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hamburg-scientists-study-mass-loss-on-distant-planetsMany of the newly discovered exoplanets orbit their host stars at distances much smaller than any planet in the Solar System. In such extreme proximity to the hot stellar surface, the planetary atmospheres are exposed to harsh radiation environments, which are thought to drive a process of continuous atmospheric expansion. Essentially, a "planetary wind" develops, which blows off mass from the planet. This process may even evaporate complete gas planets. Scientists in Hamburg study these intriguing planetary systems both observationally in the X-ray and ultraviolet regime and theoretically. In particular, they are developing a new simulation tool (TPCI) to better understand the atmospheres of these highly irradiated planets and study the impact...