NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0432

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0432


PI: Johanna Teske, Steward Observatory, jteske@as.arizona.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 933 North Cherry Avenue, Room N204, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA

CoI: Caitlin Griffith, Lunar and Planetary Lab
CoI: Mark Swain, JPL
CoI: Pieter Deroo, JPL
CoI: Don McCarthy, Steward Observatory
CoI: Craig Kulesa, Steward Observatory

Title: Investigating What Causes Hot Jupiter Temperature Inversions with NIR Spectroscopy

Abstract: \smallMost Solar System planets have hot stratospheres caused by CH_4 or O_3 absorbing solar UV radiation. Their atmospheric structure & composition are controlled by their temperatures, metallicities, & photochemical processes induced by the Sun, & in turn dictates their lower-atmosphere chemistry, circulation, weather, & (ultimately) the potential for life. Though such T-inversion has also been invoked to describe 2 classes of exoplanets - those with/without emission features in place of/in addition to absorption features in the thermal IR - no one explanation accounts for all observations (Seager 2010). Initially it was suggested that gas-phase TiO provided the opacity to cause T-inversions, but given its high weight & probable day- and night-side cold traps, TiO seems unlikely to be in upper atmospheres at all. Photochemical models (e.g., Zahnle et al. 2009) showed that heating from S compounds may contribute to temperature inversions; day-night circulation may also induce non- equilibrium chemistry altering what molecules absorb/emit at different heights. More broadly, varying host star properties also influence the planet's atmosphere. Disentangling these contributors to understand atmospheric temperature profiles & their resultant absorption/emission is a fundamental question in exoplanetology, yet presently even basic effects of host-star irradiation are poorly understood. To help determine how star-planet interaction influences temperature inversions, we propose NIR spectra of TrES-3b, which fails categorization into the 2 classes above. It is anomalous in its host-star interactions & the contradictory observations of it that currently exist. We aim to resolve the disputed eclipse depths and temperature profile of this exoplanet atmosphere.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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