Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Florida Space Institute Seminar Announcement: Two Classes of Exoplanets Identified Without Modeling

Florida Space Institute Seminar Announcement
Speaker: Joseph Harrington
Affiliation: Physics, UCF
Day and Date: Wednesday, August 28th

Time: 11:00 - 12:00

Location: Research Park
12354 Research Parkway
Partnership 1 Bldg. Suite 209
Orlando, FL 32826

Title: Two Classes of Exoplanets Identified Without Modeling


The Spitzer Space Telescope has measured numerous eclipses of exoplanets, and ground-based telescopes and Hubble are now getting into the game.  These measurements give the planetary flux in the observation filter.  In combination with the planetary radius, known from transit, one can determine a brightness temperature, Tb.  I compare these Tbs with the planets' predicted equilibrium temperatures, Teq, calculated assuming zero albedo and uniform reradiation of absorbed energy from the entire planetary surface. Measurements deviate from the simplistic Teq prediction because of the chemistry and temperatures present in the atmosphere, but other effects like clouds may play important roles as well.  By comparing Tb and Teq, and without reference to any interpretive model, I have identified two distinct classes of exoplanets, with cooler exoplanets having similar Tb and Teq while hotter exoplanets have higher Tb than Teq.  I will discuss possible explanations, such as thermal inversions, clouds, and competing radiative and convective time constants.

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