An examination of the young star V1298 Tau, barely 25 million years old , has revealed that its intense writing in the past vaporized the atmospheres of four newborn planets in its orbit. The innermost planets may have evaporated down to their rocky cores, leaving no atmosphere, according to research led by the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), which publishes Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Young exoplanets live in a high-risk environment: their sun produces a large amount of energetic x-ray radiation, typically 1,000 to 10,000 times more than our own sun. This X-ray radiation can heat the atmospheres of exoplanets and sometimes even boil them.The amount of an exoplanet’s atmosphere that evaporates over time depends on the properties of the planet: its mass, density, and how close it is to its star. But how much can the star influence what happens over billions of years? This is a question that AIP astronomers decided to address in their latest study.
The recently discovered four-planet system around the young sun V1298 Tau is a perfect test bed for this question. The central star is approximately the same size as our sun. However, it is only about 25 million years old, which is much younger than our sun at 4.6 billion years old.It houses two smaller planets in close orbit, about the size of Neptune, plus two planets the size of Saturn farther away.”We look at the X-ray spectrum of the star with the Chandra Space Telescope to get an idea of how strongly planetary atmospheres are radiating,” explains Katja Poppenhäger, the study’s lead author. Scientists determined the possible destinations of the four exoplanets.