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Interior evolution of catastrophically evaporating planets

Presentation #202.03 in the session Planetary Interiors.

Published onJun 20, 2022
Interior evolution of catastrophically evaporating planets

The structure and composition of the interiors of rocky planets are of fundamental interest, since they give insight into planet formation, have a major effect on their subsequent evolution and determine the composition of secondary atmospheres through outgassing. Some particularly intriguing systems for the study of rocky interiors are catastrophically evaporating planets: superheated planets that are undergoing evaporative mass loss of their molten surfaces, due to stellar irradiation. The dusty tails that they form can be used to directly observe the composition of rocky material that makes up the underlying planets. However, in order to interpret observations of these systems it is essential to have accurate models of the interior physics, which will determine what and how material is lost. We present the first calculations of the evolution of the rocky portion of these planets. For these models we use a 1D structure code that we have developed, which models thermal processes, such as solid and liquid convection and conduction, as well as melting and crystallisation, which are vital in these at least partially molten systems. These are then coupled to the mass loss that the planet is undergoing from its surface, allowing the full temporal evolution to be studied. We show how properties, such as the fraction of the planet which is molten, depend on time, as well as planet mass and mass loss rate.

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