The Influence of Age on the Relative Frequency of Super-Earths and Sub-Neptunes

16 Dec 2020  ·  Angeli Sandoval, Gabriella Contardo, Trevor J. David ·

There is growing evidence that the population of close-in planets discovered by the Kepler mission was sculpted by atmospheric loss, though the typical timescale for this evolution is not well-constrained. Among a highly complete sample of planet hosts of varying ages the age-dependence of the relative fraction of super-Earth and sub-Neptune detections can be used to constrain the rate at which some small planets lose their atmospheres... Using the California-Kepler Survey (CKS) sample, we find evidence that the ratio of super-Earth to sub-Neptune detections rises monotonically from 1-10 Gyr. Our results are in good agreement with an independent study focused on stars hotter than the Sun, as well as with forward modeling simulations incorporating the effects of photoevaporation and a CKS-like selection function. We find the observed trend persists even after accounting for the effects of completeness or correlations between age and other fundamental parameters. read more

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Earth and Planetary Astrophysics Solar and Stellar Astrophysics