Computation of the transmitted and polarized scattered fluxes by the exoplanet HD 189733b in X-rays

Abstract : Thousands of exoplanets have been detected, but only one exoplanetary transit was potentially observed in X-rays from HD 189733A. What makes the detection of exoplanets so difficult in this band? To answer this question, we run Monte-Carlo radiative transfer simulations to estimate the amount of X-ray flux reprocessed by HD 189733b. Despite its extended evaporating atmosphere, we find that the X-ray absorption radius of HD 189733b at 0.7 keV, which is the mean energy of the photons detected in the 0.25–2 keV energy band by XMM-Newton, is ∼1.01 times the planetary radius for an atmosphere of atomic hydrogen and helium (including ions), and produces a maximum depth of ∼2.1% at ∼±46 minutes from the center of the planetary transit on the geometrically thick and optically thin corona. We compute numerically in the 0.25–2 keV energy band that this maximum depth is only of ∼1.6% at ∼±47 minutes from the transit center, and not very sensitive to the metal abundance, assuming that adding metals in the atmosphere would not dramatically change the density–temperature profile. Regarding a direct detection of HD 189733b in X-rays, we find that the amount of flux reprocessed by the exoplanetary atmosphere varies with the orbital phase, spanning between three and five orders of magnitude fainter than the flux of the primary star. Additionally, the degree of linear polarization emerging from HD 189733b is <0.003%, with maximums detected near planetary greatest elongations. This implies that both the modulation of the X-ray flux with the orbital phase and the scatter-induced continuum polarization cannot be observed with current X-ray facilities.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 1:29:56 AM
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F. Marin, N. Grosso. Computation of the transmitted and polarized scattered fluxes by the exoplanet HD 189733b in X-rays. Astrophys.J., 2017, 835 (2), pp.283. ⟨10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/283⟩. ⟨hal-01582389⟩

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