Exploring terrestrial lightning parameterisations for exoplanets and brown dwarfs
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Observations and models suggest that the conditions to develop lightning may be present in cloud-forming extrasolar planetary and brown dwarf atmospheres. Whether lightning on these objects is similar to or very different from what is known from the Solar System awaits answering as lightning from extrasolar objects has not been detected yet. We explore terrestrial lightning parameterisations to compare the energy radiated and the total radio power emitted from lightning discharges for Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, extrasolar giant gas planets and brown dwarfs. We find that lightning on hot, giant gas planets and brown dwarfs may have energies of the order of 1011–1017 J, which is two to eight orders of magnitude larger than the average total energy of Earth lightning (109 J), and up to five orders of magnitude more energetic than lightning on Jupiter or Saturn (1012 J), affirming the stark difference between these atmospheres. Lightning on exoplanets and brown dwarfs may be more energetic and release more radio power than what has been observed from the Solar System. Such energies would increase the probability of detecting lightning-related radio emission from an extrasolar body.
Hodosán , G , Helling , C & Vorgul , I 2021 , ' Exploring terrestrial lightning parameterisations for exoplanets and brown dwarfs ' , Planetary and Space Science , vol. 204 , 105247 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2021.105247
Planetary and Space Science
Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2021.105247.
DescriptionWe highlight financial support of the European Community under the FP7 by an ERC starting grant number 257431. Ch. H. acknowledges funding from the European Union H2020-MSCA-ITN-2019 under Grant Agreement no. 860470 (CHAMELEON).
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