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  1. Abstract

    Lava worlds are a potential emerging population of Super-Earths that are on close-in orbits around their host stars, with likely partially molten mantles. To date, few studies have addressed the impact of magma on the observed properties of a planet. At ambient conditions, magma is less dense than solid rock; however, it is also more compressible with increasing pressure. Therefore, it is unclear how large-scale magma oceans affect planet observables, such as bulk density. We updateExoPlex, a thermodynamically self-consistent planet interior software, to include anhydrous, hydrous (2.2 wt% H2O), and carbonated magmas (5.2 wt% CO2). We find that Earth-like planets with magma oceans larger than ∼1.5Rand ∼3.2Mare modestly denser than an equivalent-mass solid planet. From our model, three classes of mantle structures emerge for magma ocean planets: (1) a mantle magma ocean, (2) a surface magma ocean, and (3) one consisting of a surface magma ocean, a solid rock layer, and a basal magma ocean. The class of planets in which a basal magma ocean is present may sequester dissolved volatiles on billion-year timescales, in which a 4Mmass planet can trap more than 130 times the mass of water than in Earth’s present-day oceans and 1000 times the carbon in the Earth’s surface and crust.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  2. We present a reanalysis of the K2-106 transiting planetary system, with a focus on the composition of K2-106b, an ultra-short-period, super-Mercury candidate. We globally model existing photometric and radial velocity data and derive a planetary mass and radius for K2-106b of Mp = 8.53 ± 1.02 M⊕ and = - + Rp 1.71 0.057 RÅ 0.069 , which leads to a density of r = - + 9.4 p 1.5 1.6 g cm−3 , a significantly lower value than previously reported in the literature. We use planet interior models that assume a two-layer planet comprised of a liquid, pure Fe core and an iron-free, MgSiO3 mantle, and we determine that the range of the core mass fractions are consistent with the observed mass and radius. We use existing high-resolution spectra of the host star to derive the Fe/Mg/Si abundances ([Fe/ H] = −0.03 ± 0.01, [Mg/H] = 0.04 ± 0.02, [Si/H] = 0.03 ± 0.06) to infer the composition of K2-106b. We find that K2-106b has a density and core mass fraction ( - + 44 %15 12 ) consistent with that of Earth (CMF⊕ = 32%). Furthermore, its composition is consistent with what is expected, assuming that it reflects the relative refractory abundances of its host star. K2-106b is therefore unlikely to be a super-Mercury, as has been suggested in previous literature. 
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    TOI-1259 consists of a transiting exoplanet orbiting a main-sequence star, with a bound outer white dwarf (WDs) companion. Less than a dozen systems with this architecture are known. We conduct follow-up spectroscopy on the WD TOI-1259B using the Large Binocular Telescope to better characterize it. We observe only strong hydrogen lines, making TOI-1259B a DA WD. We see no evidence of heavy element pollution, which would have been evidence of planetary material around the WD. Such pollution is seen in $\sim 25{-}50{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of WDs, but it is unknown if this rate is higher or lower in TOI-1259-like systems that contain a known planet. Our spectroscopy permits an improved WD age measurement of $4.05^{+1.00}_{-0.42}$ Gyr, which matches gyrochronology of the main-sequence star. This is the first of an expanded sample of similar binaries that will allow us to calibrate these dating methods and provide a new perspective on planets in binaries.

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