Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Remote Sensing of Exoplanetary Atmospheres With Ground-based High-resolution Near-infrared Spectroscopy

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
August 28, 2019
Filed under
Remote Sensing of Exoplanetary Atmospheres With Ground-based High-resolution Near-infrared Spectroscopy
Observed day side fluxes of HD 189733b and our best fit model predictions

Thanks to the advances in modern instrumentation we have learned about many exoplanets that span a wide range of masses and composition.

Studying their atmospheres provides insight into planetary origin, evolution, dynamics, and habitability.

Present and future observing facilities will address these important topics in great detail by using more precise observations, high-resolution spectroscopy, and improved analysis methods. We investigate the feasibility of retrieving the vertical temperature distribution and molecular number densities from expected exoplanet spectra in the near-infrared. We use the test case of the CRIRES+, instrument at the Very Large Telescope which will operate in the near-infrared between 1 and 5 micron and resolving powers of R=100000 and R=50000. We also determine the optimal wavelength coverage and observational strategies for increasing accuracy in the retrievals.

We used the optimal estimation approach to retrieve the atmospheric parameters from the simulated emission observations of the hot Jupiter HD~189733b. The radiative transfer forward model is calculated using a public version of the tauREx software package. Our simulations show that we can retrieve accurate temperature distribution in a very wide range of atmospheric pressures between 1 bar and 10−6 bar depending on the chosen spectral region.

Retrieving molecular mixing ratios is very challenging, but a simultaneous observations in two separate infrared regions around 1.6 micron and 2.3 micron helps to obtain accurate estimates; the exoplanetary spectra must be of relatively high signal-to-noise ratio S/N>10, while the temperature can already be derived accurately with the lowest value that we considered in this study (S/N=5).

D. Shulyak, M. Rengel, A. Reiners, U. Seemann, F. Yan
(Submitted on 26 Aug 2019)

Comments: 19 pages, 12 figures, 1 table
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)
Cite as: arXiv:1908.10695 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1908.10695v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Denis Shulyak Dr.
[v1] Mon, 26 Aug 2019 07:28:12 UTC (4,841 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻