SIMBAD references

2018ApJ...865...12B - Astrophys. J., 865, 12-12 (2018/September-3)

The hidden depths of planetary atmospheres.


Abstract (from CDS):

Atmospheric regions below a refractive boundary are hidden in limb observations. Refraction thus creates a gray continuum in the planet's transmission spectrum, which can hide spectral features associated with sources of atmospheric opacity. We combine refractive theory with recent analytical advances describing the effects of surfaces and clouds on transmission spectra, to express the location of this boundary in atmospheric opacity space, for both atomic and molecular extinction, as well as collision-induced absorption. This allows one to quickly estimate how refraction affects spectral features in well-mixed atmospheres. We show that differences in the geometry of limb observations between solar system planets and exoplanets lead to different locations of this boundary, and that more than four extra scale heights of atmosphere are hidden in exoplanet transits compared to solar system observations of cold gas giants. We explore how the location of this refractive boundary in exoplanet transits changes in a well-mixed isothermal atmosphere with its temperature and composition, the spectral type of the planet's host star, and the size of the planet. We demonstrate that five extra scale heights of atmosphere are hidden in a terrestrial planet with a CO2 atmosphere compared to a helium atmosphere, resulting in a flatter spectrum than from its smaller scale height alone. We provide results for a few exoplanets, notably those in the TRAPPIST-1 system, to help the scientific community estimate the impact of refraction on the size of spectral features without radiative transfer calculations, and thus help refine planned James Web Space Telescope observations.

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

Journal keyword(s): atmospheric effects - methods: analytical - methods: numerical - planets and satellites: atmospheres - radiative transfer

Simbad objects: 16

goto Full paper

goto View the reference in ADS

To bookmark this query, right click on this link: simbad:2018ApJ...865...12B and select 'bookmark this link' or equivalent in the popup menu


© Université de Strasbourg/CNRS

    • Contact