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Magnesium and Calcium from Evaporating Trojans

10 May 2016, 22:00 UTC
Magnesium and Calcium from Evaporating Trojans
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WASP-12b is a hot-Jupiter with a remarkably high equilibrium temperature of over 2500 K. It orbits its host star only two stellar radii from the star's surface. Observations of the host star of WASP-12b in ultraviolet wavelengths indicate that the host star appears dark at certain wavelengths that correspond to absorption by magnesium and calcium. This points to the presence of a cloud of magnesium ions, calcium ions, and various other ions that is surrounding the star and absorbing stellar radiation.A study by Kislyakova et al. (2016) suggests that material outgassed from the surface of rocky Trojan satellites on tadpole orbits near the L4 and L5 Lagrange points of WASP-12b can account for such a cloud of magnesium and calcium ions surround the star. At the location of WASP-12b, temperatures are high enough to melt the surface of rocky Trojan satellites to create magma oceans that can thermally released materials such as magnesium, silicon, calcium, iron, etc. These materials are then ionised by stellar radiation and energetic electrons to form a cloud of plasma around the host star.The result is a cloud of magnesium and calcium ions along the orbit of WASP-12b that is expected to be extended enough to ...

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