Publications by Vivien Parmentier

Evidence for H2 dissociation and recombination heat transport in the atmosphere of KELT-9b

Astrophysical Journal Letters American Astronomical Society 888 (2020) L15

M Mansfield, JL Bean, KB Stevenson, TD Komacek, TJ Bell, X Tan, M Malik, TG Beatty, I Wong, NB Cowan, L Dang, J-M Désert, JJ Fortney, BS Gaudi, D Keating, EM-R Kempton, L Kreidberg, V Parmentier, KG Stassun

Understanding and mitigating biases when studying inhomogeneous emission spectra with JWST

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Royal Astronomical Society 493 (2020) 4342-4354,

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 homogenized 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 homogenized 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 1D approach.

Constraining exoplanet metallicities and aerosols with the contribution to ARIEL spectroscopy of exoplanets (CASE)

Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific IOP Science 131 (2019) 094401

RT Zellem, MR Swain, NB Cowan, G Bryden, TD Komacek, M Colavita, D Ardila, GM Roudier, JJ Fortney, J Bean, MR Line, CA Griffith, EL Shkolnik, L Kreidberg, JI Moses, AP Showman, KB Stevenson, JW Chapman, DR Ciardi, AW Howard, T Kataria, EM-R Kempton, S Mahadevan, J Melendez, V Parmentier

Launching in 2028, ESA’s 0.64 m2 Atmospheric Remote-sensing Exoplanet Large-survey (ARIEL) survey of ∼1000 transiting exoplanets will build on the legacies of NASA’s Kepler and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), and complement the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) by placing its high-precision exoplanet observations into a large, statistically significant planetary population context. With continuous 0.5–7.8 μm coverage from both FGS (0.5–0.6, 0.6–0.81, and 0.81–1.1 μm photometry; 1.1–1.95 μm spectroscopy) and AIRS (1.95–7.80 μm spectroscopy), ARIEL will determine atmospheric compositions and probe planetary formation histories during its 3.5 yr mission. NASA’s proposed Contribution to ARIEL Spectroscopy of Exoplanets (CASE) would be a subsystem of ARIEL’s Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) instrument consisting of two visible-to-infrared detectors, associated readout electronics, and thermal control hardware. FGS, to be built by the Polish Academy of Sciences Space Research Centre, will provide both fine guiding and visible to near-infrared photometry and spectroscopy, providing powerful diagnostics of atmospheric aerosol contribution and planetary albedo, which play a crucial role in establishing planetary energy balance. The CASE team presents here an independent study of the capabilities of ARIEL to measure exoplanetary metallicities, which probe the conditions of planet formation, and FGS to measure scattering spectral slopes, which indicate if an exoplanet has atmospheric aerosols (clouds and hazes), and geometric albedos, which help establish planetary climate. Our simulations assume that ARIEL’s performance will be 1.3×the photon-noise limit. This value is motivated by current transiting exoplanet observations: Spitzer/IRAC and Hubble/WFC3 have empirically achieved 1.15×the photon-noise limit. One could expect similar performance from ARIEL, JWST, and other proposed future missions such as HabEx, LUVOIR, and Origins. Our design reference mission simulations show that ARIEL could measure the mass– metallicity relationship of its 1000-planet single-visit sample to >7.5σ and that FGS could distinguish between clear, cloudy, and hazy skies and constrain an exoplanet’s atmospheric aerosol composition to ≳5σ for hundreds of targets, providing statistically transformative science for exoplanet atmospheres.

Observing exoplanets in the near-infrared from a high altitude balloon platform

Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation World Scientific Publishing 8 (2019) 1950011

PC Nagler, B Edwards, B Kilpatrick, NK Lewis, P Maxted, C Barth Netterfield, V Parmentier, E Pascale, S Sarkar, GS Tucker, I Waldmann

Although there exists a large sample of known exoplanets, little data exists that can be used to study their global atmospheric properties. This deficiency can be addressed by performing phase-resolved spectroscopy — continuous spectroscopic observations of a planet’s entire orbit about its host star — of transiting exoplanets. Planets with characteristics suitable for atmospheric characterization have orbits of several days, thus phase curve observations are highly resource intensive, especially for shared use facilities. In this work, we show that an infrared spectrograph operating from a high altitude balloon platform can perform phase-resolved spectroscopy of hot Jupiter-type exoplanets with performance comparable to a space-based telescope. Using the EXoplanet Climate Infrared TElescope (EXCITE) experiment as an example, we quantify the impact of the most important systematic effects that we expect to encounter from a balloon platform. We show an instrument like EXCITE will have the stability and sensitivity to significantly advance our understanding of exoplanet atmospheres. Such an instrument will both complement and serve as a critical bridge between current and future space-based near-infrared spectroscopic instruments.

The effect of 3D transport-induced disequilibrium carbon chemistry on the atmospheric structure, phase curves, and emission spectra of hot Jupiter HD 189733b

Astrophysical Journal IOP Publishing 880 (2019) 14

ME Steinrueck, V Parmentier, AP Showman, JD Lothringer, RE Lupu

On hot Jupiter exoplanets, strong horizontal and vertical winds should homogenize the abundances of the important absorbers CH4 and CO much faster than chemical reactions restore chemical equilibrium. This effect, typically neglected in general circulation models (GCMs), has been suggested to explain discrepancies between observed infrared light curves and those predicted by GCMs. On the nightsides of several hot Jupiters, GCMs predict outgoing fluxes that are too large, especially in the Spitzer 4.5 μm band. We modified the SPARC/MITgcm to include disequilibrium abundances of CH4, CO, and H2O by assuming that the CH4/CO ratio is constant throughout the simulation domain. We ran simulations of hot Jupiter HD 189733b with eight CH4/CO ratios. In the more likely CO-dominated regime, we find temperature changes ≥50–100 K compared to the simulation for equilibrium chemistry across large regions. This effect is large enough to affect predicted emission spectra and should thus be included in GCMs of hot Jupiters with equilibrium temperatures between 600 and 1300 K. We find that spectra in regions with strong methane absorption, including the Spitzer 3.6 and 8 μm bands, are strongly impacted by disequilibrium abundances. We expect chemical quenching to result in much larger nightside fluxes in the 3.6 μm band, in stark contrast to observations. Meanwhile, we find almost no effect on predicted observations in the 4.5 μm band, because the changes in opacity due to CO and H2O offset each other. We thus conclude that disequilibrium carbon chemistry cannot explain the observed low nightside fluxes in the 4.5 μm band.

Transit signatures of inhomogeneous clouds on hot Jupiters: insights from microphysical cloud modeling

Astrophysical Journal American Astronomical Society 887 (2019) 170

D Powell, T Louden, L Kreidberg, X Zhang, P Gao, V Parmentier

We determine the observability in transmission of inhomogeneous cloud cover on the limbs of hot Jupiters through post-processing a general circulation model to include cloud distributions computed using a cloud microphysics model. We find that both the east and west limbs often form clouds, but that the different properties of these clouds enhance the limb-to-limb differences compared to the clear case. Using the James Webb Space Telescope, it should be possible to detect the presence of cloud inhomogeneities by comparing the shape of the transit light curve at multiple wavelengths because inhomogeneous clouds impart a characteristic, wavelength-dependent signature. This method is statistically robust even with limited wavelength coverage, uncertainty on limb-darkening coefficients, and imprecise transit times. We predict that the short-wavelength slope varies strongly with temperature. The hot limbs of the hottest planets form higher-altitude clouds composed of smaller particles, leading to a strong Rayleigh slope. The near-infrared spectral features of clouds are almost always detectable, even when no spectral slope is visible in the optical. In some of our models a spectral window between 5 and 9 μm can be used to probe through the clouds and detect chemical spectral features. Our cloud particle size distributions are not lognormal and differ from species to species. Using the area- or mass-weighted particle size significantly alters the relative strength of the cloud spectral features compared to using the predicted size distribution. Finally, the cloud content of a given planet is sensitive to a species' desorption energy and contact angle, two parameters that could be constrained experimentally in the future.

Understanding the atmospheric properties and chemical composition of the ultra-hot Jupiter HAT-P-7b

Astronomy and Astrophysics EDP Sciences 631 (2019) A79

C Helling, N Iro, L Corrales, D Samra, K Ohno, MK Alam, M Steinrueck, B Lew, K Molaverdikhani, RJ MacDonald, O Herbort, P Woitke, V Parmentier

<p><i>Context. </i>Of the presently known ≈3900 exoplanets, sparse spectral observations are available for ≈100. Ultra-hot Jupiters have recently attracted interest from observers and theoreticians alike, as they provide observationally accessible test cases. Confronting detailed theoretical models with observations is of preeminent importance in preparation for upcoming space-based telescopes.</p> <p><i>Aims. </i>We aim to study cloud formation on the ultra-hot Jupiter HAT-P-7b, the resulting composition of the local gas phase, and how their global changes affect wavelength-dependent observations utilised to derive fundamental properties of the planet.</p> <p><i>Methods. </i>We apply a hierarchical modelling approach as a virtual laboratory to study cloud formation and gas-phase chemistry. We utilise 97 vertical 1D profiles of a 3D GCM for HAT-P-7b to evaluate our kinetic cloud formation model consistently with the local equilibrium gas-phase composition. We use maps and slice views to provide a global understanding of the cloud and gas chemistry.</p> <p><i>Results. </i>The day/night temperature difference on HAT-P-7b (ΔT ≈ 2500 K) causes clouds to form on the nightside (dominated by H2/He) while the dayside (dominated by H/He) retains cloud-free equatorial regions. The cloud particles vary in composition and size throughout the vertical extension of the cloud, but also globally. TiO2[s]/Al2O3[s]/CaTiO3[s]-particles of cm-sized radii occur in the higher dayside-latitudes, resulting in a dayside dominated by gas-phase opacity. The opacity on the nightside, however, is dominated by 0.01…0.1μm particles made of a material mix dominated by silicates. The gas pressure at which the atmosphere becomes optically thick is ~10−4 bar in cloudy regions, and ~0.1 bar in cloud-free regions.</p> <p><i>Conclusions. </i>HAT-P-7b features strong morning/evening terminator asymmetries, providing an example of patchy clouds and azimuthally-inhomogeneous chemistry. Variable terminator properties may be accessible by ingress/egress transmission photometry (e.g., CHEOPS and PLATO) or spectroscopy. The large temperature differences of ≈2500 K result in an increasing geometrical extension from the night- to the dayside. The H2O abundance at the terminator changes by <1 dex with altitude and ≲0.3 dex (a factor of 2) across the terminator for a given pressure, indicating that H2O abundances derived from transmission spectra can be representative of the well-mixed metallicity at P ≳ 10 bar. We suggest the atmospheric C/O as an important tool to trace the presence and location of clouds in exoplanet atmospheres. The atmospheric C/O can be sub- and supersolar due to cloud formation. Phase curve variability of HAT-P-7b is unlikely to be caused by dayside clouds.</p>

Climate of an ultra hot Jupiter: Spectroscopic phase curve of WASP-18b with HST/WFC3

Astronomy and Astrophysics EDP Sciences 625 (2019) A136

J Arcangeli, J-M Desert, V Parmentier, KB Stevenson, JL Bean, MR Line, L Kreidberg, JJ Fortney, AP Showman

We present the analysis of a full-orbit, spectroscopic phase curve of the ultra hot Jupiter (UHJ) WASP-18b, obtained with the Wide Field Camera 3 aboard the Hubble Space Telescope. We measured the normalised day-night contrast of the planet as >0.96 in luminosity: the disc-integrated dayside emission from the planet is at 964 ± 25 ppm, corresponding to 2894 ± 30 K, and we place an upper limit on the nightside emission of <32 ppm or 1430 K at the 3σ level. We also find that the peak of the phase curve exhibits a small, but significant offset in brightness of 4.5 ± 0.5° eastward. We compare the extracted phase curve and phase-resolved spectra to 3D global circulation models and find that broadly the data can be well reproduced by some of these models. We find from this comparison several constraints on the atmospheric properties of the planet. Firstly we find that we need efficient drag to explain the very inefficient day-night recirculation observed. We demonstrate that this drag could be due to Lorentz-force drag by a magnetic field as weak as 10 gauss. Secondly, we show that a high metallicity is not required to match the large day-night temperature contrast. In fact, the effect of metallicity on the phase curve is different from cooler gas-giant counterparts because of the high-temperature chemistry in the atmosphere of WASP-18b. Additionally, we compared the current UHJ spectroscopic phase curves, WASP-18b and WASP-103b, and show that these two planets provide a consistent picture with remarkable similarities in their measured and inferred properties. However, key differences in these properties, such as their brightness offsets and radius anomalies, suggest that UHJ could be used to separate between competing theories for the inflation of gas-giant planets.

Vertical tracer mixing in hot Jupiter atmospheres

Astrophysical Journal American Astronomical Society 881 (2019) 152

TD Komacek, AP Showman, V Parmentier

Aerosols appear to be ubiquitous in close-in gas giant atmospheres, and disequilibrium chemistry likely impacts the emergent spectra of these planets. Lofted aerosols and disequilibrium chemistry are caused by vigorous vertical transport in these heavily irradiated atmospheres. Here we numerically and analytically investigate how vertical transport should change over the parameter space of spin-synchronized gas giants. In order to understand how tracer transport depends on planetary parameters, we develop an analytic theory to predict vertical velocities and mixing rates (K zz) and compare the results to our numerical experiments. We find that both our theory and numerical simulations predict that if the vertical mixing rate is described by an eddy diffusivity, then this eddy diffusivity K zz should increase with increasing equilibrium temperature, decreasing frictional drag strength, and increasing chemical loss timescales. We find that the transition in our numerical simulations between circulation dominated by a superrotating jet and that with solely day-to-night flow causes a marked change in the vertical velocity structure and tracer distribution. The mixing ratio of passive tracers is greatest for intermediate drag strengths that correspond to this transition between a superrotating jet with columnar vertical velocity structure and day-to-night flow with upwelling on the dayside and downwelling on the nightside. Finally, we present analytic solutions for K zz as a function of planetary effective temperature, chemical loss timescales, and other parameters, for use as input to 1D chemistry models of spin-synchronized gas giant atmospheres.

From thermal dissociation to condensation in the atmospheres of ultra hot Jupiters: WASP-121b in context


V Parmentier, MR Line, JL Bean, M Mansfield, L Kreidberg, R Lupu, C Visscher, J-M Desert, JJ Fortney, M Deleuil, J Arcangeli, AP Showman, MS Marley

Context. A new class of exoplanets has emerged: the ultra hot Jupiters, the hottest close-in gas giants. The majority of them have weaker-than-expected spectral features in the 1.1−1.7 µm bandpass probed by HST/WFC3 but stronger spectral features at longer wavelengths probed by Spitzer. This led previous authors to puzzling conclusions about the thermal structures and chemical abundances of these planets. Aims. We investigate how thermal dissociation, ionization, H − opacity, and clouds shape the thermal structures and spectral properties of ultra hot Jupiters. Methods. We use the SPARC/MITgcm to model the atmospheres of four ultra hot Jupiters and discuss more thoroughly the case of WASP-121b. We expand our findings to the whole population of ultra hot Jupiters through analytical quantification of the thermal dissociation and its influence on the strength of spectral features. Results. We predict that most molecules are thermally dissociated and alkalies are ionized in the dayside photospheres of ultra hot Jupiters. This includes H2O, TiO, VO, and H2 but not CO, which has a stronger molecular bond. The vertical molecular gradient created by the dissociation significantly weakens the spectral features from H2O while the 4.5 µm CO feature remains unchanged. The water band in the HST/WFC3 bandpass is further weakened by the continuous opacity of the H − ions. Molecules are expected to recombine before reaching the limb, leading to order of magnitude variations of the chemical composition and cloud coverage between the limb and the dayside. Conclusions. Molecular dissociation provides a qualitative understanding of the lack of strong spectral features of water in the 1−2 µm bandpass observed in most ultra hot Jupiters. Quantitatively, our model does not provide a satisfactory match to the WASP-121b emission spectrum. Together with WASP-33b and Kepler-33Ab, they seem the outliers among the population of ultra hot Jupiters, in need of a more thorough understanding

Community targets of JWST's early release science program: Evaluation of WASP-63b

Astronomical Journal IOP Publishing 156 (2018) 103

BM Kilpatrick, PE Cubillos, KB Stevenson, NK Lewis, HR Wakeford, RJ MacDonald, N Madhusudhan, J Blecic, G Bruno, A Burrows, D Deming, K Heng, MR Line, CV Morley, V Parmentier, GS Tucker, JA Valenti, IP Waldmann, JL Bean, C Beichman, J Fraine, JE Krick, JD Lothringer, AM Mandell

We present observations of WASP-63b by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) as part of "A Preparatory Program to Identify the Single Best Transiting Exoplanet for James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Early Release Science (ERS)." WASP-63b is one of the community targets under consideration for the JWST ERS program. We present a spectrum derived from a single observation by HST Wide Field Camera 3 in the near-infrared. We engaged groups across the transiting exoplanet community to participate in the analysis of the data and present results from each. Extraction of the transmission spectrum by several independent analyses find an H2O absorption feature with varying degrees of significance ranging from 1σ to 3σ. The feature, in all cases, is muted in comparison to a clear atmosphere at solar composition. The reasons for the muting of this feature are ambiguous due to a degeneracy between clouds and composition. The data does not yield robust detections of any molecular species other than H2O. The group was motivated to perform an additional set of retrieval exercises to investigate an apparent bump in the spectrum at ~1.55 μm. We explore possible disequilibrium chemistry and find this feature is consistent with super-solar HCN abundance but it is questionable if the required mixing ratio of HCN is chemically and physically plausible. The ultimate goal of this study is to vet WASP-63b as a potential community target to best demonstrate the capabilities and systematics of JWST instruments for transiting exoplanet science. In the case of WASP-63b, the presence of a detectable water feature indicates that WASP-63b remains a plausible target for JWST observations.

The Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program for JWST


L Kreidberg, N Crouzet, B Benneke, Line, DK Sing, HR Wakeford, HA Knutson, EM-R Kempton, J-M Désert, I Crossfield, NE Batalha, JD Wit, V Parmentier, J Harrington, JI Moses, M Lopez-Morales, MK Alam, J Blecic, G Bruno, AL Carter, JW Chapman, L Decin, D Dragomir, TM Evans, JJ Fortney

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) presents the opportunity to transform our understanding of planets and the origins of life by revealing the atmospheric compositions, structures, and dynamics of transiting exoplanets in unprecedented detail. However, the high-precision, time-series observations required for such investigations have unique technical challenges, and prior experience with other facilities indicates that there will be a steep learning curve when JWST becomes operational. In this paper we describe the science objectives and detailed plans of the Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science (ERS) Program, which is a recently approved program for JWST observations early in Cycle 1. The goal of this project, for which the obtained data will have no exclusive access period, is to accelerate the acquisition and diffusion of technical expertise for transiting exoplanet observations with JWST, while also providing a compelling set of representative datasets that will enable immediate scientific breakthroughs. The Transiting Exoplanet Community ERS Program will exercise the time-series modes of all four JWST instruments that have been identified as the consensus highest priorities, observe the full suite of transiting planet characterization geometries (transits, eclipses, and phase curves), and target planets with host stars that span an illustrative range of brightnesses. The observations in this program were defined through an inclusive and transparent process that had participation from JWST instrument experts and international leaders in transiting exoplanet studies. Community engagement in the project will be centered on a two-phase Data Challenge that culminates with the delivery of planetary spectra, time-series instrument performance reports, and open-source data analysis toolkits in time to inform the agenda for Cycle 2 of the JWST mission.

A chemical survey of exoplanets with ARIEL

Experimental Astronomy Springer 46 (2018) 135-209

G Tinetti, P Drossart, P Eccleston, P Hartogh, A Heske, J Leconte, G Micela, M Ollivier, P Eccleston, G Pilbratt, L Puig, D Turrini, N Bowles

Thousands of exoplanets have now been discovered with a huge range of masses, sizes and orbits: from rocky Earth-like planets to large gas giants grazing the surface of their host star. However, the essential nature of these exoplanets remains largely mysterious: there is no known, discernible pattern linking the presence, size, or orbital parameters of a planet to the nature of its parent star. We have little idea whether the chemistry of a planet is linked to its formation environment, or whether the type of host star drives the physics and chemistry of the planet’s birth, and evolution. The Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (ARIEL) has been selected by the European Space Agency as the next mediumclass science mission, M4, to address these scientific questions. ARIEL was conceived to observe a large number (~1000) of transiting planets for statistical understanding, including gas giants, Neptunes, super-Earths and Earth-size planets around a range of host star types using transit spectroscopy in the 1.25-7.8 μm spectral range and multiple narrow-band photometry in the optical. ARIEL will focus on warm and hot planets to take advantage of their well-mixed atmospheres which should show minimal condensation and sequestration of high-Z materials compared to their colder Solar System siblings. Said warm and hot atmospheres are expected to be more representative of the planetary bulk composition. Observations of these warm/hot exoplanets, and in particular of their elemental composition (especially C, O, N, S, Si), will allow the understanding of the early stages of planetary and atmospheric formation during the nebular phase and the following few million years. ARIEL will thus provide a representative picture of the chemical nature of the exoplanets and relate this directly to the type and chemical environment of the host star. ARIEL is designed as a dedicated survey mission for combined-light spectroscopy, capable of observing a large and well-defined planet sample within its 4-year mission lifetime. Transit, eclipse and phase-curve spectroscopy methods, whereby the signal from the star and planet are differentiated using knowledge of the planetary ephemerides, allow us to measure atmospheric signals from the planet at levels of 10-100 part per million (ppm) relative to the star and, given the bright nature of targets, also allows more sophisticated techniques, such as eclipse mapping, to give a deeper insight into the nature of the atmosphere. These types of observations require a stable payload and satellite platform with broad, instantaneous wavelength coverage to detect many molecular species, probe the thermal structure, identify clouds and monitor the stellar activity. The wavelength range proposed covers all the expected major atmospheric gases from e.g. H2O, CO2, CH4 NH3, HCN, H2S through to the more exotic metallic compounds, such as TiO, VO, and condensed species. Simulations of ARIEL performance in conducting exoplanet surveys have been performed – using conservative estimates of mission performance and a full model of all significant noise sources in the measurement – using a list of potential ARIEL targets that incorporates the latest available exoplanet statistics. The conclusion at the end of the Phase A study, is that ARIEL – in line with the stated mission objectives – will be able to observe about 1000 exoplanets depending on the details of the adopted survey strategy, thus confirming the feasibility of the main science objectives.

An HST/WFC3 Thermal Emission Spectrum of the Hot Jupiter HAT-P-7b

The Astronomical Journal American Astronomical Society 156 (2018) 10-10

M Mansfield, JL Bean, MR Line, V Parmentier, L Kreidberg, J-M Désert, JJ Fortney, KB Stevenson, J Arcangeli, D Dragomir

H− opacity and water dissociation in the dayside atmosphere of the very hot gas giant WASP-18b

Astrophysical Journal: Letters American Astronomical Society 855 (2018) L30-

J Arcangeli, J-M Désert, Line, JL Bean, V Parmentier, KB Stevenson, L Kreidberg, JJ Fortney, M Mansfield, AP Showman

We present one of the most precise emission spectra of an exoplanet observed so far. We combine five secondary eclipses of the hot Jupiter WASP-18b (T day ~ 2900 K) that we secured between 1.1 and 1.7 μm with the Wide Field Camera 3 instrument on board the Hubble Space Telescope. Our extracted spectrum (S/N = 50, R ~ 40) does not exhibit clearly identifiable molecular features but is poorly matched by a blackbody spectrum. We complement this data with previously published Spitzer/Infrared Array Camera observations of this target and interpret the combined spectrum by computing a grid of self-consistent, 1D forward models, varying the composition and energy budget. At these high temperatures, we find there are important contributions to the overall opacity from H− ions, as well as the removal of major molecules by thermal dissociation (including water), and thermal ionization of metals. These effects were omitted in previous spectral retrievals for very hot gas giants, and we argue that they must be included to properly interpret the spectra of these objects. We infer a new metallicity and C/O ratio for WASP-18b, and find them well constrained to be solar ([M/H] = −0.01 ± 0.35, C/O ≺ 0.85 at 3σ confidence level), unlike previous work but in line with expectations for giant planets. The best-fitting self-consistent temperature–pressure profiles are inverted, resulting in an emission feature at 4.5 μm seen in the Spitzer photometry. These results further strengthen the evidence that the family of very hot gas giant exoplanets commonly exhibit thermal inversions.

Global Climate and Atmospheric Composition of the Ultra-hot Jupiter WASP-103b from HST and Spitzer Phase Curve Observations

The Astronomical Journal American Astronomical Society 156 (0) 17-17

L Kreidberg, MR Line, V Parmentier, KB Stevenson, T Louden, M Bonnefoy, JK Faherty, GW Henry, MH Williamson, K Stassun, TG Beatty, JL Bean, JJ Fortney, AP Showman, J-M Désert, J Arcangeli

An Observational Diagnostic for Distinguishing between Clouds and Haze in Hot Exoplanet Atmospheres

The Astrophysical Journal American Astronomical Society 845 (2017) L20-L20

EM-R Kempton, JL Bean, V Parmentier

Transitions in the cloud composition of hot Jupiters

The Astrophysical Journal American Astronomical Society (0)

V Parmentier, JJ Fortney, AP Showman, CV Morley, MS Marley

Over a large range of equilibrium temperatures, clouds shape the transmission spectrum of hot Jupiter atmospheres, yet their composition remains unknown. Recent observations show that the Kepler lightcurves of some hot Jupiters are asymmetric: for the hottest planets, the lightcurve peaks before secondary eclipse, whereas for planets cooler than $\sim1900\rm\,K$, it peaks after secondary eclipse. We use the thermal structure from 3D global circulation models to determine the expected cloud distribution and Kepler lightcurves of hot Jupiters. We demonstrate that the change from an optical lightcurve dominated by thermal emission to one dominated by scattering (reflection) naturally explains the observed trend from negative to positive offset. For the cool planets the presence of an asymmetry in the Kepler lightcurve is a telltale sign of the cloud composition, because each cloud species can produce an offset only over a narrow range of effective temperatures. By comparing our models and the observations, we show that the cloud composition of hot Jupiters likely varies with equilibrium temperature. We suggest that a transition occurs between silicate and manganese sulfide clouds at a temperature near $1600\rm\,K$, analogous to the L/T transition on brown dwarfs. The cold trapping of cloud species below the photosphere naturally produces such a transition and predicts similar transitions for other condensates, including TiO. We predict that most hot Jupiters should have cloudy nightsides, that partial cloudiness should be common at the limb and that the dayside hot spot should often be cloud-free.

A non-grey analytical model for irradiated atmospheres. II: Analytical vs. numerical solutions

Astronomy and Astrophysics EDP Sciences 574 (0) A35-A35

V Parmentier, T Guillot, JJ Fortney, MS Marley

The recent discovery and characterization of the diversity of the atmospheres of exoplanets and brown dwarfs calls for the development of fast and accurate analytical models. We quantify the accuracy of the analytical solution derived in paper I for an irradiated, non-grey atmosphere by comparing it to a state-of-the-art radiative transfer model. Then, using a grid of numerical models, we calibrate the different coefficients of our analytical model for irradiated solar-composition atmospheres of giant exoplanets and brown dwarfs. We show that the so-called Eddington approximation used to solve the angular dependency of the radiation field leads to relative errors of up to 5% on the temperature profile. We show that for realistic non-grey planetary atmospheres, the presence of a convective zone that extends to optical depths smaller than unity can lead to changes in the radiative temperature profile on the order of 20% or more. When the convective zone is located at deeper levels (such as for strongly irradiated hot Jupiters), its effect on the radiative atmosphere is smaller. We show that the temperature inversion induced by a strong absorber in the optical, such as TiO or VO is mainly due to non-grey thermal effects reducing the ability of the upper atmosphere to cool down rather than an enhanced absorption of the stellar light as previously thought. Finally, we provide a functional form for the coefficients of our analytical model for solar-composition giant exoplanets and brown dwarfs. This leads to fully analytical pressure-temperature profiles for irradiated atmospheres with a relative accuracy better than 10% for gravities between 2.5m/s^2 and 250 m/s^2 and effective temperatures between 100 K and 3000 K. This is a great improvement over the commonly used Eddington boundary condition.

A non-grey analytical model for irradiated atmospheres. I: Derivation

Astronomy and Astrophysics EDP Sciences (0)

V Parmentier, T Guillot

Context. Semi-grey atmospheric models (with one opacity for the visible and one opacity for the infrared) are useful to understand the global structure of irradiated atmospheres, their dynamics and the interior structure and evolution of planets, brown dwarfs and stars. But when compared to direct numerical radiative transfer calculations for irradiated exoplanets, these models systematically overestimate the temperatures at low optical depth, independently of the opacity parameters. We wish to understand why semi-grey models fail at low optical depths, and provide a more accurate approximation to the atmospheric structure by accounting for the variable opacity in the infrared. Our analytical irradiated non-grey model is found to provide a range of temperatures that is consistent with that obtained by numerical calculations. We find that even for slightly non-grey thermal opacities the temperature structure differs significantly from previous semi-grey models. For small values of beta (expected when lines are dominant), we find that the non-grey effects are confined to low-optical depths. However, for beta larger than 0.5 (appropriate in the presence of bands with a wavelength-dependence smaller or comparable with the width of the Planck function), we find that the temperature structure is affected even down to infrared optical depths unity and deeper as a result of the so-called blanketing effect. The expressions that we derive may be used to provide a proper functional form for algorithms that invert the atmospheric properties from spectral information. Because a full atmospheric structure can be calculated directly, these expressions should be useful for simulations of the dynamics of these atmospheres and of the thermal evolution of the planets. Finally, they should be used to test full radiative transfer models and improve their convergence.