Thermal escape from extrasolar giant planets

Tommi T. Koskinen, Panayotis Lavvas, Matthew J. Harris, Roger V. Yelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The detection of hot atomic hydrogen and heavy atoms and ions at high altitudes around close-in extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) such as HD209458b implies that these planets have hot and rapidly escaping atmospheres that extend to several planetary radii. These characteristics, however, cannot be generalized to all close-in EGPs. The thermal escape mechanism and mass loss rate from EGPs depend on a complex interplay between photochemistry and radiative transfer driven by the stellar UV radiation. In this study, we explore how these processes change under different levels of irradiation on giant planets with different characteristics. We confirm that there are two distinct regimes of thermal escape from EGPs, and that the transition between these regimes is relatively sharp. Our results have implications for thermal mass loss rates from different EGPs that we discuss in the context of currently known planets and the detectability of their upper atmospheres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20130089
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2014
StatePublished - Apr 28 2014


  • Atmospheric physics
  • Extrasolar planets
  • Hydrodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Thermal escape from extrasolar giant planets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this