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2018AJ....155..221T - Astron. J., 155, 221-221 (2018/May-0)

Confirming variability in the secondary eclipse depth of the super-Earth 55 Cancri e.


Abstract (from CDS):

We present a reanalysis of five transit and eight eclipse observations of the ultrashort-period super-Earth 55 Cancri e observed using the Spitzer Space Telescope during 2011-2013. We use pixel-level decorrelation to derive accurate transit and eclipse depths from the Spitzer data, and we perform an extensive error analysis. We focus on determining possible variability in the eclipse data, as was reported in Demory et al. From the transit data, we determine updated orbital parameters, yielding T0 = 2,455,733.0037 ± 0.0002, P = 0.7365454 ± 0.0000003 days, i = 83.5 ± 1.°3, and Rp = 1.89 ± 0.05 R. Our transit results are consistent with a constant depth, and we conclude that they are not variable. We find a significant amount of variability between the eight eclipse observations and confirm agreement with Demory et al. through a correlation analysis. We convert the eclipse measurements to brightness temperatures, and generate and discuss several heuristic models that explain the evolution of the planet's eclipse depth versus time. The eclipses are best modeled by a year-to-year variability model, but variability on shorter timescales cannot be ruled out. The derived range of brightness temperatures can be achieved by a dark planet with inefficient heat redistribution intermittently covered over a large fraction of the substellar hemisphere by reflective grains, possibly indicating volcanic activity or cloud variability. This time-variable system should be observable with future space missions, both planned (JWST) and proposed (i.e., ARIEL).

Abstract Copyright: © 2018. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Journal keyword(s): occultations - planets and satellites: general - planets and satellites: individual 55 Cancri e - techniques: photometric

Simbad objects: 2

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