Research Division Seminar
IAU G5 talk: An irradiated-Jupiter analogue hotter than the Sun
Planets orbiting close to hot stars experience intense extreme-ultraviolet radiation, potentially leading to atmosphere evaporation and to thermal dissociation of molecules. However, this extreme regime remains mainly unexplored due to observational challenges. Only a single known ultra-hot giant planet, KELT-9b, receives enough ultraviolet radiation for molecular dissociation, with a day-side temperature of ~4,600K. An alternative approach uses irradiated brown dwarfs as hot-Jupiter analogues. With atmospheres and radii similar to those of giant planets, brown dwarfs orbiting close to hot Earth-sized white dwarf stars can be directly detected above the glare of the star.
In this talk I will present the discovery of an extremely irradiated low-mass companion to the hot white dwarf WD0032–317, focusing on the observational aspects of the discovery. Our analysis indicates a day-side temperature of ~8,000K, and a day-to-night temperature difference of ~6,000K. The amount of extreme-ultraviolet radiation received by WD0032–317B is equivalent to that received by planets orbiting close to stars as hot as late B-type stars, and about 5,600 times higher than that of KELT-9b. With a mass of ~75–88 Jupiter masses, this near-hydrogen-burning-limit object is potentially one of the most massive brown dwarfs known.