Probing the Three Dimensional Nature of Exoplanetary Atmospheres Through Eclipse Mapping

Wednesday 4 July, 13:10

The field of exoplanet science is moving rapidly from an era of detection to an era of characterization. Recent observations have given tremendous insight into the structure and composition of exoplanetary atmospheres yet there are still many open questions regarding basic chemical, radiative, and advective processes that govern them. The global circulation patterns in a planet's atmosphere control the transport of heat, chemical species, and cloud particles that have a profound effect on the optical and infrared spectra of these planets. Observers have found evidence for longitudinal thermal offsets which suggest the presence of strong circulatory winds. However, to gain further insights into the fundamentally three-dimensional physical processes shaping exoplanet atmospheres, we must probe their three-dimensional thermal structure. Eclipse mapping is an observational tool that allows for the creation of brightness maps of the dayside of a planet's atmosphere that are resolved both in longitude and latitude. Multiple wavelength observations effectively provide a third dimension. Here we present preliminary results of our effort to produce three-dimensional brightness maps of the two `benchmark' hot-Jupiters, HD 189733b and HD 209458b, at both 3.6 and 4.5 μm.

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