The role of radiation pressure in shaping exoplanet photoevaporation remains a topic of contention. Radiation pressure from the exoplanet's host star has been proposed as a mechanism to drive the escaping atmosphere into a 'cometary' tail and explain the high velocities observed in systems where mass-loss is occurring. In this paper, we present results from high-resolution 3D hydrodynamic simulations of a planet similar to HD 209458b. We self-consistently launch a wind flowing outwards from the planet by calculating the ionization and heating resulting from incident high-energy radiation, and account for radiation pressure. We first present a simplified calculation, setting a limit on the Lyman-α flux required to drive the photoevaporated planetary material to larger radii and line-of-sight velocities. We then present the results of our simulations, which confirm the limits determined by our analytic calculation. We thus demonstrate that, within the limits of our hydrodynamic simulation and for the Lyman-α fluxes expected for HD 209458, radiation pressure is unlikely to significantly affect photoevaporative winds or to explain the high velocities at which wind material is observed, though further possibilities remain to be investigated.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- March 2020
- planets and satellites: atmospheres;
- planets and satellites: individual: HD 209458b;
- planet-star interactions;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics