Exoplanet Atmospheres

The chemical composition and loss of mass from an exoplanet's atmosphere depends on the ultraviolet, extreme-ultraviolet, and X-radiation from the host star and the interaction between the stellar wind and gas in the planet's exosphere. The photochemistry of such important molecules as water, oxygen, ozone, methane, and carbon dioxide in the atmospheres of exoplanets depends critically on the UV and extreme-UV radiation of their host stars. We have observed the UV radiation of K and M dwarf host stars for which the Lyman-alpha radiation dominates the UV spectrum but is largely absorbed by the interstellar medium. We show how to reconstruct the intrinsic Lyman-alpha flux and infer the unobservable extreme-UV radiation of host stars. The these data show the quantitative effects of UV and Lyman-alpha radiation on the chemistry of exoplanets.

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