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Title: STUDYING ATMOSPHERE-DOMINATED HOT JUPITER KEPLER PHASE CURVES: EVIDENCE THAT INHOMOGENEOUS ATMOSPHERIC REFLECTION IS COMMON

We identify three Kepler transiting planets, Kepler-7b, Kepler-12b, and Kepler-41b, whose orbital phase-folded light curves are dominated by planetary atmospheric processes including thermal emission and reflected light, while the impact of non-atmospheric (i.e., gravitational) processes, including beaming (Doppler boosting) and tidal ellipsoidal distortion, is negligible. Therefore, those systems allow a direct view of their atmospheres without being hampered by the approximations used in the inclusion of both atmospheric and non-atmospheric processes when modeling the phase-curve shape. We present here the analysis of Kepler-12b and Kepler-41b atmosphere based on their Kepler phase curve, while the analysis of Kepler-7b was already presented elsewhere. The model we used efficiently computes reflection and thermal emission contributions to the phase curve, including inhomogeneous atmospheric reflection due to longitudinally varying cloud coverage. We confirm Kepler-12b and Kepler-41b show a westward phase shift between the brightest region on the planetary surface and the substellar point, similar to Kepler-7b. We find that reflective clouds located on the west side of the substellar point can explain the phase shift. The existence of inhomogeneous atmospheric reflection in all three of our targets, selected due to their atmosphere-dominated Kepler phase curve, suggests this phenomenon is common. Therefore, it is also likelymore » to be present in planetary phase curves that do not allow a direct view of the planetary atmosphere as they contain additional orbital processes. We discuss the implications of a bright-spot shift on the analysis of phase curves where both atmospheric and gravitational processes appear, including the mass discrepancy seen in some cases between the companion’s mass derived from the beaming and ellipsoidal photometric amplitudes. Finally, we discuss the potential detection of non-transiting but otherwise similar planets, whose mass is too small to show a gravitational photometric signal, but their atmosphere is reflective enough to show detectable phase modulations.« less
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22520131
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astronomical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 150; Journal Issue: 4; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; AMPLITUDES; CLOUDS; DETECTION; DIAGRAMS; INCLUSIONS; JUPITER PLANET; MASS; MODULATION; PHASE SHIFT; PHOTOMETRY; PLANETARY ATMOSPHERES; REFLECTION; STARS; SURFACES; VISIBLE RADIATION