Evolution of the solar activity over time and effects on planetary atmospheres. II. κ1 Ceti, an analog of the Sun when life arose on Earth
Porto de Mello, GF
do Nascimento Jr, JD
de Medeiros, JR
American Astronomical Society / IOP Publishing
The early evolution of Earth's atmosphere and the origin of life took place at a time when physical conditions at the Earth where radically different from its present state. The radiative input from the Sun was much enhanced in the high-energy spectral domain, and in order to model early planetary atmospheres in detail, a knowledge of the solar radiative input is needed. We present an investigation of the atmospheric parameters, state of evolution and high-energy fluxes of the nearby star kap^1 Cet, previously thought to have properties resembling those of the early Sun. Atmospheric parameters were derived from the excitation/ionization equilibrium of Fe I and Fe II, profile fitting of Halpha and the spectral energy distribution. The UV irradiance was derived from FUSE and HST data, and the absolute chromospheric flux from the Halpha line core. From careful spectral analysis and the comparison of different methods we propose for kap^1 Cet the following atmospheric parameters: Teff = 5665+/-30 K (Halpha profile and energy distribution), log g = 4.49+/-0.05 dex (evolutionary and spectroscopic) and [Fe/H] = +0.10+/-0.05 dex (Fe II lines). The UV radiative properties of kap^1 Cet indicate that its flux is some 35% lower than the current Sun's between 210 and 300 nm, it matches the Sun's at 170 nm and increases to at least 2-7 times higher than the Sun's between 110 and 140 nm. The use of several indicators ascribes an age to kap^1 Cet in the interval ~0.4-0.8 Gyr and the analysis of the theoretical HR diagram suggests a mass ~1.04 Msun. This star is thus a very close analog of the Sun when life arose on Earth and Mars is thought to have lost its surface bodies of liquid water. Photochemical models indicate that the enhanced UV emission leads to a significant increase in photodissociation rates compared with those commonly assumed of the early Earth. Our results show that reliable calculations of the chemical composition of early planetary atmospheres need to account for the stronger solar photodissociating UV irradiation.
G. Thuillier is thanked for providing the high-resolution solar spectrum. T. Ayres is thanked for making the HST/STIS spectra available via the CoolCAT catalog. The referee is thanked for a number of useful comments that have led to an improved paper. I.R., S.C., and A.G. acknowledge support from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación via grant AYA2006-15623-C02-01. G.F.P.M. acknowledges financial support by CNPq grant no. 476909/2006-6, FAPERJ grant no. APQ1/26/170.687/2004, and a CAPES post-doctoral fellowship no. BEX 4261/07-0. L.D.F. thanks CAPES for a MSc scholarship. F.S. acknowledges support from the European Research Council (starting grant 209622: E3ARTHs). E.H. acknowledges support by a post-doctoral fellowship funded by the Conseil Régional d'Aquitaine and the Fondation Louis D. S.C. is supported by a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme. We thank the staffs of OPD/LNA and ESO for support in the observing runs performed for this project. Use was made of the Simbad database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France, and of NASA's Astrophysics Data System Bibliographic Services.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from American Astronomical Society via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 714 (1), pp. 384-395