producing a Mars analogue that is compositionally different from Earth in two popular planet formation models: the Grand Tack model with tack locations of 1.5 or 2 AU for Jupiter; and the Classical model in which all the terrestrial planets formed near their current locations. We performed a high number of N-body simulations with initial conditions that are either equal-mass planetary embryos or a semi-analytical approach to oligarch growth. Our results show that the probability of producing a Mars analogue which matches the current mass and orbit of Mars is at most 9% but reduces to mostly about 1% when it mainly accretes its mass further than Mars’ current position of 1.5 AU. Strangely enough, in the Grand Tack model the number of Mars analogues produced is independent of the initial number of planet embryos. Hence, we conclude that both planet formation models have difficulties to explain the observed compositional differences between Earth and Mars.

  12. Resolving Planet Formation in the Era of ALMA and Extreme AO Report on the joint ESO/NRAO Conference (United States)

    Dent, W. R. F.; Hales, A.; Milli, J.


    ALMA in its long-baseline configuration, as well as new optical/near-infrared adaptive optics instruments such as SPHERE and GPI, are now able to achieve spatial resolutions considerably better than 0.1 arcseconds. These facilities are enabling us to observe for the first time the regions around young stars where planets form. Already, complex structures including holes, spiral waves and extreme asymmetries are being found in these protoplanetary discs. To discuss these newly-imaged phenomena, and to enable cross-fertilisation of ideas between the two wavelength ranges, a joint ESO/NRAO workshop was held in Santiago. We present here a summary and some highlights of the meeting.

  13. Protostars and Planets VI (United States)

    Beuther, Henrik; Klessen, Ralf S.; Dullemond, Cornelis P.; Henning, Thomas

    The Protostars and Planets book and conference series has been a long-standing tradition that commenced with the first meeting led by Tom Gehrels and held in Tucson, Arizona, in 1978. The goal then, as it still is today, was to bridge the gap between the fields of star and planet formation as well as the investigation of planetary systems and planets. As Tom Gehrels stated in the preface to the first Protostars and Planets book, "Cross-fertilization of information and understanding is bound to occur when investigators who are familiar with the stellar and interstellar phases meet with those who study the early phases of solar system formation." The central goal remained the same for the subsequent editions of the books and conferences Protostars and Planets II in 1984, Protostars and Planets III in 1990, Protostars and Planets IV in 1998, and Protostars and Planets V in 2005, but has now been greatly expanded by the flood of new discoveries in the field of exoplanet science. The original concept of the Protostars and Planets series also formed the basis for the sixth conference in the series, which took place on July 15-20, 2013. It was held for the first time outside of the United States in the bustling university town of Heidelberg, Germany. The meeting attracted 852 participants from 32 countries, and was centered around 38 review talks and more than 600 posters. The review talks were expanded to form the 38 chapters of this book, written by a total of 250 contributing authors. This Protostars and Planets volume reflects the current state-of-the-art in star and planet formation, and tightly connects the fields with each other. It is structured into four sections covering key aspects of molecular cloud and star formation, disk formation and evolution, planetary systems, and astrophysical conditions for life. All poster presentations from the conference can be found at In the eight years that have passed since the fifth conference and book in the

  14. The Scattering Outcomes of Kepler Circumbinary Planets: Planet Mass Ratio

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gong, Yan-Xiang; Ji, Jianghui, E-mail:, E-mail: [CAS Key Laboratory of Planetary Sciences, Purple Mountain Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008 (China)


    Recent studies reveal that the free eccentricities of Kepler-34b and Kepler-413b are much larger than their forced eccentricities, implying that scattering events may take place in their formation. The observed orbital configuration of Kepler-34b cannot be well reproduced in disk-driven migration models, whereas a two-planet scattering scenario can play a significant role of shaping the planetary configuration. These studies indicate that circumbinary planets discovered by Kepler may have experienced scattering process. In this work, we extensively investigate the scattering outcomes of circumbinary planets focusing on the effects of planet mass ratio . We find that the planetary mass ratio and the the initial relative locations of planets act as two important parameters that affect the eccentricity distribution of the surviving planets. As an application of our model, we discuss the observed orbital configurations of Kepler-34b and Kepler-413b. We first adopt the results from the disk-driven models as the initial conditions, then simulate the scattering process that occurs in the late evolution stage of circumbinary planets. We show that the present orbital configurations of Kepler-34b and Kepler-413b can be well reproduced when considering a two unequal-mass planet ejection model. Our work further suggests that some of the currently discovered circumbinary single-planet systems may be survivors of original multiple-planet systems. The disk-driven migration and scattering events occurring in the late stage both play an irreplaceable role in sculpting the final systems.

  15. Planets, stars and stellar systems

    CERN Document Server

    Bond, Howard; McLean, Ian; Barstow, Martin; Gilmore, Gerard; Keel, William; French, Linda


    This is volume 3 of Planets, Stars and Stellar Systems, a six-volume compendium of modern astronomical research covering subjects of key interest to the main fields of contemporary astronomy. This volume on “Solar and Stellar Planetary Systems” edited by Linda French and Paul Kalas presents accessible review chapters From Disks to Planets, Dynamical Evolution of Planetary Systems, The Terrestrial Planets, Gas and Ice Giant Interiors, Atmospheres of Jovian Planets, Planetary Magnetospheres, Planetary Rings, An Overview of the Asteroids and Meteorites, Dusty Planetary Systems and Exoplanet Detection Methods. All chapters of the handbook were written by practicing professionals. They include sufficient background material and references to the current literature to allow readers to learn enough about a specialty within astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology to get started on their own practical research projects. In the spirit of the series Stars and Stellar Systems published by Chicago University Press in...

  16. Terrestrial Planet Space Weather Information: An Update (United States)

    Luhmann, J. G.; Li, Y.; Lee, C.; Mays, M. L.; Odstrcil, D.; Jian, L.; Galvin, A. B.; Mewaldt, R. A.; von Rosenvinge, T. T.; Russell, C. T.; Halekas, J. S.; Connerney, J. E. P.; Jakosky, B. M.; Thompson, W. T.; Baker, D. N.; Dewey, R. M.; Zheng, Y.; Holmstrom, M.; Futaana, Y.


    Space weather research is now a solar system-wide enterprise. While with the end of the Venus Express Express mission and MESSENGER, we lost our 'inside' sentinels, new missions such as Solar Orbiter and SPP, and Bepi-Colombo will soon be launched and operating. In the meantime the combination of L1 resources (ACE,WIND,SOHO) and STEREO-A at 1 AU, and Mars Express and MAVEN missions at ~1.5 AU, provide opportunities. Comparative conditions at the Earth orbit and Mars orbit locations are of special interest because they are separated by the region where most solar wind stream interaction regions develop. These alter the propagation of disturbances including the interplanetary CME-driven shocks that make the space radiation affecting future Human mission planning. We share some observational and modeling results thatillustrate present capabilities, as well as developing ones such as ENLIL-based SEP event models that use a range of available observations.

  17. Risks for life on habitable planets from superflares of their host stars


    Lingam, Manasvi; Loeb, Abraham


    We explore some of the ramifications arising from superflares on the evolutionary history of Earth, other planets in the Solar system, and exoplanets. We propose that the most powerful superflares can serve as plausible drivers of extinction events, and that their periodicity could correspond to certain patterns in the terrestrial fossil diversity record. On the other hand, weaker superflares may play a positive role in enabling the origin of life through the formation of key organic compound...

  18. Exoplanets Detection, Formation, Properties, Habitability

    CERN Document Server

    Mason, John W


    This edited, multi-author volume will be an invaluable introduction and reference to all key aspects in the field of exoplanet research. The reviews cover: Detection methods and properties of known exoplanets, Detection of extrasolar planets by gravitational microlensing. The formation and evolution of terrestrial planets in protoplanetary and debris disks. The brown dwarf-exoplanet connection. Formation, migration mechanisms and properties of hot Jupiters. Dynamics of multiple exoplanet systems. Doppler exoplanet surveys. Searching for exoplanets in the stellar graveyard. Formation and habitability of extra solar planets in multiple star systems. Exoplanet habitats and the possibilities for life. Moons of exoplanets: habitats for life. Contributing authors: •Rory Barnes •David P. Bennett •Jian Ge •Nader Haghighipour •Patrick Irwin •Hugh Jones •Victoria Meadows •Stanimir Metchev •I. Neill Reid •George Rieke •Caleb Scharf •Steinn Sigurdsson

  19. Heartbeat Stars: the Key to Unlocking the Formation and Circularization of Tight Binaries and Short Period Planets (United States)

    Hambleton, Kelly

    Heartbeat stars are an emerging class of eccentric (e > 0.2) short-period ellipsoidal variables that undergo strong tidal interactions near orbital periastron. In the Kepler data we have identified 173 heartbeat stars, %20 of which pulsate with tidally excited modes: stellar oscillation modes that are excited to observable amplitudes (> 10 ppm) by the tidal forcing of the companion star. We have obtained 6 or more follow-up spectra for 31 Kepler heartbeat stars with tidally induced pulsations, most of which we obtained with the Keck telescope, Mauna Kea, and the 4-m Mayal telescope, Kitt Peak National Observatory. Using the combination of Kepler light curves and spectra (and distances from Gaia astrometry once available), we will produce binary star models for all the heartbeat stars in our sample by applying a combination of PHOEBE, a binary star modeling code; EMCEE, an afine invariant version of Markov chain Monte Carlo methods; and our own codes, which fit Doppler boosting and tidally induced pulsations. These models will provide accurate fundamental, orbital and pulsational parameters, which we will then use to pursue the two aims of this proposal. Our first aim is to determine orbital circularization rates due to tidally induced pulsations. It is predicted that the presence of tidally excited modes will cause an increase in the rate of orbital circularization. By analyzing the mode energies of the tidally excited modes using pulsation models (with the binary star parameters as inputs), we can determine the circularization rates of all the heartbeat stars in our sample. The results will provide key information on the link between tidally induced pulsations and orbital circularization, applicable to both binary stars and planets. Our second aim is to understand the impact of three body dynamics in forming tight binaries and short period planets. Approximately 96% of tight (P binaries have been observed to contain tertiary components. Heartbeat stars are

  20. Three regimes of extrasolar planet radius inferred from host star metallicities. (United States)

    Buchhave, Lars A; Bizzarro, Martin; Latham, David W; Sasselov, Dimitar; Cochran, William D; Endl, Michael; Isaacson, Howard; Juncher, Diana; Marcy, Geoffrey W


    Approximately half of the extrasolar planets (exoplanets) with radii less than four Earth radii are in orbits with short periods. Despite their sheer abundance, the compositions of such planets are largely unknown. The available evidence suggests that they range in composition from small, high-density rocky planets to low-density planets consisting of rocky cores surrounded by thick hydrogen and helium gas envelopes. Here we report the metallicities (that is, the abundances of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium) of more than 400 stars hosting 600 exoplanet candidates, and find that the exoplanets can be categorized into three populations defined by statistically distinct (∼4.5σ) metallicity regions. We interpret these regions as reflecting the formation regimes of terrestrial-like planets (radii less than 1.7 Earth radii), gas dwarf planets with rocky cores and hydrogen-helium envelopes (radii between 1.7 and 3.9 Earth radii) and ice or gas giant planets (radii greater than 3.9 Earth radii). These transitions correspond well with those inferred from dynamical mass estimates, implying that host star metallicity, which is a proxy for the initial solids inventory of the protoplanetary disk, is a key ingredient regulating the structure of planetary systems.

  1. Pluto: Planet or "Dwarf Planet"? (United States)

    Voelzke, M. R.; de Araújo, M. S. T.


    In August 2006 during the XXVI General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), taken place in Prague, Czech Republic, new parameters to define a planet were established. According to this new definition Pluto will be no more the ninth planet of the Solar System but it will be changed to be a "dwarf planet". This reclassification of Pluto by the academic community clearly illustrates how dynamic science is and how knowledge of different areas can be changed and evolves through the time, allowing to perceive Science as a human construction in a constant transformation, subject to political, social and historical contexts. These epistemological characteristics of Science and, in this case, of Astronomy, constitute important elements to be discussed in the lessons, so that this work contributes to enable Science and Physics teachers who perform a basic education to be always up to date on this important astronomical fact and, thereby, carry useful information to their teaching.

  2. Birth of an Earth-like Planet (Artist concept) (United States)


    This artist's conception shows a binary-star, or two-star, system, called HD 113766, where astronomers suspect a rocky Earth-like planet is forming around one of the stars. At approximately 10 to 16 million years old, astronomers suspect this star is at just the right age for forming rocky planets. The system is located approximately 424 light-years away from Earth. The two yellow spots in the image represent the system's two stars. The brown ring of material circling closest to the central star depicts a huge belt of dusty material, more than 100 times as much as in our asteroid belt, or enough to build a Mars-size planet or larger. The rocky material in the belt represents the early stages of planet formation, when dust grains clump together to form rocks, and rocks collide to form even more massive rocky bodies called planetesimals. The belt is located in the middle of the system's terrestrial habitable zone, or the region around a star where liquid water could exist on any rocky planets that might form. Earth is located in the middle of our sun's terrestrial habitable zone. Using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers learned that the belt material in HD 113866 is more processed than the snowball-like stuff that makes up infant solar systems and comets, which contain pristine ingredients from the early solar system. However, it is not as processed as the stuff found in mature planets and asteroids. This means that the dust belt is made out of just the right mix of materials to be forming an Earth-like planet. It is composed mainly of rocky silicates and metal sulfides (like fool's gold), similar to the material found in lava flows. The white outer ring shows a concentration of icy dust also detected in the system. This material is at the equivalent position of the asteroid belt in our solar system, but only contains about one-sixth as much material as the inner ring. Astronomers say it is not clear from the Spitzer observations if anything is occurring in

  3. Mineral formation and organo-mineral controls on the bioavailability of carbon at the terrestrial-aquatic interface (United States)

    Rod, K. A.; Smith, A. P.; Renslow, R.


    Recent evidence highlights the importance of organo-mineral interactions in regulating the source or sink capacity of soil. High surface area soils, such as allophane-rich or clay-rich soils, retain organic matter (OM) via sorption to mineral surfaces which can also contribute physical isolation in interlayer spaces. Despite the direct correlation between mineral surfaces and OM accumulation, the pedogenic processes controlling the abundance of reactive surface areas and their distribution in the mineral matrix remains unclear. As global soil temperatures rise, the dissolution of primary minerals and formation of new secondary minerals may be thermodynamically favored as part of soil weathering process. Newly formed minerals can supply surfaces for organo-metallic bonding and may, therefore, stabilize OM by surface bonding and physical exclusion. This is especially relevant in environments that intersect terrestrial and aquatic systems, such as the capillary fringe zone in riparian ecosystems. To test the mechanisms of mineral surface area protection of OM, we facilitated secondary precipitation of alumino-silicates in the presence of OM held at two different temperatures in natural Nisqually River sediments (Mt Rainier, WA). This was a three month reaction intended to simulate early pedogenesis. To tease out the influence of mineral surface area increase during pedogenesis, we incubated the sediments at two different soil moisture contents to induce biodegradation. We measured OM desorption, biodegradation, and the molecular composition of mineral-associated OM both prior to and following the temperature manipulation. To simulate the saturation of capillary fringe sediment and associated transport and reaction of OM, column experiments were conducted using the reacted sediments. More co-precipitation was observed in the 20°C solution compared to the 4°C reacted solution suggesting that warming trends alter mineral development and may remove more OM from solution


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Reggiani, Maddalena; Quanz, Sascha P.; Meyer, Michael R.; Amara, Adam; Avenhaus, Henning; Meru, Farzana [Institute for Astronomy, ETH Zurich, CH-8093 Zurich (Switzerland); Pueyo, Laurent; Wolff, Schuyler [Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States); Absil, Olivier [Département d' Astrophysique, Géophysique et Océanographie, Université de Liège, 17 Allée du Six Août, B-4000 Liège (Belgium); Anglada, Guillem; Osorio, Mayra [Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, CSIC, Glorieta de la Astronomía s/n, E-18008 Granada (Spain); Girard, Julien H.; Mawet, Dimitri; Milli, Julien [European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Casilla 19001 Vitacura, Santiago 19 (Chile); Gonzalez, Carlos Carrasco [Centro de Radioastronomía y Astrofísica (UNAM), Apartado Postal 3-72 (Xangari), 58089 Morelia (Mexico); Graham, James [University of California, 644 Campbell Hall, Berkeley, CA (United States); Torrelles, Jose-Maria, E-mail: [Instituto de Ciencias del Espacio (CSIC)-UB/IEEC, Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès 1, E-08028 Barcelona (Spain)


    We present L'- and J-band high-contrast observations of HD 169142, obtained with the Very Large Telescope/NACO AGPM vector vortex coronagraph and the Gemini Planet Imager, respectively. A source located at 0.''156 ± 0.''032 north of the host star (P.A. = 7.°4 ± 11.°3) appears in the final reduced L' image. At the distance of the star (∼145 pc), this angular separation corresponds to a physical separation of 22.7 ± 4.7 AU, locating the source within the recently resolved inner cavity of the transition disk. The source has a brightness of L' = 12.2 ± 0.5 mag, whereas it is not detected in the J band (J >13.8 mag). If its L' brightness arose solely from the photosphere of a companion and given the J – L' color constraints, it would correspond to a 28-32 M {sub Jupiter} object at the age of the star, according to the COND models. Ongoing accretion activity of the star suggests, however, that gas is left in the inner disk cavity from which the companion could also be accreting. In this case, the object could be lower in mass and its luminosity enhanced by the accretion process and by a circumplanetary disk. A lower-mass object is more consistent with the observed cavity width. Finally, the observations enable us to place an upper limit on the L'-band flux of a second companion candidate orbiting in the disk annular gap at ∼50 AU, as suggested by millimeter observations. If the second companion is also confirmed, HD 169142 might be forming a planetary system, with at least two companions opening gaps and possibly interacting with each other.

  5. Reconstructing Early Pleistocene (1.3 Ma) terrestrial environmental change in western Anatolia: Did it drive fluvial terrace formation?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Veldkamp, A.; Candy, I.; Jongmans, A.G.; Maddy, D.; Demir, T.; Schoorl, J.M.; Schreve, D.; Stemerdink, C.; Schriek, van der T.


    A terrestrial environmental reconstruction of an Early Pleistocene landscape from western Anatolia is presented. The basis of this reconstruction is a sedimentary stack comprising fluvial and colluvial slope deposits. Contained within this stack is a sequence comprising two massive laminar calcretes

  6. Extreme water loss and abiotic O2 buildup on planets throughout the habitable zones of M dwarfs. (United States)

    Luger, R; Barnes, R


    We show that terrestrial planets in the habitable zones of M dwarfs older than ∼1 Gyr could have been in runaway greenhouses for several hundred million years following their formation due to the star's extended pre-main sequence phase, provided they form with abundant surface water. Such prolonged runaway greenhouses can lead to planetary evolution divergent from that of Earth. During this early runaway phase, photolysis of water vapor and hydrogen/oxygen escape to space can lead to the loss of several Earth oceans of water from planets throughout the habitable zone, regardless of whether the escape is energy-limited or diffusion-limited. We find that the amount of water lost scales with the planet mass, since the diffusion-limited hydrogen escape flux is proportional to the planet surface gravity. In addition to undergoing potential desiccation, planets with inefficient oxygen sinks at the surface may build up hundreds to thousands of bar of abiotically produced O2, resulting in potential false positives for life. The amount of O2 that builds up also scales with the planet mass; we find that O2 builds up at a constant rate that is controlled by diffusion: ∼5 bar/Myr on Earth-mass planets and up to ∼25 bar/Myr on super-Earths. As a result, some recently discovered super-Earths in the habitable zone such as GJ 667Cc could have built up as many as 2000 bar of O2 due to the loss of up to 10 Earth oceans of water. The fate of a given planet strongly depends on the extreme ultraviolet flux, the duration of the runaway regime, the initial water content, and the rate at which oxygen is absorbed by the surface. In general, we find that the initial phase of high luminosity may compromise the habitability of many terrestrial planets orbiting low-mass stars.

  7. Observing the Atmospheres of Known Temperate Earth-sized Planets with JWST (United States)

    Morley, Caroline V.; Kreidberg, Laura; Rustamkulov, Zafar; Robinson, Tyler; Fortney, Jonathan J.


    Nine transiting Earth-sized planets have recently been discovered around nearby late-M dwarfs, including the TRAPPIST-1 planets and two planets discovered by the MEarth survey, GJ 1132b and LHS 1140b. These planets are the smallest known planets that may have atmospheres amenable to detection with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). We present model thermal emission and transmission spectra for each planet, varying composition and surface pressure of the atmosphere. We base elemental compositions on those of Earth, Titan, and Venus and calculate the molecular compositions assuming chemical equilibrium, which can strongly depend on temperature. Both thermal emission and transmission spectra are sensitive to the atmospheric composition; thermal emission spectra are sensitive to surface pressure and temperature. We predict the observability of each planet’s atmosphere with JWST. GJ 1132b and TRAPPIST-1b are excellent targets for emission spectroscopy with JWST/MIRI, requiring fewer than 10 eclipse observations. Emission photometry for TRAPPIST-1c requires 5-15 eclipses; LHS 1140b and TRAPPIST-1d, TRAPPIST-1e, and TRAPPIST-1f, which could possibly have surface liquid water, may be accessible with photometry. Seven of the nine planets are strong candidates for transmission spectroscopy measurements with JWST, although the number of transits required depends strongly on the planets’ actual masses. Using the measured masses, fewer than 20 transits are required for a 5σ detection of spectral features for GJ 1132b and six of the TRAPPIST-1 planets. Dedicated campaigns to measure the atmospheres of these nine planets will allow us, for the first time, to probe formation and evolution processes of terrestrial planetary atmospheres beyond our solar system.

  8. The cool and distant formation of Mars (United States)

    Brasser, R.; Mojzsis, S. J.; Matsumura, S.; Ida, S.


    With approximately one ninth of Earth's mass, Mars is widely considered to be a stranded planetary embryo that never became a fully-grown planet. A currently popular planet formation theory predicts that Mars formed near Earth and Venus and was subsequently scattered outwards to its present location. In such a scenario, the compositions of the three planets are expected to be similar to each other. However, bulk elemental and isotopic data for martian meteorites demonstrate that key aspects of Mars' composition are markedly different from that of Earth. This suggests that Mars formed outside of the terrestrial feeding zone during primary accretion. It is therefore probable that Mars always remained significantly farther from the Sun than Earth; its growth was stunted early and its mass remained relatively low. Here we identify a potential dynamical pathway that forms Mars in the asteroid belt and keeps it outside of Earth's accretion zone while at the same time accounting for strict age and compositional constraints, as well as mass differences. Our uncommon pathway (approximately 2% probability) is based on the Grand Tack scenario of terrestrial planet formation, in which the radial migration by Jupiter gravitationally sculpts the planetesimal disc at Mars' current location. We conclude that Mars' formation requires a specific dynamical pathway, while this is less valid for Earth and Venus. We further predict that Mars' volatile budget is most likely different from Earth's and that Venus formed close enough to our planet that it is expected to have a nearly identical composition from common building blocks.

  9. Planet Ocean (United States)

    Afonso, Isabel


    A more adequate name for Planet Earth could be Planet Ocean, seeing that ocean water covers more than seventy percent of the planet's surface and plays a fundamental role in the survival of almost all living species. Actually, oceans are aqueous solutions of extraordinary importance due to its direct implications in the current living conditions of our planet and its potential role on the continuity of life as well, as long as we know how to respect the limits of its immense but finite capacities. We may therefore state that natural aqueous solutions are excellent contexts for the approach and further understanding of many important chemical concepts, whether they be of chemical equilibrium, acid-base reactions, solubility and oxidation-reduction reactions. The topic of the 2014 edition of GIFT ('Our Changing Planet') will explore some of the recent complex changes of our environment, subjects that have been lately included in Chemistry teaching programs. This is particularly relevant on high school programs, with themes such as 'Earth Atmosphere: radiation, matter and structure', 'From Atmosphere to the Ocean: solutions on Earth and to Earth', 'Spring Waters and Public Water Supply: Water acidity and alkalinity'. These are the subjects that I want to develop on my school project with my pupils. Geographically, our school is located near the sea in a region where a stream flows into the sea. Besides that, our school water comes from a borehole which shows that the quality of the water we use is of significant importance. This project will establish and implement several procedures that, supported by physical and chemical analysis, will monitor the quality of water - not only the water used in our school, but also the surrounding waters (stream and beach water). The samples will be collected in the borehole of the school, in the stream near the school and in the beach of Carcavelos. Several physical-chemical characteristics related to the quality of the water will

  10. PLANET TOPERS: Planets, Tracing the Transfer, Origin, Preservation, and Evolution of their ReservoirS (United States)

    Dehant, Veronique; Breuer, Doris; Claeys, Philippe; Debaille, Vinciane; De Keyser, Johan; Javaux, Emmanuelle; Goderis, Steven; Karatekin, Ozgur; Mattielli, Nadine; Noack, Lena; Spohn, Tilman; Carine Vandaele, Ann; Vanhaecke, Frank; Van Hoolst, Tim; Wilquet, Valerie


    The PLANET TOPERS (Planets, Tracing the Transfer, Origin, Preservation, and Evolution of their ReservoirS) group is an Inter-university attraction pole (IAP) addressing the question of habitability in our Solar System. Habitability is commonly understood as "the potential of an environment (past or present) to support life of any kind" (Steele et al., 2005, Based on the only known example of Earth, the concept refers to whether environmental conditions are available that could eventually support life, even if life does not currently exist (Javaux and Dehant, 2010, Astron. Astrophys. Rev., 18, 383-416, DOI: 10.1007/s00159-010-0030-4). Life includes properties such as consuming nutrients and producing waste, the ability to reproduce and grow, pass on genetic information, evolve, and adapt to the varying conditions on a planet (Sagan, 1970, Encyclopedia Britannica, 22, 964-981). Terrestrial life requires liquid water. The stability of liquid water at the surface of a planet defines a habitable zone (HZ) around a star. In the Solar System, it stretches between Venus and Mars, but excludes these two planets. If the greenhouse effect is taken into account, the habitable zone may have included early Mars while the case for Venus is still debated. Important geodynamic processes affect the habitability conditions of a planet. As envisaged by the group, this IAP develops and closely integrates the geophysical, geological, and biological aspects of habitability with a particular focus on Earth neighboring planets, Mars and Venus. It works in an interdisciplinary approach to understand habitability and in close collaboration with another group, the Helmholtz Alliance "Life and Planet Evolution", which has similar objectives. The dynamic processes, e.g. internal dynamo, magnetic field, atmosphere, plate tectonics, mantle convection, volcanism, thermo-tectonic evolution, meteorite impacts, and erosion, modify the planetary surface

  11. Obliquity and Eccentricity Constraints for Terrestrial Exoplanets (United States)

    Kane, Stephen R.; Torres, Stephanie M.


    Exoplanet discoveries over recent years have shown that terrestrial planets are exceptionally common. Many of these planets are in compact systems that result in complex orbital dynamics. A key step toward determining the surface conditions of these planets is understanding the latitudinally dependent flux incident at the top of the atmosphere as a function of orbital phase. The two main properties of a planet that influence the time-dependent nature of the flux are the obliquity and orbital eccentricity of the planet. We derive the criterion for which the flux variation due to obliquity is equivalent to the flux variation due to orbital eccentricity. This equivalence is computed for both the maximum and average flux scenarios, the latter of which includes the effects of the diurnal cycle. We apply these calculations to four known multi-planet systems (GJ 163, K2-3, Kepler-186, and Proxima Centauri), where we constrain the eccentricity of terrestrial planets using orbital dynamics considerations and model the effect of obliquity on incident flux. We discuss the implications of these simulations on climate models for terrestrial planets and outline detectable signatures of planetary obliquity.

  12. Terrestrial exoplanets: diversity, habitability and characterization

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Selsis, Franck [CRAL: Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon (CNRS), Universite de Lyon, Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon, 46 allee d' Italie, F-69007 Lyon (France); Kaltenegger, Lisa [Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States); Paillet, Jimmy [ESTEC SCI-SA, Keplerlaan 1, PO Box 299, 2200AG Noordwijk (Netherlands)], E-mail:, E-mail:, E-mail:


    After a decade rich in giant exoplanet detections, observation techniques have now reached the sensitivity to gain information on the physical structure and chemical content of some of the detected planets and also to find planets of less than 10 M{sub +}. The detection and characterization of Earth-like planets is approaching rapidly and dedicated space observatories are already in operation (CoRoT) or in the development phase (Kepler, Darwin and TPF-I/C). In this paper, we explore the domain of terrestrial planets, emphasizing habitable worlds. We discuss the possibility of performing a spectral characterization of their properties using the next generation of astronomical instruments.

  13. Trojan twin planets (United States)

    Dvorak, R.; Loibnegger, B.; Schwarz, R.


    The Trojan asteroids are moving in the vicinity of the stable Lagrange points L_4 and L_5 of the gas giants Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. Their motion can be described and understood with the aid of the restricted three-body problem. As an extension of this problem we investigate how stable motion close to the Lagrange points of two massive bodies can exist. This configuration can be described as the Trojan Twin Problem when we regard the two additional bodies as having a mass significantly smaller than the the two primary bodies: a star in the center (m_1) and an additional Jupiter-like mass (m_2). Using this 4-body problem we have undertaken numerical investigations concerning possible stable "twin orbits". However, these two bodies (m_3 and m_4) in Trojan-like orbits may have quite different masses. We decided to choose 6 different scenaria for this problem: as primary body, m2, we have taken a Jupiter-like planet, a Saturn-like one, and a super-Earth with 10 Earthmasses (m_{Earth}) respectively. As quasi twin planets, we have used different mass ratios namely objects for m3 and m4 from 10m_{Earth} to Moon like ones. We found different stable configurations depending on the involved masses and the initial distances between the twins (always close to the Lagrange point). Although the formation of such a configuration seems to be not very probable we should not exclude that it exists regarding the huge number of planets even in our own galaxy. This model is of special interest when the most massive planet (m_2) is moving on an orbit in the habitable zone around a main sequence star. One can use our results of stable orbits of Trojan Twin Planets (or asteroids) for extrasolar systems having as second primary a Jupiter-like, a Saturn-like or a super-Earth like planet around a star similar to our Sun.

  14. A chronostratigraphic assessment of the Moenave Formation, USA using C-isotope chemostratigraphy and detrital zircon geochronology: Implications for the terrestrial end Triassic extinction (United States)

    Suarez, Celina A.; Knobbe, Todd K.; Crowley, James L.; Kirkland, James I.; Milner, Andrew R. C.


    The Late Triassic is a period of abrupt climate change associated with a disruption to the global carbon cycle usually ascribed to the emplacement of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP). Geochronologic, paleontologic, and geochemical studies have shown that the CAMP was likely the major factor for the end-Triassic extinction (ETE), however, difficulties correlating and dating terrestrial strata has left the nature of the terrestrial extinction in question. The lacustrine Whitmore Point Member (WPM) of the Moenave Formation is ideal for investigating these details because it is reported to be Late Triassic to Early Jurassic. However, currently there are conflicting age constraints between biostratigraphy and magnetostratigraphy. In this study we attempt to elucidate the ETE by incorporating C-isotope chemostratigraphy and detrital zircon geochronology. Detrital zircon geochronology suggests the upper part of the Dinosaur Canyon Member (DCM) is younger (201.33 ± 0.07/0.12/0.25 Ma) than the ETE (201.564 Ma) suggesting the ETE is in the middle to lower DCM, in agreement with track biostratigraphy (first occurrence of Eubrontes, Anomoepus, and Batrachopus). Meanwhile a distinct negative carbon isotope (NCIE) excursion (-5.5‰) occurs at the base of the WPM at Potter Canyon, AZ with a more subtle NCIE at the base of the WPM at Black Canyon, UT (-2.0‰) that may correlate to the initial NCIE at the ETE. However, the WPM NCIE is correlated to the preservation of organic C (relative %C) suggesting it may be either related to local lake productivity and biases in organic matter preservation or may be a negative CIE in the Jurassic Hettangian stage. With the addition of the detrital zircon data, we suggest the M2r reversal at the base of the WPM is a reversal in the Hettangian (the H24r, H25r, or H26r) and the ETE is within the DCM. Additional C-isotope analysis of the DCM is necessary to determine if the initial NCIE that is the hallmark of the ETE occurs in

  15. The Lacustrine Upper Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation, Four Corners Region, Usa: a Lithological and Mineralogical Terrestrial Analog for Gale Crater, Mars (United States)

    Potter-McIntyre, S. L.; Chan, M. A.; McPherson, B. J.


    The upper part of the Jurassic Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation is an iron- and clay-rich volcaniclastic shale deposited in an ephemeral alkaline saline lake system. Sedimentary rocks exposed in Gale Crater consist of similar non-acidic clays, possibly of lacustrine origin. Three primary clastic lithofacies are present in both the Brushy Basin Member and at Gale Crater: silt-/claystone, sandstone, and conglomerate. Both the terrestrial and martian silt-/claystone lithofacies are interpreted as lacustrine depositional environments due to features such as parallel laminated and massive sedimentary structures. Vugs are present in the siltstone/claystone facies on both the Colorado Plateau and at Gale Crater. Fluvial features are also observed in both examples such as cross-bedded sandstones and imbricated conglomerates. Concretions are present in both the Colorado Plateau and Gale Crater units. The vugs in the Brushy Basin Member preserve algal forms with cellular elaboration and are interpreted as charophyte molds. Two distinct suites of elements (1. C, Fe, As, P and, 2. C, S, Se, P) are associated with the microbial fossils and may be potential markers for biosignatures. Vugs at Gale Crater are a potential target to investigate the possibility of preserved microbial (algal) life where early analyses show the presence of the elements capable of supporting life. The Brushy Basin Member is composed predominately of quartz, feldspars, zeolites and altered volcanic ash. The abundant clay minerals in both the terrestrial and martian examples are hypothesized to have formed due to partial alteration of volcanic minerals in alkaline fluid. Similarly, concretions present in the terrestrial unit exhibit a diverse range of mineralogies likely due to alkaline fluid chemistries interacting with reactive volcaniclastic sediments. Terrestrial concretion mineralogy is diverse even within an outcrop or stratigraphic horizon which suggests reactants to precipitate

  16. Terrestrial gamma radiation dose (TGRD) levels in northern zone of Jos Plateau, Nigeria: Statistical relationship between dose rates and geological formations (United States)

    Abba, Habu Tela; Hassan, Wan Muhamad Saridan Wan; Saleh, Muneer Aziz; Aliyu, Abubakar Sadiq; Ramli, Ahmad Termizi


    In- situ measurement of terrestrial gamma radiation dose rates (TGRD) was conducted in northern zone of Jos Plateau and a statistical relationship between the TGRD and the underlying geological formations was investigated. The TGRD rates in all the measurements ranged from 40 to 1265 nGy h-1 with a mean value of 250 nGy h-1. The maximum TGDR was recorded on geological type G8 (Younger Granites) at Bisitchi, and the lowest TGDR was recorded on G6 (Basaltic rocks) at Gabia. One way analysis of variance (ANOVA) statistical test was used to compared the data. Significantly, the results of this study inferred a strong relationship between TGRD levels with geological structures of a place. An isodose map was plotted to represent exposure rates due to TGRD. The results of this investigation could be useful for multiple public interest such as evaluating public dose for the area.

  17. Understanding divergent evolution of Earth-like planets: the case for a Venus exploration program (United States)

    Crisp, D.


    Here, we propose a Venus exploration program designed to explain the origin and divergent evolution of the interiors, surfaces, and atmospheres of the terrestrial planets in our solar system, and provide greater insight into the conditions that may affect the habitability of terrestrial planets in other solar systems.

  18. MESSENGER, MErcury: Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging; A Mission to Orbit and Explore the Planet Mercury (United States)


    MESSENGER is a scientific mission to Mercury. Understanding this extraordinary planet and the forces that have shaped it is fundamental to understanding the processes that have governed the formation, evolution, and dynamics of the terrestrial planets. MESSENGER is a MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging mission to orbit Mercury for one Earth year after completing two flybys of that planet following two flybys of Venus. The necessary flybys return significant new data early in the mission, while the orbital phase, guided by the flyby data, enables a focused scientific investigation of this least-studied terrestrial planet. Answers to key questions about Mercury's high density, crustal composition and structure, volcanic history, core structure, magnetic field generation, polar deposits, exosphere, overall volatile inventory, and magnetosphere are provided by an optimized set of miniaturized space instruments. Our goal is to gain new insight into the formation and evolution of the solar system, including Earth. By traveling to the inner edge of the solar system and exploring a poorly known world, MESSENGER fulfills this quest.

  19. Model Atmospheres and Transit Spectra for Hot Rocky Planets (United States)

    Lupu, Roxana

    We propose to build a versatile set of self-consistent atmospheric models for hot rocky exoplanets and use them to predict their transit and eclipse spectra. Hot rocky exoplanets will form the majority of small planets in close-in orbits to be discovered by the TESS and Kepler K2 missions, and offer the best opportunity for characterization with current and future instruments. We will use fully non-grey radiative-convective atmospheric structure codes with cloud formation and vertical mixing, combined with a self-consistent treatment of gas chemistry above the magma ocean. Being in equilibrium with the surface, the vaporized rock material can be a good tracer of the bulk composition of the planet. We will derive the atmospheric structure and escape rates considering both volatile-free and volatile bearing compositions, which reflect the diversity of hot rocky planet atmospheres. Our models will inform follow- up observations with JWST and ground-based instruments, aid the interpretation of transit and eclipse spectra, and provide a better understanding of volatile loss in these atmospheres. Such results will help refine our picture of rocky planet formation and evolution. Planets in ultra-short period (USP) orbits are a special class of hot rocky exoplanets. As shown by Kepler, these planets are generally smaller than 2 Earth radii, suggesting that they are likely to be rocky and could have lost their volatiles through photo-evaporation. Being close to their host stars, these planets are ultra-hot, with estimated temperatures of 1000-3000 K. A number of USP planets have been already discovered (e.g. Kepler-78 b, CoRoT-7 b, Kepler-10 b), and this number is expected to grow by confirming additional planet candidates. The characterization of planets on ultra-short orbits is advantageous due to the larger number of observable transits, and the larger transit signal in the case of an evaporating atmosphere. Much advance has been made in understanding and characterizing

  20. The Combined Strength of Thermodynamics and Comparative Planetology: Application of Activity Models to Core Formation in Terrestrial Bodies (United States)

    Righter, K.; Pando, K. M.; Danielson, L. R.


    Recent models for accretion of terrestrial bodies involve metal-silicate equilibrium as the metallic core formed during growth. Most elements considered are either refractory or well studied elements for which effects of pressure, temperature, oxygen fugacity, and metallic liquid composition are well known. There are a large number of elements that are both siderophile and volatile, whose fate in such models is unknown, largely due to a lack of data at comparable conditions and com-positions (FeNi core with light elements such as S, C, Si, and O). We have focused on Ge, In, As, Sb and determined the effect of Si and C on metal-silicate partitioning, and developed a thermo-dynamic model that allows application of these new data to a wide range of planetary bodies. New experiments: We have previously carried out experiments with FeSi metallic liquid at C-saturated conditions at 1600 and 1800 C [4]. In a new series of experiments we investigate the effect of Si in carbon-free systems at 1600 C for comparison. Experiments were carried out at 1 GPa in MgO capsules using the same basaltic starting composition as in previous studies. The MgO capsule reacts with the silicate melt to form more MgO-rich liquids that have 22-26 wt% MgO. Experimental met-als and silicates were analyzed using a combination of electron microprobe analysis and laser ablation ICP-MS. Results: The new results can be interpreted by considering Ge as an example, in the simple exchange equilibrium Fe + GeO = FeO + Ge, where the equilibrium constant Kd can be examined as a function of Si content of the metal. The slope of lnKd vs. (1-XSi) for this new series allows derivation of the epsilon interaction parameter for each of these four elements and Si (both C-saturated and C-free).All four elements have positive epsilon values, indicating that Si causes a decrease in the partition coefficients; values are 6.6, 6.5, 27.8 and 25.2 for In, Ge, As, and Sb, respectively, at 1 GPa and 1600 C. As an example of

  1. Evolution of Earth Like Planets (United States)

    Monroy-Rodríguez, M. A.; Vega, K. M.


    In order to study and explain the evolution of our own planet we have done a review of works related to the evolution of Earth-like planets. From the stage of proto-planet to the loss of its atmosphere. The planetary formation from the gas and dust of the proto-planetary disk, considering the accretion by the process of migration, implies that the material on the proto-planet is very mixed. The newborn planet is hot and compact, it begins its process of stratification by gravity separation forming a super dense nucleus, an intermediate layer of convective mantle and an upper mantle that is less dense, with material that emerges from zones at very high pressure The surface with low pressure, in this process the planet expands and cools. This process also releases gas to the surface, forming the atmosphere, with the gas gravitationally bounded. The most important thing for the life of the planet is the layer of convective mantle, which produces the magnetic field, when it stops the magnetic field disappears, as well as the rings of van allen and the solar wind evaporates the atmosphere, accelerating the evolution and cooling of the planet. In a natural cycle of cataclysms and mass extinctions, the solar system crosses the galactic disk every 30 million years or so, the increase in the meteorite fall triggers the volcanic activity and the increase in the release of CO2 into the atmosphere reaching critical levels (4000 billion tons) leads us to an extinction by overheating that last 100 000 years, the time it takes CO2 to sediment to the ocean floor. Human activity will lead us to reach critical levels of CO2 in approximately 300 years.

  2. M Stars as Targets for Terrestrial Exoplanet Searches And Biosignature Detection (United States)

    Scalo, John; Kaltenegger, Lisa; Segura, Ant Gona; Fridlund, Malcolm; Ribas, Ignasi; Kulikov, Yu. N.; Grenfell, John L.; Rauer, Hieke; Odert, Petra; Leitzinger, Martin; Selsis, F.; Khodachenko, Maxim L.; Eiroa, Carlos; Kasting, Jim; Lammer, Helmut


    The changing view of planets orbiting low mass stars, M stars, as potentially hospitable worlds for life and its remote detection was motivated by several factors, including the demonstration of viable atmospheres and oceans on tidally locked planets, normal incidence of dust disks, including debris disks, detection of planets with masses in the 5-20 M⊕ range, and predictions of unusually strong spectral biosignatures. We present a critical discussion of M star properties that are relevant for the long- and short-term thermal, dynamical, geological, and environmental stability of conventional liquid water habitable zone (HZ) M star planets, and the advantages and disadvantages of M stars as targets in searches for terrestrial HZ planets using various detection techniques. Biological viability seems supported by unmatched very long-term stability conferred by tidal locking, small HZ size, an apparent short-fall of gas giant planet perturbers, immunity to large astrosphere compressions, and several other factors, assuming incidence and evolutionary rate of life benefit from lack of variability. Tectonic regulation of climate and dynamo generation of a protective magnetic field, especially for a planet in synchronous rotation, are important unresolved questions that must await improved geodynamic models, though they both probably impose constraints on the planet mass. M star HZ terrestrial planets must survive a number of early trials in order to enjoy their many Gyr of stability. Their formation may be jeopardized by an insufficient initial disk supply of solids, resulting in the formation of objects too small and/or dry for habitability. The small empirical gas giant fraction for M stars reduces the risk of formation suppression or orbit disruption from either migrating or nonmigrating giant planets, but effects of perturbations from lower mass planets in these systems are uncertain. During the first ~1 Gyr, atmospheric retention is at peril because of intense and

  3. Characterizing Cool Giant Planets in Reflected Light (United States)

    Marley, Mark


    While the James Webb Space Telescope will detect and characterize extrasolar planets by transit and direct imaging, a new generation of telescopes will be required to detect and characterize extrasolar planets by reflected light imaging. NASA's WFIRST space telescope, now in development, will image dozens of cool giant planets at optical wavelengths and will obtain spectra for several of the best and brightest targets. This mission will pave the way for the detection and characterization of terrestrial planets by the planned LUVOIR or HabEx space telescopes. In my presentation I will discuss the challenges that arise in the interpretation of direct imaging data and present the results of our group's effort to develop methods for maximizing the science yield from these planned missions.

  4. The interior structure of the giant planets (United States)

    Zharkov, V. N.


    An overview of the principal ideas and data pertaining to the construction of models of the interior structure of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune is presented. Topics discussed include: the concept of Jupiter and Saturn as planets with hydrogenic crusts; the theory of the figure of rotating planets in hydrostatic equilibrium; a gas-liquid dynamic model of the giant planets; analysis of observational data; abundances of elements and groups of cosmochemical substances; equations of state; and the role of Jupiter in the formation of the earth and the giant planets.

  5. A Combined Subaru/VLT/MMT 1-5 Micrometer Study of Planets Orbiting HR 8799: Implications For Atmospheric Properties, Masses and Formation (United States)

    Currie, Thayne; Burrows, Adam; Itoh, Yoichi; Matsumura, Soko; Fukagawa, Misato; Apai, Daniel; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Hinz, Philip M.; Rodigas, T. J.; Kasper, Markus; hide


    We present new 1-1.25 micron (z and J band) Subaru/IRCS and 2 micron (K band) VLT/NaCo data for HR 8799 and a rereduction of the 3-5 micron MMT/Clio data first presented by Hinz et al. Our VLT/NaCo data yield a detection of a fourth planet at a projected separation of approximately 15 AU--"HR 8799e ." We also report new, albeit weak detections of HR 8799b at 1.03 micron and 3.3 micron. Empirical comparisons to field brown dwarfs show that at least HR 8799b and HR 8799c, and possibly HR 8799d, have near-to-mid-IR colors/ magnitudes significantly discrepant from the L/T dwarf sequence. Standard cloud deck atmosphere models appropriate for brown dwarfs provide only (marginally) statistically meaningful fits to HR 8799b and c for unphysically small radii. Models with thicker cloud layers not present in brown dwarfs reproduce the planets' spectral energy distributions far more accurately and without the need for resealing the planets' radii. Our preliminary modeling suggests that HR 8799b has log(g) = 4-4.5, T(sub eff) = 900 K. while HR 8799c, d, and (by inference) e have log(g) = 4-4.5, T(sub eff) = 1000-1200 K. Combining results from planet evolution models and new dynamical stability limits implies that the masses of HR 8799b, c, d, and e are 6-7 M(sub j), 7-10 M(sub j), 7-10 M(sub j), and 7-10 M(sub j). "Patchy" cloud prescriptions may provide even better fits to the data and may lower the estimated surface gravities and masses. Finally, contrary to some recent claims, forming the HR 8799 planets by core accretion is still plausible, although such systems are likely rare.

  6. Extrasolar planets searches today and tomorrow

    CERN Multimedia


    So far the searches for extrasolar planets have found 40 planetary companions orbiting around nearby stars. In December 1999 a transit has been observed for one of them, providing the first independent confirmation of the reality of close-in planets as well as a measurement of its density. The techniques used to detect planets are limited and the detection threshold is biased but a first picture of the planet diversity and distribution emerges. Results of the search for extra-solar planets and their impacts on planetary formation will be reviewed. Future instruments are foreseen to detect Earth-like planets and possible signatures of organic activity. An overview of these future projects will be presented and more particularly the Darwin-IRSI mission studied by ESA for Horizon 2015.

  7. A Direct Path to Finding Earth-Like Planets (United States)

    Heap, Sara R.; Linder, Don J.


    As envisaged by the 2000 astrophysics decadal survey panel: The main goal of Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) is nothing less than to search for evidence of life on terrestrial planets around nearby stars . Here, we consider how an optical telescope paired with a free-flying occulter blocking light from the star can reach this goal directly, without knowledge of results from prior astrometric, doppler, or transit exoplanet observations. Using design reference missions and other simulations, we explore the potential of TPF-O to find planets in the habitable zone around their central stars, to spectrally characterize the atmospheres of detected planets, and to obtain rudimentary information about their orbits. We emphasize the importance of ozone absorption in the UV spectrum of a planet as a marker of photosynthesis by plants, algae, and cyanobacteria.

  8. Synthetic spectra of simulated terrestrial atmospheres containing possible biomarker gases (United States)

    Schindler, T. L.; Kasting, J. F.


    NASA's proposed Terrestrial Planet Finder, a space-based interferometer, will eventually allow spectroscopic analyses of the atmospheres of extrasolar planets. Such analyses would provide information about the existence of life on these planets. One strategy in the search for life is to look for evidence of O3 (and hence O2) in a planet's atmosphere; another is to look for gases that might be present in an atmosphere analogous to that of the inhabited early Earth. In order to investigate these possibilities, we have calculated synthetic spectra for several hypothetical terrestrial-type atmospheres. The model atmospheres represent four different scenarios. The first two, representing inhabited terrestrial planets, are an Earth-like atmosphere containing variable amounts of oxygen and an early Earth-type atmosphere containing methane. In addition, two cases representing Mars-like and early Venus-like atmospheres were evaluated, to provide possible "false positive" spectra. The calculated spectra suggest that ozone could be detected by an instrument like Terrestrial Planet Finder if the O2 concentration in the planet's atmosphere is > or = 200 ppm, or 10(-3) times the present atmospheric level. Methane should be observable on an early-Earth type planet if it is present in concentrations of 100 ppm or more. Methane has both biogenic and abiogenic sources, but concentrations exceeding 1000 ppm, or 0.1% by volume, would be difficult to produce from abiogenic sources alone. High methane concentrations in a planet's atmosphere are therefore another potential indicator for extraterrestrial life.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Campante, T. L.; Davies, G. R.; Chaplin, W. J.; Handberg, R. [School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT (United Kingdom); Barclay, T.; Huber, D.; Burke, C. J.; Quintana, E. V. [NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States); Swift, J. J. [Department of Astronomy and Department of Planetary Science, California Institute of Technology, MC 249-17, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Adibekyan, V. Zh. [Centro de Astrofísica, Universidade do Porto, Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762 Porto (Portugal); Cochran, W. [Department of Astronomy and McDonald Observatory, The University of Texas at Austin, TX 78712-1205 (United States); Isaacson, H. [Astronomy Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States); Silva Aguirre, V.; Christensen-Dalsgaard, J.; Metcalfe, T. S.; Bedding, T. R. [Stellar Astrophysics Centre (SAC), Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 120, DK-8000 Aarhus C (Denmark); Ragozzine, D. [Department of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901 (United States); Riddle, R. [Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Baranec, C. [Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai' i at Mānoa, Hilo, HI 96720-2700 (United States); Basu, S., E-mail: [Department of Astronomy, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520 (United States); and others


    The chemical composition of stars hosting small exoplanets (with radii less than four Earth radii) appears to be more diverse than that of gas-giant hosts, which tend to be metal-rich. This implies that small, including Earth-size, planets may have readily formed at earlier epochs in the universe's history when metals were more scarce. We report Kepler spacecraft observations of Kepler-444, a metal-poor Sun-like star from the old population of the Galactic thick disk and the host to a compact system of five transiting planets with sizes between those of Mercury and Venus. We validate this system as a true five-planet system orbiting the target star and provide a detailed characterization of its planetary and orbital parameters based on an analysis of the transit photometry. Kepler-444 is the densest star with detected solar-like oscillations. We use asteroseismology to directly measure a precise age of 11.2 ± 1.0 Gyr for the host star, indicating that Kepler-444 formed when the universe was less than 20% of its current age and making it the oldest known system of terrestrial-size planets. We thus show that Earth-size planets have formed throughout most of the universe's 13.8 billion year history, leaving open the possibility for the existence of ancient life in the Galaxy. The age of Kepler-444 not only suggests that thick-disk stars were among the hosts to the first Galactic planets, but may also help to pinpoint the beginning of the era of planet formation.

  10. From urban air pollution to extra-solar planets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Boutron, C.F. (ed.)


    Urban air pollution, the history of the Earth's atmosphere, comets and extra-solar planets are some of the subjects of interest for a wide range of readers which are treated in this new volume of the ERCA book series. Particular emphasis is placed on urban and indoor air pollution, radiative transfer processes, the physics of clouds, the role of the oceans in the climate system, the history of the Earth's atmosphere, the carbon and heavy metals global cycles, lidar techniques for atmospheric studies, the physics of the high atmosphere, comets and Kuiper belt objects, extra-solar planets and the chemistry of the interstellar medium. Contents: 1. Photo-oxidants in the urban environment, 2. Optical techniques for air pollution monitoring, 3. Indoor pollution, 4. Health effects and air pollution, 5. Individual exposure to air pollutants and its relevance to evaluate human health risk, 6. Introduction to radiation transfer modeling in geophysical media, 7. Aerosols, gases and micro-physics of clouds, 8. The ocean in the climate system, 9. From Daisyworld to GCMs: using models to understand the regulation of climate, 10. History or earth atmosphere over geological times, 11. The global carbon cycle, 12. Global atmospheric metal pollution, 13. Speciation analysis of organo-lead compounds in archives of atmospheric pollution, 14. Monitoring the middle atmosphere at OHP using remote sensing techniques, 15. Contribution of lidar measurements to the study of the middle atmospheric dynamics, 16. Atmospheric tides in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere of the earth, 17. Kinetic/fluid approaches coupling: application to the dynamics of the high latitude ionosphere, 18. An introduction to magnetospheric physics, 19. Comets and Kuiper belt objects: planet formation unveiled, 20. Climate and habitability of terrestrial planets around other stars, 21. Spectroscopic probes of interstellar clouds.

  11. Terrestrial and extraterrestrial fullerenes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Heymann, D.; Jenneskens, L.W.; Jehlicka, J; Koper, C.; Vlietstra, E. [Rice Univ, Houston, TX (United States). Dept. of Earth Science


    This paper reviews reports of occurrences of fullerenes in circumstellar media, interstellar media, meteorites, interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), lunar rocks, hard terrestrial rocks from Shunga (Russia), Sudbury (Canada) and Mitov (Czech Republic), coal, terrestrial sediments from the Cretaceous-Tertiary-Boundary and Pennian-Triassic-Boundary, fulgurite, ink sticks, dinosaur eggs, and a tree char. The occurrences are discussed in the context of known and postulated processes of fullerene formation, including the suggestion that some natural fullerenes might have formed from biological (algal) remains.

  12. The Planets Approach to Migration Tools

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Zierau, Eld; van Wijk, Caroline


    This paper discusses the Planets approach to migration tool development. The approach consists of enhancing existing migration tools rather than developing tools from scratch. This pragmatic approach is based on the Planets view of the current situation for migration tools and two claims. The first...... claim is that the market will cover the required tools for commonly used formats. The second claim is that in the long term less tools will be required due to growing use of archiving standard formats. The Planets view on the current situation, the scope of tool development and the claims stated are...

  13. Characterization of potentially habitable planets: Retrieval of atmospheric and planetary properties from emission spectra


    von Paris, P.; P. Hedelt; Selsis, F.; F. Schreier; Trautmann, T.


    An increasing number of potentially habitable terrestrial planets and planet candidates are found by ongoing planet search programs. The search for atmospheric signatures to establish planetary habitability and the presence of life might be possible in the future. We want to quantify the accuracy of retrieved atmospheric parameters which might be obtained from infrared emission spectroscopy. We use synthetic observations of hypothetical habitable planets, constructed with a parametrized atmos...

  14. CHIC - Coupling Habitability, Interior and Crust: A new Code for Modeling the Thermal Evolution of Planets and Moons (United States)

    Noack, Lena; Rivoldini, Attilio; Van Hoolst, Tim


    We present a new numerical code (CHIC) for the simulation of the thermal evolution of terrestrial planets. The code consists of both a 1d parameterised model to evaluate the temperature profile in the planet's interior and a 2d/3d convection model for the silicate mantle - the latter uses either a Cartesian box, a 2d cylindrical sphere or a 2d spherical annulus. The code is modular and can be easily extended (for example to include an atmosphere module). In the convection model next to the energy equation the conservation equations of mass and momentum are solved, as well. We apply either a Boussinesq approximation or an extended Boussinesq approximation for mantle convection; compressible treatment is planned for the future. The code provides information on the temperature field in the mantle, convective velocities and convective stresses. Simulations can be run under steady-state or thermal evolution conditions. The CHIC code handles surface volcanism, crustal development, and different regimes of surface mobilization like plate tectonics. It is therefore well suited for studying scenarios related to the habitability of terrestrial planets. The code provides a user updatable library of thermodynamic properties of iron and common mantle silicates as well as associated equations of state that allow to compute material properties at high pressure and temperature. Furthermore, the interior structure of a planet for given composition and mass can be determined, yielding the core and planet radius that can then be automatically used for the thermal evolution simulation. CHIC does also accommodate a module for computing a simple parameterised thermal evolution model of a planet's core that includes the formation of an inner core. This module can be combined with either the 1d parameterised thermal evolution model or the 2d/3d mantle convection model. The code has been benchmarked with different convection codes, and compared to published interior-structure models and 1d

  15. Radioactivity of the moon, planets, and meteorites (United States)

    Surkou, Y. A.; Fedoseyev, G. A.


    Analytical data is summarized for the content of natural radioactive elements in meteorites, eruptive terrestrial rocks, and also in lunar samples returned by Apollo missions and the Luna series of automatic stations. The K-U systematics of samples analyzed in the laboratory are combined with data for orbital gamma-ray measurements for Mars (Mars 5) and with the results of direct gamma-ray measurements of the surface of Venus by the Venera 8 lander. Using information about the radioactivity of solar system bodies and evaluations of the content of K, U, and Th in the terrestrial planets, we examine certain aspects of the evolution of material in the protoplanetary gas-dust cloud and then in the planets of the solar system.

  16. Tests of in situ formation scenarios for compact multiplanet systems

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schlaufman, Kevin C., E-mail: [Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States)


    Kepler has identified over 600 multiplanet systems, many of which have several planets with orbital distances smaller than that of Mercury. Because these systems may be difficult to explain in the paradigm of core accretion and disk migration, it has been suggested that they formed in situ within protoplanetary disks with high solid surface densities. The strong connection between giant planet occurrence and stellar metallicity is thought to be linked to enhanced solid surface densities in disks around metal-rich stars, so the presence of a giant planet can be a sign of planet formation in a high solid surface density disk. I formulate quantitative predictions for the frequency of long-period giant planets in these in situ models by translating the proposed increase in disk mass into an equivalent metallicity enhancement. I rederive the scaling of giant planet occurrence with metallicity as P{sub gp}=0.05{sub −0.02}{sup +0.02}×10{sup (2.1±0.4)[M/H]}=0.08{sub −0.03}{sup +0.02}×10{sup (2.3±0.4)[Fe/H]} and show that there is significant tension between the frequency of giant planets suggested by the minimum mass extrasolar nebula scenario and the observational upper limits. Consequently, high-mass disks alone cannot explain the observed properties of the close-in Kepler multiplanet systems and therefore migration is still important. More speculatively, I combine the metallicity scaling of giant planet occurrence with small planet occurrence rates to estimate the number of solar system analogs in the Galaxy. I find that in the Milky Way there are perhaps 4 × 10{sup 6} true solar system analogs with an FGK star hosting both a terrestrial planet in the habitable zone and a long-period giant planet companion.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wahl, Sean M.; Wilson, Hugh F.; Militzer, Burkhard [Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States)


    The formation of the giant planets in our solar system, and likely a majority of giant exoplanets, is most commonly explained by the accretion of nebular hydrogen and helium onto a large core of terrestrial-like composition. The fate of this core has important consequences for the evolution of the interior structure of the planet. It has recently been shown that H{sub 2}O, MgO, and SiO{sub 2} dissolve in liquid metallic hydrogen at high temperature and pressure. In this study, we perform ab initio calculations to study the solubility of an innermost metallic core. We find dissolution of iron to be strongly favored above 2000 K over the entire pressure range (0.4-4 TPa) considered. We compare with and summarize the results for solubilities on other probable core constituents. The calculations imply that giant planet cores are in thermodynamic disequilibrium with surrounding layers, promoting erosion and redistribution of heavy elements. Differences in solubility behavior between iron and rock may influence evolution of interiors, particularly for Saturn-mass planets. Understanding the distribution of iron and other heavy elements in gas giants may be relevant in understanding mass-radius relationships, as well as deviations in transport properties from pure hydrogen-helium mixtures.

  18. White dwarf planets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bonsor Amy


    Full Text Available The recognition that planets may survive the late stages of stellar evolution, and the prospects for finding them around White Dwarfs, are growing. We discuss two aspects governing planetary survival through stellar evolution to the White Dwarf stage. First we discuss the case of a single planet, and its survival under the effects of stellar mass loss, radius expansion, and tidal orbital decay as the star evolves along the Asymptotic Giant Branch. We show that, for stars initially of 1 − 5 M⊙, any planets within about 1 − 5 AU will be engulfed, this distance depending on the stellar and planet masses and the planet's eccentricity. Planets engulfed by the star's envelope are unlikely to survive. Hence, planets surviving the Asymptotic Giant Branch phase will probably be found beyond ∼ 2 AU for a 1  M⊙ progenitor and ∼ 10 AU for a 5 M⊙ progenitor. We then discuss the evolution of two-planet systems around evolving stars. As stars lose mass, planet–planet interactions become stronger, and many systems stable on the Main Sequence become destabilised following evolution of the primary. The outcome of such instabilities is typically the ejection of one planet, with the survivor being left on an eccentric orbit. These eccentric planets could in turn be responsible for feeding planetesimals into the neighbourhood of White Dwarfs, causing observed pollution and circumstellar discs.

  19. Planet Formation in Action? - Astronomers may have found the first object clearing its path in the natal disc surrounding a young star (United States)


    Using ESO's Very Large Telescope an international team of astronomers has been able to study the short-lived disc of material around a young star that is in the early stages of making a planetary system. For the first time a smaller companion could be detected that may be the cause of the large gap found in the disc. Future observations will determine whether this companion is a planet or a brown dwarf. Planets form from the discs of material around young stars, but the transition from dust disc to planetary system is rapid and few objects are caught during this phase [1]. One such object is T Chamaeleontis (T Cha), a faint star in the small southern constellation of Chamaeleon that is comparable to the Sun, but very near the beginning of its life [2]. T Cha lies about 350 light-years from the Earth and is only about seven million years old. Up to now no forming planets have been found in these transitional discs, although planets in more mature discs have been seen before (eso0842, heic0821). "Earlier studies had shown that T Cha was an excellent target for studying how planetary systems form," notes Johan Olofsson (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany), one of the lead authors of two papers in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics that describe the new work. "But this star is quite distant and the full power of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) was needed to resolve very fine details and see what is going on in the dust disc." The astronomers first observed T Cha using the AMBER instrument and the VLT Interferometer (VLTI) [3]. They found that some of the disc material formed a narrow dusty ring only about 20 million kilometres from the star. Beyond this inner disc, they found a region devoid of dust with the outer part of the disc stretching out into regions beyond about 1.1 billion kilometres from the star. Nuria Huélamo (Centro de Astrobiología, ESAC, Spain), the lead author of the second paper takes up the story: "For us the

  20. Wandering stars. About planets and exo-planets: an introductory notebook (United States)

    Cole, George H. A.

    solar/cosmic abundance of the elements. 8.2. The formation of molecules. 8.3. The compositions of terrestrial materials. 8.4. The moon. 8.5. Venus. 8.6. The material of the Solar System. 8.7. Material in orbit. 9. Finding the ages of rocks: geochronology. 9.1. Atoms and radioactive decay. 9.2. Nuclear reactions. 9.3. An elementary method for dating rocks. 9.4. The closure temperature. 9.5. Selecting a particular decay mode. 9.6. Dating using nuclear reactors. 10. Surfaces and interiors. 10.1. The surface figure. 10.2. The interior. 10.3. The near-surface interior region. 10.4. Free body oscillations. 10.5. Empirical equations of state. 10.6. Fluid bodies. 11. The solid earth. 11.1. General parameters. 11.2. The interior seismic structure. 11.3. An active structure. 11.4. Plates and plate tectonics. 11.5. The inner and outer cores. 11.6. A dynamic earth. 11.7. Comments on the atmosphere. 12. The planets: Mercury and Mars. 12.1. Rotation and temperature. 12.2. Surface details. 12.3. Internal structure of mercury. 12.4. The Mercury atmosphere. 12.5. The general topology of Mars. 12.6. Martian geology. 12.7. Thermal Mars. 12.8. The internal structure of Mars. 12.9. The atmosphere of Mars. 12.10. A tentative history of Mars. 13. Planet Venus. 13.1. First views of the surface. 13.2. Surface details. 13.3. The Venus interior. 13.4. Venus atmosphere. 14. The planets: Jupiter and Saturn. 14.1. Surface features. 14.2. The heat budgets. 14.3. Visible surface compositions. 14.4. General comments on internal conditions. 14.5. Detailed model interiors. 14.6. Comment on interior heat flow. 14.7. Intrinsic magnetic fields. 15. The planets: Uranus and Neptune. 15.1. Surface features. 15.2. Heat budgets. 15.3. Visible surface compositions. 15.4. Internal structure and conditions. 15.5. Comment on interior heat flow. 15.6. Intrinsic magnetism. 16. Satellites of the Solar System. 16.1. The moon. 16.2. The satellites of Mars. 16.3. The larger satellites. 16.4. The smaller satellites. 16

  1. Earthlike planets: Surfaces of Mercury, Venus, earth, moon, Mars (United States)

    Murray, B.; Malin, M. C.; Greeley, R.


    The surfaces of the earth and the other terrestrial planets of the inner solar system are reviewed in light of the results of recent planetary explorations. Past and current views of the origin of the earth, moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars are discussed, and the surface features characteristic of the moon, Mercury, Mars and Venus are outlined. Mechanisms for the modification of planetary surfaces by external factors and from within the planet are examined, including surface cycles, meteoritic impact, gravity, wind, plate tectonics, volcanism and crustal deformation. The origin and evolution of the moon are discussed on the basis of the Apollo results, and current knowledge of Mercury and Mars is examined in detail. Finally, the middle periods in the history of the terrestrial planets are compared, and future prospects for the exploration of the inner planets as well as other rocky bodies in the solar system are discussed.

  2. The origin of planets orbiting millisecond pulsars (United States)

    Tavani, Marco; Brookshaw, Leigh


    A model for the formation of planets around millisecond pulsar which no longer have stellar companions is suggested. Detailed hydrodynamical models are presented which suggest that planet formation can occur either in a low-mass X-ray binary progenitor to a progenitor of a star-vaporizing millisecond pulsar when the neutron star is accreting material driven off its companion by X-ray irradiation or after a pulsar has formed and is vaporizing its companion. In both cases a circumbinary disk is created in which planets can form on a timescale of 10 exp 5 to 10 exp 6 yrs and the planets can survive a second phase in which the companion star moves toward the pulsar and is completely vaporized.

  3. Density is not Destiny: Characterizing Terrestrial Exoplanet Geology from Stellar Compositional Abundances (United States)

    Unterborn, Cayman T.


    A planet’s mass-radius relationship alone is not a good indicator for its potential to be "Earth-like." While useful in coarse characterizations for distinguishing whether an exoplanet is water/atmosphere- or rock/iron-dominated, there is considerable degeneracy in using the mass-radius relation to determine the mineralogy and structure of a purely terrestrial planet like the Earth. The chemical link between host-stars and rocky planets and the utility of this connection in breaking the degeneracy in the mass-radius relationship is well documented. Given the breadth of observed stellar compositions, modeling the complex effects of these compositional variations on a terrestrial planet’s mineralogy, structure and temperature profile, and the potential pitfalls therein, falls within the purview of the geosciences.I will demonstrate here, the utility in adopting the composition of a terrestrial planet’s host star for contextualizing individual systems (e.g. TRAPPIST-1), as well as for the more general case of quantifying the geophysical consequences of stellar compositional diversity. This includes the potential for a host-star to produce planets able to undergo mantle convection, surface-to-interior degassing and long-term plate tectonics. As we search for truly “Earth-like” planets, we must move away from the simple density-driven definition of “Earth-like” and towards a more holistic view that includes both geochemistry and geophysics. Combining geophysical models and those of planetary formation with host-star abundance data, then, is of paramount importance. This will aid not only in our understanding of the mass-radius relationship but also provide foundational results necessary interpreting future atmospheric observations through the lens of surface-interior interactions (e.g. volcanism) and planetary evolution as a whole.

  4. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Geologic map analyses: Correlation of geologic and cratering histories. Ph.D. Thesis (United States)

    Leake, M. A.


    Geologic map analyses are expanded, beginning with a discussion of particular regions which may illustrate volcanic and ballistic plains emplacement on Mercury. Major attention is focused on the surface history of Mercury through discussion of the areal distribution of plains and craters and the paleogeologic maps of the first quadrant. A summary of the lunar intercrater plains formation similarly interrelates the information from the Moon's geologic and cratering histories.

  5. Reconnaissance of Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation ichnofossils, Rocky Mountain Region, USA: paleoenvironmental, stratigraphic, and paleoclimatic significance of terrestrial and freshwater ichnocoenoses (United States)

    Hasiotis, Stephen T.


    Seventy-five types of ichnofossils documented during a four-year reconnaissance study in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation demonstrate that highly diverse and abundant plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates occur throughout most of the Morrison or equivalent strata. Invertebrate ichnofossils, preserving the most environmentally and climatically sensitive in situ behavior of Morrison organisms, are in nearly all outcrops. Terrestrial ichnofossils record biotic processes in soil formation, indicating soil moisture and water-table levels. Freshwater ichnofossils preserve evidence of water depth, salinity, and seasonality of water bodies. Ichnofossils, categorized as epiterraphilic, terraphilic, hygrophilic, and hydrophilic (new terms), reflect the moisture regime where they were constructed. The ichnofossils are vertically zoned with respect to physical, chemical, and biological factors in the environment that controlled their distribution and abundance, and are expressed as surficial, shallow, intermediate, and deep. The sedimentologic, stratigraphic, and geographic distribution of Morrison ichnofossils reflects the environmental and climatic variations across the basin through time. Marginal-marine, tidal to brackish-water ichnofossils are mainly restricted to the Windy Hill Member. Very large to small termite nests dominate the Salt Wash Member. Similar size ranges of ant nests dominate the Brushy Basin Member. Soil bee nests dominate in the Salt Wash, decreasing in abundance through the Brushy Basin. Deeper and larger insect nests indicate more seasonal distribution of precipitation and rainfall. Shallower and smaller insect nests indicate either dry or wet substrate conditions depending on the nest architecture and paleopedogenic and sedimentologic character of the substrate. Trace-fossil indicators of flowing or standing water conditions are dominant in the Tidwell Member and in fluvial sandstones of the Salt Wash and Brushy Basin Members. Large communities

  6. Searching for extragalactic planets


    Baltz, Edward A.; Gondolo, Paolo


    Are there other planetary systems in our Universe? Indirect evidence has been found for planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy: the gravity of orbiting planets makes the star wobble, and the resulting periodic Doppler shifts have been detected for about a dozen stars. But are there planets in other galaxies, millions of light years away? Here we suggest a method to search for extragalactic planetary systems: gravitational microlensing of unresolved stars. This technique may allow us to di...

  7. M stars as targets for terrestrial exoplanet searches and biosignature detection. (United States)

    Scalo, John; Kaltenegger, Lisa; Segura, Antígona; Segura, Ant Gona; Fridlund, Malcolm; Ribas, Ignasi; Kulikov, Yu N; Grenfell, John L; Rauer, Heike; Odert, Petra; Leitzinger, Martin; Selsis, F; Khodachenko, Maxim L; Eiroa, Carlos; Kasting, Jim; Lammer, Helmut


    The changing view of planets orbiting low mass stars, M stars, as potentially hospitable worlds for life and its remote detection was motivated by several factors, including the demonstration of viable atmospheres and oceans on tidally locked planets, normal incidence of dust disks, including debris disks, detection of planets with masses in the 5-20 M() range, and predictions of unusually strong spectral biosignatures. We present a critical discussion of M star properties that are relevant for the long- and short-term thermal, dynamical, geological, and environmental stability of conventional liquid water habitable zone (HZ) M star planets, and the advantages and disadvantages of M stars as targets in searches for terrestrial HZ planets using various detection techniques. Biological viability seems supported by unmatched very long-term stability conferred by tidal locking, small HZ size, an apparent short-fall of gas giant planet perturbers, immunity to large astrosphere compressions, and several other factors, assuming incidence and evolutionary rate of life benefit from lack of variability. Tectonic regulation of climate and dynamo generation of a protective magnetic field, especially for a planet in synchronous rotation, are important unresolved questions that must await improved geodynamic models, though they both probably impose constraints on the planet mass. M star HZ terrestrial planets must survive a number of early trials in order to enjoy their many Gyr of stability. Their formation may be jeopardized by an insufficient initial disk supply of solids, resulting in the formation of objects too small and/or dry for habitability. The small empirical gas giant fraction for M stars reduces the risk of formation suppression or orbit disruption from either migrating or nonmigrating giant planets, but effects of perturbations from lower mass planets in these systems are uncertain. During the first approximately 1 Gyr, atmospheric retention is at peril because of

  8. Models of the Origin of the Moon; Early History of Earth and Venus (The Role of Tidal Friction in the Formation of Structure of the Planets) (United States)

    Pechernikova, G. V.; Ruskol, E. L.


    An analytical review of the two contemporary models of the origin of the Earth-Moon system in the process of solid-body accretion is presented: socalled co-accretion model and as a result of a gigantic collision with a planetarysized body (i.e. a megaimpact model). The co-accretion model may be considered as a universal mechanism of the origin of planetary satellites, that accompanies the growth of planets. We consider the conditions of this process that secure the sufficient mass and angular momentum of the protolunar disk such as macroimpacts (collisions with the bodies of asteroidal size) into the mantle of the growing Earth, the role of an lunar embryo growing on the geocentric lunar orbit, its tidal interaction with the Earth. The most difficult remains the explanation of chemical composition of the Moon. Different scenarios of megaimpact are reviewed, in which the Earth's mantle is destroyed and the protosatellite disk is filled mainly by its fragments. There is evaluated amount of energy transferred to the Earth from the evolution of lunar orbit. It is an order of magnitude lower than three main sources of the Earth's interior heat, i.e. the heat of accretion, the energy of differentiation and the heat of radioactive sources. The tidal heating of the Venus's interiors could reach 1000K by slowing its axial initial rotation, in addition to three sources mentioned above in concern of the Earth.

  9. On the dynamical habitability of Trojan planets in exoplanetary systems (United States)

    Schwarz, R.; Funk, B.; Bazsó, Á.; Eggl, S.


    Besides the hierarchical configurations exoplanets have been observed in so far, Earth-analogs can theoretically exist in co-orbital motion with giant planets. Those so-called Trojan planets share the same orbit as their Jovian hosts, trailing or leading by approximately 60 degrees in mean anomaly. If a giant planet was situated in the habitable zone (HZ) of an exoplanetary system coorbital terrestrial worlds could in principle also be habitable provided their orbits are "tame enough". In this paper, we study the dynamical properties of Earth-like Trojan planets in their host stars' respective HZs. We investigate the orbital stability of possible Trojan planets near the Lagrangian equilibrium points L_4 and L_5 for several candidate systems. Our numerical simulations have been carried out using the planar three-body problem, in case the extrasolar system contains only one known planet and the n-body problem with more than one planet in the system. We study the stability region around the equilibrium points and counted the number of stable orbits concentrating on the dependencies between the semimajor axis, the eccentricity and the argument of perihelion of the Trojan planet. We found that of the investigated 14 systems 6 support stable Trojan planets in the system's HZ, namely HD 5891, HD 28185, WASP-41, HD 11755, HD 221287 and HD 13908.

  10. Planetary Consequences of Sub-Alfvenic Space Environment in Close-in Planets (United States)

    Cohen, Ofer; Drake, Jeremy J.; Garraffo, Cecilia; Kashyap, Vinay; Gombosi, Tamas


    Close-in gas giant planets, as well as close-in terrestrial planets may reside in a sub-Alfvenic environment, at which the surrounding plasma's speed is slower than the local Alfven speed. Such an environment is very different from the typical space environment near the Earth and the other solar system planets. I will review the unique conditions of this situation and will point out crucial consequences in the context of star-planet interaction, detectibility, radio emissions, and planet habitability.

  11. A Young Three-Planet System in the Hyades (United States)

    Mann, Andrew; Newton, Elisabeth; Rizzuto, Aaron; Vanderburg, Andrew


    Planets are nor born in their final state; instead, before reaching a more mature and stable phase, young planets have their structures, orbits, and atmospheres disrupted by their environment. Early changes in planetary systems can have profound implications for the final configuration of the planets, which makes it critical to study planets during their most formative years (0-1 Gyr). However, most of the known planets have poorly constrained ages or are older than the timescales of interest. In the latest K2 data release we identified a 3-planet system in the Hyades cluster (700 Myr). The smallest of these planets is Earth-sized, creating a unique opportunity to study small, rocky planets while they are still evolving. However, the parameters of this planet are poorly constrained from the K2 light curve, and the ephemeris needs updating. The largest planet should have a large atmospheric scale-height based on similar planets, but could be flat if material in the upper atmosphere has not yet settled. Here we propose Spitzer observations of both planets to significantly improve their parameters, lock the ephemerides well into the era of JWST, take early steps to characterize their atmospheres, and search for expected transit timing variations.

  12. Theory of Giant Planets (United States)

    Hubbard, W. B.; Burrows, A.; Lunine, J. I.

    Giant planet research has moved from the study of a handful of solar system objects to that of a class of bodies with dozens of known members. Since the original 1995 discovery of the first extrasolar giant planets (EGPs), the total number of known examples has increased to ~80 (circa November 2001). Current theoretical studies of giant planets emphasize predicted observable properties, such as luminosity, effective temperature, radius, external gravity field, atmospheric composition, and emergent spectra as a function of mass and age. This review focuses on the general theory of hydrogen-rich giant planets; smaller giant planets with the mass and composition of Uranus and Neptune are not covered. We discuss the status of the theory of the nonideal thermodynamics of hydrogen and hydrogen-helium mixtures under the conditions found in giant-planet interiors, and the experimental constraints on it. We provide an overview of observations of extrasolar giant planets and our own giant planets by which the theory can be validated.

  13. Extinct Stars and Eviscerated Planets: Using Observations of White Dwarf Pollution to Understand the Formation, Composition and Evolution of Planetary Systems (United States)

    Payne, M. J.


    I will discuss the work that will required for the white-dwarf community to be able to extract the unique data that only white dwarf systems can supply on the fundamental processes governing the formation and evolution of planetary systems.

  14. Delivery of Volatiles to Habitable Planets in Extrasolar Planetary Systems (United States)

    Chambers, John E.; Kress, Monika E.; Bell, K. Robbins; Cash, Michele; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)


    The Earth can support life because: (1) its orbit lies in the Sun's habitable zone', and (2) it contains enough volatile material (e.g. water and organics) for life to flourish. However, it seems likely that the Earth was drier when it formed because it accreted in a part of the Sun's protoplanetary nebula that was too hot for volatiles to condense. If this is correct, water and organics must have been delivered to the habitable zone, after dissipation of the solar nebula, from a 'wet zone' in the asteroid belt or the outer solar system, where the nebula was cool enough for volatiles to condense. Material from the wet zone would have been delivered to the Earth by Jupiter and Saturn. Gravitational perturbations from these giant planets made much of the wet zone unstable, scattering volatile-rich planetesimals and protoplanets across the Solar System. Some of these objects ultimately collided with the inner Planets which themselves lie in a stable part of the Solar System. Giant planets are now being discovered orbiting other sunlike stars. To date, these planets have orbits and masses very different from Jupiter and Saturn, such that few if any of these systems is likely to have terrestrial planets in the star's habitable zone. However, new discoveries are anticipated due to improved detector sensitivity and the increase in the timespan of observations. Here we present numerical experiments examining the range of giant-planet characteristics that: (1) allow stable terrestrial Planets to exist in a star's habitable zone, and (2) make a large part of the star's wet zone weakly unstable, thus delivering volatiles to the terrestrial planets over an extended period of time after the dissipation of the solar nebula.

  15. Realisation of a fully-deterministic microlensing observing strategy for inferring planet populations (United States)

    Dominik, M.; Jørgensen, U. G.; Rattenbury, N. J.; Mathiasen, M.; Hinse, T. C.; Calchi Novati, S.; Harpsøe, K.; Bozza, V.; Anguita, T.; Burgdorf, M. J.; Horne, K.; Hundertmark, M.; Kerins, E.; Kjærgaard, P.; Liebig, C.; Mancini, L.; Masi, G.; Rahvar, S.; Ricci, D.; Scarpetta, G.; Snodgrass, C.; Southworth, J.; Street, R. A.; Surdej, J.; Thöne, C. C.; Tsapras, Y.; Wambsganss, J.; Zub, M.


    Within less than 15 years, the count of known planets orbiting stars other than the Sun has risen from none to more than 400 with detections arising from four successfully applied techniques: Doppler-wobbles, planetary transits, gravitational microlensing, and direct imaging. While the hunt for twin Earths is on, a statistically well-defined sample of the population of planets in all their variety is required for probing models of planet formation and orbital evolution so that the origin of planets that harbour life, like and including ours, can be understood. Given the different characteristics of the detection techniques, a complete picture can only arise from a combination of their respective results. Microlensing observations are well-suited to reveal statistical properties of the population of planets orbiting stars in either the Galactic disk or bulge from microlensing observations, but a mandatory requirement is the adoption of strictly-deterministic criteria for selecting targets and identifying signals. Here, we describe a fully-deterministic strategy realised by means of the ARTEMiS (Automated Robotic Terrestrial Exoplanet Microlensing Search) system at the Danish 1.54-m telescope at ESO La Silla between June and August 2008 as part of the MiNDSTEp (Microlensing Network for the Detection of Small Terrestrial Exoplanets) campaign, making use of immediate feedback on suspected anomalies recognized by the SIGNALMEN anomaly detector. We demonstrate for the first time the feasibility of such an approach, and thereby the readiness for studying planet populations down to Earth mass and even below, with ground-based observations. While the quality of the real-time photometry is a crucial factor on the efficiency of the campaign, an impairment of the target selection by data of bad quality can be successfully avoided. With a smaller slew time, smaller dead time, and higher through-put, modern robotic telescopes could significantly outperform the 1.54-m Danish

  16. Possible climates on terrestrial exoplanets. (United States)

    Forget, F; Leconte, J


    What kind of environment may exist on terrestrial planets around other stars? In spite of the lack of direct observations, it may not be premature to speculate on exoplanetary climates, for instance, to optimize future telescopic observations or to assess the probability of habitable worlds. To begin with, climate primarily depends on (i) the atmospheric composition and the volatile inventory; (ii) the incident stellar flux; and (iii) the tidal evolution of the planetary spin, which can notably lock a planet with a permanent night side. The atmospheric composition and mass depends on complex processes, which are difficult to model: origins of volatiles, atmospheric escape, geochemistry, photochemistry, etc. We discuss physical constraints, which can help us to speculate on the possible type of atmosphere, depending on the planet size, its final distance for its star and the star type. Assuming that the atmosphere is known, the possible climates can be explored using global climate models analogous to the ones developed to simulate the Earth as well as the other telluric atmospheres in the solar system. Our experience with Mars, Titan and Venus suggests that realistic climate simulators can be developed by combining components, such as a 'dynamical core', a radiative transfer solver, a parametrization of subgrid-scale turbulence and convection, a thermal ground model and a volatile phase change code. On this basis, we can aspire to build reliable climate predictors for exoplanets. However, whatever the accuracy of the models, predicting the actual climate regime on a specific planet will remain challenging because climate systems are affected by strong positive feedbacks. They can drive planets with very similar forcing and volatile inventory to completely different states. For instance, the coupling among temperature, volatile phase changes and radiative properties results in instabilities, such as runaway glaciations and runaway greenhouse effect.

  17. A young massive planet in a star-disk system. (United States)

    Setiawan, J; Henning, Th; Launhardt, R; Müller, A; Weise, P; Kürster, M


    There is a general consensus that planets form within disks of dust and gas around newly born stars. Details of their formation process, however, are still a matter of ongoing debate. The timescale of planet formation remains unclear, so the detection of planets around young stars with protoplanetary disks is potentially of great interest. Hitherto, no such planet has been found. Here we report the detection of a planet of mass (9.8+/-3.3)M(Jupiter) around TW Hydrae (TW Hya), a nearby young star with an age of only 8-10 Myr that is surrounded by a well-studied circumstellar disk. It orbits the star with a period of 3.56 days at 0.04 au, inside the inner rim of the disk. This demonstrates that planets can form within 10 Myr, before the disk has been dissipated by stellar winds and radiation.

  18. The Earth: A Changing Planet (United States)

    Ribas, Núria; Màrquez, Conxita


    hours of class time for students from 13 to 14 years of age. During the learning process, different methodological tools of teaching and learning have been used. After reading and understanding news about natural disasters such as earthquakes and eruptions, cooperative group work and an oral presentation are prepared. In addition, it has been very useful to follow-up with some web simulations to predict natural phenomena, which can then be tested in the laboratory. Finally, the students apply their new understanding on a visit to a geological formation, where applying the language learned by observing the rocks, they demonstrate that the planet Earth has changed over the course of many millions of years. Natural hazards are a small and timely demonstration of the ability to change our planet.

  19. Terrestrial quarantine considerations for unmanned sample return missions (United States)

    Hoffman, A. R.; Stavro, W.; Miller, L. W.; Taylor, D. M.


    For the purpose of understanding some of the possible implications of a terrestrial quarantine constraint on a mission and for developing a basic approach which can be used to demonstrate compliance beyond that developed for Apollo, a terrestrial quarantine study was performed. It is shown that some of the basic tools developed and used by the planetary quarantine community have applicability to terrestrial quarantine analysis. By using these tools, it is concluded that: (1) the method of biasing the earth aiming point when returning from the planet is necessary but, by itself, may not satisfy terrestrial quarantine constraints; and (2) spacecraft and container design significantly influence contamination transfer.

  20. Kepler's first rocky planet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Batalha, N.M.; Borucki, W.J.; Bryson, S.T.


    NASA's Kepler Mission uses transit photometry to determine the frequency of Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone of Sun-like stars. The mission reached a milestone toward meeting that goal: the discovery of its first rocky planet, Kepler-10b. Two distinct sets of transit events were...... tests on the photometric and pixel flux time series established the viability of the planet candidates triggering ground-based follow-up observations. Forty precision Doppler measurements were used to confirm that the short-period transit event is due to a planetary companion. The parent star is bright...

  1. A giant planet around HD95086 ? (United States)

    Rameau, Julien; Chauvin, Gaël; Lagrange, Anne-Marie; Meshkat, Tiffany; Boccaletti, Anthony; Quanz, Sascha P.; Bonnefoy, Mickaël; Bailey, Vanessa; Kenworthy, Matthew; Currie, Thayne; Girard, Julien H.; Delorme, Philippe; Desidera, Silvano; Dumas, Christophe; Mordasini, Christoph; Klahr, Hubert; Bonavita, Mariangela


    Understanding planetary systems formation and evolution has become one of the challenges in as- tronomy, since the discovery of the first exoplanet around the solar-type star 51 Peg in the 90's. While more than 800 planets (mostly giants) closer than a few AU have been identified with radial velocity and transit techniques, very few have been imaged and definitely confirmed around stars, at separations below a hundred of astronomical units. Direct imaging detection of exoplanet is indeed a major frontier in planetary astrophysics. It surveys a region of semi-major axes (> 5 AU) that is almost inaccessible to other methods. Moreover, the planets imaged so far orbit young stars; indeed the young planets are still hot and the planet-star contrasts are compatible with the detection limits currently achievable, in contrast with similar planets in older systems. Noticeably, the stars are of early-types, and surrounded by debris disks, i.e. disks populated at least by small grains with lifetimes so short that they must be permanently produced, probably by destruction (evaporation, collisions) of larger solid bodies. Consequently, every single discovery has a tremendous impact on the understanding of the formation, the dynamical evolution, and the physics of giant planets. In this context, I will present our recent discovery of one faint companion to a nearby, dusty, and young A-type star (at 56 AU projected separation). Background contaminants are rejected with high confidence level based on both astrometry and photometry with three dataset at more than a year-time-laps and two different wavelength regimes. From the system age (10 to 17 Myr) and from model-dependent luminosity estimates, we derive mass of 4 to 5 Jupiter mass. This planet is therefore the one with the lowest mass ever imaged around a star. Given its orbital and physical properties, I will discuss the implication on its atmosphere with respect to other imaged companions but also on its formation.

  2. White dwarf pollution by planets in stellar binaries


    Hamers, S.; Portegies, F, Zwart S.


    Approximately $0.2 \\pm 0.2$ of white dwarfs (WDs) show signs of pollution by metals, which is likely due to the accretion of tidally disrupted planetary material. Models invoking planet-planet interactions after WD formation generally cannot explain pollution at cooling times of several Gyr. We consider a scenario in which a planet is perturbed by Lidov-Kozai oscillations induced by a binary companion and exacerbated by stellar mass loss, explaining pollution at long cooling times. Our comput...

  3. Does the Galactic Bulge Have Fewer Planets? (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna


    The Milky Ways dense central bulge is a very different environment than the surrounding galactic disk in which we live. Do the differences affect the ability of planets to form in the bulge?Exploring Galactic PlanetsSchematic illustrating how gravitational microlensing by an extrasolar planet works. [NASA]Planet formation is a complex process with many aspects that we dont yet understand. Do environmental properties like host star metallicity, the density of nearby stars, or the intensity of the ambient radiation field affect the ability of planets to form? To answer these questions, we will ultimately need to search for planets around stars in a large variety of different environments in our galaxy.One way to detect recently formed, distant planets is by gravitational microlensing. In this process, light from a distant source star is bent by a lens star that is briefly located between us and the source. As the Earth moves, this momentary alignment causes a blip in the sources light curve that we can detect and planets hosted by the lens star can cause an additional observable bump.Artists impression of the Milky Way galaxy. The central bulge is much denserthan the surroundingdisk. [ESO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Kornmesser/R. Hurt]Relative AbundancesMost source stars reside in the galactic bulge, so microlensing events can probe planetary systems at any distance between the Earth and the galactic bulge. This means that planet detections from microlensing could potentially be used to measure the relative abundances of exoplanets in different parts of our galaxy.A team of scientists led by Matthew Penny, a Sagan postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State University, set out to do just that. The group considered a sample of 31 exoplanetary systems detected by microlensing and asked the following question: are the planet abundances in the galactic bulge and the galactic disk the same?A Paucity of PlanetsTo answer this question, Penny and collaborators derived the expected

  4. SDSS-III MARVELS Planet Candidate RV Follow-up (United States)

    Ge, Jian; Thomas, Neil; Ma, Bo; Li, Rui; SIthajan, Sirinrat


    Planetary systems, discovered by the radial velocity (RV) surveys, reveal strong correlations between the planet frequency and stellar properties, such as metallicity and mass, and a greater diversity in planets than found in the solar system. However, due to the sample sizes of extant surveys (~100 to a few hundreds of stars) and their heterogeneity, many key questions remained to be addressed: Do metal poor stars obey the same trends for planet occurrence as metal rich stars? What is the distribution of giant planets around intermediate- mass stars and binaries? Is the ``planet desert'' within 0.6 AU in the planet orbital distribution of intermediate-mass stars real? The MARVELS survey has produced the largest homogeneous RV measurements of 3300 V=7.6-12 FGK stars. The latest data pipeline effort at UF has been able to remove long term systematic errors suffered in the earlier data pipeline. 18 high confident giant planet candidates have been identified among newly processed data. We propose to follow up these giant planet candidates with the KPNO EXPERT instrument to confirm the detection and also characterize their orbits. The confirmed planets will be used to measure occurrence rates, distributions and multiplicity of giants planets around F,G,K stars with a broad range of mass (~0.6-2.5 M_⊙) and metallicity ([Fe/H]~-1.5-0.5). The well defined MARVELS survey cadence allows robust determinations of completeness limits for rigorously testing giant planet formation theories and constraining models.

  5. BINARY MINOR PLANETS (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The data set lists orbital and physical properties for well-observed or suspected binary/multiple minor planets including the Pluto system, compiled from the...

  6. Students Discover Unique Planet (United States)


    Three undergraduate students, from Leiden University in the Netherlands, have discovered an extrasolar planet. The extraordinary find, which turned up during their research project, is about five times as massive as Jupiter. This is also the first planet discovered orbiting a fast-rotating hot star. Omega Centauri ESO PR Photo 45a/08 A planet around a hot star The students were testing a method of investigating the light fluctuations of thousands of stars in the OGLE database in an automated way. The brightness of one of the stars was found to decrease for two hours every 2.5 days by about one percent. Follow-up observations, taken with ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile, confirmed that this phenomenon is caused by a planet passing in front of the star, blocking part of the starlight at regular intervals. According to Ignas Snellen, supervisor of the research project, the discovery was a complete surprise. "The project was actually meant to teach the students how to develop search algorithms. But they did so well that there was time to test their algorithm on a so far unexplored database. At some point they came into my office and showed me this light curve. I was completely taken aback!" The students, Meta de Hoon, Remco van der Burg, and Francis Vuijsje, are very enthusiastic. "It is exciting not just to find a planet, but to find one as unusual as this one; it turns out to be the first planet discovered around a fast rotating star, and it's also the hottest star found with a planet," says Meta. "The computer needed more than a thousand hours to do all the calculations," continues Remco. The planet is given the prosaic name OGLE2-TR-L9b. "But amongst ourselves we call it ReMeFra-1, after Remco, Meta, and myself," says Francis. The planet was discovered by looking at the brightness variations of about 15 700 stars, which had been observed by the OGLE survey once or twice per night for about four years between 1997 and 2000. Because the data had been made public

  7. Planetesimals early differentiation and consequences for planets

    CERN Document Server

    Weiss, Benjamin P


    Processes governing the evolution of planetesimals are critical to understanding how rocky planets are formed, how water is delivered to them, the origin of planetary atmospheres, how cores and magnetic dynamos develop, and ultimately, which planets have the potential to be habitable. Theoretical advances and new data from asteroid and meteorite observations, coupled with spacecraft missions such as Rosetta and Dawn, have led to major advances in this field over the last decade. This transdisciplinary volume presents an authoritative overview of the latest in our understanding of the processes of planet formation. Combining meteorite, asteroid and icy body observations with theory and modelling of accretion and orbital dynamics, this text also provides insights into the exoplanetary system and the search for habitable worlds. This is an essential reference for those interested in planetary formation, solar system dynamics, exoplanets and planetary habitability.

  8. Observational evidence for two distinct giant planet populations (United States)

    Santos, N. C.; Adibekyan, V.; Figueira, P.; Andreasen, D. T.; Barros, S. C. C.; Delgado-Mena, E.; Demangeon, O.; Faria, J. P.; Oshagh, M.; Sousa, S. G.; Viana, P. T. P.; Ferreira, A. C. S.


    Context. Analysis of the statistical properties of exoplanets, together with those of their host stars, are providing a unique view into the process of planet formation and evolution. Aims: In this paper we explore the properties of the mass distribution of giant planet companions to solar-type stars, in a quest for clues about their formation process. Methods: With this goal in mind we studied, with the help of standard statistical tests, the mass distribution of giant planets using data from the catalog and the SWEET-Cat database of stellar parameters for stars with planets. Results: We show that the mass distribution of giant planet companions is likely to present more than one population with a change in regime around 4 MJup. Above this value host stars tend to be more metal poor and more massive and have [Fe/H] distributions that are statistically similar to those observed in field stars of similar mass. On the other hand, stars that host planets below this limit show the well-known metallicity-giant planet frequency correlation. Conclusions: We discuss these results in light of various planet formation models and explore the implications they may have on our understanding of the formation of giant planets. In particular, we discuss the possibility that the existence of two separate populations of giant planets indicates that two different processes of formation are at play. A table with the planet and stellar parameters is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to ( or via

  9. The planet Mercury (1971) (United States)


    The physical properties of the planet Mercury, its surface, and atmosphere are presented for space vehicle design criteria. The mass, dimensions, mean density, and orbital and rotational motions are described. The gravity field, magnetic field, electromagnetic radiation, and charged particles in the planet's orbit are discussed. Atmospheric pressure, temperature, and composition data are given along with the surface composition, soil mechanical properties, and topography, and the surface electromagnetic and temperature properties.

  10. CoRoT’s first seven planets: An overview*

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Barge P.


    Full Text Available The up to 150 day uninterrupted high-precision photometry of about 100000 stars – provided so far by the exoplanet channel of the CoRoT space telescope – gave a new perspective on the planet population of our galactic neighbourhood. The seven planets with very accurate parameters widen the range of known planet properties in almost any respect. Giant planets have been detected at low metallicity, rapidly rotating and active, spotted stars. CoRoT-3 populated the brown dwarf desert and closed the gap of measured physical properties between standard giant planets and very low mass stars. CoRoT extended the known range of planet masses down-to 5 Earth masses and up to 21 Jupiter masses, the radii to less than 2 Earth radii and up to the most inflated hot Jupiter found so far, and the periods of planets discovered by transits to 9 days. Two CoRoT planets have host stars with the lowest content of heavy elements known to show a transit hinting towards a different planet-host-star-metallicity relation then the one found by radial-velocity search programs. Finally the properties of the CoRoT-7b prove that terrestrial planets with a density close to Earth exist outside the Solar System. The detection of the secondary transit of CoRoT-1 at the 10−5-level and the very clear detection of the 1.7 Earth radii of CoRoT-7b at 3.5 10−4 relative flux are promising evidence of CoRoT being able to detect even smaller, Earth sized planets.

  11. The HARPS-N Rocky Planet Search

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Motalebi, F.; Udry, S.; Gillon, M.


    We know now from radial velocity surveys and transit space missions that planets only a few times more massive than our Earth are frequent around solar-type stars. Fundamental questions about their formation history, physical properties, internal structure, and atmosphere composition are, however......, still to be solved. We present here the detection of a system of four low-mass planets around the bright (V = 5.5) and close-by (6.5 pc) star HD 219134. This is the first result of the Rocky Planet Search programme with HARPS-N on the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo in La Palma. The inner planet orbits...... the star in 3.0935 ± 0.0003 days, on a quasi-circular orbit with a semi-major axis of 0.0382 ± 0.0003 AU. Spitzer observations allowed us to detect the transit of the planet in front of the star making HD 219134 b the nearest known transiting planet to date. From the amplitude of the radial velocity...

  12. Habitable Zones for Earth-mass Planets in Multiple Planetary Systems


    Jianghui, Ji; Lin, Liu; Kinoshita, H; Guangyu, Li


    We perform numerical simulations to study the Habitable zones (HZs) and dynamical structure for Earth-mass planets in multiple planetary systems. For example, in the HD 69830 system, we extensively explore the planetary configuration of three Neptune-mass companions with one massive terrestrial planet residing in 0.07 AU $\\leq a \\leq$ 1.20 AU, to examine the asteroid structure in this system. We underline that there are stable zones of at least $10^5$ yr for low-mass terrestrial planets locat...

  13. Comparative Planetology of the Terrestrial Inner Planets: Implications for Astrobiology

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schulze-Makuch, D.; Dohm, J.M.; Fairén, A.G.; Baker, V.R.; Strom, R.G.


    Venus and Mars had likely liquid water on their surface for long periods of time during their history from which life could have originated and then adapted to live in ecological niches such as the subsurface for Mars and the atmosphere for Venus.

  14. Magnetism and thermal evolution of the terrestrial planets (United States)

    Stevenson, D. J.; Spohn, T.; Schubert, G.


    The absence in the cases of Venus and Mars of the substantial intrinsic magnetic fields of the earth and Mercury is considered, in light of thermal history calculations which suggest that, while the cores of Mercury and the earth are continuing to freeze, the cores of Venus and Mars may still be completely liquid. It is noted that completely fluid cores, lacking intrinsic heat sources, are not likely to sustain thermal convection for the age of the solar system, but cool to a subadiabatic, conductive state that cannot maintain a dynamo because of the gravitational energy release and the chemically driven convection that accompany inner core growth. The models presented include realistic pressure- and composition-dependent freezing curves for the core, and material parameters are chosen so that correct present-day values of heat outflow, upper mantle temperature and viscosity, and inner core radius, are obtained for the earth.

  15. Kepler: A Search for Terrestrial Planets - Kepler Data Characterization Handbook (United States)

    Van Cleve, Jeffrey; Christiansen, J. L.; Jenkins, J. M.; Caldwell, D. A.; Barclay, T.; Bryson, S. T.; Burke, C. J.; Campbell, J.; Catanzarite, J.; Clarke, B. D.; a style="text-decoration: none; " href="javascript:void(0); " onClick="displayelement('author_20170008454'); toggleEditAbsImage('author_20170008454_show'); toggleEditAbsImage('author_20170008454_hide'); "> hide


    The Kepler Data Characteristics Handbook (KDCH) provides a description of all phenomena identified in the Kepler data throughout the mission, and an explanation for how these characteristics are handled by the final version of the Kepler Data Processing Pipeline (SOC 9.3).The KDCH complements the Kepler Data Release Notes (KDRNs), which document phenomena and processing unique to a data release. The original motivation for this separation into static, explanatory text and a more journalistic set of figures and tables in the KDRN was for the user to become familiar with the Data Characteristics Handbook, then peruse the short Notes for a new quarter, referring back to the Handbook when necessary. With the completion of the Kepler mission and the final Data Release 25, both the KDCH and the DRN encompass the entire Kepler mission, so the distinction between them is in the level of exposition, not the extent of the time interval discussed.


    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kipping, D. M.; Torres, G.; Buchhave, L. A.


    In most theories of planet formation, the snow-line represents a boundary between the emergence of the interior rocky planets and the exterior ice giants. The wide separation of the snow-line makes the discovery of transiting worlds challenging, yet transits would allow for detailed subsequent...

  17. Seismology of Giant Planets: General Overview and Results from the Kepler K2 Observations of Neptune

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gaulme Patrick


    Full Text Available For this invited contribution, I was asked to give an overview about the application of helio and aster-oseismic techniques to study the interior of giant planets, and to specifically present the recent observations of Neptune by Kepler K2. Seismology applied to giant planets could drastically change our understanding of their deep interiors, as it has happened with the Earth, the Sun, and many main-sequence and evolved stars. The study of giant planets' composition is important for understanding both the mechanisms enabling their formation and the origins of planetary systems, in particular our own. Unfortunately, its determination is complicated by the fact that their interior is thought not to be homogeneous, so that spectroscopic determinations of atmospheric abundances are probably not representative of the planet as a whole. Instead, the determination of their composition and structure must rely on indirect measurements and interior models. Giant planets are mostly fluid and convective, which makes their seismology much closer to that of solar-like stars than that of terrestrial planets. Hence, helioseismology techniques naturally transfer to giant planets. In addition, two alternative methods can be used: photometry of the solar light reflected by planetary atmospheres, and ring seismology in the specific case of Saturn. The current decade has been promising thanks to the detection of Jupiter's acoustic oscillations with the ground-based imaging-spectrometer SYMPA and indirect detection of Saturn's f-modes in its rings by the NASA Cassini orbiter. This has motivated new projects of ground-based and space-borne instruments that are under development. The K2 observations represented the first opportunity to search for planetary oscillations with visible photometry. Despite the excellent quality of K2 data, the noise level of the power spectrum of the light curve was not low enough to detect Neptune's oscillations. The main results from the

  18. Seismology of Giant Planets: General Overview and Results from the Kepler K2 Observations of Neptune (United States)

    Gaulme, Patrick


    For this invited contribution, I was asked to give an overview about the application of helio and aster-oseismic techniques to study the interior of giant planets, and to specifically present the recent observations of Neptune by Kepler K2. Seismology applied to giant planets could drastically change our understanding of their deep interiors, as it has happened with the Earth, the Sun, and many main-sequence and evolved stars. The study of giant planets' composition is important for understanding both the mechanisms enabling their formation and the origins of planetary systems, in particular our own. Unfortunately, its determination is complicated by the fact that their interior is thought not to be homogeneous, so that spectroscopic determinations of atmospheric abundances are probably not representative of the planet as a whole. Instead, the determination of their composition and structure must rely on indirect measurements and interior models. Giant planets are mostly fluid and convective, which makes their seismology much closer to that of solar-like stars than that of terrestrial planets. Hence, helioseismology techniques naturally transfer to giant planets. In addition, two alternative methods can be used: photometry of the solar light reflected by planetary atmospheres, and ring seismology in the specific case of Saturn. The current decade has been promising thanks to the detection of Jupiter's acoustic oscillations with the ground-based imaging-spectrometer SYMPA and indirect detection of Saturn's f-modes in its rings by the NASA Cassini orbiter. This has motivated new projects of ground-based and space-borne instruments that are under development. The K2 observations represented the first opportunity to search for planetary oscillations with visible photometry. Despite the excellent quality of K2 data, the noise level of the power spectrum of the light curve was not low enough to detect Neptune's oscillations. The main results from the K2 observations are

  19. Planets in a Room (United States)

    Giacomini, l.; Aloisi, F.; De Angelis, I.


    Teaching planetary science using a spherical projector to show the planets' surfaces is a very effective but usually very expensive idea. Whatsmore, it usually assumes the availability of a dedicated space and a trained user. "Planets in a room" is a prototypal low cost version of a small, spherical projector that teachers, museum, planetary scientists and other individuals can easily build and use on their own, to show and teach the planets The project of "Planets in a Room" was made by the italian non-profit association Speak Science with the collaboration of INAF-IAPS of Rome and the Roma Tre University (Dipartimento di Matematica e Fisica). This proposal was funded by the Europlanet Outreach Funding Scheme in 2016. "Planets in a room" will be presented during EPSC 2017 to give birth to the second phase of the project, when the outreach and research community will be involved and schools from all over Europe will be invited to participate with the aim of bringing planetary science to a larger audience.

  20. Planet Detectability in the Alpha Centauri System (United States)

    Zhao, Lily; Fischer, Debra A.; Brewer, John; Giguere, Matt; Rojas-Ayala, Bárbara


    We use more than a decade of radial-velocity measurements for α {Cen} A, B, and Proxima Centauri from the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher, CTIO High Resolution Spectrograph, and the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph to identify the M\\sin i and orbital periods of planets that could have been detected if they existed. At each point in a mass–period grid, we sample a simulated, Keplerian signal with the precision and cadence of existing data and assess the probability that the signal could have been produced by noise alone. Existing data places detection thresholds in the classically defined habitable zones at about M\\sin i of 53 {M}\\oplus for α {Cen} A, 8.4 {M}\\oplus for α {Cen} B, and 0.47 {M}\\oplus for Proxima Centauri. Additionally, we examine the impact of systematic errors, or “red noise” in the data. A comparison of white- and red-noise simulations highlights quasi-periodic variability in the radial velocities that may be caused by systematic errors, photospheric velocity signals, or planetary signals. For example, the red-noise simulations show a peak above white-noise simulations at the period of Proxima Centauri b. We also carry out a spectroscopic analysis of the chemical composition of the α {Centauri} stars. The stars have super-solar metallicity with ratios of C/O and Mg/Si that are similar to the Sun, suggesting that any small planets in the α {Cen} system may be compositionally similar to our terrestrial planets. Although the small projected separation of α {Cen} A and B currently hampers extreme-precision radial-velocity measurements, the angular separation is now increasing. By 2019, α {Cen} A and B will be ideal targets for renewed Doppler planet surveys.

  1. The Meridional Secondary Circulation of 3D Vortices in Rotating, Stratified, Shear and its Role in Astrophysical Flows: from a Newly Pale Great Red Spot to Planet Formation (United States)

    Marcus, P. S.; Hassanzadeh, P.


    The interest in understanding the physics of 3D, compact baroclinic vortices in rotating, stratified shear is growing. This is partly due to the fact that vortices in protoplanetary disks attract dust and may be key in planetesimal formation. The interest is also fueled by the unanswered questions about vortices of Jupiter and Saturn and the recent changes of the Jovian vortices. Examples are the appearance of the Red Oval BA in 2005, and the very recent color-change of the Great Red Spot to pale orange, which was observed in July 2012. While the dynamics of 3D baroclinic vortices in rotating stratified flows, even without shear, is poorly understood, the presence of horizontal shear strongly influences their dynamics and further complicates the problem. Studying the physics of planetary vortices and their interaction with the environment requires high-resolution 3D simulations. Ignoring the vertical direction, neglecting the vertical motion (as has been done in almost all published numerical simulations of Jovian vortices because most studies have assumed vertical hydrostatic equilibrium), or the lack of enough resolution eliminates or changes important physical processes such as the secondary circulation. This secondary, ageostrophic flow within the vortices is essential in dust accumulation and agglomeration in vortices in protoplanetary disks. The secondary circulation has been shown to be important in determining the color and cloud patterns in Jovian vortices. For example, the recent color change of the Great Red Spot can be explained by changes in its secondary circulation. It has also been suggested that the persistent rings around the Jovian anticyclones are produces by this secondary circulation. We show that the lifetimes of Jovian vortices depend upon their ability to merge with and absorb smaller vortices and also on the secondary circulations within vortices. The main dissipation mechanism for most astrophysical vortices is thermal radiation rather

  2. Used planet: a global history. (United States)

    Ellis, Erle C; Kaplan, Jed O; Fuller, Dorian Q; Vavrus, Steve; Klein Goldewijk, Kees; Verburg, Peter H


    Human use of land has transformed ecosystem pattern and process across most of the terrestrial biosphere, a global change often described as historically recent and potentially catastrophic for both humanity and the biosphere. Interdisciplinary paleoecological, archaeological, and historical studies challenge this view, indicating that land use has been extensive and sustained for millennia in some regions and that recent trends may represent as much a recovery as an acceleration. Here we synthesize recent scientific evidence and theory on the emergence, history, and future of land use as a process transforming the Earth System and use this to explain why relatively small human populations likely caused widespread and profound ecological changes more than 3,000 y ago, whereas the largest and wealthiest human populations in history are using less arable land per person every decade. Contrasting two spatially explicit global reconstructions of land-use history shows that reconstructions incorporating adaptive changes in land-use systems over time, including land-use intensification, offer a more spatially detailed and plausible assessment of our planet's history, with a biosphere and perhaps even climate long ago affected by humans. Although land-use processes are now shifting rapidly from historical patterns in both type and scale, integrative global land-use models that incorporate dynamic adaptations in human-environment relationships help to advance our understanding of both past and future land-use changes, including their sustainability and potential global effects.

  3. Location of Planet X

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Harrington, R.S.


    Observed positions of Uranus and Neptune along with residuals in right ascension and declination are used to constrain the location of a postulated tenth planet. The residuals are converted into residuals in ecliptic longitude and latitude. The results are then combined into seasonal normal points, producing average geocentric residuals spaced slightly more than a year apart that are assumed to represent the equivalent heliocentric average residuals for the observed oppositions. Such a planet is found to most likely reside in the region of Scorpius, with considerably less likelihood that it is in Taurus. 8 references.

  4. Planet destruction and the shaping of planetary nebulae (United States)

    Boyle, L. A.; Redman, M. P.


    The shaping of PNe as a result of an interaction with a planet is a hypothesis that has been suggested for nearly two decades. However, exploring the idea observationally is challenging due to the lack of capabilities needed to detect any evidence of such a scenario. Nonetheless, we propose that the hypothesis can be indirectly tested via a combination of exoplanet formation and evolution theories, the star and planet formation histories of the galaxy and the tidal evolution of star-planet systems. We present a calculation of the fraction of planetary nebulae in the galaxy today which have undergone an interaction with a planet, concluding that a significant number of visible planetary nebulae may have been shaped by a planet.

  5. Physical Conditions and Exobiology Potential of Icy Satellites of the Giant Planets (United States)

    Simakov, M. B.


    All giant planets of the Solar system have a big number of satellites. A small part of them consist very large bodies, quite comparable to planets of terrestrial type, but including very significant share of water ice. Galileo spacecraft has given indications, primarily from magnetometer and gravity data, of the possibility that three of Jupiter's four large moons, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto have internal oceans. Formation of such satellites is a natural phenomenon, and satellite systems definitely should exist at extrasolar planets. The most recent models of the icy satellites interior lead to the conclusion that a substantial liquid layer exists today under relatively thin ice cover inside. The putative internal water ocean provide some exobiological niches on these bodies. We can see all conditions needed for origin and evolution of biosphere - liquid water, complex organic chemistry and energy sources for support of biological processes - are on the moons. The existing of liquid water ocean within icy world can be consequences of the physical properties of water ice, and they neither require the addition of antifreeze substances nor any other special conditions. On Earth life exists in all niches where water exists in liquid form for at least a portion of the year. Possible metabolic processes, such as nitrate/nitrite reduction, sulfate reduction and methanogenesis could be suggested for internal oceans of Titan and Jovanian satellites. Excreted products of the primary chemoautotrophic organisms could serve as a source for other types of microorganisms (heterotrophes). Subglacial life may be widespread among such planetary bodies as satellites of extrasolar giant planets, detected in our Galaxy.

  6. More Planets in the Hyades Cluster (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna


    A few weeks ago, Astrobites reported on a Neptune-sized planet discovered orbiting a star in the Hyades cluster. A separate study submitted at the same time, however, reveals that there may be even more planets lurking in this system.Thanks, KeplerArtists impression of the Kepler spacecraft and the mapping of the fields of the current K2 mission. [NASA]As we learn about the formation and evolution of planets outside of our own solar system, its important that we search for planets throughout different types of star clusters; observing both old and young clusters, for instance, can tell us about planets in different stages of their evolutionary histories. Luckily for us, we have a tool that has been doing exactly this: the Kepler mission.In true holiday spirit, Kepler is the gift that just keeps on giving. Though two of its reaction wheels have failed, Kepler now as its reincarnation, K2 just keeps detecting more planet transits. Whats more, detailed analysis of past Kepler/K2 data with ever more powerful techniques as well as the addition of high-precision parallaxes for stars from Gaia in the near future ensures that the Kepler data set will continue to reveal new exoplanet transits for many years to come.Image of the Hyades cluster, a star cluster that is only 800 million years old. [NASA/ESA/STScI]Hunting in the Young HyadesTwo studies using K2 data were recently submitted on exoplanet discoveries around EPIC 247589423 in the Hyades cluster, a nearby star cluster that is only 800 million years old. Astrobites reported on the first study in October and discussed details about the newly discovered mini-Neptune presented in that study.The second study, led by Andrew Mann (University of Texas at Austin and NASA Hubble Fellow at Columbia University), was published this week. This study presented a slightly different outcome: the authors detect the presence of not just the one, but three exoplanets orbiting EPIC 247589423.New DiscoveriesMann and collaborators searched


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kaspi, Yohai [Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, 234 Herzl st., 76100, Rehovot (Israel); Showman, Adam P., E-mail: [Department of Planetary Sciences and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, The University of Arizona, 1629 University Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States)


    The recent discoveries of terrestrial exoplanets and super-Earths extending over a broad range of orbital and physical parameters suggest that these planets will span a wide range of climatic regimes. Characterization of the atmospheres of warm super-Earths has already begun and will be extended to smaller and more distant planets over the coming decade. The habitability of these worlds may be strongly affected by their three-dimensional atmospheric circulation regimes, since the global climate feedbacks that control the inner and outer edges of the habitable zone—including transitions to Snowball-like states and runaway-greenhouse feedbacks—depend on the equator-to-pole temperature differences, patterns of relative humidity, and other aspects of the dynamics. Here, using an idealized moist atmospheric general circulation model including a hydrological cycle, we study the dynamical principles governing the atmospheric dynamics on such planets. We show how the planetary rotation rate, stellar flux, atmospheric mass, surface gravity, optical thickness, and planetary radius affect the atmospheric circulation and temperature distribution on such planets. Our simulations demonstrate that equator-to-pole temperature differences, meridional heat transport rates, structure and strength of the winds, and the hydrological cycle vary strongly with these parameters, implying that the sensitivity of the planet to global climate feedbacks will depend significantly on the atmospheric circulation. We elucidate the possible climatic regimes and diagnose the mechanisms controlling the formation of atmospheric jet streams, Hadley and Ferrel cells, and latitudinal temperature differences. Finally, we discuss the implications for understanding how the atmospheric circulation influences the global climate.

  8. Planet population synthesis driven by pebble accretion in cluster environments (United States)

    Ndugu, N.; Bitsch, B.; Jurua, E.


    The evolution of protoplanetary discs embedded in stellar clusters depends on the age and the stellar density in which they are embedded. Stellar clusters of young age and high stellar surface density destroy protoplanetary discs by external photoevaporation and stellar encounters. Here, we consider the effect of background heating from newly formed stellar clusters on the structure of protoplanetary discs and how it affects the formation of planets in these discs. Our planet formation model is built on the core accretion scenario, where we take the reduction of the core growth time-scale due to pebble accretion into account. We synthesize planet populations that we compare to observations obtained by radial velocity measurements. The giant planets in our simulations migrate over large distances due to the fast type-II migration regime induced by a high disc viscosity (α = 5.4 × 10-3). Cold Jupiters (rp > 1 au) originate preferably from the outer disc, due to the large-scale planetary migration, while hot Jupiters (rp population of isolated stars host a significant amount of giant planets even at low metallicity, in contradiction to observations where giant planets are preferably found around high metallicity stars, indicating that pebble accretion is very efficient in the standard pebble accretion framework. On the other hand, discs around stars embedded in cluster environments hardly form any giant planets at low metallicity in agreement with observations, where these changes originate from the increased temperature in the outer parts of the disc, which prolongs the core accretion time-scale of the planet. We therefore conclude that the outer disc structure and the planet's formation location determines the giant planet occurrence rate and the formation efficiency of cold and hot Jupiters.

  9. The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey (United States)

    Macintosh, Bruce

    The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is a next-generation coronagraph constructed for the Gemini Observatory. GPI will see first light this fall. It will be the most advanced planet-imaging system in operation - an order of magnitude more sensitive than any current instrument, capable of detecting and spectroscopically characterizing young Jovian planets 107 times fainter than their parent star at separations of 0.2 arcseconds. GPI was built from the beginning as a facility-class survey instrument, and the observatory will employ it that way. Our team has been selected by Gemini Observatory to carry out an 890-hour program - the GPI Exoplanet Survey (GPIES) campaign from 2014-2017. We will observe 600 stars spanning spectral types A-M. We will use published young association catalogs and a proprietary list in preparation that adds several hundred new young (adolescent (view of the nature of wide-orbit planetary companions, informing our knowledge of solar system formation to guide future NASA planet hunting missions, while simultaneously offering a real- world program using the techniques - from integral field spectroscopy to advanced coronagraphy - that will someday be used to directly image Earthlike planets from space.

  10. Planets and satellites galore (United States)

    Marsden, B. G.


    The facts and controversies surrounding the discoveries of Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and their satellites are reviewed. Earth-approaching and earth-crossing minor planets are discussed with attention to the work of Helin and Giclas. The problems attending satellite discoveries are examined, and the criteria for 1978 P 1 is evaluated.

  11. The Planet Venus (United States)


    Physical features of the planet Venus, including its rotational characteristics and the surface properties observed by NASA's Deep Space Network radar scanner and Soviet spacecraft are examined. Atmospheric composition and circulation and the nature of the Venus clouds are also discussed in this instructional pamphlet. A reading list and student projects are included.

  12. Planets and Pucks. (United States)

    Brueningsen, Christopher; Krawiec, Wesley


    Presents a simple activity designed to allow students to experimentally verify Kepler's second law, sometimes called the law of equal areas. It states that areas swept out by a planet as it orbits the Sun are equal for equal time intervals. (PR)

  13. Searching for Circumprimary and Circumbinary Planets in Kepler Data (United States)

    Haghighipour, Nader

    We propose to use the currently available data from the Kepler space telescope (specifically, variations in transit and eclipse timing) to detect planets in circumprimary and circumbinary orbits in binary star systems. The detection of planets in close binary stars during the past decade and the recent success of the Kepler space telescope in detecting planets in circumbinary orbits strongly suggest that planet formation in and around binary stars is robust and planets of variety of sizes may exist in dual-star systems. Given that approximately 60% of the main and pre-main sequence stars are in binaries, many of such planet-hosting dual-stars are expected to exist which naturally leads to several fundamental questions on the formation, characteristics, frequency, and habitability of their planets. However, the small number of the currently known planets in binary star systems (only 8) does not allow for arriving at statistically meaningful answers to these questions. The success of the Kepler space telescope in identifying more than 2300 planetary candidates (of which many may be in close dual-stars) and over 2100 eclipsing binaries has provided rich grounds for searching for planet-hosting binary stars and increasing the number of their planets. We propose to use the data from quarter 0 (Q0) to quarter 6 (Q6), to identify the signature(s) of planet(s) in and around binary stars by analyzing the variations in the times of planetary transit or the eclipses of the binary. We will use the transit timing variations of the +2300 planetary candidates for detecting stellar companions to their planet-hosting stars, and the eclipse timing variations of the +2100 binary star systems to detect circumbinary planets. We have developed a powerful algorithm dubbed as QATS that allows us to analyze eclipse and transit timing variations accurately and efficiently. To properly account for the frequency of planets in binary stars systems and comparing that with the frequency of

  14. Trapping Dust to Form Planets (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna


    Kraus (University of Exeter) in a recent publication. Kraus and collaborators show that the protoplanetary disk of V1247 Orionis contains a ring-shaped, asymmetric inner disk component, as well as a sharply confined crescent structure. These structures are consistent with the morphologies expected from theoretical models of vortex formation in disks.Kraus and collaborators propose the following picture: an early planet is orbiting at 100 AU within the disk, generating a one-armed spiral arm as material feeds the protoplanet. As the protoplanet orbits, it clears a gap between the ring and the crescent, and it simultaneously triggers two vortices, visible as the crescent and the bright asymmetry in the ring. These vortices are then able to trap millimeter-sized particles.Gas column density of the authors radiation-hydrodynamic simulation of V1247 Orioniss disk. [Kraus et al. 2017]The authors run detailed hydrodynamics simulations of this scenario and compare them (as well as alternative theories) to the ALMA observations of V1247 Orionis. The simulations support their model, producing sample scattered-light images thatmatchwell the one-armed spiral observed in previous scattered-light images of the disk.How can we confirm V1247 Orionis providesan example of dust-trapping vortices? One piece of supporting evidence would be the discovery of the protoplanet that Kraus and collaborators theorize triggered the potential vortices in this disk. Future deeper ALMA imaging may make this possible, helping to confirm our picture of how dust builds into planets.CitationStefan Kraus et al 2017 ApJL 848 L11. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aa8edc

  15. New numerical models on giant planet formation


    A. Fortier; A. Brunini; O.G. Benvenuto


    Presentamos nuestros resultados sobre la formaci on de planetas gigantes dentro del marco del mecanismo de inestabilidad nucleada. Consideramos el r egimen de crecimiento olig arquico para el n ucleo s olido y una reducci on en la opacidad de los granos. Bajo estas suposiciones, la formaci on de planetas gigantes in situ se puede alcanzar en una escala de tiempo m as corta que la duraci on de vida de discos protoplanetarios.

  16. Rainbows, polarization, and the search for habitable planets. (United States)

    Bailey, Jeremy


    Current proposals for the characterization of extrasolar terrestrial planets rest primarily on the use of spectroscopic techniques. While spectroscopy is effective in detecting the gaseous components of a planet's atmosphere, it provides no way of detecting the presence of liquid water, the defining characteristic of a habitable planet. In this paper, I investigate the potential of an alternative technique for characterizing the atmosphere of a planet using polarization. By looking for a polarization peak at the "primary rainbow" scattering angle, it is possible to detect the presence of liquid droplets in a planet's atmosphere and constrain the nature of the liquid through its refractive index. Single scattering calculations are presented to show that a well-defined rainbow scattering peak is present over the full range of likely cloud droplet sizes and clearly distinguishes the presence of liquid droplets from solid particles such as ice or dust. Rainbow scattering has been used in the past to determine the nature of the cloud droplets in the Venus atmosphere and by the POLarization and Directionality of Earth Reflectances (POLDER) instrument to distinguish between liquid and ice clouds in the Earth atmosphere. While the presence of liquid water clouds does not guarantee the presence of water at the surface, this technique could complement spectroscopic techniques for characterizing the atmospheres of potential habitable planets. The disk-integrated rainbow peak for Earth is estimated to be at a degree of polarization of 12.7% or 15.5% for two different cloud cover scenarios. The observation of this rainbow peak is shown to be feasible with the proposed Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronograph mission in similar total integration times to those required for spectroscopic characterization.

  17. Terrestrial atmosphere, water and astrobiology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Coradini M.


    Full Text Available Primitive life, defined as a chemical system capable to transfer its molecular information via self-replication and also capable to evolve, originated about 4 billion years ago from the processing of organic molecules by liquid water. Terrestrial atmosphere played a key role in the process by allowing the permanent presence of liquid water and by participating in the production of carbon-based molecules. Water molecules exhibit specific properties mainly due to a dense network of hydrogen bonds. The carbon-based molecules were either home made in the atmosphere and/or in submarine hydrothermal systems or delivered by meteorites and micrometeorites. The search for possible places beyond the earth where the trilogy atmosphere/water/life could exist is the main objective of astrobiology. Within the Solar System, exploration missions are dedicated to Mars, Europa, Titan and the icy bodies. The discovery of several hundreds of extrasolar planets opens the quest to the whole Milky Way.

  18. Planet Detection: The Kepler Mission (United States)

    Jenkins, Jon M.; Smith, Jeffrey C.; Tenenbaum, Peter; Twicken, Joseph D.; Van Cleve, Jeffrey


    The search for exoplanets is one of the hottest topics in astronomy and astrophysics in the twenty-first century, capturing the public's attention as well as that of the astronomical community. This nascent field was conceived in 1989 with the discovery of a candidate planetary companion to HD114762 [35] and was born in 1995 with the discovery of the first extrasolar planet 51 Peg-b [37] orbiting a main sequence star. As of March, 2011, over 500 exoplanets have been discovered* and 106 are known to transit or cross their host star, as viewed from Earth. Of these transiting planets, 15 have been announced by the Kepler Mission, which was launched into an Earth-trailing, heliocentric orbit in March, 2009 [1,4,6,15,18,20,22,31,32,34,36,43]. In addition, over 1200 candidate transiting planets have already been detected by Kepler [5], and vigorous follow-up observations are being conducted to vet these candidates. As the false-positive rate for Kepler is expected to be quite low [39], Kepler has effectively tripled the number of known exoplanets. Moreover, Kepler will provide an unprecedented data set in terms of photometric precision, duration, contiguity, and number of stars. Kepler's primary science objective is to determine the frequency of Earth-size planets transiting their Sun-like host stars in the habitable zone, that range of orbital distances for which liquid water would pool on the surface of a terrestrial planet such as Earth, Mars, or Venus. This daunting task demands an instrument capable of measuring the light output from each of over 100,000 stars simultaneously with an unprecedented photometric precision of 20 parts per million (ppm) at 6.5-h intervals. The large number of stars is required because the probability of the geometrical alignment of planetary orbits that permit observation of transits is the ratio of the size of the star to the size of the planetary orbit. For Earth-like planets in 1-astronomical unit (AU) orbits† about sun-like stars

  19. A resonant chain of four transiting, sub-Neptune planets. (United States)

    Mills, Sean M; Fabrycky, Daniel C; Migaszewski, Cezary; Ford, Eric B; Petigura, Erik; Isaacson, Howard


    Surveys have revealed many multi-planet systems containing super-Earths and Neptunes in orbits of a few days to a few months. There is debate whether in situ assembly or inward migration is the dominant mechanism of the formation of such planetary systems. Simulations suggest that migration creates tightly packed systems with planets whose orbital periods may be expressed as ratios of small integers (resonances), often in a many-planet series (chain). In the hundreds of multi-planet systems of sub-Neptunes, more planet pairs are observed near resonances than would generally be expected, but no individual system has hitherto been identified that must have been formed by migration. Proximity to resonance enables the detection of planets perturbing each other. Here we report transit timing variations of the four planets in the Kepler-223 system, model these variations as resonant-angle librations, and compute the long-term stability of the resonant chain. The architecture of Kepler-223 is too finely tuned to have been formed by scattering, and our numerical simulations demonstrate that its properties are natural outcomes of the migration hypothesis. Similar systems could be destabilized by any of several mechanisms, contributing to the observed orbital-period distribution, where many planets are not in resonances. Planetesimal interactions in particular are thought to be responsible for establishing the current orbits of the four giant planets in the Solar System by disrupting a theoretical initial resonant chain similar to that observed in Kepler-223.

  20. Developments in Planet Detection using Transit Timing Variations

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Steffen, Jason H.; /Fermilab; Agol, Eric; /Washington U., Seattle, Astron. Dept.


    In a transiting planetary system, the presence of a second planet will cause the time interval between transits to vary. These transit timing variations (TTV) are particularly large near mean-motion resonances and can be used to infer the orbital elements of planets with masses that are too small to detect by any other means. The author presents the results of a study of simulated data where they show the potential that this planet detection technique has to detect and characterize secondary planets in transiting systems. These results have important ramifications for planetary transit searches since each transiting system presents an opportunity for additional discoveries through a TTV analysis. They present such an analysis for 13 transits of the HD 209458 system that were observed with the Hubble Space Telescope. This analysis indicates that a putative companion in a low-order, mean-motion resonance can be no larger than the mass of the Earth and constitutes, to date, the most sensitive probe for extrasolar planets that orbit main sequence stars. The presence or absence of small planets in low-order, mean-motion resonances has implications for theories of the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Since TTV is most sensitive in these regimes, it should prove a valuable tool not only for the detection of additional planets in transiting systems, but also as a way to determine the dominant mechanisms of planet formation and the evolution of planetary systems.

  1. Global stratigraphy. [of planet Mars (United States)

    Tanaka, Kenneth L.; Scott, David H.; Greeley, Ronald


    Attention is given to recent major advances in the definition and documentation of Martian stratigraphy and geology. Mariner 9 provided the images for the first global geologic mapping program, resulting in the recognition of the major geologic processes that have operated on the planet, and in the definition of the three major chronostratigraphic divisions: the Noachian, Hesperian, and Amazonian Systems. Viking Orbiter images permitted the recognition of additional geologic units and the formal naming of many formations. Epochs are assigned absolute ages based on the densities of superposed craters and crater-flux models. Recommendations are made with regard to future areas of study, namely, crustal stratigraphy and structure, the highland-lowland boundary, the Tharsis Rise, Valles Marineris, channels and valley networks, and possible Martian oceans, lakes, and ponds.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fossati, L.; Haswell, C. A.; Patel, M. R.; Busuttil, R. [Department of Physical Sciences, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA (United Kingdom); Bagnulo, S. [Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh BT61 9DG (United Kingdom); Kowalski, P. M. [GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam (Germany); Shulyak, D. V. [Institute of Astrophysics, Georg-August-University, Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1, D-37077 Goettingen (Germany); Sterzik, M. F., E-mail:, E-mail:, E-mail:, E-mail:, E-mail:, E-mail:, E-mail:, E-mail: [European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19 (Chile)


    Since there are several ways planets can survive the giant phase of the host star, we examine the habitability and detection of planets orbiting white dwarfs. As a white dwarf cools from 6000 K to 4000 K, a planet orbiting at 0.01 AU would remain in the continuous habitable zone (CHZ) for {approx}8 Gyr. We show that photosynthetic processes can be sustained on such planets. The DNA-weighted UV radiation dose for an Earth-like planet in the CHZ is less than the maxima encountered on Earth, and hence non-magnetic white dwarfs are compatible with the persistence of complex life. Polarization due to a terrestrial planet in the CHZ of a cool white dwarf (CWD) is 10{sup 2} (10{sup 4}) times larger than it would be in the habitable zone of a typical M-dwarf (Sun-like star). Polarimetry is thus a viable way to detect close-in rocky planets around white dwarfs. Multi-band polarimetry would also allow us to reveal the presence of a planet atmosphere, providing a first characterization. Planets in the CHZ of a 0.6 M{sub Sun} white dwarf will be distorted by Roche geometry, and a Kepler-11d analog would overfill its Roche lobe. With current facilities a super-Earth-sized atmosphereless planet is detectable with polarimetry around the brightest known CWD. Planned future facilities render smaller planets detectable, in particular by increasing the instrumental sensitivity in the blue.

  3. Extrasolar Planets in the Classroom (United States)

    George, Samuel J.


    The field of extrasolar planets is still, in comparison with other astrophysical topics, in its infancy. There have been about 300 or so extrasolar planets detected and their detection has been accomplished by various different techniques. Here we present a simple laboratory experiment to show how planets are detected using the transit technique.…

  4. Early Giant Planet Candidates from the SDSS-III MARVELS Planet Survey (United States)

    Thomas, Neil; Ge, J.; Li, R.; Sithajan, S.; Chen, Y.; Shi, J.; Ma, B.; Liu, J.


    We report the first discoveries of giant planet candidates from the SDSS-III MARVELS survey. These candidates are found using the new MARVELS data pipeline developed at UF from scratch over the past two years. Unlike the old data pipeline, this pipeline carefully corrects most of the instrument effects (such as trace, slant, distortion, drifts and dispersion) and observation condition effects (such as illumination profile). The result is long-term RV precisions that approach the photon limits in many cases and has yielded four giant planet candidates of ~1-6 Jupiter mass from only the initial fraction of data processed with the new techniques. More survey data is being processed which will likely lead to discoveries of additional giant planet candidates that will be verified and characterized with follow-up observations by the MARVELS team. The MARVELS survey has produced the largest homogeneous RV measurements of 3300 V=7.6-12 FGK stars with well defined cadence 27 RV measurements over 2 years). The MARVELS RV data and other follow-up data (photometry, high contrast imaging, high resolution spectroscopy and RV measurements) will explore the diversity of giant planet companion formation and evolution around stars with a broad range in metallicity ([Fe/H -1.5-0.5), mass ( 0.6-2.5M(sun)), and environment (thin disk and thick disk), and will help to address the key scientific questions identified for the MARVELS survey including, but not limited to: Do metal poor stars obey the same trends for planet occurrence as metal rich stars? What is the distribution of giant planets around intermediate-mass stars and binaries? Is the “planet desert” within 0.6 AU in the planet orbital distribution of intermediate-mass stars real?

  5. Formats

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gehmann, Ulrich


    Full Text Available In the following, a new conceptual framework for investigating nowadays’ “technical” phenomena shall be introduced, that of formats. The thesis is that processes of formatting account for our recent conditions of life, and will do so in the very next future. It are processes whose foundations have been laid in modernity and which will further unfold for the time being. These processes are embedded in the format of the value chain, a circumstance making them resilient to change. In addition, they are resilient in themselves since forming interconnected systems of reciprocal causal circuits.Which leads to an overall situation that our entire “Lebenswelt” became formatted to an extent we don’t fully realize, even influencing our very percep-tion of it.

  6. Urey Prize Lecture: Orbital Dynamics of Extrasolar Planets, Large and Small (United States)

    Ford, Eric B.


    For centuries, planet formation theories were fine tuned to explain the details of solar system. Since 1999, the Doppler technique has discovered dozens of multiple planet systems. The diversity of architectures of systems with giant planets challenged previous theories and led to insights into planet formation, orbital migration and the excitation of orbital eccentricities and inclinations. Recently, NASA's Kepler mission has identified over 300 systems with multiple transiting planet candidates, including many potentially rocky planets. Precise measurements of the orbital period and phase constrain the significance of mutual gravitational interactions and potential orbital resonances. For systems that are tightly-packed or near an orbital resonance, measurements of transit timing variations provide a new means for confirming transiting planets and detecting non-transiting planets in multiple planet systems, even around faint target stars. Over the course of the extended mission, Kepler is poised to measure the gravitational effects of mutual planetary perturbations for 200 planets, providing precise (but complex) constraints on planetary masses, densities and orbits. I will survey the systems with multiple transiting planet candidates identified by Kepler and discuss early efforts to translate these observations into new constraints on the formation and orbital evolution of planetary systems with low-mass planets.

  7. Heat-pipe planets (United States)

    Moore, William B.; Simon, Justin I.; Webb, A. Alexander G.


    Observations of the surfaces of all terrestrial bodies other than Earth reveal remarkable but unexplained similarities: endogenic resurfacing is dominated by plains-forming volcanism with few identifiable centers, magma compositions are highly magnesian (mafic to ultra-mafic), tectonic structures are dominantly contractional, and ancient topographic and gravity anomalies are preserved to the present. Here we show that cooling via volcanic heat pipes may explain these observations and provide a universal model of the way terrestrial bodies transition from a magma-ocean state into subsequent single-plate, stagnant-lid convection or plate tectonic phases. In the heat-pipe cooling mode, magma moves from a high melt-fraction asthenosphere through the lithosphere to erupt and cool at the surface via narrow channels. Despite high surface heat flow, the rapid volcanic resurfacing produces a thick, cold, and strong lithosphere which undergoes contractional strain forced by downward advection of the surface toward smaller radii. We hypothesize that heat-pipe cooling is the last significant endogenic resurfacing process experienced by most terrestrial bodies in the solar system, because subsequent stagnant-lid convection produces only weak tectonic deformation. Terrestrial exoplanets appreciably larger than Earth may remain in heat-pipe mode for much of the lifespan of a Sun-like star.

  8. Planet signatures in collisionally active debris discs: scattered light images (United States)

    Thebault, P.; Kral, Q.; Ertel, S.


    Context. Planet perturbations have been often invoked as a potential explanation for many spatial structures that have been imaged in debris discs. So far this issue has been mostly investigated with pure N-body numerical models, which neglect the crucial effect collisions within the disc can have on the disc's response to dynamical perturbations. Aims: We numerically investigate how the coupled effect of collisions and radiation pressure can affect the formation and survival of radial and azimutal structures in a disc perturbed by a planet. We consider two different set-ups: a planet embedded within an extended disc and a planet exterior to an inner debris ring. One important issue we want to address is under which conditions a planet's signature can be observable in a collisionally active disc. Methods: We use our DyCoSS code, which is designed to investigate the structure of perturbed debris discs at dynamical and collisional steady-state, and derive synthetic images of the system in scattered light. The planet's mass and orbit, as well as the disc's collisional activity (parameterized by its average vertical optical depth τ0) are explored as free parameters. Results: We find that collisions always significantly damp planet-induced spatial structures. For the case of an embedded planet, the planet's signature, mostly a density gap around its radial position, should remain detectable in head-on images if Mplanet ≥ MSaturn. If the system is seen edge-on, however, inferring the presence of the planet is much more difficult, as only weak asymmetries remain in a collisionally active disc, although some planet-induced signatures might be observable under very favourable conditions. For the case of an inner ring and an external planet, planetary perturbations cannot prevent collision-produced small fragments from populating the regions beyond the ring. The radial luminosity profile exterior to the ring is in most cases close to the one it should have in the absence

  9. Recognizing Vertical and Lateral Variability in Terrestrial Landscapes: A Case Study from the Paleosols of the Late Pennsylvanian Casselman Formation (Conemaugh Group Southeast Ohio, USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel Hembree


    Full Text Available The Upper Pennsylvanian Casselman Formation of southeastern Ohio contains four distinct paleosol types that formed in alluvial systems within the distal Appalachian foreland basin. The properties of these paleosols as well as their small-scale lateral and vertical variations were studied to interpret the paleoenvironmental and paleoecological conditions within the alluvial settings in which they formed. The ichnofossils and pedogenic features preserved within the paleosols of the Casselman Formation record the local climactic, hydrologic, biotic, and topographic changes that occurred in the region during the Late Pennsylvanian. The four paleosols types of the Casselman Formation are interpreted as Alfisols (Type A, Type D, Vertisols (Type B, and Inceptisols (Type D. The four paleosol types indicate different degrees of changes in local moisture regimes including water table fluctuations due to seasonal precipitation and flooding events. The assemblages of ichnofossils within the paleosol types were produced by both soil arthropods and a diverse array of plants that formed part of the different soil ecosystems present within the alluvial environment. Although regional-scale studies are important for understanding the Late Pennsylvanian world, small-scale studies are also necessary to fully understand the local pedogenic, paleoenvironmental, and paleoecologic consequences of global scale changes in paleoclimate and paleogeography.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ueta, S.; Sasaki, T., E-mail:, E-mail: [Earth and Planetary Sciences, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2-12-1 Ookayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8551 (Japan)


    Many extrasolar (bound) terrestrial planets and free-floating (unbound) planets have been discovered. While the existence of bound and unbound terrestrial planets with liquid water is an important question, of particular importance is the question of these planets' habitability. Even for a globally ice-covered planet, geothermal heat from the planetary interior may melt the interior ice, creating an internal ocean covered by an ice shell. In this paper, we discuss the conditions that terrestrial planets must satisfy for such an internal ocean to exist on the timescale of planetary evolution. The question is addressed in terms of planetary mass, distance from a central star, water abundance, and abundance of radiogenic heat sources. In addition, we investigate the structure of the surface H{sub 2}O layers of ice-covered planets by considering the effects of ice under high pressure (high-pressure ice). As a fiducial case, a 1 M{sub ⊕} planet at 1 AU from its central star and with 0.6-25 times the H{sub 2}O mass of the Earth could have an internal ocean. We find that high-pressure ice layers may appear between the internal ocean and the rock portion on a planet with an H{sub 2}O mass over 25 times that of the Earth. The planetary mass and abundance of surface water strongly restrict the conditions under which an extrasolar terrestrial planet may have an internal ocean with no high-pressure ice under the ocean. Such high-pressure ice layers underlying the internal ocean are likely to affect the habitability of the planet.

  11. Kepler-36: a pair of planets with neighboring orbits and dissimilar densities. (United States)

    Carter, Joshua A; Agol, Eric; Chaplin, William J; Basu, Sarbani; Bedding, Timothy R; Buchhave, Lars A; Christensen-Dalsgaard, Jørgen; Deck, Katherine M; Elsworth, Yvonne; Fabrycky, Daniel C; Ford, Eric B; Fortney, Jonathan J; Hale, Steven J; Handberg, Rasmus; Hekker, Saskia; Holman, Matthew J; Huber, Daniel; Karoff, Christopher; Kawaler, Steven D; Kjeldsen, Hans; Lissauer, Jack J; Lopez, Eric D; Lund, Mikkel N; Lundkvist, Mia; Metcalfe, Travis S; Miglio, Andrea; Rogers, Leslie A; Stello, Dennis; Borucki, William J; Bryson, Steve; Christiansen, Jessie L; Cochran, William D; Geary, John C; Gilliland, Ronald L; Haas, Michael R; Hall, Jennifer; Howard, Andrew W; Jenkins, Jon M; Klaus, Todd; Koch, David G; Latham, David W; MacQueen, Phillip J; Sasselov, Dimitar; Steffen, Jason H; Twicken, Joseph D; Winn, Joshua N


    In the solar system, the planets' compositions vary with orbital distance, with rocky planets in close orbits and lower-density gas giants in wider orbits. The detection of close-in giant planets around other stars was the first clue that this pattern is not universal and that planets' orbits can change substantially after their formation. Here, we report another violation of the orbit-composition pattern: two planets orbiting the same star with orbital distances differing by only 10% and densities differing by a factor of 8. One planet is likely a rocky "super-Earth," whereas the other is more akin to Neptune. These planets are 20 times more closely spaced and have a larger density contrast than any adjacent pair of planets in the solar system.

  12. The quest for very low-mass planets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mayor, M; Udry, S [Geneva Observatory, Geneva University, 51 ch des Maillettes, CH-1290 Versoix (Switzerland)], E-mail:


    The statistical results gathered on exoplanet properties over the past decade provide strong constraints for planet-formation models. They now prove to be especially important for the new category of very low-mass solid planets recently revealed by improved radial velocities, obtained mainly with the HARPS spectrograph. We review here the emerging properties of this newly discovered population, in the light of results from state-of-the-art planet-formation models. We also discuss the limitations of the radial-velocity method and the associated optimistic perspectives for the future detection of Earth-like planets in the Habitable Zone of solar-type stars, with radial velocities alone or in complement to space photometry.

  13. Almost All of Kepler's Multiple-planet Candidates Are Planets


    Lissauer, Jack J.; Marcy, Geoffrey W.; Rowe, Jason F.; Bryson, Stephen T.; Adams, Elisabeth; Buchhave, Lars A.; Ciardi, David R.; Cochran, William D.; Fabrycky, Daniel C.; Ford, Eric B.; Fressin, Francois; Geary, John; Gilliland, Ronald L.; Holman, Matthew J.; Howell, Steve B.


    We present a statistical analysis that demonstrates that the overwhelming majority of Kepler candidate multiple transiting systems (multis) indeed represent true, physically associated transiting planets. Binary stars provide the primary source of false positives among Kepler planet candidates, implying that false positives should be nearly randomly distributed among Kepler targets. In contrast, true transiting planets would appear clustered around a smaller number of Kepler targets if detect...

  14. Stars and Planets (United States)

    Neta, Miguel


    'Estrelas e Planetas' (Stars and Planets) project was developed during the academic year 2009/2010 and was tested on three 3rd grade classes of one school in Quarteira, Portugal. The aim was to encourage the learning of science and the natural and physical phenomena through the construction and manipulation of materials that promote these themes - in this case astronomy. Throughout the project the students built a small book containing three themes of astronomy: differences between stars and planets, the solar system and the phases of the Moon. To each topic was devoted two sessions of about an hour each: the first to teach the theoretical aspects of the theme and the second session to assembly two pages of the book. All materials used (for theoretical sessions and for the construction of the book) and videos of the finished book are available for free use in So far there is only a Portuguese version but soon will be published in English as well. This project won the Excellency Prize 2011 of Casa das Ciências, a portuguese site for teachers supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Fundation (

  15. Simulations of Superrotation on Slowly Rotating Planets: Sensitivity to Rotation and Initial Condition (United States)

    Del Genio, Anthony D.; Zhou, Wei


    We use a simplified terrestrial general circulation model as a nonlinear process model to investigate factors that influence the extent of equatorial superrotation in statically stable atmospheres on slowly rotating planets such as Titan and Venus. The possibility of multiple equilibria is tested by running the same model to equilibrium from vastly different initial conditions. The final state is effectively independent of initial state, reinforcing the impression that equatorial superrotation is inevitable on slowly rotating planets with stable radiative equilibrium structures. Of particular interest is the fact that at Titan rotation, the model equilibrates with strong prograde winds even when initialized with strong retrograde winds. This suggests that reliable remote sensing inferences of latitudinal temperature gradients on Titan can unambiguously be interpreted as evidence for superrotation. We also demonstrate for the first time that significant equatorial superrotation can be produced at Venus' rotation rate in such models, given sufficient numerical precision. The strength of superrotating zonal winds increases with rotation rate in the slowly rotating regime when other parameters are held fixed. However, the efficiency of superrotation relative to the angular momentum of an atmosphere corotating with the solid planet increases with decreasing rotation rate instead, because the Hadley cell strengthens and expands poleward. This allows for the formation of stronger high latitude jets, which ultimately serve as the source for equatorial superrotation via barotropic instability. Estimates of relevant parameter settings for Triton and Pluto tentatively imply that their atmospheres may marginally be in the superrotating regime, but only if temperature decreases with height near the surface.

  16. Planet X - Fact or fiction? (United States)

    Anderson, John


    The search for a possible tenth planet in our solar system is examined. The history of the discoveries of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are reviewed. Searches of the sky with telescopes and theoretical studies of the gravitational influences on the orbits of known objects in the solar system are discussed. Information obtained during the Pioneer 10 and 11 missions which could suggest the presence of an undiscovered planet and computer simulations of the possible orbit of a tenth planet are presented.

  17. Planet X - ract or fiction

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Anderson, J.


    The search for a possible tenth planet in our solar system is examined. The history of the discoveries of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are reviewed. Searches of the sky with telescopes and theoretical studies of the gravitational influences on the orbits of known objects in the solar system are discussed. Information obtained during the Pioneer 10 and 11 missions which could suggest the presence of an undiscovered planet and computer simulations of the possible orbit of a tenth planet are presented.

  18. The hunt for Planet X

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Croswell, Ken


    This article examines the hypothesis that an, as yet unobserved, planet, beyond the orbit of Pluto is responsible for peculiarities in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. A brief overview of the discovery and observation of the outer planets is offered. The evidence for and against the proposition is noted, and the work of two present day scientists, is mentioned both of whom agree with the idea, and are searching for optical proof of the planet's existence. U.K.

  19. Planet X - Fact or fiction? (United States)

    Anderson, John


    The search for a possible tenth planet in our solar system is examined. The history of the discoveries of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are reviewed. Searches of the sky with telescopes and theoretical studies of the gravitational influences on the orbits of known objects in the solar system are discussed. Information obtained during the Pioneer 10 and 11 missions which could suggest the presence of an undiscovered planet and computer simulations of the possible orbit of a tenth planet are presented.

  20. Professor: The Animal Planet Optimization


    Satish Gajawada


    This paper is dedicated to everyone who is interested in making this planet a better place to live. In the past, researchers have explored behavior of several animals separately. But there is scope to explore in the direction where various artificial animals together solve the optimization problem. In this paper, Satish Gajawada proposed The AnimalPlanet Optimization. The concept of this paper is to imitate all the animals on this planet. The idea is to solve the optimization problem where al...


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Eggl, Siegfried; Pilat-Lohinger, Elke [University of Vienna, Institute for Astrophysics, Tuerkenschanzstr. 17, A-1180 Vienna (Austria); Haghighipour, Nader, E-mail: [Institute for Astronomy and NASA Astrobiology Institute, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States)


    Given the considerable percentage of stars that are members of binaries or stellar multiples in the solar neighborhood, it is expected that many of these binaries host planets, possibly even habitable ones. The discovery of a terrestrial planet in the {alpha} Centauri system supports this notion. Due to the potentially strong gravitational interaction that an Earth-like planet may experience in such systems, classical approaches to determining habitable zones (HZ), especially in close S-type binary systems, can be rather inaccurate. Recent progress in this field, however, allows us to identify regions around the star permitting permanent habitability. While the discovery of {alpha} Cen Bb has shown that terrestrial planets can be detected in solar-type binary stars using current observational facilities, it remains to be shown whether this is also the case for Earth analogs in HZs. We provide analytical expressions for the maximum and rms values of radial velocity and astrometric signals, as well as transit probabilities of terrestrial planets in such systems, showing that the dynamical interaction of the second star with the planet may indeed facilitate the planets' detection. As an example, we discuss the detectability of additional Earth-like planets in the averaged, extended, and permanent HZs around both stars of the {alpha} Centauri system.

  2. Kepler planet-detection mission

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Borucki...[], William J.; Koch, David; Buchhave, Lars C. Astrup


    The Kepler mission was designed to determine the frequency of Earth-sized planets in and near the habitable zone of Sun-like stars. The habitable zone is the region where planetary temperatures are suitable for water to exist on a planet’s surface. During the first 6 weeks of observations, Kepler...... is one of the lowest-density planets (~0.17 gram per cubic centimeter) yet detected. Kepler-5b, -6b, and -8b confirm the existence of planets with densities lower than those predicted for gas giant planets....

  3. Evolution of planet crossing asteroids in the inner Main Belt

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ribeiro, A O; Roig, F, E-mail: [Observatorio Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, 20921-400, RJ (Brazil)


    We studied the dynamical evolution of asteroids in terrestrial planet crossing orbits, located between 2.1 and 2.5 AU. The evolution is analyzed by direct numerical integration of massless particles under the gravitational influence of all planets from Venus to Neptune. The simulations include the Yarkovsky effect, introduced as a non conservative force that produces a slow variation of the average orbital semimajor axis. Our analysis focuses on the test particles that can reach the middle and outer regions of the Main Belt (semimajor axis > 2.5 AU) during their evolution, since these may be relevant for understanding the transport mechanisms of asteroids from the inner Belt. These mechanisms could help to explain, for example, the existence of basaltic asteroids beyond 2.5 AU assuming that these bodies originate in the Vesta family, located at {approx} 2.3 AU. We found that, although some orbits that reach the middle and outer regions of the Belt can become temporarily detached from the planet crossing regime, and may have their orbital eccentricities damped due to capture at some mean motion resonances, such orbits survive for only a few hundred thousand years and, ultimately, the test particles return to the planet crossing regime being eventually discarded by close encounters with the planets. These results seem to indicate that a transport mechanism based only on planetary encounters and resonant capture might not be efficient enough to justify the presence of basaltic asteroids beyond 2.5 AU.

  4. SIM's Search for Planets Orbiting White Dwarfs (United States)

    Subasavage, John P., Jr.


    Once launched, The Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) will be the most precise astrometric instrument ever developed. These capabilities are vital to exoplanetary studies, in particular, for low-mass, Earthlike planets. I propose to use SIM to observe a sample ( 25-50) of nearby white dwarfs in hopes of detecting planetary companions with masses in the 10 Earth mass range on average. Because of the nature of white dwarfs' spectral signatures (a few broad, if any, absorption lines), current radial velocity planet hunting techniques are not viable. Astrometry is currently the only technique capable of detecting low mass planets around white dwarfs and SIM would be the best suited astrometric instrument to do so. Planetary detections around white dwarfs would better enable us to probe planetary formation theory as well as planetary evolution theory in conjunction with stellar evolution. Because astrometric signatures are inversely related to distance, the closer the system, the larger the signature (all else being equal). Because most stars will eventually end their lives as white dwarfs, these objects are plentiful and on average, closer to the Sun than more rare objects. Thus, a number of white dwarfs are close enough to the Sun to permit low mass planetary signature detections. Given that white dwarfs are the remnants of main-sequence dwarfs with spectral classes from B to K (thus far), we could better understand planetary formation over a broader range of objects than those currently investigated using radial velocity techniques (F, G, and K stars primarily).

  5. How Do Earth-Sized, Short-Period Planets Form? (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna


    day)23 hot Jupiters (larger than 4 times Earths radius and orbital period shorter than 10 days)243 small hot planets (smaller than 4 times Earths radius and orbital period between 1 and 10 days)They then compare the metallicity distributions of these three groups.Back to the Drawing BoardMetallicity distributions of the three statistical samples. The hot-Jupiter hosts (orange) have different distribution than the others; it is weighted more toward higher metallicities. [Winn et al. 2017]Winn and collaborators find that hosts of ultra-short-period planets do not have the same metallicity distribution as hot-Jupiter hosts; the metallicities of hot-Jupiter hosts are significantly higher. The metallicity distributions for hosts of ultra-short-period planets and hosts of small hot planets were statistically indistinguishable, however.These results strongly suggest that the majority of ultra-short-period planets are not the cores of former hot Jupiters. Alternative options include the possibility that they are the cores of smaller planets, such as sub-Neptunes, or that they are the short-period extension of the distribution of close-in, small rocky planets that formed by core accretion.This narrowing of the options for the formation of ultra-short-period planets is certainly intriguing. We can hope to further explore possibilities in the future after the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellites (TESS) comes online next year; TESS is expected to discover many more ultra-short-period planets that are too faint for Kepler to detect.CitationJoshua N. Winn et al 2017 AJ 154 60. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/aa7b7c

  6. Imaginative geographies of Mars: The science and significance of the red planet, 1877--1910 (United States)

    Lane, Kristina Maria Doyle


    manipulation of cartographic conventions, astronomers also often employed representational techniques from the popular travel narratives, explorer accounts, and geographical expeditions of the day to imagine a landscape they could never visit. Aligning themselves with the emerging observational geosciences, astronomers prioritized direct observation and rhetorically invoked a geographical gaze to establish legitimacy for their work, producing in the process a familiar, Earthlike picture of Martian geography that contributed to widespread interest in the planet's possible habitability. These strong links between Mars astronomy and geographical science suggest that scientific claims about the red planet should be re-examined and re- contextualized in relation to terrestrial geographical knowledge production. Illustrating the value of this approach, the dissertation compares several Mars-related tropes with contemporaneous geographical descriptions of terrestrial landscapes and cultures. This analysis shows that Mars was constructed as an arid, irrigated, dying planet in many of the same ways that Earth's own desert regions were portrayed in imperial narratives. As astronomers and science writers drew on various audiences' understandings of arid landscapes, they also used Mars as a site of projection for geographical concerns regarding climate and landscape change. Similarly, dominant representations of Martian culture were influenced by Social Darwinist philosophy and the environmentally deterministic traditions of geographical writing about the non-Western Other. At the same time, however, the construction of a superior Martian in both scientific and popular texts and images indicates that the narratives surrounding Mars departed in significant ways from typical writing about the terrestrial world. The production of geographical knowledge regarding Mars is thus shown as a potential site for re- producing terrestrial geographies during a formative phase in geography

  7. Geochemical Evidence for a Terrestrial Magma Ocean (United States)

    Agee, Carl B.


    The aftermath of phase separation and crystal-liquid fractionation in a magma ocean should leave a planet geochemically differentiated. Subsequent convective and other mixing processes may operate over time to obscure geochemical evidence of magma ocean differentiation. On the other hand, core formation is probably the most permanent, irreversible part of planetary differentiation. Hence the geochemical traces of core separation should be the most distinct remnants left behind in the mantle and crust, In the case of the Earth, core formation apparently coincided with a magma ocean that extended to a depth of approximately 1000 km. Evidence for this is found in high pressure element partitioning behavior of Ni and Co between liquid silicate and liquid iron alloy, and with the Ni-Co ratio and the abundance of Ni and Co in the Earth's upper mantle. A terrestrial magma ocean with a depth of 1000 km will solidify from the bottom up and first crystallize in the perovskite stability field. The largest effect of perovskite fractionation on major element distribution is to decrease the Si-Mg ratio in the silicate liquid and increase the Si-Mg ratio in the crystalline cumulate. Therefore, if a magma ocean with perovskite fractionation existed, then one could expect to observe an upper mantle with a lower than chondritic Si-Mg ratio. This is indeed observed in modern upper mantle peridotites. Although more experimental work is needed to fully understand the high-pressure behavior of trace element partitioning, it is likely that Hf is more compatible than Lu in perovskite-silicate liquid pairs. Thus, perovskite fractionation produces a molten mantle with a higher than chondritic Lu-Hf ratio. Arndt and Blichert-Toft measured Hf isotope compositions of Barberton komatiites that seem to require a source region with a long-lived, high Lu-Hf ratio. It is plausible that that these Barberton komatiites were generated within the majorite stability field by remelting a perovskite

  8. Geological remote sensing signatures of terrestrial impact craters (United States)

    Garvin, J. B.; Schnetzler, C.; Grieve, R. A. F.


    Geological remote sensing techniques can be used to investigate structural, depositional, and shock metamorphic effects associated with hypervelocity impact structures, some of which may be linked to global Earth system catastrophies. Although detailed laboratory and field investigations are necessary to establish conclusive evidence of an impact origin for suspected crater landforms, the synoptic perspective provided by various remote sensing systems can often serve as a pathfinder to key deposits which can then be targetted for intensive field study. In addition, remote sensing imagery can be used as a tool in the search for impact and other catastrophic explosion landforms on the basis of localized disruption and anomaly patterns. In order to reconstruct original dimensions of large, complex impact features in isolated, inaccessible regions, remote sensing imagery can be used to make preliminary estimates in the absence of field geophysical surveys. The experienced gained from two decades of planetary remote sensing of impact craters on the terrestrial planets, as well as the techniques developed for recognizing stages of degradation and initial crater morphology, can now be applied to the problem of discovering and studying eroded impact landforms on Earth. Preliminary results of remote sensing analyses of a set of terrestrial impact features in various states of degradation, geologic settings, and for a broad range of diameters and hence energies of formation are summarized. The intention is to develop a database of remote sensing signatures for catastrophic impact landforms which can then be used in EOS-era global surveys as the basis for locating the possibly hundreds of missing impact structures. In addition, refinement of initial dimensions of extremely recent structures such as Zhamanshin and Bosumtwi is an important objective in order to permit re-evaluation of global Earth system responses associated with these types of events.

  9. Search for planet X (United States)

    Harrington, Robert S.


    The observation of the region of the sky in which it is believed Planet X should now be, based on perturbations observed in the motions of Uranus and Neptune, was determined, and there was no reason to update that determination. A limited area of that region was photographed, and that will be continued. A given area is photographed with the twin 20 cm astrograph in New Zealand on two successive nights near the time that area is in opposition, and these plates are blinked in Washington to identify anything that has moved. The predicted region is in the south, which requires observations from a southern station, and it is in opposition in the April to June period, which means observations have not yet started for the year. Blinking will be done as soon as the plates are received in Washington.

  10. From Pixels to Planets (United States)

    Brownston, Lee; Jenkins, Jon M.


    The Kepler Mission was launched in 2009 as NASAs first mission capable of finding Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of Sun-like stars. Its telescope consists of a 1.5-m primary mirror and a 0.95-m aperture. The 42 charge-coupled devices in its focal plane are read out every half hour, compressed, and then downlinked monthly. After four years, the second of four reaction wheels failed, ending the original mission. Back on earth, the Science Operations Center developed the Science Pipeline to analyze about 200,000 target stars in Keplers field of view, looking for evidence of periodic dimming suggesting that one or more planets had crossed the face of its host star. The Pipeline comprises several steps, from pixel-level calibration, through noise and artifact removal, to detection of transit-like signals and the construction of a suite of diagnostic tests to guard against false positives. The Kepler Science Pipeline consists of a pipeline infrastructure written in the Java programming language, which marshals data input to and output from MATLAB applications that are executed as external processes. The pipeline modules, which underwent continuous development and refinement even after data started arriving, employ several analytic techniques, many developed for the Kepler Project. Because of the large number of targets, the large amount of data per target and the complexity of the pipeline algorithms, the processing demands are daunting. Some pipeline modules require days to weeks to process all of their targets, even when run on NASA's 128-node Pleiades supercomputer. The software developers are still seeking ways to increase the throughput. To date, the Kepler project has discovered more than 4000 planetary candidates, of which more than 1000 have been independently confirmed or validated to be exoplanets. Funding for this mission is provided by NASAs Science Mission Directorate.

  11. Very high-density planets: a possible remnant of gas giants. (United States)

    Mocquet, A; Grasset, O; Sotin, C


    Data extracted from the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia (see show the existence of planets that are more massive than iron cores that would have the same size. After meticulous verification of the data, we conclude that the mass of the smallest of these planets is actually not known. However, the three largest planets, Kepler-52b, Kepler-52c and Kepler-57b, which are between 30 and 100 times the mass of the Earth, have indeed density larger than an iron planet of the same size. This observation triggers this study that investigates under which conditions these planets could represent the naked cores of gas giants that would have lost their atmospheres during their migration towards the star. This study shows that for moderate viscosity values (10(25) Pa s or lower), large values of escape rate and associated unloading stress rate during the atmospheric loss process lead to the explosion of extremely massive planets. However, for moderate escape rate, the bulk viscosity and finite-strain incompressibility of the cores of giant planets can be large enough to retain a very high density during geological time scales. This would make those a new kind of planet, which would help in understanding the interior structure of the gas giants. However, this new family of exoplanets adds some degeneracy for characterizing terrestrial exoplanets.

  12. Spectral fingerprints of Earth-like planets around FGK stars. (United States)

    Rugheimer, Sarah; Kaltenegger, Lisa; Zsom, Andras; Segura, Antígona; Sasselov, Dimitar


    We present model atmospheres for an Earth-like planet orbiting the entire grid of main sequence FGK stars with effective temperatures ranging from Teff=4250 K to Teff=7000 K in 250 K intervals. We have modeled the remotely detectable spectra of Earth-like planets for clear and cloudy atmospheres at the 1 AU equivalent distance from the VIS to IR (0.4 to 20 μm) to compare detectability of features in different wavelength ranges in accordance with the James Webb Space Telescope and future design concepts to characterize exo-Earths. We have also explored the effect of the stellar UV levels as well as spectral energy distribution on a terrestrial atmosphere, concentrating on detectable atmospheric features that indicate habitability on Earth, namely, H2O, O3, CH4, N2O, and CH3Cl. The increase in UV dominates changes of O3, OH, CH4, N2O, and CH3Cl, whereas the increase in stellar temperature dominates changes in H2O. The overall effect as stellar effective temperatures and corresponding UV increase is a lower surface temperature of the planet due to a bigger part of the stellar flux being reflected at short wavelengths, as well as increased photolysis. Earth-like atmosphere models show more O3 and OH but less stratospheric CH4, N2O, CH3Cl, and tropospheric H2O (but more stratospheric H2O) with increasing effective temperature of main sequence stars. The corresponding detectable spectral features, on the other hand, show different detectability depending on the wavelength observed. We concentrate on directly imaged planets here as a framework to interpret future light curves, direct imaging, and secondary eclipse measurements of atmospheres of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone at varying orbital positions.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wright, D. J.; Wittenmyer, R. A.; Tinney, C. G.; Bentley, J. S.; Zhao, Jinglin, E-mail: [Department of Astronomy and Australian Centre for Astrobiology, School of Physics, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052 (Australia)


    We use archival HARPS spectra to detect three planets orbiting the M3 dwarf Wolf 1061 (GJ 628). We detect a 1.36 M{sub ⊕} minimum-mass planet with an orbital period P = 4.888 days (Wolf 1061b), a 4.25 M{sub ⊕} minimum-mass planet with orbital period P = 17.867 days (Wolf 1061c), and a likely 5.21 M{sub ⊕} minimum-mass planet with orbital period P = 67.274 days (Wolf 1061d). All of the planets are of sufficiently low mass that they may be rocky in nature. The 17.867 day planet falls within the habitable zone for Wolf 1061 and the 67.274 day planet falls just outside the outer boundary of the habitable zone. There are no signs of activity observed in the bisector spans, cross-correlation FWHMs, calcium H and K indices, NaD indices, or Hα indices near the planetary periods. We use custom methods to generate a cross-correlation template tailored to the star. The resulting velocities do not suffer the strong annual variation observed in the HARPS DRS velocities. This differential technique should deliver better exploitation of the archival HARPS data for the detection of planets at extremely low amplitudes.

  14. Chemical kinetics on extrasolar planets. (United States)

    Moses, Julianne I


    Chemical kinetics plays an important role in controlling the atmospheric composition of all planetary atmospheres, including those of extrasolar planets. For the hottest exoplanets, the composition can closely follow thermochemical-equilibrium predictions, at least in the visible and infrared photosphere at dayside (eclipse) conditions. However, for atmospheric temperatures approximately planets.

  15. Kepler Planets Tend to Have Siblings of the Same Size (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna


    planets in 37 Kepler multiplanet systems to explore this question of whether exoplanets in a multiplanet system are more likely to have similar masses rather than random ones.Millholland and collaborators find that the masses do show the same clustering trend as radii in multiplanet systems i.e., sibling planets in the same system tend to have both masses and radii that are more similar than if the system were randomly assembled from the total population of planets weve observed. Furthermore, the masses and radii tend to be ordered within a system when the planets are ranked by their periods.The host stars metallicity is correlated with the median planetary radius for a system. [Adapted from Millholland et al. 2017]The authors note two important implications of these results:The scatter in the relation between mass and radius of observed exoplanets is primarily due to system-to-system variability, rather than the variability within each system.Knowing the properties of a star and its primordial protoplanetary disk might allow us to predict the outcome of the planet formation process for the system.Following up on the second point, the authors test whether certain properties of the host star correlate with properties of the planets. They find that the stellar mass and metallicity have a significant effect on the planet properties and the structure of the system.Continuing to explore multiplanet systems like these appears to be an excellent path forward for understanding the hidden order in the broad variety of exoplanets weve observed.CitationSarah Millholland et al 2017 ApJL 849 L33. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aa9714

  16. Two Small Planets: Vesta Revealed and Ceres Anticipated (United States)

    Russell, C. T.; Raymond, C. A.; McSween, H. Y.; Jaumann, R.; Nathues, A.; DeSanctis, M. C.; Prettyman, T. H.; McCord, T. B.; Polanskey, C. A.; Joy, S. P.


    Dawn's observations at Vesta both confirmed our expectations and provided the details that establish Vesta as a mini-world with many of the planetary processes studied on the other terrestrial planets. The HED meteorites have proven to be accurate harbingers of the composition of Vesta's crust, adding confirmation to the standard model of solar system formation, including the Jupiter Early Bombardment and the Late Heavy Bombardment. While a precise chronology has not been established, a deeper understanding of the uncertainties has been gained with better understanding of the aging of the surface. The distribution of eucrite, diogenite and olivine on the surface is consistent with a largely molten interior and the inferred iron core is consistent with expected starting materials. The surface of Vesta has steep slopes and evidence for global tectonics. It shows evidence for delivery of exogenic dark carbonaceous material to Vesta's surface and incorporation into the regolith. Vesta shows evidence for devolatization in recent craters and transient liquid flows in the walls of these same craters indicating a wetter Vesta than many had anticipated. Vesta has both confirmed our expectations and surprised us simultaneously. Dawn has left Vesta and is on course for Ceres arriving in Spring 2015. Ceres is a much different body. Its shape is well described by an oblate spheroid with axes a = 487 km and b = 455 km, with a mass of 9.4 x 1020 kg and corresponding density of 2100 kg/m3. This density is consistent with a water fraction of about 25%. We expect a smoother surface at Ceres than we found at Vesta and a younger surface. There is no meteoritic record to inform our expectations. We are planning similar operations at Ceres as at Vesta: a Survey orbit, a High Altitude Mapping Orbit and a Low Altitude Mapping Orbit. The operations will take longer than at Vesta because the corresponding orbits are significantly longer at Ceres due to its lower density and because orbit

  17. Definition of Physical Height Systems for Telluric Planets and Moons (United States)

    Tenzer, Robert; Foroughi, Ismael; Sjöberg, Lars E.; Bagherbandi, Mohammad; Hirt, Christian; Pitoňák, Martin


    In planetary sciences, the geodetic (geometric) heights defined with respect to the reference surface (the sphere or the ellipsoid) or with respect to the center of the planet/moon are typically used for mapping topographic surface, compilation of global topographic models, detailed mapping of potential landing sites, and other space science and engineering purposes. Nevertheless, certain applications, such as studies of gravity-driven mass movements, require the physical heights to be defined with respect to the equipotential surface. Taking the analogy with terrestrial height systems, the realization of height systems for telluric planets and moons could be done by means of defining the orthometric and geoidal heights. In this case, however, the definition of the orthometric heights in principle differs. Whereas the terrestrial geoid is described as an equipotential surface that best approximates the mean sea level, such a definition for planets/moons is irrelevant in the absence of (liquid) global oceans. A more natural choice for planets and moons is to adopt the geoidal equipotential surface that closely approximates the geometric reference surface (the sphere or the ellipsoid). In this study, we address these aspects by proposing a more accurate approach for defining the orthometric heights for telluric planets and moons from available topographic and gravity models, while adopting the average crustal density in the absence of reliable crustal density models. In particular, we discuss a proper treatment of topographic masses in the context of gravimetric geoid determination. In numerical studies, we investigate differences between the geodetic and orthometric heights, represented by the geoidal heights, on Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Moon. Our results reveal that these differences are significant. The geoidal heights on Mercury vary from - 132 to 166 m. On Venus, the geoidal heights are between - 51 and 137 m with maxima on this planet at Atla Regio and Beta

  18. What can we learn from atmospheres of transitioning low-mass towards habitable planets? (United States)

    Ikoma, Masahiro


    Transit observations with the Kepler space telescope revealed that planets smaller than Neptune are much more abundant than gas giants beyond our Solar System. The observed mass-radius relationships for such small planets are known to be diverse, which may mean that the amount of the atmospheric gas differs from planet to planet. Also, recent observational characterization of atmospheres of some transiting low-mass exoplanets suggests that the atmospheric composition is also diverse. Thus, understanding the diversity of atmospheres of transiting low-mass planets and their origins must be a key to predicting possible diversity of planets in habitable zones. In this paper, I will overview recent theories of the formation and evolution of planetary atmosphere. I will also discuss what we can learn from on-going and future observations for characterizing transiting planet atmospheres.

  19. Formation of planetary embryos from planetesimals (United States)

    Rafikov, Roman Ravilevich

    This thesis is devoted to studying some aspects of the formation of terrestrial planets. Although it is currently widely accepted that terrestrial planets form by agglomeration of a large number of rocky or icy bodies called planetesimals there is still a number of unresolved issues hindering our understanding of this process. I concentrate my research on the dynamical interaction of planetesimal disk with the planetary embryos—precursors of protoplanets. I investigate the development of nonuniformities in the planetesimal disk using analytical techniques employing the methods of statistical mechanics, which is justified by the huge number of planetesimals under consideration. This treatment self-consistently accounts for the evolution of the planetesimal kinematic properties, which is coupled to spatial redistribution of planetesimals in the disk. Planetesimal-planetesimal and embryo- planetesimal interactions are studied in two different velocity regimes: when the average approach velocities of interacting bodies are dominated by their epicyclic motion (dispersion-dominated regime) and when they are dominated by the differential shear in the disk (shear- dominated regime). The intermediate regime is modeled by interpolation. I show that the embryo always tries to repel planetesimals away and produce a depression in planetesimal surface density around its semimajor axis, while the planetesimal-planetesimal scattering acts as a source of effective viscosity which opposes this tendency and tries to smooth any inhomogeneities in the disk. The mutual gravitational interaction between planetesimals also increases their epicyclic motion throughout the disk. Embryo-planetesimal interaction leads to the same dynamical effect but localized spatially in the narrow zone around the embryo's orbit. The formation of inhomogeneities and excitation of planetesimal epicyclic motion in the disk nearby strongly affects the accretion rate of the embryo. I demonstrate that the

  20. Terrestrial Subsurface Ecosystem

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wilkins, Michael J.; Fredrickson, Jim K.


    The Earth’s crust is a solid cool layer that overlays the mantle, with a varying thickness of between 30-50 km on continental plates, and 5-10 km on oceanic plates. Continental crust is composed of a variety of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks that weather and re-form over geologic cycles lasting millions to billions of years. At the crust surface, these weathered minerals and organic material combine to produce a variety of soils types that provide suitable habitats and niches for abundant microbial diversity (see Chapter 4). Beneath this soil zone is the subsurface. Once thought to be relatively free of microorganisms, recent estimates have calculated that between 1016-1017 g C biomass (2-19% of Earth’s total biomass) may be present in this environment (Whitman et al., 1998;McMahon and Parnell, 2014). Microbial life in the subsurface exists across a wide range of habitats: in pores associated with relatively shallow unconsolidated aquifer sediments to fractures in bedrock formations that are more than a kilometer deep, where extreme lithostatic pressures and temperatures are encountered. While these different environments contain varying physical and chemical conditions, the absence of light is a constant. Despite this, diverse physiologies and metabolisms enable microorganisms to harness energy and carbon for growth in water-filled pore spaces and fractures. Carbon and other element cycles are driven by microbial activity, which has implications for both natural processes and human activities in the subsurface, e.g., bacteria play key roles in both hydrocarbon formation and degradation. Hydrocarbons are a major focus for human utilization of the subsurface, via oil and gas extraction and potential geologic CO2 sequestration. The subsurface is also utilized or being considered for sequestered storage of high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power generation and residual waste from past production of weapons grade nuclear materials. While our

  1. Giant Planet Candidates, Brown Dwarfs, and Binaries from the SDSS-III MARVELS Planet Survey. (United States)

    Thomas, Neil; Ge, Jian; Li, Rui; de Lee, Nathan M.; Heslar, Michael; Ma, Bo; SDSS-Iii Marvels Team


    We report the discoveries of giant planet candidates, brown dwarfs, and binaries from the SDSS-III MARVELS survey. The finalized 1D pipeline has provided 18 giant planet candidates, 16 brown dwarfs, and over 500 binaries. An additional 96 targets having RV variability indicative of a giant planet companion are also reported for future investigation. These candidates are found using the advanced MARVELS 1D data pipeline developed at UF from scratch over the past three years. This pipeline carefully corrects most of the instrument effects (such as trace, slant, distortion, drifts and dispersion) and observation condition effects (such as illumination profile, fiber degradation, and tracking variations). The result is long-term RV precisions that approach the photon limits in many cases for the ~89,000 individual stellar observations. A 2D version of the pipeline that uses interferometric information is nearing completion and is demonstrating a reduction of errors to half the current levels. The 2D processing will be used to increase the robustness of the detections presented here and to find new candidates in RV regions not confidently detectable with the 1D pipeline. The MARVELS survey has produced the largest homogeneous RV measurements of 3300 V=7.6-12 FGK stars with a well defined cadence of 27 RV measurements over 2 years. The MARVELS RV data and other follow-up data (photometry, high contrast imaging, high resolution spectroscopy and RV measurements) will explore the diversity of giant planet companion formation and evolution around stars with a broad range in metallicity (Fe/H -1.5-0.5), mass ( 0.6-2.5M(sun)), and environment (thin disk and thick disk), and will help to address the key scientific questions identified for the MARVELS survey including, but not limited to: Do metal poor stars obey the same trends for planet occurrence as metal rich stars? What is the distribution of giant planets around intermediate-mass stars and binaries? Is the 'planet desert

  2. Do planets remember how they formed? (United States)

    Kipping, David


    One of the most directly observable features of a transiting multiplanet system is their size-ordering when ranked in orbital separation. Kepler has revealed a rich diversity of outcomes, from perfectly ordered systems, like Kepler-80, to ostensibly disordered systems, like Kepler-20. Under the hypothesis that systems are born via preferred formation pathways, one might reasonably expect non-random size-orderings reflecting these processes. However, subsequent dynamical evolution, often chaotic and turbulent in nature, may erode this information and so here we ask - do systems remember how they formed? To address this, we devise a model to define the entropy of a planetary system's size-ordering, by first comparing differences between neighbouring planets and then extending to accommodate differences across the chain. We derive closed-form solutions for many of the microstate occupancies and provide public code with look-up tables to compute entropy for up to 10-planet systems. All three proposed entropy definitions exhibit the expected property that their credible interval increases with respect to a proxy for time. We find that the observed Kepler multis display a highly significant deficit in entropy compared to a randomly generated population. Incorporating a filter for systems deemed likely to be dynamically packed, we show that this result is robust against the possibility of missing planets too. Put together, our work establishes that Kepler systems do indeed remember something of their younger years and highlights the value of information theory for exoplanetary science.

  3. The Solar Twin Planet Search. V. Close-in, low-mass planet candidates and evidence of planet accretion in the solar twin HIP 68468 (United States)

    Meléndez, Jorge; Bedell, Megan; Bean, Jacob L.; Ramírez, Iván; Asplund, Martin; Dreizler, Stefan; Yan, Hong-Liang; Shi, Jian-Rong; Lind, Karin; Ferraz-Mello, Sylvio; Galarza, Jhon Yana; dos Santos, Leonardo; Spina, Lorenzo; Maia, Marcelo Tucci; Alves-Brito, Alan; Monroe, TalaWanda; Casagrande, Luca


    formation, and therefore its current location is most likely the result of planet migration that could also have driven other planets towards its host star, enhancing thus the abundance of lithium and refractory elements in HIP 68468. The intriguing evidence of planet accretion warrants further observations to verify the existence of the planets that are indicated by our data and to better constrain the nature of the planetary system around this unique star.

  4. Tidal Timelines: Evolution of Terrestrial Exoplanet Habitability Around Low Mass Stars (United States)

    Mullins, K.; Barnes, R.


    The range of orbits for planetary habitability have traditionally been based on the stellar flux that allows liquid water to persist on a planetary surface. However, when considering terrestrial (rocky) planets close to a low mass star (≤0.35M⊙), tidal effects must be considered because of the additional energy input from tidal heating. Of further interest is the time over which habitable conditions are generated by tidal interaction. Tides cause orbital evolution, during which the heat flux varies, which may cause the planet to migrate in and out of habitable zones and possibly result in sterilization. So, the heating history of a planet should be a consideration when searching for life-supporting planets. We apply heat flux limitations on habitability (based on observations within our solar system) and tidally evolve planets across a range of initial conditions of orbits and masses. Our results provide a visualization of the time a planet has spent with a favorable amount of tidal heat for habitability and/or the amount of time until the heating is no longer conducive to habitability. As a greater number of close in terrestrial planets are found, these results can provide a method for identifying those planets with the highest potential for life.

  5. Planet-Planet Scattering and White Dwarf Pollution (United States)

    Joasil, Arielle; Payne, Matthew John; Veras, Dimitri


    About one-quarter to one-half of white dwarfs are observed to have polluted atmospheres. White dwarfs (WD) are expected to be chemically stratified, with heavy elements rapidly sinking. The frequent observation of heavy element pollution in WD atmospheres indicates that there must be a copious and frequent supply of rocky material from remnant planetary systems acting as a pollutant. Recently, the white dwarf WD 1145+017 has been observed to have been transited by a rocky body apparently in the process of disintegrating (Vanderburg et al. 2015).Post-main sequence expansion may render the planetary system unstable (Veras 2016). Planets orbiting the white dwarf may perturb and scatter one another. If this scattering happens, any moons can be scattered about the system. As such, one possible source of the material polluting WDs is destabilized exomoons (Payne et al. 2016a, 2016b). Moons offer a plausible source of pollution due to their large total mass (in the Solar system), and their generally rocky composition that matches that found in the atmospheric pollution of WDs. During a planet-planet scattering event, the probability that a moon will be ejected from its parent planet is a function of the velocity of the perturbing planet and the distance between the perturbed moon and the perturbing planet (as well as the initial orbit of the moon). We review the results of Payne et al. (2016a, 2016b) and present new results illustrating the probability of moon ejection as a function of these key parameters. We demonstrate the utility of these results for (a) the pollution and WDs, and for (b) general planet-planet scattering scenarios around main-sequence stars.

  6. Plant reproductive organs and the origin of terrestrial insects (United States)

    Georgy V. Stadnitsky


    It is widely believed that plants facilitated the evolution of terrestrial insects (Southwood 1973). However, the mechanisms by which this evolution occurred are not yet fully understood. I therefore propose a hypothesis about one possible mode of formation of terrestrial insects and fauna. The soil, warm shallow lagoons, tidal zones, and accumulations of detritus are...

  7. Terraforming the Planets and Climate Change Mitigation on Earth (United States)

    Toon, O. B.


    Hopefully, purposeful geo-engineering of the Earth will remain a theoretical concept. Of course, we have already inadvertently changed the Earth, and over geologic history life has left an indelible imprint on our planet. We can learn about geo-engineering schemes by reference to Earth history, for example climate changes after volcanic eruptions provide important clues to using sulfates to modify the climate. The terrestrial planets and Titan offer additional insights. For instance, Mars and Venus both have carbon dioxide dominated greenhouses. Both have more than 10 times as much carbon dioxide in their atmospheres as Earth, and both absorb less sunlight than Earth, yet one is much colder than Earth and one is much hotter. These facts provide important insights into carbon dioxide greenhouses that I will review. Mars cools dramatically following planet wide dust storms, and Titan has what is referred to as an anti- greenhouse climate driven by aerosols. These data can be used to reassure us that we can model aerosol caused changes to the climate of a planet, and also provide examples of aerosols offsetting a gas-driven greenhouse effect. People have long considered whether we might make the other planets habitable. While most of the schemes considered belong in the realm of science fiction, it is possible that some schemes might be practical. Terraforming brings to mind a number of issues that are thought provoking, but not so politically charged as geo-engineering. For example: What criteria define habitability, is it enough for people to live in isolated glass enclosures, or do we need to walk freely on the planet? Different creatures have different needs. Is a planet habitable if plants can thrive in the open, or do animals also need to be free? Are the raw materials present on any planet to make it habitable? If not, can we make the materials, or do we have to import them? Is it ethical to change a planetary climate? What if there are already primitive

  8. Terrestrial freshwater lenses: Unexplored subterranean oases (United States)

    Laattoe, Tariq; Werner, Adrian D.; Woods, Juliette A.; Cartwright, Ian


    Freshwater lenses are lenticular bodies of fresh (TDS lenses in coastal aquifers, the formation, location and persistence of freshwater lenses in terrestrial settings are poorly understood. This is despite inland aquifers commonly containing saline groundwater, particularly in arid and semi-arid climates, and the local occurrences of freshwater being critical for ecosystems and human endeavour. We identify and classify known terrestrial freshwater lenses (TFLs) using four formation categories, namely topography, geology, groundwater-surface water interaction and recharge mechanisms. The resulting typology highlights the importance of buoyancy in the formation of TFLs in otherwise unlikely situations, implying that TFLs may be more prevalent than previously thought. TFLs represent some of the most vulnerable and precious freshwater resources on Earth that require considerably more research into mechanisms of formation and threats to their existence.

  9. Introduced Terrestrial Species (Future) (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — These data represent predicted future potential distributions of terrestrial plants, animals, and pathogens non-native to the Middle-Atlantic region. These data are...

  10. Armenian Names of the Planets (United States)

    Harutyunian, Haik A.


    Striking similarities between the Armenian names of visible to the naked eye planets and their ancient Greek names used before 6 - 5 centuries BC are presented. Mercury, for instance, was called Stilbon in Greece which means “the Gleaming” and coincides with Armenian Paylatsou. One of the names of Venus was Phosphoros and in Armenia it is called Lusaber - both of these terms meaning the “Bringer of Light”. Ancient Greeks named the fourth planet Pyroeis meaning “fiery”. The Armenian name of this planet Hrat consists of the word “hur” meaning fire and a suffix “at”. Jupiter's and Saturn's ancient names are considered as well. Moreover, the term planet has its Armenian version being in the use more than 2500 years.

  11. Dictionary of Minor Planet Names

    CERN Document Server

    Schmadel, Lutz D


    Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, Fifth Edition, is the official reference for the field of the IAU, which serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and any surface features on them. The accelerating rate of the discovery of minor planets has not only made a new edition of this established compendium necessary but has also significantly altered its scope: this thoroughly revised edition concentrates on the approximately 10,000 minor planets that carry a name. It provides authoritative information about the basis for all names of minor planets. In addition to being of practical value for identification purposes, this collection provides a most interesting historical insight into the work of those astronomers who over two centuries vested their affinities in a rich and colorful variety of ingenious names, from heavenly goddesses to more prosaic constructions. The fifth edition serves as the primary reference, with plans for complementary booklets with newl...

  12. On the origin of the obliquities of the outer planets (United States)

    Tremaine, S.


    It is presently suggested that if the collapse of a molecular cloud core results in the formation of a protostar surrounded by a protoplanetary disk, and that collapse is nonaxisymmetric, the disk and protostar angular momentum vectors may twist in the process over the course of 0.5 Myr. Should the outer planets form before completion of the infall, their spins may not follow the twist; nonzero obliquities can thereby naturally arise during solar system formation. The excitation of the inclinations and eccentricities of planetary orbits by a twist depends on the characteristics of the twist. The two most directly twist-excited planets are Pluto and Mercury; these are in fact the two planets with greatest inclinations and eccentricities.

  13. Giant Planets of Our Solar System Atmospheres, Composition, and Structure

    CERN Document Server

    Irwin, Patrick G. J


    This book reviews the current state of knowledge of the atmospheres of the giant gaseous planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The current theories of their formation are reviewed and their recently observed temperature, composition and cloud structures are contrasted and compared with simple thermodynamic, radiative transfer and dynamical models. The instruments and techniques that have been used to remotely measure their atmospheric properties are also reviewed, and the likely development of outer planet observations over the next two decades is outlined. This second edition has been extensively updated following the Cassini mission results for Jupiter/Saturn and the newest ground-based measurements for Uranus/Neptune as well as on the latest development in the theories on planet formation.

  14. Terraforming planet Dune: Climate-vegetation interactions on a sandy planet (United States)

    Cresto Aleina, F.; Baudena, M.; D'Andrea, F.; Provenzale, A.


    The climate and the biosphere of planet Earth interact in multiple, complicated ways and on many spatial and temporal scales. Some of these processes can be studied with the help of simple mathematical models, as done for the effects of vegetation on albedo in desert areas and for the mechanisms by which terrestrial vegetation affects water fluxes in arid environments. Conceptual models of this kind do not attempt at providing quantitative descriptions of the climate-biosphere interaction, but rather to explore avenues and mechanisms which can play a role in the real system, providing inspiration for further research. In this work, we develop a simple conceptual box model in the spirit illustrated above, to explore whether and how vegetation affects the planetary hydrologic cycle. We imagine a planet with no oceans and whose surface is entirely covered with sand, quite similar to planet Dune of the science-fiction series by Frank Herbert (1965). We suppose that water is entirely in the sand, below the surface. Without vegetation, only evaporation takes place, affecting the upper sand layer for a maximum depth of a few cm. The amount of water that is evaporated in the atmosphere is relatively small, and not sufficient to trigger a full hydrologic cycle. The question is what happens to this planet when vegetation is introduced: the root depth can reach a meter or more, and plant transpiration can then transfer a much larger amount of water to the atmosphere. One may wonder whether the presence of vegetation is sufficient to trigger a hydrologic cycle with enough precipitation to sustain the vegetation itself and, if the answer is positive, what is the minimum vegetation cover that is required to maintain the cycle active. In more precise terms, we want to know whether the introduction of vegetation and of the evapotranspiration feedback allows for the existence of multiple equilibria (or solutions) in the soil-vegetation-atmosphere system. Although the box model

  15. Planets Move in Circles !

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    T Padmanabhan works at the Inter University. Centre for Astronomy and. Astrophysics (IUCAA) at. Pune. His research interests are in the area of cosmology, in particular the formation of large scale structures in the universe, a subject on which he has written two books. The other area in which he works is the interface ...

  16. Exoplanet dynamics. Asynchronous rotation of Earth-mass planets in the habitable zone of lower-mass stars. (United States)

    Leconte, Jérémy; Wu, Hanbo; Menou, Kristen; Murray, Norman


    Planets in the habitable zone of lower-mass stars are often assumed to be in a state of tidally synchronized rotation, which would considerably affect their putative habitability. Although thermal tides cause Venus to rotate retrogradely, simple scaling arguments tend to attribute this peculiarity to the massive Venusian atmosphere. Using a global climate model, we show that even a relatively thin atmosphere can drive terrestrial planets' rotation away from synchronicity. We derive a more realistic atmospheric tide model that predicts four asynchronous equilibrium spin states, two being stable, when the amplitude of the thermal tide exceeds a threshold that is met for habitable Earth-like planets with a 1-bar atmosphere around stars more massive than ~0.5 to 0.7 solar mass. Thus, many recently discovered terrestrial planets could exhibit asynchronous spin-orbit rotation, even with a thin atmosphere. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  17. Gemini Planet Imager: Preliminary Design Report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Macintosh, B


    For the first time in history, direct and indirect detection techniques have enabled the exploration of the environments of nearby stars on scales comparable to the size of our solar system. Precision Doppler measurements have led to the discovery of the first extrasolar planets, while high-contrast imaging has revealed new classes of objects including dusty circumstellar debris disks and brown dwarfs. The ability to recover spectrophotometry for a handful of transiting exoplanets through secondary-eclipse measurements has allowed us to begin to study exoplanets as individual entities rather than points on a mass/semi-major-axis diagram and led to new models of planetary atmospheres and interiors, even though such measurements are only available at low SNR and for a handful of planets that are automatically those most modified by their parent star. These discoveries have galvanized public interest in science and technology and have led to profound new insights into the formation and evolution of planetary systems, and they have set the stage for the next steps--direct detection and characterization of extrasolar Jovian planets with instruments such as the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI). As discussed in Volume 1, the ability to directly detect Jovian planets opens up new regions of extrasolar planet phase space that in turn will inform our understanding of the processes through which these systems form, while near-IR spectra will advance our understanding of planetary physics. Studies of circumstellar debris disks using GPI's polarimetric mode will trace the presence of otherwise-invisible low-mass planets and measure the build-up and destruction of planetesimals. To accomplish the science mission of GPI will require a dedicated instrument capable of achieving contrast of 10{sup -7} or more. This is vastly better than that delivered by existing astronomical AO systems. Currently achievable contrast, about 10{sup -5} at separations of 1 arc second or larger, is

  18. Auroral phenomenology and magnetospheric processes earth and other planets

    CERN Document Server

    Keiling, Andreas; Bagenal, Fran; Karlsson, Tomas


    Published by the American Geophysical Union as part of the Geophysical Monograph Series. Many of the most basic aspects of the aurora remain unexplained. While in the past terrestrial and planetary auroras have been largely treated in separate books, Auroral Phenomenology and Magnetospheric Processes: Earth and Other Planets takes a holistic approach, treating the aurora as a fundamental process and discussing the phenomenology, physics, and relationship with the respective planetary magnetospheres in one volume. While there are some behaviors common in auroras of the diffe

  19. Disk Evolution, Element Abundances and Cloud Properties of Young Gas Giant Planets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Helling, Christiane; Woitke, Peter; Rimmer, Paul B.; Kamp, Inga; Thi, Wing-Fai; Meijerink, Rowin

    We discuss the chemical pre-conditions for planet formation, in terms of gas and ice abundances in a protoplanetary disk, as function of time and position, and the resulting chemical composition and cloud properties in the atmosphere when young gas giant planets form, in particular discussing the

  20. Copernican Mathematics: Calculating Periods and Distances of the Planets (United States)

    Rosenkrantz, Kurt J.


    The heliocentric, or Sun-centered model, one of the most important revolutions in scientific thinking, allowed Nicholas Copernicus to calculate the periods, relative distances, and approximate orbital shapes of all the known planets, thereby paving the way for Kepler's laws and Newton's formation of gravitation. Recreating Copernicus's…

  1. The California-Kepler Survey. IV. Metal-rich Stars Host a Greater Diversity of Planets (United States)

    Petigura, Erik A.; Marcy, Geoffrey W.; Winn, Joshua N.; Weiss, Lauren M.; Fulton, Benjamin J.; Howard, Andrew W.; Sinukoff, Evan; Isaacson, Howard; Morton, Timothy D.; Johnson, John Asher


    Probing the connection between a star’s metallicity and the presence and properties of any associated planets offers an observational link between conditions during the epoch of planet formation and mature planetary systems. We explore this connection by analyzing the metallicities of Kepler target stars and the subset of stars found to host transiting planets. After correcting for survey incompleteness, we measure planet occurrence: the number of planets per 100 stars with a given metallicity M. Planet occurrence correlates with metallicity for some, but not all, planet sizes and orbital periods. For warm super-Earths having P = 10–100 days and {R}P = 1.0–1.7 {R}\\oplus , planet occurrence is nearly constant over metallicities spanning ‑0.4 to +0.4 dex. We find 20 warm super-Earths per 100 stars, regardless of metallicity. In contrast, the occurrence of warm sub-Neptunes ({R}P = 1.7–4.0 {R}\\oplus ) doubles over that same metallicity interval, from 20 to 40 planets per 100 stars. We model the distribution of planets as {df}\\propto {10}β M{dM}, where β characterizes the strength of any metallicity correlation. This correlation steepens with decreasing orbital period and increasing planet size. For warm super-Earths β = -{0.3}-0.2+0.2, while for hot Jupiters β = +{3.4}-0.8+0.9. High metallicities in protoplanetary disks may increase the mass of the largest rocky cores or the speed at which they are assembled, enhancing the production of planets larger than 1.7 {R}\\oplus . The association between high metallicity and short-period planets may reflect disk density profiles that facilitate the inward migration of solids or higher rates of planet–planet scattering.

  2. Violent Adolescent Planet Caught Infrared Handed (United States)

    Trang, D.; Gaidos, E.


    The prevailing view of planet formation depicts accumulation of progressively larger objects, culminating in accretionary impacts between Moon- to Mars-sized protoplanets. Cosmochemists have found evidence in chondritic meteorites for such violent events, and the Moon is thought to have involved a huge impact between a Mars-sized object and the still-growing proto-Earth. Now we may have evidence for a large impact during planet formation around another star. Carey Lisse (Applied Physics Lab of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore) and colleagues from the Space Telescope Science Institute (Baltimore), the University of Cambridge (UK), the Open University (Milton Keyes, UK), the University of Georgia (Athens, GA), Jet Propulsion Lab (Pasadena, CA), and the University of Rochester (New York) analyzed infrared spectra obtained by the Spitzer Space Telescope. They found a prominent peak in the spectrum at 9.3 micrometers, and two smaller ones at slightly lower and higher wavelengths. These peaks are consistent with the presence of SiO gas, a product expected to be produced by a highly energetic impact. The spectral measurements also allowed Lisse and his colleagues to estimate the size of the dust and they found that there is an abundance of micrometer-sized dust grains. This argues for a fresh source of fine material during the past 0.1 million years. That source may have been an impact between two protoplanets surrounding this young star.

  3. Homes for extraterrestrial life: extrasolar planets. (United States)

    Latham, D W


    Astronomers are now discovering giant planets orbiting other stars like the sun by the dozens. But none of these appears to be a small rocky planet like the earth, and thus these planets are unlikely to be capable of supporting life as we know it. The recent discovery of a system of three planets is especially significant because it supports the speculation that planetary systems, as opposed to single orbiting planets, may be common. Our ability to detect extrasolar planets will continue to improve, and space missions now in development should be able to detect earth-like planets.

  4. Choffé T., Lekieffre M. et Planet J. [2004], Développement durable : dynamiser l’action publique, collection Formation, éditions de la Performance, 348 p.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sonia El Heit


    Full Text Available Le développement durable est un thème à la mode : fédérateur, percutant, … il a tout pour plaire. Pourquoi ? C’est que ce concept, notamment à travers sa dimension environnementale, se trouve être une caisse de résonance de nos revendications non satisfaites, tant envers l’Etat et ses représentants qu’envers les acteurs privés (les entreprises. Il n’est donc pas surprenant qu’un grand nombre d’ouvrages traitent de ce concept. Parmi eux, celui de Choffé T., Lekieffre M. et Planet J. intitulé ...

  5. K2-106, a system containing a metal-rich planet and a planet of lower density (United States)

    Guenther, E. W.; Barragán, O.; Dai, F.; Gandolfi, D.; Hirano, T.; Fridlund, M.; Fossati, L.; Chau, A.; Helled, R.; Korth, J.; Prieto-Arranz, J.; Nespral, D.; Antoniciello, G.; Deeg, H.; Hjorth, M.; Grziwa, S.; Albrecht, S.; Hatzes, A. P.; Rauer, H.; Csizmadia, Sz.; Smith, A. M. S.; Cabrera, J.; Narita, N.; Arriagada, P.; Burt, J.; Butler, R. P.; Cochran, W. D.; Crane, J. D.; Eigmüller, Ph.; Erikson, A.; Johnson, J. A.; Kiilerich, A.; Kubyshkina, D.; Palle, E.; Persson, C. M.; Pätzold, M.; Sabotta, S.; Sato, B.; Shectman, St. A.; Teske, J. K.; Thompson, I. B.; Van Eylen, V.; Nowak, G.; Vanderburg, A.; Winn, J. N.; Wittenmyer, R. A.


    Aims: Planets in the mass range from 2 to 15 M⊕ are very diverse. Some of them have low densities, while others are very dense. By measuring the masses and radii, the mean densities, structure, and composition of the planets are constrained. These parameters also give us important information about their formation and evolution, and about possible processes for atmospheric loss. Methods: We determined the masses, radii, and mean densities for the two transiting planets orbiting K2-106. The inner planet has an ultra-short period of 0.57 days. The period of the outer planet is 13.3 days. Results: Although the two planets have similar masses, their densities are very different. For K2-106b we derive Mb=8.36-0.94+0.96 M⊕, Rb = 1.52 ± 0.16 R⊕, and a high density of 13.1-3.6+5.4 g cm-3. For K2-106c, we find Mc=5.8-3.0+3.3 M⊕, Rc=2.50-0.26+0.27 R⊕ and a relatively low density of 2.0-1.1+1.6 g cm-3. Conclusions: Since the system contains two planets of almost the same mass, but different distances from the host star, it is an excellent laboratory to study atmospheric escape. In agreement with the theory of atmospheric-loss processes, it is likely that the outer planet has a hydrogen-dominated atmosphere. The mass and radius of the inner planet is in agreement with theoretical models predicting an iron core containing 80-30+20% of its mass. Such a high metal content is surprising, particularly given that the star has an ordinary (solar) metal abundance. We discuss various possible formation scenarios for this unusual planet. The results are partly based on observations obtained at the European Southern Observatory at Paranal, Chile in program 098.C-0860(A). This paper includes data gathered with the 6.5 m Magellan Telescopes located at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile. The article is also partly based on observations with the TNG, NOT. This work has also made use of data from the European Space Agency (ESA) mission Gaia (http

  6. Dictionary of Minor Planet Names

    CERN Document Server

    Schmadel, Lutz


    The quantity of numbered minor planets has now well exceeded a quarter million. The new sixth edition of the Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, which is the IAU’s official reference work for the field, now covers more than 17,000 named minor planets. In addition to being of practical value for identification purposes, the Dictionary of Minor Planet Names provides authoritative information on the basis of the rich and colorful variety of ingenious names, from heavenly goddesses to artists, from scientists to Nobel laureates, from historical or political figures to ordinary women and men, from mountains to buildings, as well as a variety of compound terms and curiosities. This sixth edition of the Dictionary of Minor Planet Names has grown by more than 7,000 entries compared to the fifth edition and by more than 2,000 compared to the fifth edition, including its two addenda published in 2006 and 2009. In addition, there are many  corrections, revisions and updates to the entries published in earlier editions....

  7. Unstable Roche-Lobe Overflow of Gaseous Planets (United States)

    Jackson, Brian

    The discoveries of more than 100 roughly Earth-sized bodies with orbital periods less than 1 day, ultra-short-period planets or candidates (USPs), have challenged planet formation theories, and evidence suggests USPs may be the remnants of gaseous planets that shed their atmospheres. Indeed, many hot Jupiters are near Roche-Lobe overflow (RLO), and tidal decay can push them the rest of the way in. Recent work has shown stable RLO (atmospheres lost via a steady outflow and thin accretion disk) probably cannot produce USPs on its own but suggested unstable RLO (atmospheres quickly shed on dynamical timescales) may. In fact, stable RLO may drive overflowing hot Jupiters into unstable RLO, and by analogy with the common-envelope binaries, the core that remains can drive off the gaseous envelope at the cost of its orbital energy. Wellestablished mass-radius relations for gaseous planets, coupled to simple energy and angular momentum considerations, provide a connection between the observed masses and periods for USPs and their putative progenitor gaseous planets, with few free parameters. We propose to investigate the hypothesis that USPs originate through tidal decay and a combination of stable and unstable Roche-lobe overflow of short-period gaseous planets through the following studies: -We will explore the planetary masses, orbital periods, etc. that produce unstable RLO using the Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA) suite. -We will relate the observed periods and masses of USPs to their putative progenitor masses and periods to see whether they are consistent with the unstable RLO hypothesis. This proposal is directly relevant to the Exoplanets Research Program since it seeks to "understand the ... physical processes of exoplanets" and "improve understanding of [their] origins" through "theoretical studies ... and modeling'". We also expect that it will have broad impacts on a variety of astrophysical topics: -Ultra-short period planets could

  8. Maximum Number of Habitable Planets at the Time of Earth's Origin: New Hints for Panspermia? (United States)

    von Bloh, Werner; Franck, Siegfried; Bounama, Christine; Schellnhuber, Hans-Joachim


    New discoveries have fuelled the ongoing discussion of panspermia, i.e. the transport of life from one planet to another within the solar system (interplanetary panspermia) or even between different planetary systems (interstellar panspermia). The main factor for the probability of interstellar panspermia is the average density of stellar systems containing habitable planets. The combination of recent results for the formation rate of Earth-like planets with our estimations of extrasolar habitable zones allows us to determine the number of habitable planets in the Milky Way over cosmological time scales. We find that there was a maximum number of habitable planets around the time of Earth's origin. If at all, interstellar panspermia was most probable at that time and may have kick-started life on our planet.

  9. The GAPS programme with HARPS-N at TNG. X. Differential abundances in the XO-2 planet-hosting binary (United States)

    Biazzo, K.; Gratton, R.; Desidera, S.; Lucatello, S.; Sozzetti, A.; Bonomo, A. S.; Damasso, M.; Gandolfi, D.; Affer, L.; Boccato, C.; Borsa, F.; Claudi, R.; Cosentino, R.; Covino, E.; Knapic, C.; Lanza, A. F.; Maldonado, J.; Marzari, F.; Micela, G.; Molaro, P.; Pagano, I.; Pedani, M.; Pillitteri, I.; Piotto, G.; Poretti, E.; Rainer, M.; Santos, N. C.; Scandariato, G.; Zanmar Sanchez, R.


    Binary stars hosting exoplanets are a unique laboratory where chemical tagging can be performed to measure the elemental abundances of both stellar components with high accuracy, with the aim to investigate the formation of planets and their subsequent evolution. Here, we present a high-precision differential abundance analysis of the XO-2 wide stellar binary based on high-resolution HARPS-N at TNG spectra. Both components are very similar K-dwarfs and host planets. Since they formed presumably within the same molecular cloud, we expect that they possess the same initial elemental abundances. We investigated whether planets can cause some chemical imprints in the stellar atmospheric abundances. We measure abundances of 25 elements for both stars with a range of condensation temperature TC = 40-1741 K, achieving typical precisions of ~0.07 dex. The northern component shows abundances in all elements higher by +0.067 ± 0.032 dex on average, with a mean difference of +0.078 dex for elements with TC > 800 K. The significance of the XO-2N abundance difference relative to XO-2S is at the 2σ level for almost all elements. We discuss that this result might be interpreted as the signature of the ingestion of material by XO-2N or depletion in XO-2S that is due to locking of heavy elements by the planetary companions. We estimate a mass of several tens of M⊕ in heavy elements. The difference in abundances between XO-2N and XO-2S shows a positive correlation with the condensation temperatures of the elements, with a slope of (4.7 ± 0.9) × 10-5 dex K-1, which could mean that both components have not formed terrestrial planets, but first experienced the accretion of rocky core interior to the subsequent giant planets. Based on observations made with the Italian Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG), operated on the island of La Palma by the INAF - Fundación Galileo Galilei at the Roche de los Muchachos Observatory of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in the

  10. Probing Protoplanetary Disks: From Birth to Planets (United States)

    Guilfoil Cox, Erin


    Disks are very important in the evolution of protostars and their subsequent planets. How early disks can form has implications for early planet formation. In the youngest protostars (i.e., Class 0 sources) magnetic fields can control disk growth. When the field is parallel to the collapsing core’s rotation axis, infalling material loses angular momentum and disks form in later stages. Sub-/millimeter polarization continuum observations of Class 0 sources at ~1000 au resolution support this idea. However, in the inner (~100 au), denser regions, it is unknown if the polarization only traces aligned dust grains. Recent theoretical studies have shown that self-scattering of thermal emission in the disk may contribute significantly to the polarization. Determining the scattering contribution in these sources is important to disentangle the magnetic field. At older times (the Class II phase), the disk structure can both act as a modulator and signpost of planet formation, if there is enough of a mass reservoir. In my dissertation talk, I will present results that bear on disk evolution at both young and late ages. I will present 8 mm polarization results of two Class 0 protostars (IRAS 4A and IC348 MMS) from the VLA at ~50 au resolution. The inferred magnetic field of IRAS 4A has a circular morphology, reminiscent of material being dragged into a rotating structure. I will show results from SOFIA polarization data of the area surrounding IRAS 4A at ~4000 au. I will also present ALMA 850 micron polarization data of ten protostars in the Perseus Molecular Cloud. Most of these sources show very ordered patterns and low (~0.5%) polarization in their inner regions, while having very disordered patterns and high polarization patterns in their extended emission that may suggest different mechanisms in the inner/outer regions. Finally, I will present results from our ALMA dust continuum survey of protoplanetary disks in Rho Ophiuchus; we measured both the sizes and fluxes of

  11. The Formation of Organic Compounds of Astrobiological Interest by the Irradiation Processing of Astrophysical Ices (United States)

    Sandford, Scott A.


    Many environments in space contain very low temperature mixed molecular ices that are exposed to ionizing radiation in the form of cosmic rays and high-energy photons. While traditional chemistry would not be expected to occur at the temperatures typical of these ices (T formation of large numbers of far more complex organic compounds. Many of these new products are of direct interest to astrobiology. For example, the irradiation of mixed molecular ices has been shown to produce amino acids, amphiphiles, quinones, sugars, heterocyclic compounds, and nucleobases, all molecular building blocks used by terrestrial life. Insofar as the presence of these materials plays a role in the origin of life on planets, this has profound implications for the potential abundance of life in the universe since these experiments simulate universal conditions that are expected to be found wherever new stars and planets form.

  12. Planet Mercury from pale pink dot to dynamic world

    CERN Document Server

    Rothery, David A


    A new and detailed picture of Mercury is emerging thanks to NASA's MESSENGER mission that spent four years in orbit about the Sun's innermost planet. Comprehensively illustrated by close-up images and other data, the author describes Mercury's landscapes from a geological perspective: from sublimation hollows, to volcanic vents, to lava plains, to giant thrust faults. He considers what its giant core, internal structure and weird composition have to tell us about the formation and evolution of a planet so close to the Sun. This is of special significance in view of the discovery of so many ex


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sandhaus, Phoebe H.; Debes, John H.; Ely, Justin; Hines, Dean C.; Bourque, Matthew [Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Dr., Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States)


    The search for transiting habitable exoplanets has broadened to include several types of stars that are smaller than the Sun in an attempt to increase the observed transit depth and hence the atmospheric signal of the planet. Of all spectral types, white dwarfs (WDs) are the most favorable for this type of investigation. The fraction of WDs that possess close-in rocky planets is unknown, but several large angle stellar surveys have the photometric precision and cadence to discover at least one if they are common. Ultraviolet observations of WDs may allow for detection of molecular oxygen or ozone in the atmosphere of a terrestrial planet. We use archival Hubble Space Telescope data from the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph to search for transiting rocky planets around UV-bright WDs. In the process, we discovered unusual variability in the pulsating WD GD 133, which shows slow sinusoidal variations in the UV. While we detect no planets around our small sample of targets, we do place stringent limits on the possibility of transiting planets, down to sub-lunar radii. We also point out that non-transiting small planets in thermal equilibrium are detectable around hotter WDs through infrared excesses, and identify two candidates.

  14. Full-lifetime simulations of multiple planets across all phases of stellar evolution (United States)

    Veras, D.; Mustill, A. J.; Gänsicke, B. T.; Redfield, S.; Georgakarakos, N.; Bowler, A. B.; Lloyd, M. J. S.


    We know that planetary systems are just as common around white dwarfs as around main-sequence stars. However, self-consistently linking a planetary system across these two phases of stellar evolution through the violent giant branch poses computational challenges, and previous studies restricted architectures to equal-mass planets. Here, we remove this constraint and perform over 450 numerical integrations over a Hubble time (14 Gyr) of packed planetary systems with unequal-mass planets. We characterize the resulting trends as a function of planet order and mass. We find that intrusive radial incursions in the vicinity of the white dwarf become less likely as the dispersion amongst planet masses increases. The orbital meandering which may sustain a sufficiently dynamic environment around a white dwarf to explain observations is more dependent on the presence of terrestrial-mass planets than any variation in planetary mass. Triggering unpacking or instability during the white dwarf phase is comparably easy for systems of unequal-mass planets and systems of equal-mass planets; instabilities during the giant branch phase remain rare and require fine-tuning of initial conditions. We list the key dynamical features of each simulation individually as a potential guide for upcoming discoveries.

  15. Dictionary of minor planet names

    CERN Document Server

    Schmadel, Lutz D


    Until recently, minor planet name citations were scattered in the astronomical literature, and the origin of many names remained obscure In 1988 the IAU Commission 20 established a study group to elucidate the meanings of asteroid names Later on the author continued in collecting and indexing all new relevant data This book contains the names, and their meanings, of all - as yet 5252 - named minor planets It informs about the discoverers as well as the circumstances of the discovery of all 7041 minor planets that were numbered up to June 1996 In addition to being of practical value for identification purposes, the collection provides a most interesting historical insight into the work of those astronomers who over two centuries vested their affinities in a rich and colourful variety of ingenious names, from heavenly goddesses to more prosaic constructions This third, revised and enlarged edition comprises about 40% more information than was provided with the first one of 1992

  16. Characterizing K2 Planet Discoveries (United States)

    Vanderburg, Andrew; Montet, Benjamin; Johnson, John; Buchhave, Lars A.; Zeng, Li; Bieryla, Allyson; Latham, David W.; Charbonneau, David; Harps-N Collaboration, The Robo-Ao Team


    We present an effort to confirm the first planet discovered by the two-wheeled Kepler mission. We analyzed K2 photometry, correcting for nonuniform detector response as a function of the spacecraft's pointing, and detected a transiting planet candidate. We describe our multi-telescope followup observing campaign, consisting of photometric, spectroscopic, and high resolution imaging observations, including over 40 HARPS-N radial velocity measurements. The new planet is a super-Earth orbiting a bright star amenable to followup observations. HARPS-N was funded by the Swiss Space Office, the Harvard Origin of Life Initiative, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, the University of Geneva, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the Italian National Astrophysical Institute, the University of St. Andrews, Queens University Belfast, and the University of Edinburgh.

  17. We too may find new planets (United States)

    Diaz-Merced, Wanda Liz Liz


    Significant Scintillation of Radio Waves is caused by Plasma Instabilities. Radio Frequency radiation is emitted by a large amount extra-terrestrial sources. These radio waves contains information about these objects through the large portion of the electromagnetic spectra. Propagation of electromagnetic waves, like optical or radio waves, through a medium with random fluctuations in Refractive Index results in amplitude and phase fluctuations. In this poster we will present an amateur project exploring the possible different mechanisms of the influence of a central star or solar activity on a possible planet (e.g magnetospheric, atmospheric etc) parameters( Perez-Peraza 2007). Examples of sonified spectral analysis techniques , (using earth and our sun as a probe) for the amateur astronomer are demonstrated following strict accessibility guidelines. Sunspot and magnetometer data (interplanetary magnetic field (ACE satellite) and geomagnetic field (GOES satellite)) as well as decametric antenna signals are analyzed in context of the Sun-Earth connection. Those are compared with the predictions of theoretical models of the influence of Solar activity on a possible atmosphere (Perez-Peraza 2007): our amateur results and methodologies confirm the relationship between the variations of geomagnetic/atmospheric parameters and variations of galactic and solar cosmic rays modelled by Perez-Peraza 2007.

  18. Habitable planets with high obliquities. (United States)

    Williams, D M; Kasting, J F


    Earth's obliquity would vary chaotically from 0 degrees to 85 degrees were it not for the presence of the Moon (J. Laskar, F. Joutel, and P. Robutel, 1993, Nature 361, 615-617). The Moon itself is thought to be an accident of accretion, formed by a glancing blow from a Mars-sized planetesimal. Hence, planets with similar moons and stable obliquities may be extremely rare. This has lead Laskar and colleagues to suggest that the number of Earth-like planets with high obliquities and temperate, life-supporting climates may be small. To test this proposition, we have used an energy-balance climate model to simulate Earth's climate at obliquities up to 90 degrees. We show that Earth's climate would become regionally severe in such circumstances, with large seasonal cycles and accompanying temperature extremes on middle- and high-latitude continents which might be damaging to many forms of life. The response of other, hypothetical, Earth-like planets to large obliquity fluctuations depends on their land-sea distribution and on their position within the habitable zone (HZ) around their star. Planets with several modest-sized continents or equatorial supercontinents are more climatically stable than those with polar supercontinents. Planets farther out in the HZ are less affected by high obliquities because their atmospheres should accumulate CO2 in response to the carbonate-silicate cycle. Dense, CO2-rich atmospheres transport heat very effectively and therefore limit the magnitude of both seasonal cycles and latitudinal temperature gradients. We conclude that a significant fraction of extrasolar Earth-like planets may still be habitable, even if they are subject to large obliquity fluctuations.

  19. Riparian vegetation in the alpine connectome: Terrestrial-aquatic and terrestrial-terrestrial interactions. (United States)

    Zaharescu, Dragos G; Palanca-Soler, Antonio; Hooda, Peter S; Tanase, Catalin; Burghelea, Carmen I; Lester, Richard N


    Alpine regions are under increased attention worldwide for their critical role in early biogeochemical cycles, their high sensitivity to environmental change, and as repositories of natural resources of high quality. Their riparian ecosystems, at the interface between aquatic and terrestrial environments, play important geochemical functions in the watershed and are biodiversity hotspots, despite a harsh climate and topographic setting. With climate change rapidly affecting the alpine biome, we still lack a comprehensive understanding of the extent of interactions between riparian surface, lake and catchment environments. A total of 189 glacial - origin lakes were surveyed in the Central Pyrenees to test how key elements of the lake and terrestrial environments interact at different scales to shape riparian plant composition. Secondly, we evaluated how underlying ecotope features drive the formation of natural communities potentially sensitive to environmental change and assessed their habitat distribution. At the macroscale, vegetation composition responded to pan-climatic gradients altitude and latitude, which captured in a narrow geographic area the transition between large European climatic zones. Hydrodynamics was the main catchment-scale factor connecting riparian vegetation with major water fluxes, followed by topography and geomorphology. Lake sediment Mg and Pb, and water Mn and Fe contents reflected local influences from mafic bedrock and soil water saturation. Community analysis identified four keystone ecosystems: (i) damp ecotone, (ii) snow bed-silicate bedrock, (iii) wet heath, and (iv) calcareous substrate. These communities and their connections with ecotope elements could be at risk from a number of environmental change factors including warmer seasons, snow line and lowland species advancement, increased nutrient/metal input and water level fluctuations. The results imply important natural terrestrial-aquatic linkages in the riparian environment

  20. Dynamical evidence for Planet X (United States)

    Anderson, John D.; Standish, E. Myles, Jr.


    The dynamical evidence for a planet beyond the orbit of Neptune is reviewed. Three years of radio tracking data from Pioneer 10 can be fit to the noise level with no evidence for unmodelled acceleration at a level higher than 5 x 10 to the -14th km/sq s. The evidence does not place severe limits on the