We include the effect of evaporation in our evolutionary calculations of close-in giant planets, based on a recent model for thermal evaporation taking into account the XUV flux of the parent star (Lammer et al. 2003). Our analysis leads to the existence of a critical mass for a given orbital distance m crit(a) below which the evaporation timescale becomes shorter than the thermal timescale of the planet. For planets with initial masses below mcrit, evaporation leads to a rapid expansion of the outer layers and of the total planetary radius, speeding up the evaporation process. Consequently, the planet does not survive as long as estimated by a simple application of mass loss rates without following consistently its evolution. We find out that the transit planet HD 209458b might be in such a dramatic phase, although with an extremely small probability. As a consequence, we predict that, after a certain time, only planets above a value mcrit(a) should be present at an orbital distance a of a star. For planets with initial masses above mcrit, evaporation does not affect the evolution of the radius with time.
- Planetary systems
- Stars: individual: HD 209458, OGLE-TR-56
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science