STRW local: Student Colloqia
A remarkable population of short period transiting rocky exoplanets with equilibrium temperatures on the order of 2,000 K has recently been discovered. They have masses ranging from approximately 8 Earth masses to possibly that of Mercury or smaller, and their high temperatures make them very different to the planets in our Solar System. In particular, hot super-Earth's are thought to have atmospheres that are rich in mineral vapors due to the vaporization of their surfaces. Additionally, some smaller, low surface gravity hot rocky exoplanets have been found to be actively disintegrating and forming 'comet-like' dust tails that produce asymmetric transit light curves with forward scattering features.
These 'inferno worlds' are of much scientific interest because their unique properties allow their compositions to be observationally probed in more detail than would be possible for cooler rocky planets.
Here I will present an overview of my PhD research, which involved searching for Na and Ca+ in the exosphere of the hot super-Earth 55 Cancri e, investigating optical depth effects in the dust tail of the disintegrating planet Kepler-1520 b with numerical simulations, and searching for gas produced by the sublimation of dust in the tail of the disintegrating planet K2-22 b.