Mineral clouds and ionisation processes in extrasolar, planetary atmospheres

Helling, C., Jardine, M., Stark, C.R., Rimmer, P. and Diver, D.A. (2013) Mineral clouds and ionisation processes in extrasolar, planetary atmospheres. In: European Planetary Science Congress 2013, London, UK, 8-13 Sep 2013,

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Publisher's URL: http://meetings.copernicus.org/epsc2013/


The steady increase of the know extrasolar planets broadens our knowledge and at the same time, reveals our lack of understanding. The habitability of a planet depends, amongst other things, on the exposure of the planetary surface to radiation, how clouds form and which effect clouds have on the composition and on the electric state of the gas from which they form. We have studied the formation of mineral clouds (Fig. 1) on planetary atmospheres using a kinetic approach which allows us to predict the size distribution and material composition of the cloud particles. Using theses results we have investigated whether such clouds can be charged and under which conditions an electric field breakdown of the ambient gas, such as lightning or other transient luminous events, may occur. Our results suggest that different intra-cloud discharge processes dominate at different heights inside a cloud. We discuss the efficiency of electric field breakdowns and the electron enrichment (Fig. 2) to be expected in extrasolar atmospheres.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Diver, Professor Declan
Authors: Helling, C., Jardine, M., Stark, C.R., Rimmer, P., and Diver, D.A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy

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