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The high-energy environment of the heavy sub-Earth GJ 367 b indicates likely complete evaporation of its atmosphere

K. PoppenhaegerL. KetzerN. Ilic ...+4 P.C. Schneider
Jan 2024
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The planet GJ 367 b is a recently discovered high-density sub-Earth orbiting an M dwarf star. Its composition was modelled to be predominantly iron with a potential remainder of a hydrogen-helium envelope. Here we report an X-ray detection of this planet's host star for the first time, using data from the spectro-imaging X-ray telescope eROSITA onboard the Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma (SRG) mission. We characterise the magnetic activity of the host star from the X-ray data and estimate the present-day mass-loss rate of the potential atmosphere of the planet driven by the high-energy irradiation. We find that despite the very low activity level of the host star the potential mass loss rate is so high that any atmospheric remainders would evaporate in about 15 million years. Since the activity level of the host star indicates that the system is several Gigayears old, it is very unlikely that the planet currently still hosts any atmosphere.
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