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Laboratory for the Atmospheres of Planets of the Earth group and Earth-like Exoplanets

Contract number
Time span of the project

As of 01.11.2022

Number of staff members
scientific publications
General information

Name of the project: Planets of the Earth group and Earth-like exoplanets: past, present and future

Goals and objectives

Research directions: Solving fundamental and applied problems that set objectives for space experiments in physics of atmospheres of planets

Project objective: Comparative analysis of the Earth's atmosphere and atmospheres of planets of the Earth group, study of evolution, dissipation processes and climate changes in planetary atmospheres

The practical value of the study

Scientific results:

  1. From SOHO data we found that the exosphere of the Earth stretches at least to 100 radii of the Earth, which significantly exceeds recent estimates obtained using the LAICA device (~50 RE), and encompasses the orbit of the Moon (~60 RE).
  2. We have researched the circulation of the atmosphere of Venus in the upper cloud layer from multi-year observations of the VMC camera on board of the Venus–Express spacecraft in the UV and IR range as well as at an altitude of 90–100 km from visible motion of the luminescence zone О2(a1Δg)/1,27 μm from data of the VIRTIS–М device.
  3. Our researchers have built a climatology of a SO2 and UV absorber near the upper boundary of clouds over Venus from data of the SPICAV UV experiment.
  4. We have obtained a vertical distribution of water vapor and its saturation in the dust season on Mars, found regions of strong over saturation with simultaneous in the presence of clouds.
  5. For the first time we have found vertical profiles of the HDO/H2O isotope ratio, we are studying the dynamics of water vapor in the middle atmosphere in the dust storm of 2018.
  6. A link has been established between the loss of water by Mars and regional dust storms. In our work we collected  data from several experiments on various spacecraft that observe the middle and high atmosphere of Mars during the regional dust storm of 2019 (storm «C»). Employees of the Laboratory entered the international collaboration  with data of ACS TGO concerning the distribution of water vapor over this period. We have found a clear correlation between the increase of water content in the atmosphere and the increase of the dissipation of hydrogen from the atmosphere.
  7. We have studied the statistical distribution of exoplanets in terms of mass for various conditions, including depending on the type (spectral class) of the parent star. Power laws were found.

Since 2020, the scientific tasks of the Laboratory were determined by grants obtained by the employees of the Laboratory.
As part of a Russian Science Foundation grant devoted to the research of the atmosphere of Mars, in which our team participates, HCl has been found, the upper limits of the discovery of methane on Mars are studied, the distribution of water vapor at heights of 100–120 km in the global dust storm of 2018 and in the period of perihelion and gravitation waves in the atmosphere, for the first time the magnetic-dipole absorption  band of the CO2 molecule has been found.
In the domain of research of exoplanets:

  1. We are continuing work to develop methods of direct observation of exoplanets, a stellar coronograph and methods of adaptive optics for the correction of the wave front. We have obtained a laboratory confirmation of the announced methods of correcting the wavefront after the coronograph.
  2. The Laboratory has completed a statistical research of the characteristics of exoplanets and obtained power laws of the distribution of exoplanets in terms of their masses. It was found that the distributions of exoplanets across orbital periods of various mass intervals testifies to an averaged structure of planets inside planetary systems, where more massive planets are situated predominantly on remote orbits (similarly to the Solar System).
  3. We have processed observation data accumulated using a 0,5-meter telescope of the Specialized Astronomical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences. We developed an algorithm for determining photometric transits of exoplanets and obtaining light curves of stars. From the results, we found 8 new exoplanet candidates and more than 300 variable stars.
  4. We have proposed a method for distinguishing Earth-type exoplanets from Venus-type and Mars-type ones based on observations of transits of the planets in the oxygen OI line in an elongated exosphere (Earth-like planets) due to the presence of oxygen in the upper atmosphere. For the project of the Spekr–UF space observatory we started creating a spectrograph sensitive to UV of the 131 nm line for this task.

Education and career development:

  • 7 Candidate of Sciences dissertations have been defended.
  • Over the course of the existence of the Laboratory, we have developed and implemented 6 lecture courses for students of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow State University, HSE University.
  • 12 undergraduate and postgraduate students working for the Laboratory completed internships abroad  (France).
  • The Laboratory collaborated with the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and Polar Geophysical Institute, organizing and staging three off-site schools «The atmospheres of planets: from the Earth group to exoplanets». Employees of the Laboratory have also actively participated in staging the school-seminar «Research of exoplanets: from the Solar System to exoplanets» that was held on 22–24 December 2021 at the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Nizhniy Arkhyz).
  • The joint Russian–French postgraduate thesis by a junior research fellow of the Laboratory for the Atmospheres of Planets of the Earth Group and Earth-like Exoplanets Anastasia E. Ivanova. On the French side the thesis was prepared in LATMOS (Laboratoire Atmosphères, Observations Spatiales, academic supervisors: Jean-Loup Bertaux, Emmanuel Marcq (LATMOS), Rosine Lallement (GEPI, observatoire de Paris Meudon. On the Russia side: postgraduate school of Space Research Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, academic supervisor: Alexandr V. Tavrov.
  • Joint research has been performed with LATMOS (Laboratoire Atmosphères, Observations Spatiales — France) within the Russian Science Foundations grant «M3: three problems of the atmosphere of Mars».
  • Joint articles in collaboration with the leading scientist (2017–2019) of the Laboratory for the Atmospheres of Planets of the Earth group and Earth-like Exoplanets Jean-Loup Bertaux in the world’s leading journals over the whole course of the existence of the Laboratory (from 2017 until now).

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a. tavrov, s. kameda, a. yudaev, i. dzyuban, a. kiselev, i. shashkova, o. korablev, m. sachkov, ju. nishikawa, m. tamura, g. murakami, k. enya, m. ikoma, n. narita
Stellar imaging coronagraph and exoplanet coronal spectrometer: two additional instruments for exoplanet exploration onboard the WSO-UV 1.7-m orbital telescope // Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems Volume 4 Issue 4 Page 044001 (1 October 2018). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JATIS.4.4.044001
korablev, o., et al.
No detection of methane on Mars from early ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter observations. Nature, 568(7753), 517-+, doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1096-4.
baliukin, i., bertaux, j.-l., quémerais, e., izmodenov, v., & schmidt, w.
SWAN/SOHO Lyman-α mapping: The hydrogen geocorona extends well beyond the Moon. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 124, 861– 885. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JA026136 (2019)
patsaeva, m. v., khatuntsev, i. v., zasova, l. v., hauchecorne, a., titov, d. v., & bertaux, j.‐l.
Solar‐related variations of the cloud top circulation above Aphrodite Terra from VMC/Venus Express wind fields. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 124, 1864–1879. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JE005620
fedorova, a. a., et al.
"Stormy water on Mars: The distribution and saturation of atmospheric water during the dusty season." Science 367(6475): 29 DOI: 10.1126/science.aay9522 2022
v.i. ananyeva, a. e.ivanova, a.a. venkstern, i.a. shashkova, a.v. yudaev, a.v. tavrov, o.i. korablev, and j.-l. bertaux
Mass distribution of exoplanets considering some observation selection effects in the transit detection technique // Icarus, Volume 346, August 2020, 113773. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2020.113773
belyaev, d. a., fedorova, a. a., trokhimovskiy, a., alday, j., montmessin, f., korablev, o. i., et al.
Revealing a high water abundance in the upper mesosphere of Mars with ACS onboard TGO. Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2021GL093411. (2021)
jean-loup bertaux, anastasiia ivanova
A numerical inversion of m sin i exoplanet distribution: the sub-Saturn desert is more depleted than observed and hint of a Uranus mass gap, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 512, Issue 4, June 2022, Pages 5552–5571, https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stac777
o.ya. yakovlev, v. i. ananyeva, a. e ivanova, a. v. tavrov
Comparison of the mass distributions of short-period exoplanets detected by transit and RV methods // Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, Volume 509, Issue 1, January 2022, Pages L17–L20. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnrasl/slab115
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