skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: 3D MODELING OF GJ1214b's ATMOSPHERE: FORMATION OF INHOMOGENEOUS HIGH CLOUDS AND OBSERVATIONAL IMPLICATIONS

The warm sub-Neptune GJ1214b has a featureless transit spectrum that may be due to the presence of high and thick clouds or haze. Here, we simulate the atmosphere of GJ1214b with a 3D General Circulation Model for cloudy hydrogen-dominated atmospheres, including cloud radiative effects. We show that the atmospheric circulation is strong enough to transport micrometric cloud particles to the upper atmosphere and generally leads to a minimum of cloud at the equator. By scattering stellar light, clouds increase the planetary albedo to 0.4–0.6 and cool the atmosphere below 1 mbar. However, the heating by ZnS clouds leads to the formation of a stratospheric thermal inversion above 10 mbar, with temperatures potentially high enough on the dayside to evaporate KCl clouds. We show that flat transit spectra consistent with Hubble Space Telescope observations are possible if cloud particle radii are around 0.5 μm, and that such clouds should be optically thin at wavelengths >3 μm. Using simulated cloudy atmospheres that fit the observed spectra we generate transit, emission, and reflection spectra and phase curves for GJ1214b. We show that a stratospheric thermal inversion would be readily accessible in near- and mid-infrared atmospheric spectral windows. We find that the amplitude ofmore » the thermal phase curves is strongly dependent on metallicity, but only slightly impacted by clouds. Our results suggest that primary and secondary eclipses and phase curves observed by the James Webb Space Telescope in the near- to mid-infrared should provide strong constraints on the nature of GJ1214b's atmosphere and clouds.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Astronomy Department, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98125 (United States)
  2. Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, 60 St George Street, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3H8 (Canada)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518743
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 813; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ALBEDO; ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION; CLOUDS; DIAGRAMS; ECLIPSE; EMISSION SPECTRA; GENERAL CIRCULATION MODELS; HYDROGEN; METALLICITY; NEPTUNE PLANET; POTASSIUM CHLORIDES; SATELLITE ATMOSPHERES; SATELLITES; SPACE; TELESCOPES; TEMPERATURE INVERSIONS; ZINC SULFIDES