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Astrophysics > Earth and Planetary Astrophysics

Title: Possible Signs of Water and Differentiation in a Rocky Exoplanetary Body

Abstract: Spitzer observations reveal the presence of warm debris from a tidally destroyed rocky and possibly icy planetary body orbiting the white dwarf GD 61. Ultraviolet and optical spectroscopy of the metal-contaminated stellar photosphere reveal traces of hydrogen, oxygen, magnesium, silicon, iron, and calcium. The nominal ratios of these elements indicate an excess of oxygen relative to that expected from rock-forming metal oxides, and thus it is possible that water was accreted together with the terrestrial-like debris. Iron is found to be deficient relative to magnesium and silicon, suggesting the material may have originated as the outer layers of a differentiated parent body, as is widely accepted for the Moon.
Comments: Accepted to ApJ Letters; emulateapj format, 2 figures, 3 tables
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)
DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/728/1/L8
Cite as: arXiv:1101.0158 [astro-ph.EP]
  (or arXiv:1101.0158v2 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Jay Farihi [view email]
[v1] Thu, 30 Dec 2010 21:00:01 GMT (137kb)
[v2] Tue, 11 Jan 2011 21:15:52 GMT (137kb)