An extended upper atmosphere around the extrasolar planet HD209458b

A. Vidal-Madjar, A. Lecaveller des Etangs, J. M. Désert, G. E. Ballester, R. Ferlet, G. Hébrard, M. Mayor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

807 Scopus citations

Abstract

The planet in the system HD209458 is the first one for which repeated transits across the stellar disk have been observed1,2. Together with radial velocity measurements3, this has led to a determination of the planet's radius and mass, confirming it to be a gas giant. But despite numerous searches for an atmospheric signaturen4-6, only the dense lower atmosphere of HD209458b has been observed, through the detection of neutral sodium absorption7. Here we report the detection of atomic hydrogen absorption in the stellar Lyman α line during three transits of HD209458b. An absorption of 15 ± 4% (1σ) is observed. Comparison with models shows that this absorption should take place beyond the Roche limit and therefore can be understood in terms of escaping hydrogen atoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-146
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume422
Issue number6928
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 13 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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