Publications by Patrick Irwin


Seasonal reappearance of HCl in the atmosphere of Mars during the Mars year 35 dusty season

Astronomy and Astrophysics EDP Sciences 647 (2021) A161

K Olsen, A Trokhimovskiy, L Montabone, A Fedorova, M Luginin, F Lefèvre, O Korablev, F Montmessin, F Forget, E Millour, L Baggio, J Alday Parejo, C Wilson, P Irwin, D Belyaev, A Patrakeev, A Shakun

HCl was discovered in the atmosphere of Mars for the first time during the global dust storm in Mars year (MY) 34 (July 2018) using the Atmospheric Chemistry Suite mid-infrared channel (ACS MIR) on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. The simultaneity of variations in dust and HCl, and a correlation between water vapour and HCl, led to the proposal of a novel surface-atmosphere coupling analogous to terrestrial HCl production in the troposphere from salt aerosols. After seasonal dust activity restarted in MY 35 (August 2020), we have been monitoring HCl activity to determine whether such a coupling was validated. Here we present a new technique for analyzing the absorption features of trace gases close to the ACS MIR noise level and report that HCl mixing ratios are observed to rapidly increase in both hemispheres coincidentally with the onset of the MY 35 perihelion dust season. We present the temporal evolution of the vertical distribution of HCl (0.1–6 ppbv) and of dust activity in both hemispheres. We also report two observations of > 2 ppbv HCl below 10 km in the northern hemisphere during the aphelion period.


Latitudinal variation of methane mole fraction above clouds in Neptune's atmosphere from VLT/MUSE-NFM: limb-darkening reanalysis

Icarus Elsevier 357 (2020) 114277

PGJ Irwin, J Dobinson, A James, D Toledo, NA Teanby, LN Fletcher, GS Orton, S Pérez-Hoyos

We present a reanalysis of visible/near-infrared (480–930 nm) observations of Neptune, made in 2018 with the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Narrow Field Adaptive Optics mode, reported by Irwin et al., Icarus, 311, 2019. We find that the inferred variation of methane abundance with latitude in our previous analysis, which was based on central meridian observations only, underestimated the retrieval errors when compared with a more complete assessment of Neptune's limb darkening. In addition, our previous analysis introduced spurious latitudinal variability of both the abundance and its uncertainty, which we reassess here. Our reanalysis of these data incorporates the effects of limb-darkening based upon the Minnaert approximation model, which provides a much stronger constraint on the cloud structure and methane mole fraction, makes better use of the available data and is also more computationally efficient. We find that away from discrete cloud features, the observed reflectivity spectrum from 800 to 900 nm is very well approximated by a background cloud model that is latitudinally varying, but zonally symmetric, consisting of a H2S cloud layer, based at 3.6–4.7 bar with variable opacity and scale height, and a stratospheric haze. The background cloud model matches the observed limb darkening seen at all wavelengths and latitudes and we find that the mole fraction of methane at 2–4 bar, above the H2S cloud, but below the methane condensation level, varies from 4–---6% at the equator to 2–4% at south polar latitudes, consistent with previous analyses, with a equator/pole ratio of 1.9 ± 0.2 for our assumed cloud/methane vertical distribution model. The spectra of discrete cloudy regions are fitted, to a very good approximation, by the addition of a single vertically thin methane ice cloud with opacity ranging from 0 to 0.75 and pressure less than ~0.4 bar.


Potential vorticity structure of Titan’s polar vortices from Cassini CIRS observations

Icarus Elsevier BV (2020) 114030

J Sharkey, NA Teanby, M Sylvestre, DM Mitchell, WJM Seviour, CA Nixon, PGJ Irwin


Neptune’s HCl upper limit from Herschel/HIFI

Icarus Elsevier 354 (2020) 114045

N Teanby, B Gould, PGJ Irwin

Here we search for hydrogen chloride (HCl) in Neptune’s stratosphere using observations of the 1876.22 GHz J=3–2 transition from the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared (HIFI) on Herschel. Observations comprise a 7.2 hr disc-averaged integration, originally designed to investigate stratospheric methane. Significant HCl emission was not detected. Instead, we determine upper limits using step-type abundance profiles, defined by zero deep abundance and uniform volume mixing ratio for pressures less than a transition pressure (assumed to be 0.1 or 1 mbar). These profiles are a reasonable first-order approximation for an externally sourced species; at higher pressures HCl is expected to be removed by aerosol scavenging and reactions with ammonia. The 3 upper limits are 0.70 parts per billion (ppb) for a 0.1 mbar transition pressure and 0.076 ppb for a 1 mbar transition pressure. These upper limits are the most stringent to date and are consistent with current estimates of interplanetary dust particle flux and the hypothesis that Neptune experienced a large comet impact in the past 1000 years.


Spatial variations in the altitude of the CH4 Homopause at Jupiter’s mid-to-high latitudes, as constrained from IRTF-TEXES Spectra 

The Planetary Science Journal IOP Publishing 1 (2020) 85

JA Sinclair, TK Greathouse, RS Giles, A Antuñano, JI Moses, T Fouchet, B Bézard, C Tao, J Martín-Torres, GB Clark, D Grodent, GS Orton, V Hue, LN Fletcher, PGJ Irwin

We present an analysis of IRTF-TEXES spectra of Jupiter's mid-to-high latitudes in order to test the hypothesis that the CH4 homopause altitude is higher in Jupiter's auroral regions compared to elsewhere on the planet. A family of photochemical models, based on Moses & Poppe (2017), were computed with a range of CH4 homopause altitudes. Adopting each model in turn, the observed TEXES spectra of H2 S(1), CH4, and CH3 emission measured on 2019 April 16 and August 20 were inverted, the vertical temperature profile was allowed to vary, and the quality of the fit to the spectra was used to discriminate between models. At latitudes equatorward of Jupiter's main auroral ovals (>62°S, <54°N, planetocentric), the observations were adequately fit assuming a homopause altitude lower than ~360 km (above 1 bar). At 62°N, inside the main auroral oval, we derived a CH4 homopause altitude of ${461}_{-39}^{+147}$ km, whereas outside the main oval at the same latitude, a 1σ upper limit of 370 km was derived. Our interpretation is that a portion of energy from the magnetosphere is deposited as heat within the main oval, which drives vertical winds and/or higher rates of turbulence and transports CH4 and its photochemical by-products to higher altitudes. Inside the northern main auroral oval, a factor of ~3 increase in CH3 abundance was also required to fit the spectra. This could be due to uncertainties in the photochemical modeling or an additional source of CH3 production in Jupiter's auroral regions.


Neptune and Uranus: ice or rock giants?

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences Royal Society 378 (2020) 20190489

N Teanby, P Irwin, J Moses, R Helled

</p>Existing observations of Uranus and Neptune’s fundamental physical properties can be fitted with a wide range of interior models. A key parameter in these models is the bulk rock:ice ratio and models broadly fall into ice-dominated (ice giant) and rock-dominated (rock giant) categories. Here we consider how observations of Neptune’s atmospheric temperature and composition (H2, He, D/H, CO, CH4, H2O and CS) can provide further constraints. The tropospheric CO profile in particular is highly diagnostic of interior ice content, but is also controversial, with deep values ranging from zero to 0.5 parts per million. Most existing CO profiles imply extreme O/H enrichments of >250 times solar composition, thus favouring an ice giant. However, such high O/H enrichment is not consistent with D/H observations for a fully mixed and equilibrated Neptune. CO and D/H measurements can be reconciled if there is incomplete interior mixing (ice giant) or if tropospheric CO has a solely external source and only exists in the upper troposphere (rock giant). An interior with more rock than ice is also more compatible with likely outer solar system ice sources. We primarily consider Neptune, but similar arguments apply to Uranus, which has comparable C/H and D/H enrichment, but no observed tropospheric CO. While both ice- and rock-dominated models are viable, we suggest a rock giant provides a more consistent match to available atmospheric observations.</p> <p>This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘Future exploration of ice giant systems’.</p>


Colour and tropospheric cloud structure of Jupiter from MUSE/VLT: retrieving a universal chromophore

Icarus Elsevier 338 (2020) 113589

AS Braude, P Irwin, GS Orton, LN Fletcher

Recent work by Sromovsky et al. (2017, Icarus 291, 232-244) suggested that all red colour in Jupiter’s atmosphere could be explained by a single colour-carrying compound, a so-called ‘universal chromophore’. We tested this hypothesis on ground-based spectroscopic observations in the visible and near-infrared (480- 930 nm) from the VLT/MUSE instrument between 2014 and 2018, retrieving a chromophore absorption spectrum directly from the North Equatorial Belt, and applying it to model spatial variations in colour, tropospheric cloud and haze structure on Jupiter. We found that we could model both the belts and the Great Red Spot of Jupiter using the same chromophore compound, but that this chromophore must exhibit a steeper blue-absorption gradient than the proposed chromophore of Carlson et al. (2016, Icarus 274, 106–115). We retrieved this chromophore to be located no deeper than 0.2±0.1 bars in the Great Red Spot and 0.7±0.1 bars elsewhere on Jupiter. However, we also identified some spectral variability between 510 nm and 540 nm that could not be accounted for by a universal chromophore. In addition, we retrieved a thick, global cloud layer at 1.4 ± 0.3 bars that was relatively spatially invariant in altitude across Jupiter. We found that this cloud layer was best characterised by a real refractive index close to that of ammonia ice in the belts and the Great Red Spot, and poorly characterised by a real refractive index of 1.6 or greater. This may be the result of ammonia cloud at higher altitude obscuring a deeper cloud layer of unknown composition.


Color and aerosol changes in Jupiter after a North Temperate Belt disturbance

Icarus Elsevier BV 352 (2020) 114031

S Pérez-Hoyos, A Sánchez-Lavega, J Sanz-Requena, N Barrado-Izagirre, O Carrión-González, A Anguiano-Arteaga, P Irwin, A Braude


Detection of CH3C3N in Titan’s Atmosphere

The Astrophysical Journal American Astronomical Society 903 (2020) L22-L22

AE Thelen, MA Cordiner, CA Nixon, V Vuitton, Z Kisiel, SB Charnley, MY Palmer, NA Teanby, PGJ Irwin


Detection of Cyclopropenylidene on Titan with ALMA

The Astronomical Journal American Astronomical Society 160 (2020) 205-205

CA Nixon, AE Thelen, MA Cordiner, Z Kisiel, SB Charnley, EM Molter, J Serigano, PGJ Irwin, NA Teanby, Y-J Kuan


Constraints on Neptune’s haze structure and formation from VLT observations in the H-band

Icarus Elsevier (2020)

D Toledo Carrasco, P Irwin, P Rannou, L Fletcher, N Teanby, M Wong, G Orton

A 1-dimensional microphysics model has been used to constrain the structure and formation of haze in Neptune's atmosphere. These simulations were coupled to a radiative-transfer and retrieval code (NEMESIS) to model spectral observations of Neptune in the H-band performed by the SINFONI Integral Field Unit Spectrometer on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in 2013. It was found that observations in the H-band and with emission angles ≤60° are largely unaffected by the imaginary refractive index of haze particles, allowing a notable reduction of the free parameters required to fit the observations. Our analysis shows a total haze production rate of (2.61 ± 0.18) × 10−14 kg m−2 s−1, about 10 times larger than that found in Uranus's atmosphere, and a particle electric charge of q = 8.6 ± 1.1 electrons per μm radius at latitudes between 5 and 15° S. This haze production rate in Neptune results in haze optical depths about 10 times greater than those in Uranus. The effective radius reff was found to be 0.22 ± 0.01 and 0.26 ± 0.02 μm at the 0.1 and 1-bar levels, respectively, with haze number densities of 8.48+1.78−1.31 and 9.31+2.52−1.91 particles per cm3. The fit at weak methane-absorbing wavelengths reveals also the presence of a tropospheric cloud with a total optical depth >10 at 1.46 μm. The tropospheric cloud base altitude was found near the 2.5-bar level, although this estimation may be only representative of the top of a thicker and deeper cloud. Our analysis leads to haze opacities about 3.5 times larger than that derived from Voyager-2 observations (Moses et al., 1995). This larger opacity indicates a haze production rate 2 times larger at least. To study this difference haze opacity or production rate, we performed a timescale analysis with our microphysical model to estimate the time required for haze particles to grow and settle out. Although this analysis shows haze timescales (∼15 years) shorter than the time lapsed between Voyager-2 observations and 2013, the solar illumination at the top of the atmosphere has not varied significantly during this period (at the studied latitudes) to explain the increase in haze production. This difference in haze production rate derived for these two periods may arise from: a) the fact that in our analysis we employed spectral observations in the infrared (H-band), while Moses et al. (1995) used photometric images taken at 5 different filters in the visible. While high-phase-angle Voyager observations are more sensitive to small haze particles and at altitudes above the 0.1-bar level, the haze constraints derived from VLT spectra in H-band are limited to pressures greater than 0.1 bar. As a result of the different phase angles of the two set of observations, differences in the estimation of M0 may arise from the use of Mie phase functions as well. b) our 1-dimensional model does not account for latitudinal redistributions of the haze by dynamics. A possible meridional transport of haze with wind velocities greater than ∼0.03 m s−1 would result in dynamics timescales shorter than 15 years and thus might explain the observed variations in the haze production rate during this period. Compared with our estimations, photochemical models point to even larger production rates on Neptune (by a factor of 2.4). Assuming that the photochemical simulations are correct, we found that this discrepancy can be explained if haze particles evaporate before reaching the tropospheric-cloud levels. This scenario would decrease the cumulative haze opacity above the 1-bar level, and thus a larger haze production rate would be required to fit our observations. However, to validate this haze vertical structure future microphysical simulations that include the evaporation rates of haze particles are required.


C2N2 vertical profile in Titan’s stratosphere

Astronomical Journal IOP Publishing 160 (2020) 178

M Sylvestre, N Teanby, M Dobrijevic, J Sharkey, P Irwin

In this paper, we present the first measurements of the vertical distribution of cyanogen (${{\rm{C}}}_{2}{{\rm{N}}}_{2}$) in Titan's lower atmosphere at different latitudes and seasons, using Cassini's Composite Infrared Spectrometer far-infrared data. We also study the vertical distribution of three other minor species detected in our data: methylacetylene (${{\rm{C}}}_{3}{{\rm{H}}}_{4}$), diacetylene (${{\rm{C}}}_{4}{{\rm{H}}}_{2}$), and ${{\rm{H}}}_{2}{\rm{O}}$, in order to compare them to ${{\rm{C}}}_{2}{{\rm{N}}}_{2}$, but also to get an overview of their seasonal and meridional variations in Titan's lower stratosphere from 85 km to 225 km. We measured an average volume mixing ratio of ${{\rm{C}}}_{2}{{\rm{N}}}_{2}$ of $6.2\pm 0.8\times {10}^{-11}$ at 125 km at the equator, but poles exhibit a strong enrichment in ${{\rm{C}}}_{2}{{\rm{N}}}_{2}$ (up to a factor 100 compared to the equator), greater than what was measured for ${{\rm{C}}}_{3}{{\rm{H}}}_{4}$ or ${{\rm{C}}}_{4}{{\rm{H}}}_{2}$. Measuring ${{\rm{C}}}_{2}{{\rm{N}}}_{2}$ profiles provides constraints on the processes controlling its distribution, such as bombardment by Galactic Cosmic Rays which seem to have a smaller influence on ${{\rm{C}}}_{2}{{\rm{N}}}_{2}$ than predicted by photochemical models.


Spatial structure in Neptune’s 7.90-m stratospheric CH emission, as measured by VLT-VISIR

Icarus Elsevier 345 (2020) 113748

J Sinclair, G Orton, L Fletcher, M Roman, I de Pater, T Encrenaz, H Hammel, R Giles, T Velusamy, J Moses, P Irwin, T Momary, N Rowe-Gurney, F Tabataba-Vakili

We present a comparison of VLT-VISIR images and Keck-NIRC2 images of Neptune, which highlight the coupling between its troposphere and stratosphere. VLT-VISIR images were obtained on September 16th 2008 (UT) at 7.90 μm and 12.27 μm, which are primarily sensitive to 1-mbar CH4 and C2H6 emission, respectively. NIRC2 images in the H band were obtained on October 5th, 6th and 9th 2008 (UT) and sense clouds and haze in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (from approximately 600 to 20 mbar). At 7.90 μm, we observe enhancements of CH4 emission in latitude bands centered at approximately 25∘S and 48∘S (planetocentric). Within these zonal bands, tentative detections (&lt;2σ) of discrete hotspots of CH4 emission are also evident at 24∘S, 181∘W and 42∘S, 170∘W. The longitudinal-mean enhancements in the CH4 emission are also latitudinally-coincident with bands of bright (presumably CH4 ice) clouds in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere evidenced in the H-band images. This suggests the Neptunian troposphere and stratosphere are coupled in these specific regions. This could be in the form of (1) ‘overshoot’ of strong, upwelling plumes and advection of CH4 ice into the lower stratosphere, which subsequently sublimates into CH4 gas and/or (2) generation of waves by plumes impinging from the tropopause below, which impart their energy and heat the lower stratosphere. We favor the former process since there is no evidence of similar smaller-scale morphology in the C2H6 emission, which probes a similar atmospheric level. However, we cannot exclude temperature variations as the source of the morphology observed in CH4 emission. Future, near-infrared imaging of Neptune performed near-simultaneously with future mid-infrared spectral observations of Neptune by the James Webb Space Telescope would allow the coupling of Neptune's troposphere and stratosphere to be confirmed and studied in greater detail.


Uranus in Northern Mid-spring: Persistent Atmospheric Temperatures and Circulations Inferred from Thermal Imaging (vol 159, 45, 2020)

ASTRONOMICAL JOURNAL American Astronomical Society 160 (2020) ARTN 56

MT Roman, LN Fletcher, GS Orton, N Rowe-Gurney, PGJ Irwin


Jupiter in the Ultraviolet: Acetylene and Ethane Abundances in the Stratosphere of Jupiter from Cassini Observations between 0.15 and 0.19 mu m

ASTRONOMICAL JOURNAL American Astronomical Society 159 (2020) ARTN 291

H Melin, L Fletcher, P Irwin, S Edgington

&#xA9; 2020. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. At wavelengths between 0.15 and 0.19 &#x3BC;m, the far-ultraviolet spectrum of Jupiter is dominated by the scattered solar spectrum, attenuated by molecular absorptions primarily by acetylene and ethane, and to a lesser extent ammonia and phosphine. We describe the development of our radiative transfer code that enables the retrieval of abundances of these molecular species from ultraviolet reflectance spectra. As a proof-of-concept we present an analysis of Cassini Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) observations of the disk of Jupiter during the 2000/2001 flyby. The ultraviolet-retrieved acetylene abundances in the upper stratosphere are lower than those predicted by models based solely on infrared thermal emission from the mid-stratosphere observed by the Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS), requiring an adjustment to the vertical profiles above 1 mbar. We produce a vertical acetylene abundance profile that is compatible with both CIRS and UVIS, with reduced abundances at pressures &lt;1 mbar: the 0.1 mbar abundances are 1.21 &#xB1; 0.07 ppm for acetylene and 20.8 &#xB1; 5.1 ppm for ethane. Finally, we perform a sensitivity study for the JUICE ultraviolet spectrograph, which has extended wavelength coverage out to 0.21 &#x3BC;m, enabling the retrieval of ammonia and phosphine abundances, in addition to acetylene and ethane.


Understanding and mitigating biases when studying inhomogeneous emission spectra with JWST

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Royal Astronomical Society (2020)

J Taylor, V Parmentier, P Irwin, S Aigrain, G Lee, J Krissansen-Totton

Exoplanet emission spectra are often modelled assuming that the hemisphere observed is well represented by a horizontally homogenised atmosphere. However this approximation will likely fail for planets with a large temperature contrast in the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) era, potentially leading to erroneous interpretations of spectra. We first develop an analytic formulation to quantify the signal-to-noise ratio and wavelength coverage necessary to disentangle temperature inhomogeneities from a hemispherically averaged spectrum. We find that for a given signal-to-noise ratio, observations at shorter wavelengths are better at detecting the presence of inhomogeneities. We then determine why the presence of an inhomogeneous thermal structure can lead to spurious molecular detections when assuming a fully homogenised planet in the retrieval process. Finally, we quantify more precisely the potential biases by modelling a suite of hot Jupiter spectra, varying the spatial contributions of a hot and a cold region, as would be observed by the different instruments of JWST/NIRSpec. We then retrieve the abundances and temperature profiles from the synthetic observations. We find that in most cases, assuming a homogeneous thermal structure when retrieving the atmospheric chemistry leads to biased results, and spurious molecular detection. Explicitly modelling the data using two profiles avoids these biases, and is statistically supported provided the wavelength coverage is wide enough, and crucially also spanning shorter wavelengths. For the high contrast used here, a single profile with a dilution factor performs as well as the two-profile case, with only one additional parameter compared to the 1-D approach.


Ice giant circulation patterns: Implications for atmospheric probes

Space Science Reviews Springer 216 (2020) 21

L Fletcher, DP Imke, G Orton, M Hofstadter, P Irwin, M Roman, D Toledo Carrasco

Atmospheric circulation patterns derived from multi-spectral remote sensing can serve as a guide for choosing a suitable entry location for a future in situ probe mission to the Ice Giants. Since the Voyager-2 flybys in the 1980s, three decades of observations from ground- and space-based observatories have generated a picture of Ice Giant circulation that is complex, perplexing, and altogether unlike that seen on the Gas Giants. This review seeks to reconcile the various competing circulation patterns from an observational perspective, accounting for spatially-resolved measurements of: zonal albedo contrasts and banded appearances; cloud-tracked zonal winds; temperature and para-H2 measurements above the condensate clouds; and equator-to-pole contrasts in condensable volatiles (methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulphide) in the deeper troposphere. These observations identify three distinct latitude domains: an equatorial domain of deep upwelling and upper-tropospheric subsidence, potentially bounded by peaks in the retrograde zonal jet and analogous to Jovian cyclonic belts; a mid-latitude transitional domain of upper-tropospheric upwelling, vigorous cloud activity, analogous to Jovian anticyclonic zones; and a polar domain of strong subsidence, volatile depletion, and small-scale (and potentially seasonally-variable) convective activity. Taken together, the multi-wavelength observations suggest a tiered structure of stacked circulation cells (at least two in the troposphere and one in the stratosphere), potentially separated in the vertical by (i) strong molecular weight gradients associated with cloud condensation, and by (ii) transitions from a thermally-direct circulation regime at depth to a wave- and radiative-driven circulation regime at high altitude. The inferred circulation can be tested in the coming decade by 3D numerical simulations of the atmosphere, and by observations from future world-class facilities. The carrier spacecraft for any probe entry mission must ultimately carry a suite of remote-sensing instruments capable of fully constraining the atmospheric motions at the probe descent location.


Advanced Net Flux Radiometer for the Ice Giants

Space Science Reviews Springer 216 (2020) 11

S Aslam, RK Achterberg, SB Calcutt, V Cottini, NJ Gorius, T Hewagama, PG Irwin, CA Nixon, G Quilligan, M Roos-Serote, AA Simon, D Tran, G Villanueva

<p>The design of an advanced Net Flux Radiometer (NFR), for inclusion as a payload on a future Ice Giants probe mission, is given. The Ice Giants NFR (IG-NFR) will measure the upward and downward radiation flux (hence net radiation flux), in seven spectral bands, spanning the range from solar to far infra-red wavelengths, each with a 5&deg; Field-Of-View (FOV) and in five sequential view angles (&plusmn;80&deg;, &plusmn;45&deg;, and 0&deg;) as a function of altitude. IG-NFR measurements within either Uranus or Neptune&rsquo;s atmospheres, using dedicated spectral filter bands will help derive radiative heating and cooling profiles, and will significantly contribute to our understanding of the planet&rsquo;s atmospheric heat balance and structure, tropospheric 3-D flow, and compositions and opacities of the cloud layers. The IG-NFR uses an array of non-imaging Winston cones integrated to a matched thermopile detector Focal Plane Assembly (FPA), with individual bandpass filters, housed in a diamond windowed vacuum micro-vessel. The FPA thermopile detector signals are read out in parallel mode, amplified and processed by a multi-channel digitizer application specific integrated circuit (MCD ASIC) under field programmable gate array (FPGA) control. The vacuum micro-vessel rotates providing chopping between FOV&rsquo;s of upward and downward radiation fluxes. This unique design allows for small net flux measurements in the presence of large ambient fluxes and rapidly changing ambient temperatures during the probe descent to &ge;10 bar pressure.</p>


Towards the analysis of JWST exoplanet spectra: the effective temperature in the context of direct imaging

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press (OUP) 490 (2019) 2086-2090

J-L Baudino, J Taylor, PGJ Irwin, R Garland

<jats:title>ABSTRACT</jats:title> <jats:p>The current sparse wavelength range coverage of exoplanet direct imaging observations, and the fact that models are defined using a finite wavelength range, lead both to uncertainties on effective temperature determination. We study these effects using blackbodies and atmospheric models and we detail how to infer this parameter. Through highlighting the key wavelength coverage that allows for a more accurate representation of the effective temperature, our analysis can be used to mitigate or manage extra uncertainties being added in the analysis from the models. We find that the wavelength range coverage will soon no longer be a problem. An effective temperature computed by integrating the spectroscopic observations of the James Webb Space Telescope will give uncertainties similar to, or better than, the current state–of–the–art, which is to fit models to data. Accurately calculating the effective temperature will help to improve current modelling approaches. Obtaining an independent and precise estimation of this crucial parameter will help the benchmarking process to identify the best practice to model exoplanet atmospheres.</jats:p>


Constraints on Uranus's haze structure, formation and transport

Icarus Elsevier BV 333 (2019) 1-11

D Toledo, PGJ Irwin, P Rannou, NA Teanby, AA Simon, MH Wong, GS Orton

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