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SEEJ: SmallSat Exosphere Explorer of Hot Jupiters
Author(s): Scott J. Wolk; JaeSub Hong; Suzanne Romaine; Katja Poppenhaeger; Almus Kenter; Althea V. Moorhead; Dennis L. Gallagher; Christopher S. Moore; Martin Elvis; Ralph Kraft; Jeremy Drake; Vinay Kashyap; Elaine Winston; Bradford Wargelin; Ignazio Pillitteri; Diab Jerius; Mark Stahl; Bruce Wiegmann; Christopher Loghry
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Paper Abstract

The first detected exoplanets found were "hot Jupiters"; these are large Jupiter-like planets in close orbits with their host star. The stars in these so-called "hot Jupiter systems" can have significant X-ray emission and the X-ray flux likely changes the evolution of the overall star-planetary system in at least two ways: (1) the intense high energy flux alters the structure of the upper atmosphere of the planet - in some cases leading to significant mass loss; (2) the angular momentum and magnetic field of the planet induces even more activity on the star, enhancing its X-rays, which are then subsequently absorbed by the planet. If the alignment of the systems is appropriate, the planet will transit the host star. The resulting drop in flux from the star allows us to measure the distribution of the low-density planetary atmosphere. We describe a science mission concept for a SmallSat Exosphere Explorer of hot Jupiters (SEEJ; pronounced "siege"). SEEJ will monitor the X-ray emission of nearby X-ray bright stars with transiting hot Jupiters in order to measure the lowest density portion of exoplanet atmospheres and the coronae of the exoplanet hosts. SEEJ will use revolutionary Miniature X-ray Optics (MiXO) and CMOS X-ray detectors to obtain sufficient collecting area and high sensitivity in a low mass, small volume and low-cost package. SEEJ will observe scores of transits occurring on select systems to make detailed measurements of the transit depth and shape which can be compared to out-of-transit behavior of the target system. The depth and duration of the flux change will allow us to characterize the exospheres of multiple hot Jupiters in a single year. In addition, the long baselines (covering multiple stellar rotation periods) from the transit data will allow us to characterize the temperature, flux and flare rates of the exoplanet hosts at an unprecedented level. This, in turn, will provide valuable constraints for models of atmospheric loss. In this contribution we outline the science of SEEJ and focus on the enabling technologies Miniature X-ray Optics and CMOS X-ray detectors.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 September 2019
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 11118, UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XXI, 111180E (9 September 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2529380
Show Author Affiliations
Scott J. Wolk, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
JaeSub Hong, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Suzanne Romaine, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Katja Poppenhaeger, Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics (Germany)
Almus Kenter, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Althea V. Moorhead, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Dennis L. Gallagher, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Christopher S. Moore, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Martin Elvis, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Ralph Kraft, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Jeremy Drake, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Vinay Kashyap, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Elaine Winston, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Bradford Wargelin, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Ignazio Pillitteri, Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (Italy)
Diab Jerius, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Mark Stahl, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Bruce Wiegmann, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Christopher Loghry, Moog, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11118:
UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XXI
Oswald H. Siegmund, Editor(s)

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