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    Lyman α transits have been detected from several nearby exoplanets and are one of our best insights into the atmospheric escape process. However, due to ISM absorption, we typically only observe the transit signature in the blue-wing, making them challenging to interpret. This challenge has been recently highlighted by non-detections from planets thought to be undergoing vigorous escape. Pioneering 3D simulations have shown that escaping hydrogen is shaped into a cometary tail receding from the planet. Motivated by this work, we develop a simple model to interpret Lyman α transits. Using this framework, we show that the Lyman α transit depth is primarily controlled by the properties of the stellar tidal field rather than details of the escape process. Instead, the transit duration provides a direct measurement of the velocity of the planetary outflow. This result arises because the underlying physics is the distance a neutral hydrogen atom can travel before it is photoionized in the outflow. Thus, higher irradiation levels, expected to drive more powerful outflows, produce weaker, shorter Lyman α transits because the outflowing gas is ionized more quickly. Our framework suggests that the generation of energetic neutral atoms may dominate the transit signature early, but the acceleration of planetary materialmore »produces long tails. Thus, Lyman α transits do not primarily probe the mass-loss rates. Instead, they inform us about the velocity at which the escape mechanism is ejecting material from the planet, providing a clean test of predictions from atmospheric escape models.

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  2. Abstract We present spectroscopic measurements of the Rossiter–McLaughlin effect for WASP-148b, the only known hot Jupiter with a nearby warm-Jupiter companion, from the WIYN/NEID and Keck/HIRES instruments. This is one of the first scientific results reported from the newly commissioned NEID spectrograph, as well as the second obliquity constraint for a hot Jupiter system with a close-in companion, after WASP-47. WASP-148b is consistent with being in alignment with the sky-projected spin axis of the host star, with λ = − 8 .° 2 − 9 .° 7 + 8 .° 7 . The low obliquity observed in the WASP-148 system is consistent with the orderly-alignment configuration of most compact multi-planet systems around cool stars with obliquity constraints, including our solar system, and may point to an early history for these well-organized systems in which migration and accretion occurred in isolation, with relatively little disturbance. By contrast, previous results have indicated that high-mass and hot stars appear to more commonly host a wide range of misaligned planets: not only single hot Jupiters, but also compact systems with multiple super-Earths. We suggest that, to account for the high rate of spin–orbit misalignments in both compact multi-planet and isolated-hot-Jupiter systems orbiting high-mass andmore »hot stars, spin–orbit misalignments may be caused by distant giant planet perturbers, which are most common around these stellar types.« less