Jonathan J. Fortney

University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California, United States

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Publications (362)1756.68 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present HST STIS optical transmission spectroscopy of the cool (approximately 1116 K) Saturn-mass exoplanet WASP-39b from 0.29-1.025 micron, along with complementary transit observations from Spitzer IRAC at 3.6 and 4.5 micron. The low density and large atmospheric pressure scale height of WASP-39b make it particularly amenable to atmospheric characterization using this technique. We detect a Rayleigh scattering slope as well as sodium and potassium absorption features; this is the first exoplanet in which both alkali features are clearly detected with the extended wings predicted by cloud-free atmosphere models. The full transmission spectrum is well matched by a clear, H2- dominated atmosphere or one containing a weak contribution from haze, in good agreement with the preliminary reduction of these data presented in Sing et al. (2016). WASP-39b is predicted to have a pressure-temperature profile comparable to that of HD 189733b and WASP-6b, making it one of the coolest transiting gas giants observed in our HST STIS survey. Despite this similarity, WASP- 39b appears to be largely cloud-free while the transmission spectra of HD 189733b and WASP-6b both indicate the presence of high altitude clouds or hazes. These observations further emphasize the surprising diversity of cloudy and cloud-free gas giant planets in short-period orbits and the corresponding challenges associated with developing predictive cloud models for these atmospheres.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, Gauza et al. (2015) reported the discovery of a companion to the late M-dwarf, VHS J125601.92-125723.9 (VHS 1256-1257). The companion's absolute photometry suggests its mass and atmosphere are similar to the HR 8799 planets. However, as a wide companion to a late-type star, it is more accessible to spectroscopic characterization. We discovered that the primary of this system is an equal-magnitude binary. For an age $\sim300$ Myr the A and B components each have a mass of $64.6^{+0.8}_{-2.0}~M_{\mathrm{Jup}}$, and the b component has a mass of $11.2^{+9.7}_{-1.8}$, making VHS 1256-1257 only the third brown dwarf triple system. There exists some tension between the spectrophotometric distance of $17.2\pm2.6$ pc and the parallax distance of $12.7\pm1.0$ pc. At 12.7 pc VHS1256-1257 A and B would be the faintest known M7.5 objects, and are even faint outliers among M8 types. If the larger spectrophotmetric distance is more accurate than the parallax, then the mass of each component increases. In particular, the mass of the b component increases well above the deuterium burning limit to $\sim35~M_{\mathrm{Jup}}$ and the mass of each binary component increases to $73^{+20}_{-17}~M_{\mathrm{Jup}}$. At 17.1 pc, the UVW kinematics of the system are consistent with membership in the AB~Dor moving group. The architecture of the system resembles a hierarchical stellar multiple suggesting it formed via an extension of the star-formation process to low masses. Continued astrometric monitoring will resolve this distance uncertainty and will provide dynamical masses for a new benchmark system.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: We analyze full-orbit phase curve observations of the transiting hot Jupiters WASP-19b and HAT-P-7b at 3.6 and 4.5 $\mu$m obtained using the Spitzer Space Telescope. For WASP-19b, we measure secondary eclipse depths of $0.485\%\pm 0.024\%$ and $0.584\%\pm 0.029\%$ at 3.6 and 4.5 $\mu$m, which are consistent with a single blackbody with effective temperature $2372 \pm 60$ K. The measured 3.6 and 4.5 $\mu$m secondary eclipse depths for HAT-P-7b are $0.156\%\pm 0.009\%$ and $0.190\%\pm 0.006\%$, which are well-described by a single blackbody with effective temperature $2667\pm 57$ K. Comparing the phase curves to the predictions of one-dimensional and three-dimensional atmospheric models, we find that WASP-19b's dayside emission is consistent with a model atmosphere with no dayside thermal inversion and moderately efficient day-night circulation. We also detect an eastward-shifted hotspot, suggesting the presence of a superrotating equatorial jet. In contrast, HAT-P-7b's dayside emission suggests a dayside thermal inversion and relatively inefficient day-night circulation; no hotspot shift is detected. For both planets, these same models do not agree with the measured nightside emission. The discrepancies in the model-data comparisons for WASP-19b might be explained by high-altitude silicate clouds on the nightside and/or high atmospheric metallicity, while the very low 3.6 $\mu$m nightside planetary brightness for HAT-P-7b may be indicative of an enhanced global C/O ratio. We compute Bond albedos of 0 ($<0.08$ at $1\sigma$) and $0.38\pm 0.06$ for WASP-19b and HAT-P-7b, respectively. In the context of other planets with thermal phase curve measurements, we show that WASP-19b and HAT-P-7b fit the general trend of decreasing day-night heat recirculation with increasing irradiation.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015
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    ABSTRACT: This is a joint summary of the reports from the three Astrophysics Program Analysis Groups (PAGs) in response to the "Planning for the 2020 Decadal Survey" charge given by the Astrophysics Division Director Paul Hertz. This joint executive summary contains points of consensus across all three PAGs. Additional findings specific to the individual PAGs are reported separately in the individual reports. The PAGs concur that all four large mission concepts identified in the white paper as candidates for maturation prior to the 2020 Decadal Survey should be studied in detail. These include the Far-IR Surveyor, the Habitable-Exoplanet Imaging Mission, the UV/Optical/IR Surveyor, and the X-ray Surveyor. This finding is predicated upon assumptions outlined in the white paper and subsequent charge, namely that 1) major development of future large flagship missions under consideration are to follow the implementation phases of JWST and WFIRST; 2) NASA will partner with the European Space Agency on its L3 Gravitational Wave Surveyor; 3) the Inflation Probe be classified as a probe-class mission to be developed according to the 2010 Decadal Survey report. If these key assumptions were to change, this PAG finding would need to be re-evaluated. The PAGs find that there is strong community support for the second phase of this activity - maturation of the four proposed mission concepts via Science and Technology Definition Teams (STDTs). The PAGs find that there is strong consensus that all of the STDTs contain broad and interdisciplinary representation of the science community. Finally, the PAGs find that there is community support for a line of Probe-class missions within the Astrophysics mission portfolio (condensed).
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Observations of Neptune with the Kepler Space Telescope yield a 49-day light curve with 98% coverage at a 1-minute cadence. A significant signature in the light curve comes from discrete cloud features. We compare results extracted from the light curve data with contemporaneous disk-resolved imaging of Neptune from the Keck 10-meter telescope at 1.65 microns and Hubble Space Telescope visible imaging acquired 9 months later. This direct comparison validates the feature latitudes assigned to the K2 light curve periods based on Neptune's zonal wind profile, and confirms observed cloud feature variability. Although Neptune's clouds vary in location and intensity on short and long time scales, a single large discrete storm seen in Keck imaging dominates the K2 and Hubble light curves; smaller or fainter clouds likely contribute to short-term brightness variability. The K2 Neptune light curve, in conjunction with our imaging data, provides context for the interpretation of current and future brown dwarf and extrasolar planet variability measurements. In particular we suggest that the balance between large, relatively stable, atmospheric features and smaller, more transient, clouds controls the character of substellar atmospheric variability. Atmospheres dominated by a few large spots may show inherently greater light curve stability than those which exhibit a greater number of smaller features.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Planets larger than Earth and smaller than Neptune are some of the most numerous in the galaxy, but observational efforts to understand this population have proved challenging because optically thick clouds or hazes at high altitudes obscure molecular features. We present models of super Earths that include thick clouds and hazes and predict their transmission, thermal emission, and reflected light spectra. Very thick, lofted clouds of salts or sulfides in high metallicity (1000 solar) atmospheres create featureless transmission spectra in the near-infrared. Photochemical hazes with a range of particle sizes also create featureless transmission spectra at lower metallicities. Cloudy thermal emission spectra have muted features more like blackbodies, and hazy thermal emission spectra have emission features caused by an inversion layer at altitudes where the haze forms. Close analysis of reflected light from warm (∼400-800 K) planets can distinguish cloudy spectra, which have moderate albedos (0.05-0.20), from hazy models, which are very dark (0.0-0.03). Reflected light spectra of cold planets (∼200 K) accessible to a space-based visible light coronagraph will have high albedos and large molecular features that will allow them to be more easily characterized than the warmer transiting planets. We suggest a number of complementary observations to characterize this population of planets, including transmission spectra of hot (≳1000 K) targets, thermal emission spectra of warm targets using the James Webb Space Telescope, high spectral resolution (R∼105) observations of cloudy targets, and reflected light spectral observations of directly imaged cold targets. Despite the dearth of features observed in super Earth transmission spectra to date, different observations will provide rich diagnostics of their atmospheres. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Thousands of transiting exoplanets have been discovered, but spectral analysis of their atmospheres has so far been dominated by a small number of exoplanets and data spanning relatively narrow wavelength ranges (such as 1.1-1.7 micrometres). Recent studies show that some hot-Jupiter exoplanets have much weaker water absorption features in their near-infrared spectra than predicted. The low amplitude of water signatures could be explained by very low water abundances, which may be a sign that water was depleted in the protoplanetary disk at the planet's formation location, but it is unclear whether this level of depletion can actually occur. Alternatively, these weak signals could be the result of obscuration by clouds or hazes, as found in some optical spectra. Here we report results from a comparative study of ten hot Jupiters covering the wavelength range 0.3-5 micrometres, which allows us to resolve both the optical scattering and infrared molecular absorption spectroscopically. Our results reveal a diverse group of hot Jupiters that exhibit a continuum from clear to cloudy atmospheres. We find that the difference between the planetary radius measured at optical and infrared wavelengths is an effective metric for distinguishing different atmosphere types. The difference correlates with the spectral strength of water, so that strong water absorption lines are seen in clear-atmosphere planets and the weakest features are associated with clouds and hazes. This result strongly suggests that primordial water depletion during formation is unlikely and that clouds and hazes are the cause of weaker spectral signatures.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Nature
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    ABSTRACT: As gas giant planets and brown dwarfs radiate away the residual heat from their formation, they cool through a spectral type transition from L to T, which encompasses the dissipation of cloud opacity and the appearance of strong methane absorption. While there are hundreds of known T-type brown dwarfs, the first generation of directly-imaged exoplanets were all L-type. Recently, Kuzuhara et al. (2013) announced the discovery of GJ 504 b, the first T dwarf exoplanet. GJ 504 b provides a unique opportunity to study the atmosphere of a new type of exoplanet with a ~500 K temperature that bridges the gap between the first directly imaged planets (~1000 K) and our own Solar System's Jupiter (~130 K). We observed GJ 504 b in three narrow L-band filters (3.71, 3.88, and 4.00 microns), spanning the red end of the broad methane fundamental absorption feature (3.3 microns) as part of the LEECH exoplanet imaging survey. By comparing our new photometry and literature photometry to a grid of custom model atmospheres, we were able to fit GJ 504 b's unusual spectral energy distribution for the first time. We find that GJ 504 b is well-fit by models with the following parameters: T_eff=544+/-10 K, g<600 m/s^2, [M/H]=0.60+/-0.12, cloud opacity parameter of f_sed=2-5, R=0.96+/-0.07 R_Jup, and log(L)=-6.13+/-0.03 L_Sun, implying a hot start mass of 3-30 M_jup for a conservative age range of 0.1-6.5 Gyr. Of particular interest, our model fits suggest that GJ 504 b has a super-stellar metallicity. Since planet formation can create objects with non-stellar metallicities, while binary star formation cannot, this result suggests that GJ 504 b formed like a planet, not like a binary companion.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: The characterization of a physically-diverse set of transiting exoplanets is an important and necessary step towards establishing the physical properties linked to the production of obscuring clouds or hazes. Only planets with identifiable spectroscopic features can effectively enhance our understanding of atmospheric chemistry and metallicity. Using data acquired by the newly-commissioned LDSS-3C instrument on Magellan and the Spitzer Space Telescope, we find evidence for water in the transmission spectrum of the Neptune-mass planet HAT-P-26b. Surprisingly, we detect no trace of potassium. Our measured spectrum is best explained by either a high-metallicity, cloud-free atmosphere or a solar-metallicity atmosphere with a cloud deck at ~10 mbar. The presence of strong spectral features in our data suggests that future observations at higher precision could break this degeneracy and reveal the planet's atmospheric composition. We also update HAT-P-26b's transit ephemeris, t_0 = 2455304.65218(25) BJD_TDB, and orbital period, p = 4.2345023(7) days.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    Daniel P. Thorngren · Jonathan J. Fortney · Eric D. Lopez
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    ABSTRACT: Exoplanet discoveries of recent years have provided a great deal of new data for studying the bulk compositions of giant planets. Here we identify 38 transiting giant planets ($20 M_\oplus < M < 20 M_{\mathrm{J}}$) whose stellar insolation is low enough ($F_* < 2\times10^8\; \text{erg}\; \text{s}^{-1}\; \text{cm}^{-2}$, or roughly $T_\text{eff} < 1000$) that they are not affected by the hot Jupiter radius inflation mechanism(s). We compute a set of new thermal and structural evolution models and use these models in comparison with properties of the 38 transiting planets (mass, radius, age) to determine their heavy element masses. A clear correlation emerges between the planetary heavy element mass $M_z$ and the total planet mass, approximately of the form $M_z \propto \sqrt{M}$. This finding is consistent with the core accretion model of planet formation. We also study how stellar metallicity [Fe/H] affects planetary metal-enrichment and find a weaker correlation than has been previously reported from studies with smaller sample sizes. Our results suggest that planets with large heavy element masses are more common around stars with a high iron abundance, but are not found there exclusively. We confirm a strong relationship between the planetary metal-enrichment relative to the parent star $Z_{\rm planet}/Z_{\rm star}$ and the planetary mass, but see no relation in $Z_{\rm planet}/Z_{\rm star}$ with planet orbital properties or stellar mass. Suggestively, circumbinary planets are more enriched in heavy elements than similar mass single-star planets, but with only four such planets the effect is not yet significant. The large heavy element masses of many planets ($>50 M_\oplus$) suggest significant amounts of heavy elements in H/He envelopes, rather than cores, such that metal-enriched giant planet atmospheres should be the rule.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We explore how well James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) spectra will likely constrain bulk atmospheric properties of transiting exoplanets. We start by modeling the atmospheres of archetypal hot Jupiter, warm Neptune, warm sub-Neptune, and cool super-Earth planets with clear, cloudy, or high mean molecular weight atmospheres. Next we simulate the $\lambda = 1 - 11$ $\mu$m transmission and emission spectra of these systems for several JWST instrument modes for single transit and eclipse events. We then perform retrievals to determine how well temperatures and molecular mixing ratios (CH$_4$, CO, CO$_2$, H$_2$O, NH$_3$) can be constrained. We find that $\lambda = 1 - 2.5$ $\mu$m transmission spectra will often constrain the major molecular constituents of clear solar composition atmospheres well. Cloudy or high mean molecular weight atmospheres will often require full $1 - 11$ $\mu$m spectra for good constraints, and emission data may be more useful in cases of sufficiently high $F_p$ and high $F_p/F_*$. Strong temperature inversions in the solar composition hot Jupiter atmosphere should be detectable with $1 - 2.5+$ $\mu$m emission spectra, and $1 - 5+$ $\mu$m emission spectra will constrain the temperature-pressure profiles of warm planets. Transmission spectra over $1 - 5+$ $\mu$m will constrain [Fe/H] values to better than 0.5 dex for the clear atmospheres of the hot and warm planets studied. Carbon-to-oxygen ratios can be constrained to better than a factor of 2 in some systems. We expect that these results will provide useful predictions of the scientific value of single event JWST spectra until its on-orbit performance is known.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Planets larger than Earth and smaller than Neptune are some of the most numerous in the galaxy, but observational efforts to understand this population have proved challenging because optically thick clouds or hazes at high altitudes obscure molecular features (Kreidberg et al. 2014b). We present models of super Earths that include thick clouds and hazes and predict their transmission, thermal emission, and reflected light spectra. Very thick, lofted clouds of salts or sulfides in high metallicity (1000x solar) atmospheres create featureless transmission spectra in the near-infrared. Photochemical hazes with a range of particle sizes also create featureless transmission spectra at lower metallicities. Cloudy thermal emission spectra have muted features more like blackbodies, and hazy thermal emission spectra have emission features caused by an inversion layer at altitudes where the haze forms. Close analysis of reflected light from warm (~400-800 K) planets can distinguish cloudy spectra, which have moderate albedos (0.05-0.20), from hazy models, which are very dark (0.0-0.03). Reflected light spectra of cold planets (~200 K) accessible to a space-based visible light coronagraph will have high albedos and large molecular features that will allow them to be more easily characterized than the warmer transiting planets. We suggest a number of complementary observations to characterize this population of planets, including transmission spectra of hot (>1000 K) targets, thermal emission spectra of warm targets using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), high spectral resolution (R~10^5) observations of cloudy targets, and reflected light spectral observations of directly-imaged cold targets. Despite the dearth of features observed in super Earth transmission spectra to date, different observations will provide rich diagnostics of their atmospheres.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We present full-orbit phase curve observations of the eccentric (e ~ 0.08) transiting hot Jupiter WASP-14b obtained in the 3.6 and 4.5 μm bands using the Spitzer Space Telescope. We use two different methods for removing the intrapixel sensitivity effect and compare their efficacy in decoupling the instrumental noise. Our measured secondary eclipse depths of 0.1882% ± 0.0048% and 0.2247% ± 0.0086% at 3.6 and 4.5 μm, respectively, are both consistent with a blackbody temperature of 2402 ± 35 K. We place a 2σ upper limit on the nightside flux at 3.6 μm and find it to be 9% ± 1% of the dayside flux, corresponding to a brightness temperature of 1079 K. At 4.5 μm, the minimum planet flux is 30% ± 5% of the maximum flux, corresponding to a brightness temperature of 1380 ± 65 K. We compare our measured phase curves to the predictions of one-dimensional radiative transfer and three-dimensional general circulation models. We find that WASP-14b's measured dayside emission is consistent with a model atmosphere with equilibrium chemistry and a moderate temperature inversion. These same models tend to overpredict the nightside emission at 3.6 μm, while underpredicting the nightside emission at 4.5 μm. We propose that this discrepancy might be explained by an enhanced global C/O ratio. In addition, we find that the phase curves of WASP-14b (7.8 M_(Jup)) are consistent with a much lower albedo than those of other Jovian mass planets with thermal phase curve measurements, suggesting that it may be emitting detectable heat from the deep atmosphere or interior processes.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015
  • Eric D. Lopez · Jonathan J. Fortney
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    ABSTRACT: Since the discovery of the first transiting hot Jupiters, models have sought to explain the anomalously large radii of highly irradiated gas giants. We now know that the size of hot Jupiter radius anomalies scales strongly with a planet's level of irradiation and numerous models like tidal heating, ohmic dissipation, and thermal tides have since been developed to help explain these inflated radii. In general however, these models can be grouped into two broad categories: 1) models that directly inflate planetary radii by depositing a fraction of the incident irradiation into the interior and 2) models that simply slow a planet's radiative cooling allowing it to retain more heat from formation and thereby delay contraction. Here we present a new test to distinguish between these two classes of models. Gas giants orbiting at moderate orbital periods around post main sequence stars will experience enormous increases their irradiation as their host stars move up the sub-giant and red-giant branches. If hot Jupiter inflation works by depositing irradiation into the planet's deep interiors then planetary radii should increase in response to the increased irradiation. This means that otherwise non-inflated gas giants at moderate orbital periods >10 days can re-inflate as their host stars evolve. Here we explore the circumstances that can lead to the creation of these "re-inflated" gas giants and examine how the existence or absence of such planets can be used to place unique constraints of the physics of the hot Jupiter inflation mechanism. Finally, we explore the prospects for detecting this potentially important undiscovered population of planets.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Directly detecting thermal emission from young extrasolar planets allows measurement of their atmospheric composition and luminosity, which is influenced by their formation mechanism. Using the Gemini Planet Imager, we discovered a planet orbiting the \$sim$20 Myr-old star 51 Eridani at a projected separation of 13 astronomical units. Near-infrared observations show a spectrum with strong methane and water vapor absorption. Modeling of the spectra and photometry yields a luminosity of L/LS=1.6-4.0 x 10-6 and an effective temperature of 600-750 K. For this age and luminosity, "hot-start" formation models indicate a mass twice that of Jupiter. This planet also has a sufficiently low luminosity to be consistent with the "cold- start" core accretion process that may have formed Jupiter.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Science
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    ABSTRACT: In this work we present Spitzer 3.6 and 4.5 micron secondary eclipse observations of five new cool (<1200 K) transiting gas giant planets: HAT-P-19b, WASP-6b, WASP-10b, WASP-39b, and WASP-67b. We compare our measured eclipse depths to the predictions of a suite of atmosphere models and to eclipse depths for planets with previously published observations in order to constrain the temperature- and mass-dependent properties of gas giant planet atmospheres. We find that the dayside emission spectra of planets less massive than Jupiter require models with efficient circulation of energy to the night side and/or increased albedos, while those with masses greater than that of Jupiter are consistently best-matched by models with inefficient circulation and low albedos. At these relatively low temperatures we expect the atmospheric methane to CO ratio to vary as a function of metallicity, and we therefore use our observations of these planets to constrain their atmospheric metallicities. We find that the most massive planets have dayside emission spectra that are best-matched by solar metallicity atmosphere models, but we are not able to place strong constraints on metallicities of the smaller planets in our sample. Interestingly, we find that the ratio of the 3.6 and 4.5 micron brightness temperatures for these cool transiting planets is independent of planet temperature, and instead exhibits a tentative correlation with planet mass. If this trend can be confirmed, it would suggest that the shape of these planets' emission spectra depends primarily on their masses, consistent with the hypothesis that lower-mass planets are more likely to have metal-rich atmospheres.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: The {\it Hera} Saturn entry probe mission is proposed as an M--class mission led by ESA with a contribution from NASA. It consists of one atmospheric probe to be sent into the atmosphere of Saturn, and a Carrier--Relay spacecraft. In this concept, the {\it Hera} probe is composed of ESA and NASA elements, and the Carrier--Relay Spacecraft is delivered by ESA. The probe is powered by batteries, and the Carrier--Relay Spacecraft is powered by solar panels and batteries. We anticipate two major subsystems to be supplied by the United States, either by direct procurement by ESA or by contribution from NASA: the solar electric power system (including solar arrays and the power management and distribution system), and the probe entry system (including the thermal protection shield and aeroshell). {\it Hera} is designed to perform {\it in situ} measurements of the chemical and isotopic compositions as well as the dynamics of Saturn's atmosphere using a single probe, with the goal of improving our understanding of the origin, formation, and evolution of Saturn, the giant planets and their satellite systems, with extrapolation to extrasolar planets. {\it Hera}'s aim is to probe well into the cloud-forming region of the troposphere, below the region accessible to remote sensing, to the locations where certain cosmogenically abundant species are expected to be well mixed. By leading to an improved understanding of the processes by which giant planets formed, including the composition and properties of the local solar nebula at the time and location of giant planet formation, {\it Hera} will extend the legacy of the Galileo and Cassini missions by further addressing the creation, formation, and chemical, dynamical, and thermal evolution of the giant planets, the entire solar system including Earth and the other terrestrial planets, and formation of other planetary systems.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Planetary and Space Science
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    ABSTRACT: We present full-orbit phase curve observations of the eccentric ($e$~0.08) transiting hot Jupiter WASP-14b obtained in the 3.6 and 4.5 $\mu$m bands using the $\textit{Spitzer Space Telescope}$. We use two different methods for removing the intrapixel sensitivity effect and compare their efficacy in decoupling the instrumental noise. Our measured secondary eclipse depths of 0.1857%$\pm$0.0104% and 0.2241%$\pm$0.0087% at 3.6 and 4.5 $\mu$m, respectively, are both consistent with a blackbody temperature of 2379$\pm$55 K. We place a $2\sigma$ upper limit on the nightside flux at 3.6 $\mu$m and find it to be 10%$\pm$1% of the dayside flux, corresponding to a 1322$\pm$212 K difference in brightness temperature. At 4.5 $\mu$m, the minimum planet flux is 30%$\pm$3% of the maximum flux, corresponding to a 1016$\pm$99 K difference in brightness temperature. We compare our measured phase curves to the predictions of one-dimensional radiative transfer and three-dimensional general circulation models. We find that WASP-14b's measured dayside emission is consistent with a model atmosphere with equilibrium chemistry and a moderate temperature inversion. These same models provide a poor match to the planet's nightside emission, which is lower than predicted at 3.6 $\mu$m and higher at 4.5 $\mu$m. We propose that this discrepancy might be explained by an enhanced global C/O ratio. In addition, we find that the phase curves of WASP-14b (7.3 $M_{Jup}$) are consistent with a much lower albedo than those of other Jovian mass planets with thermal phase curve measurements, suggesting that it may be emitting detectable heat from the deep atmosphere or interior processes.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We use a planetary albedo model to investigate variations in visible wavelength phase curves of exoplanets. Thermal and cloud properties for these exoplanets are derived using one-dimensional radiative-convective and cloud simulations. The presence of clouds on these exoplanets significantly alters their planetary albedo spectra. We confirm that non-uniform cloud coverage on the dayside of tidally locked exoplanets will manifest as changes to the magnitude and shift of the phase curve. In this work, we first investigate a test case of our model using a Jupiter-like planet, at temperatures consistent to 2.0 AU insolation from a solar type star, to consider the effect of H2O clouds. We then extend our application of the model to the exoplanet Kepler-7b and consider the effect of varying cloud species, sedimentation efficiency, particle size, and cloud altitude. We show that, depending on the observational filter, the largest possible shift of the phase curve maximum will be ~2°-10° for a Jupiter-like planet, and up to ~30° (~0.08 in fractional orbital phase) for hot-Jupiter exoplanets at visible wavelengths as a function of dayside cloud distribution with a uniformly averaged thermal profile. The models presented in this work can be adapted for a variety of planetary cases at visible wavelengths to include variations in planet-star separation, gravity, metallicity, and source-observer geometry. Finally, we tailor our model for comparison with, and confirmation of, the recent optical phase-curve observations of Kepler-7b with the Kepler space telescope. The average planetary albedo can vary between 0.1 and 0.6 for the 1300 cloud scenarios that were compared to the observations. Many of these cases cannot produce a high enough albedo to match the observations. We observe that smaller particle size and increasing cloud altitude have a strong effect on increasing albedo. In particular, we show that a set of models where Kepler-7b has roughly half of its dayside covered in small-particle clouds high in the atmosphere, made of bright minerals like MgSiO3 and Mg2SiO4, provide the best fits to the observed offset and magnitude of the phase-curve, whereas Fe clouds are found to be too dark to fit the observations.
    Preview · Article · May 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Interpreting the spectra of brown dwarfs is key to determining the fundamental physical and chemical processes occurring in their atmospheres. Powerful Bayesian atmospheric retrieval tools have recently been applied to both exoplanet and brown dwarf spectra to tease out the thermal structures and molecular abundances to understand those processes. In this manuscript we develop a significantly upgraded retrieval method and apply it to the SpeX spectral library data of two benchmark late T-dwarfs, Gl570D and HD3651B, to establish the validity of our upgraded forward model parameterization and Bayesian estimator. Our retrieved metallicities, gravities, and effective temperature are consistent with the metallicity and presumed ages of the systems. We add the carbon-to-oxygen ratio as a new dimension to benchmark systems and find good agreement between carbon-to-oxygens ratio derived in the brown dwarfs and the host stars. Furthermore, we have for the first time unambiguously determined the presence of ammonia in the low-resolution spectra of these two late T-dwarfs. We also show that the retrieved results are not significantly impacted by the possible presence of clouds, though some quantities are significantly impacted by uncertainties in photometry. This investigation represents a watershed study in establishing the utility of atmospheric retrieval approaches on brown dwarf spectra.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal

Publication Stats

10k Citations
1,756.68 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007-2015
    • University of California, Santa Cruz
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
    • Purdue University
      West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
  • 2014
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2013
    • Yale University
      • Department of Astronomy
      New Haven, Connecticut, United States
  • 2010-2013
    • Princeton University
      • Department of Astrophysical Sciences
      Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • 2012
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Los Angeles, California, United States
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • Department of Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2011
    • University of the Pacific (California - USA)
      Stockton, California, United States
  • 2006-2008
    • SETI Institute
      Mountain View, California, United States
  • 2004-2007
    • NASA
      • Space Science and Astrobiology Division
      Вашингтон, West Virginia, United States
  • 2001-2004
    • The University of Arizona
      • • Department of Planetary Sciences
      • • Department of Astronomy
      Tucson, Arizona, United States