Interior Heating of Rocky Exoplanets from Stellar Flares with Application to TRAPPIST-1

Grayver, Alexander; Bower, Daniel J.; Saur, Joachim; Dorn, Caroline; Morris, Brett M. (2022). Interior Heating of Rocky Exoplanets from Stellar Flares with Application to TRAPPIST-1. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 941(1), L7. Institute of Physics Publishing IOP 10.3847/2041-8213/aca287

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Many stars of different spectral types with planets in the habitable zone are known to emit flares. Until now, studies that address the long-term impact of stellar flares and associated coronal mass ejections (CMEs) assumed that the planet's interior remains unaffected by interplanetary CMEs, only considering the effect of plasma/UV interactions on the atmosphere of planets. Here, we show that the magnetic flux carried by flare-associated CMEs results in planetary interior heating by ohmic dissipation and leads to a variety of interior–exterior interactions. We construct a physical model to study this effect and apply it to the TRAPPIST-1 star whose flaring activity has been constrained by Kepler observations. Our model is posed in a stochastic manner to account for uncertainty and variability in input parameters. Particularly for the innermost planets, our results suggest that the heat dissipated in the silicate mantle is both of sufficient magnitude and longevity to drive geological processes and hence facilitate volcanism and outgassing of the TRAPPIST-1 planets. Furthermore, our model predicts that Joule heating can further be enhanced for planets with an intrinsic magnetic field compared to those without. The associated volcanism and outgassing may continuously replenish the atmosphere and thereby mitigate the erosion of the atmosphere caused by the direct impact of flares and CMEs. To maintain consistency of atmospheric and geophysical models, the impact of stellar flares and CMEs on atmospheres of close-in exoplanetary systems needs to be studied in conjunction with the effect on planetary interiors.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > NCCR PlanetS
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Space and Habitability (CSH)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Bower, Daniel James, Morris, Brett Michael


500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 520 Astronomy




Institute of Physics Publishing IOP




Danielle Zemp

Date Deposited:

27 Feb 2023 13:52

Last Modified:

27 Feb 2023 23:27

Publisher DOI:





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