Jonathan J. Fortney

University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, United States

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Publications (319)1482.52 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Jupiter's atmosphere has been observed to be depleted in helium (Yatm~0.24), suggesting active helium sedimentation in the interior. This is accounted for in standard Jupiter structure and evolution models through the assumption of an outer, He-depleted envelope that is separated from the He-enriched deep interior by a sharp boundary. Here we aim to develop a model for Jupiter's inhomogeneous thermal evolution that relies on a more self-consistent description of the internal profiles of He abundance, temperature, and heat flux. We make use of recent numerical simulations on H/He demixing, and on layered (LDD) and oscillatory (ODD) double diffusive convection, and assume an idealized planet model composed of a H/He envelope and a massive core. A general framework for the construction of interior models with He rain is described. Despite, or perhaps because of, our simplifications made we find that self-consistent models are rare. For instance, no model for ODD convection is found. We modify the H/He phase diagram of Lorenzen et al. to reproduce Jupiter's atmospheric helium abundance and examine evolution models as a function of the LDD layer height, from those that prolong Jupiter's cooling time to those that actually shorten it. Resulting models that meet the luminosity constraint have layer heights of about 0.1-1 km, corresponding to ~10,-20,000 layers in the rain zone between ~1 and 3-4.5 Mbars. Present limitations and directions for future work are discussed, such as the formation and sinking of He droplets.
    12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: WASP-10b, a non-inflated hot Jupiter, was discovered around a K-dwarf in a near circular orbit ($\sim $$0.06$). Since its discovery in 2009, different published parameters for this system have led to a discussion about the size, density, and eccentricity of this exoplanet. In order to test the hypothesis of a circular orbit for WASP-10b, we have observed its secondary eclipse in the Ks-band, where the contribution of planetary light is high enough to be detected from the ground. Observations were performed with the OMEGA2000 instrument at the 3.5-meter telescope at Calar Alto (Almer\'ia, Spain), in staring mode during 5.4 continuous hours, with the telescope defocused, monitoring the target during the expected secondary eclipse. A relative light curve was generated and corrected from systematic effects, using the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) technique. The final light curve was fitted using a transit model to find the eclipse depth and a possible phase shift. The best model obtained from the Markov Chain Monte Carlo analysis resulted in an eclipse depth of $\Delta F$ of $0.137\%^{+0.013\%}_{-0.019\%}$ and a phase offset of $\Delta \phi $ of $-0.0028^{+0.0005}_{-0.0004}$. The eclipse phase offset derived from our modeling has systematic errors that were not taken into account and should not be considered as evidence of an eccentric orbit. The offset in phase obtained leads to a value for $|e\cos{\omega}|$ of $0.0044$. The derived eccentricity is too small to be of any significance.
    12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: HAT-P-20b is a giant exoplanet that orbits a metal-rich star. The planet itself has a high total density, suggesting that it may also have a high metallicity in its atmosphere. We analyze two eclipses of the planet in each of the 3.6- and 4.5 micron bands of Warm Spitzer. These data exhibit intra-pixel detector sensitivity fluctuations that were resistant to traditional decorrelation methods. We have developed a simple, powerful, and radically different method to correct the intra-pixel effect for Warm Spitzer data, which we call pixel-level decorrelation (PLD). PLD corrects the intra-pixel effect very effectively, but without explicitly using - or even measuring - the fluctuations in the apparent position of the stellar image. We illustrate and validate PLD using synthetic and real data, and comparing the results to previous analyses. PLD can significantly reduce or eliminate red noise in Spitzer secondary eclipse photometry, even for eclipses that have proven to be intractable using other methods. Our successful PLD analysis of four HAT-P-20b eclipses shows a best-fit blackbody temperature of 1134 +/-29K, indicating inefficient longitudinal transfer of heat, but lacking evidence for strong molecular absorption. We find sufficient evidence for variability in the 4.5 micron band that the eclipses should be monitored at that wavelength by Spitzer, and this planet should be a high priority for JWST spectroscopy. All four eclipses occur about 35 minutes after orbital phase 0.5, indicating a slightly eccentric orbit. A joint fit of the eclipse and transit times with extant RV data yields e(cos{omega}) = 0.01352 (+0.00054, -0.00057), and establishes the small eccentricity of the orbit to high statistical confidence. Given the existence of a bound stellar companion, HAT-P-20b is another excellent candidate for orbital evolution via Kozai migration or other three-body mechanism.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We report Hubble Space Telescope (HST) optical to near-infrared transmission spectroscopy of the hot Jupiter WASP-6b, measured with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) and Spitzer's InfraRed Array Camera (IRAC). The resulting spectrum covers the range $0.29-4.5\,\mu$m. We find evidence for modest stellar activity of WASP-6b and take it into account in the transmission spectrum. The overall main characteristic of the spectrum is an increasing radius as a function of decreasing wavelength corresponding to a change of $\Delta (R_p/R_{\ast})=0.0071$ from 0.33 to $4.5\,\mu$m. The spectrum suggests an effective extinction cross-section with a power law of index consistent with Rayleigh scattering, with temperatures of $973\pm144$ K at the planetary terminator. We compare the transmission spectrum with hot-Jupiter atmospheric models including condensate-free and aerosol-dominated models incorporating Mie theory. While none of the clear-atmosphere models is found to be in good agreement with the data, we find that the complete spectrum can be described by models that include significant opacity from aerosols including Fe-poor Mg$_2$SiO$_4$, MgSiO$_3$, KCl and Na$_2$S dust condensates. WASP-6b is the second planet after HD189733b which has equilibrium temperatures near $\sim1200$ K and shows prominent atmospheric scattering in the optical.
    11/2014;
  • Adam P. Showman, Nikole K. Lewis, Jonathan J. Fortney
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    ABSTRACT: Efforts to characterize extrasolar giant planet (EGP) atmospheres have so far emphasized planets within 0.05 AU of their stars. Despite this focus, known EGPs populate a continuum of orbital separations from canonical hot Jupiter values (0.03-0.05 AU) out to 1 AU and beyond. Unlike typical hot Jupiters, these more distant EGPs will not in general be synchronously rotating. In anticipation of observations of this population, we here present three-dimensional atmospheric circulation models exploring the dynamics that emerge over a broad range of rotation rates and incident stellar fluxes appropriate for warm and hot Jupiters. We find that the circulation resides in one of two basic regimes. On typical hot Jupiters, the strong day-night heating contrast leads to a broad, fast superrotating (eastward) equatorial jet and large day-night temperature differences. At faster rotation rates and lower incident fluxes, however, the day-night heating gradient becomes less important, and baroclinic instabilities emerge as a dominant player, leading to eastward jets in the midlatitudes, minimal temperature variations in longitude, and, in many cases, weak winds at the equator. Our most rapidly rotating and least irradiated models exhibit multiple eastward jets in each hemisphere--similar to the jets on Jupiter and Saturn--and illuminate the dynamical continuum between highly irradiated EGPs and the weakly irradiated giant planets of our own Solar System. We present infrared (IR) light curves and spectra of these models, which show that the amplitude and offset of the IR phase variation, as well as the shape of the spectra, depend significantly on incident flux and rotation rate. This provides a way to identify the regime transition in future observations and suggests that, in some cases, IR light curves can provide constraints on the rotation rate of non-synchronously rotating planets.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present new equations of state (EOS) for hydrogen and helium covering a wide range of temperatures from 60 K to 10$^7$ K and densities from $10^{-10}$ g/cm$^3$ to $10^3$ g/cm$^3$. They include an extended set of ab initio EOS data for the strongly correlated quantum regime with an accurate connection to data derived from other approaches for the neighboring regions. We compare linear-mixing isotherms based on our EOS tables with available real-mixture data. A first important astrophysical application of this new EOS data is the calculation of interior models for Jupiter and the comparison with recent results. Secondly, mass-radius relations are calculated for Brown Dwarfs which we compare with predictions derived from the widely used EOS of Saumon, Chabrier and van Horn. Furthermore, we calculate interior models for typical Brown Dwarfs with different masses, namely Corot-3b, Gliese-229b and Corot-15b, and the Giant Planet KOI-889b. The predictions for the central pressures and densities differ by up to 10$\%$ dependent on the EOS used. Our EOS tables are made available in the supplemental material of this paper.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: This article summarizes a workshop held on March, 2014, on the potential of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to revolutionize our knowledge of the physical properties of exoplanets through transit observations. JWST's unique combination of high sensitivity and broad wavelength coverage will enable the accurate measurement of transits with high signal-to-noise. Most importantly, JWST spectroscopy will investigate planetary atmospheres to determine atomic and molecular compositions, to probe vertical and horizontal structure, and to follow dynamical evolution, i.e. exoplanet weather. JWST will sample a diverse population of planets of varying masses and densities in a wide variety of environments characterized by a range of host star masses and metallicities, orbital semi-major axes and eccentricities. A broad program of exoplanet science could use a substantial fraction of the overall JWST mission.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present Hubble Space Telescope optical and near-IR transmission spectra of the transiting hot-Jupiter WASP-31b. The spectrum covers 0.3-1.7 $\mu$m at a resolution $R\sim$70, which we combine with Spitzer photometry to cover the full-optical to IR. The spectrum is dominated by a cloud-deck with a flat transmission spectrum which is apparent at wavelengths $>0.52\mu$m. The cloud deck is present at high altitudes and low pressures, as it covers the majority of the expected optical Na line and near-IR H$_2$O features. While Na I absorption is not clearly identified, the resulting spectrum does show a very strong potassium feature detected at the 4.2-$\sigma$ confidence level. Broadened alkali wings are not detected, indicating pressures below $\sim$10 mbar. The lack of Na and strong K is the first indication of a sub-solar Na/K abundance ratio in a planetary atmosphere (ln[Na/K]$=-3.3\pm2.8$), which could potentially be explained by Na condensation on the planet's night side, or primordial abundance variations. A strong Rayleigh scattering signature is detected at short wavelengths, with a 4-$\sigma$ significant slope. Two distinct aerosol size populations can explain the spectra, with a smaller sub-micron size grain population reaching high altitudes producing a blue Rayleigh scattering signature on top of a larger, lower-lying population responsible for the flat cloud deck at longer wavelengths. We estimate that the atmospheric circulation is sufficiently strong to mix micron size particles upward to the required 1-10 mbar pressures, necessary to explain the cloud deck. These results further confirm the importance of clouds in hot-Jupiters, which can potentially dominate the overall spectra and may alter the abundances of key gaseous species.
    10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present detections of the near-infrared thermal emission of three hot Jupiters and one brown-dwarf using the Wide-field Infrared Camera (WIRCam) on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). These include Ks-band secondary eclipse detections of the hot Jupiters WASP-3b and Qatar-1b and the brown dwarf KELT-1b. We also report Y-band, $K_{CONT}$-band, and two new and one reanalyzed Ks-band detections of the thermal emission of the hot Jupiter WASP-12b. We present a new reduction pipeline for CFHT/WIRCam data, which is optimized for high precision photometry. We also describe novel techniques for constraining systematic errors in ground-based near-infrared photometry, so as to return reliable secondary eclipse depths and uncertainties. We discuss the noise properties of our ground-based photometry for wavelengths spanning the near-infrared (the YJHK-bands), for faint and bright-stars, and for the same object on several occasions. For the hot Jupiters WASP-3b and WASP-12b we demonstrate the repeatability of our eclipse depth measurements in the Ks-band; we therefore place stringent limits on the systematics of ground-based, near-infrared photometry, and also rule out violent weather changes in the deep, high pressure atmospheres of these two hot Jupiters at the epochs of our observations.
    10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Exoplanets that orbit close to their host stars are much more highly irradiated than their Solar System counterparts. Understanding the thermal structures and appearances of these planets requires investigating how their atmospheres respond to such extreme stellar forcing. We present spectroscopic thermal emission measurements as a function of orbital phase ("phase-curve observations") for the highly-irradiated exoplanet WASP-43b spanning three full planet rotations using the Hubble Space Telescope. With these data, we construct a map of the planet's atmospheric thermal structure, from which we find large day-night temperature variations at all measured altitudes and a monotonically decreasing temperature with pressure at all longitudes. We also derive a Bond albedo of [Formula: see text] and an altitude dependence in the hot-spot offset relative to the substellar point.
    Science (New York, N.Y.). 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The hot Jupiter WASP-43b has now joined the ranks of transiting hot Jupiters HD 189733b and HD 209458b as an exoplanet with a large array of observational constraints on its atmospheric properties. Because WASP-43b receives a similar stellar flux as HD 209458b but has a rotation rate 4 times faster and a much higher gravity, studying WASP-43b serves as a test of the effect of rotation rate and gravity on the circulation when stellar irradiation is held approximately constant. Here we present 3D atmospheric circulation models of WASP-43b using the SPARC/MITgcm, a coupled radiation and circulation model, exploring the effects of composition, metallicity, and frictional drag. We find that the circulation regime of WASP-43b is not unlike other hot Jupiters, with equatorial superrotation that yields an eastward-shifted hotspot and large day-night temperature variations (~600 K at photospheric pressures). We then compare our model results to observations from Stevenson et al. which utilize HST/WFC3 to collect spectrophotometric phase curve measurements of WASP-43b from 1.12-1.65 microns. Our results show the 5x solar model lightcurve provides a good match to the data, with a phase offset of peak flux and planet/star flux ratio that is similar to observations; however, the model nightside appears to be brighter. Nevertheless, our 5x solar model provides an excellent match to the WFC3 dayside emission spectrum. This is a major success, as the result is a natural outcome of the 3D dynamics with no model tuning, and differs significantly from 1D models that can generally only match observations when appropriately tuned. In sum, these results demonstrate that 3D circulation models can provide important insights in interpreting exoplanet atmospheric observations, even at high spectral resolution, and highlight the potential for future observations with HST, JWST and other next-generation telescopes.
    10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: An important focus of exoplanet research is the determination of the atmospheric temperature structure of strongly irradiated gas giant planets, or hot Jupiters. HD 209458b is the prototypical exoplanet for atmospheric thermal inversions, but this assertion does not take into account recently obtained data or newer data reduction techniques. We re-examine this claim by investigating all publicly available Spitzer Space Telescope secondary-eclipse photometric data of HD 209458b and performing a self-consistent analysis. We employ data reduction techniques that minimize stellar centroid variations, apply sophisticated models to known Spitzer systematics, and account for time-correlated noise in the data. We derive new secondary-eclipse depths of 0.119 +/- 0.007%, 0.123 +/- 0.006%, 0.134 +/- 0.035%, and 0.215 +/- 0.008% in the 3.6, 4.5, 5.8, and 8.0 micron bandpasses, respectively. We feed these results into a Bayesian atmospheric retrieval analysis and determine that it is unnecessary to invoke a thermal inversion to explain our secondary-eclipse depths. The data are well-fitted by a temperature model that decreases monotonically between pressure levels of 1 and 0.01 bars. We conclude that there is no evidence for a thermal inversion in the atmosphere of HD 209458b.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2014; 796(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The hot-Jupiter HAT-P-2b has become a prime target for Spitzer Space Telescope observations aimed at understanding the atmospheric response of exoplanets on highly eccentric orbits. Here we present a suite of three-dimensional atmospheric circulation models for HAT-P-2b that investigate the effects of assumed atmospheric composition and rotation rate on global scale winds and thermal patterns. We compare and contrast atmospheric models for HAT-P-2b, which assume one and five times solar metallicity, both with and without TiO/VO as atmospheric constituents. Additionally we compare models that assume a rotation period of half, one, and two times the nominal pseudo-synchronous rotation period. We find that changes in assumed atmospheric metallicity and rotation rate do not significantly affect model predictions of the planetary flux as a function of orbital phase. However, models in which TiO/VO are present in the atmosphere develop a transient temperature inversion between the transit and secondary eclipse events that results in significant variations in the timing and magnitude of the peak of the planetary flux compared with models in which TiO/VO are omitted from the opacity tables. We find that no one single atmospheric model can reproduce the recently observed full orbit phase curves at 3.6, 4.5 and 8.0 microns, which is likely due to a chemical process not captured by our current atmospheric models for HAT-P-2b. Further modeling and observational efforts focused on understanding the chemistry of HAT-P-2b's atmosphere are needed and could provide key insights into the interplay between radiative, dynamical, and chemical processes in a wide range of exoplanet atmospheres.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2014; 795(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Context. GJ 436b is one of the few transiting warm Neptunes for which a detailed characterisation of the atmosphere is possible, whereas its non-negligible orbital eccentricity calls for further investigation. Independent analyses of several individual datasets obtained with Spitzer have led to contradicting results attributed to the different techniques used to treat the instrumental effects. Aims. We aim at investigating these previous controversial results and developing our knowledge of the system based on the full Spitzer photometry dataset combined with new Doppler measurements obtained with the HARPS spectrograph. We also want to search for additional planets. Methods. We optimise aperture photometry techniques and the photometric deconvolution algorithm DECPHOT to improve the data reduction of the Spitzer photometry spanning wavelengths from 3-24 {\mu}m. Adding the high precision HARPS radial velocity data, we undertake a Bayesian global analysis of the system considering both instrumental and stellar effects on the flux variation. Results. We present a refined radius estimate of RP=4.10 +/- 0.16 R_Earth, mass MP=25.4 +/- 2.1 M_Earth and eccentricity e= 0.162 +/- 0.004 for GJ 436b. Our measured transit depths remain constant in time and wavelength, in disagreement with the results of previous studies. In addition, we find that the post-occultation flare-like structure at 3.6 {\mu}m that led to divergent results on the occultation depth measurement is spurious. We obtain occultation depths at 3.6, 5.8, and 8.0 {\mu}m that are shallower than in previous works, in particular at 3.6 {\mu}m. However, these depths still appear consistent with a metal-rich atmosphere depleted in methane and enhanced in CO/CO2, although perhaps less than previously thought. We find no evidence for a potential planetary companion, stellar activity, nor for a stellar spin-orbit misalignment. [ABRIDGED]
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The water abundance in a planetary atmosphere provides a key constraint on the planet's primordial origins because water ice is expected to play an important role in the core accretion model of planet formation. However, the water content of the solar system giant planets is not well known because water is sequestered in clouds deep in their atmospheres. By contrast, short-period exoplanets have such high temperatures that their atmospheres have water in the gas phase, making it possible to measure the water abundance for these objects. We present a precise determination of the water abundance in the atmosphere of the 2 M Jup short-period exoplanet WASP-43b based on thermal emission and transmission spectroscopy measurements obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope. We find the water content is consistent with the value expected in a solar composition gas at planetary temperatures (0.4-3.5 × solar at 1σ confidence). The metallicity of WASP-43b's atmosphere suggested by this result extends the trend observed in the solar system of lower metal enrichment for higher planet masses.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 09/2014; 793(2):L27. · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present new calculations of Rosseland and Planck gaseous mean opacities relevant to the atmospheres of giant planets and ultracool dwarfs. Such calculations are used in modeling the atmospheres, interiors, formation, and evolution of these objects. Our calculations are an expansion of those presented in Freedman et al. (2008) to include lower pressures, finer temperature resolution, and also the higher metallicities most relevant for giant planet atmospheres. Calculations span 1 microbar to 300 bar, and 75 K to 4000 K, in a nearly square grid. Opacities at metallicities from solar to 50 times solar abundances are calculated. We also provide an analytic fit to the Rosseland mean opacities over the grid in pressure, temperature, and metallicity. In addition to computing mean opacities at these local temperatures, we also calculate them with weighting functions up to 7000 K, to simulate the mean opacities for incident stellar intensities, rather than locally thermally emitted intensities. The chemical equilibrium calculations account for the settling of condensates in a gravitational field and are applicable to cloud-free giant planet and ultracool dwarf atmospheres, but not circumstellar disks. We provide our extensive opacity tables for public use.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 08/2014; 214(2). · 16.24 Impact Factor
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    C S Arridge, N Achilleos, J Agarwal, C B Agnor, R Ambrosi, N André, S V Badman, K Baines, D Banfield, M Barthélémy, [......], Sternovsky, M Tiscareno, G Tobie, F Tosi, M Trieloff, D Turrini, E P Turtle, S Vinatier, R Wilson, P Zarka
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    ABSTRACT: Giant planets helped to shape the conditions we see in the Solar System today and they account for more than 99% of the mass of the Sun’s planetary system. They can be subdivided into the Ice Giants (Uranus and Neptune) and the Gas Giants (Jupiter and Saturn), which differ from each other in a number of fundamental ways. Uranus, in particular is the most challenging to our understanding of planetary formation and evolution, with its large obliquity, low self-luminosity, highly asymmetrical internal field, and puzzling internal structure. Uranus also has a rich planetary system consisting of a system of inner natural satellites and complex ring system, five major natural icy satellites, a system of irregular moons with varied dynamical histories, and a highly asymmetrical magnetosphere. Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have explored Uranus, with a flyby in 1986, and no mission is currently planned to this enigmatic system. However, a mission to the uranian system would open a new window on the origin and evolution of the Solar System and would provide crucial information on a wide variety of physicochemical processes in our Solar System. These have clear implications for understanding exoplanetary systems. In this paper we describe the science case for an orbital mission to Uranus with an atmospheric entry probe to sample the composition and atmospheric physics in Uranus’ atmosphere. The characteristics of such an orbiter and a strawman scientific payload are described and we discuss the technical challenges for such a mission. This paper is based on a white paper submitted to the European Space Agency’s call for science themes for its large-class mission programme in 2013.
    Planetary and Space Science 08/2014; 104:122-140. · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In Spring 2013, the LEECH (LBTI Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt) survey began its $\sim$130-night campaign from the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) atop Mt Graham, Arizona. This survey benefits from the many technological achievements of the LBT, including two 8.4-meter mirrors on a single fixed mount, dual adaptive secondary mirrors for high Strehl performance, and a cold beam combiner to dramatically reduce the telescope's overall background emissivity. LEECH neatly complements other high-contrast planet imaging efforts by observing stars at L' (3.8 $\mu$m), as opposed to the shorter wavelength near-infrared bands (1-2.4 $\mu$m) of other surveys. This portion of the spectrum offers deep mass sensitivity, especially around nearby adolescent ($\sim$0.1-1 Gyr) stars. LEECH's contrast is competitive with other extreme adaptive optics systems, while providing an alternative survey strategy. Additionally, LEECH is characterizing known exoplanetary systems with observations from 3-5$\mu$m in preparation for JWST.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We report secondary eclipse photometry of the hot Jupiter XO-3b in the 4.5 $\mu$m band taken with the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) on the Spitzer Space Telescope. We measure individual eclipse depths and center of eclipse times for a total of twelve secondary eclipses. We fit these data simultaneously with two transits observed in the same band in order to obtain a global best-fit secondary eclipse depth of $0.1580\pm 0.0036\%$ and a center of eclipse phase of $0.67004\pm 0.00013 $. We assess the relative magnitude of variations in the dayside brightness of the planet by measuring the size of the residuals during ingress and egress from fitting the combined eclipse light curve with a uniform disk model and place an upper limit of $0.05\%$. The new secondary eclipse observations extend the total baseline from one and a half years to nearly three years, allowing us to place an upper limit on the precession rate of $3.0\times 10^{-3}$ degrees/day - the tightest constraints to date on the precession rate of a hot Jupiter. We use the new transit observations to calculate improved estimates for the system properties, including an updated orbital ephemeris. We also use the large number of secondary eclipses to obtain the most stringent limits to date on the orbit-to-orbit variability of an eccentric hot Jupiter and demonstrate the consistency of multiple-epoch Spitzer observations.
    The Astrophysical Journal 07/2014; 794(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Brown dwarfs of a variety of spectral types have been observed to be photometrically variable. Previous studies have focused on objects at the L/T transition, where the iron and silicate clouds in L dwarfs break up or dissipate. However, objects outside of this transitional effective temperature regime also exhibit variability. Here, we present models for mid-late T dwarfs and Y dwarfs. We present models that include patchy salt and sulfide clouds as well as water clouds for the Y dwarfs. We find that for objects over 375 K, patchy cloud opacity would generate the largest amplitude variability within near-infrared spectral windows. For objects under 375 K, water clouds also become important and generate larger amplitude variability in the mid-infrared. We also present models in which we perturb the temperature structure at different pressure levels of the atmosphere to simulate hot spots. These models show the most variability in the absorption features between spectral windows. The variability is strongest at wavelengths that probe pressure levels at which the heating is the strongest. The most illustrative types of observations for understanding the physical processes underlying brown dwarf variability are simultaneous, multi-wavelength observations that probe both inside and outside of molecular absorption features.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 06/2014; 789(1):L14. · 6.35 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
1,482.52 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • University of Colorado
      Denver, Colorado, United States
    • Hungarian Academy of Sciences
      • MTA Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences
      Budapeŝto, Budapest, Hungary
    • University of Maryland, College Park
      • Department of Astronomy
      Maryland, United States
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2008–2014
    • University of California, Santa Cruz
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
  • 2001–2014
    • The University of Arizona
      • Department of Planetary Sciences
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • 2013
    • University of California, San Diego
      • Department of Physics
      San Diego, California, United States
    • University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
      • Institute of Astronomy
      Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
    • Los Alamos National Laboratory
      Los Alamos, California, United States
    • California Institute of Technology
      • Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
      Pasadena, California, United States
    • Princeton University
      • Department of Astrophysical Sciences
      Princeton, New Jersey, United States
    • Yale University
      • Department of Astronomy
      New Haven, Connecticut, United States
  • 2011–2013
    • University of Florida
      • Department of Astronomy
      Gainesville, Florida, United States
    • National Optical Astronomy Observatory
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
    • University of Rostock
      • Institut für Physik
      Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
  • 2004–2013
    • NASA
      Washington, West Virginia, United States
  • 2012
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • Department of Physics
      Cambridge, MA, United States
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 2010–2011
    • University of the Pacific (California - USA)
      Stockton, California, United States
    • Peking University
      • Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Beijing, Beijing Shi, China
  • 2007
    • SETI Institute
      Mountain View, California, United States