Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Trying to Figure out Which Exoplanets are Earth-like


Dorn et al


Using a generalized Bayesian inference method, we aim to explore the possible interior structures of six selected exoplanets for which planetary mass and radius measurements are available in addition to stellar host abundances: HD~219134b, Kepler-10b, Kepler-93b, CoRoT-7b, 55~Cnc~e, and HD~97658b. We aim to investigate the importance of stellar abundance proxies for the planetary bulk composition (namely Fe/Si and Mg/Si) on prediction of planetary interiors. We performed a full probabilistic Bayesian inference analysis to formally account for observational and model uncertainties while obtaining confidence regions of structural and compositional parameters of core, mantle, ice layer, ocean, and atmosphere. We determined how sensitive our parameter predictions depend on (1) different estimates of bulk abundance constraints and (2) different correlations of bulk abundances between planet and host star. [...] Although the possible ranges of interior structures are large, structural parameters and their correlations are constrained by the sparse data. The probability for the tested exoplanets to be Earth-like is generally very low. Furthermore, we conclude that different estimates of planet bulk abundance constraints mainly affect mantle composition and core size.

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