Exoplanets & Exomoons

The JWST Early Release Science Program for Direct Observations of Exoplanetary Systems V: Do Self-Consistent Atmospheric Models Represent JWST Spectra? A Showcase With VHS 1256 b

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
December 8, 2023
Filed under , , , , , ,
The JWST Early Release Science Program for Direct Observations of Exoplanetary Systems V: Do Self-Consistent Atmospheric Models Represent JWST Spectra? A Showcase With VHS 1256 b
Spectral resolution as a function of the wavelength coverage allowed by the NIRSpec + MIRI data. The observed data are represented by the black line. The five models are depicted by the colored lines: ATMO in green; Exo-REM in blue; Sonora in yellow; BT-Settl in red; and DRIFT-PHOENIX in purple. For the models, the spectral resolution has been calculated assuming a Nyquist sampling rate. — astro-ph.EP

The unprecedented medium-resolution (R=1500-3500) near- and mid-infrared (1-18um) spectrum provided by JWST for the young (120-160Myr) low-mass (12-20MJup) L-T transition (L7) companion VHS1256b has opened new avenues for the in-depth characterization of substellar object atmospheres.

In this study, we present a comprehensive analysis of this dataset utilizing a forward modelling approach. We explore five distinct atmospheric models, each aiming to encompass diverse physical and chemical phenomena proposed to happen in cool atmospheres in a self-consistent way. Our aim is to assess their performance in estimating key atmospheric parameters: Teff, log(g), [M/H], C/O, gamma, fsed, and R.

To achieve this, we apply our Bayesian framework, ForMoSA, employing an optimized nested sampling algorithm for model-data comparison. Our findings reveal that each parameter’s estimate is significantly influenced by factors such as the wavelength range considered, the spectral features used, the signal-to-noise ratio, and the model chosen for the fit. The observed parameter dispersion may be attributed to systematic error in the models, resulting from their difficulties in accurately replicating the complex atmospheric structure of VHS1256b, notably the complexity of its clouds and dust distribution.

To propagate the impact of these systematic uncertainties on our atmospheric property estimates, we introduce innovative fitting methodologies based on independent fits performed on different spectral windows. We finally derived a Teff consistent with the spectral type of the target, considering its young age, which is confirmed by our estimate of log(g). Despite the exceptional data quality, attaining robust estimates for chemical abundances [M/H] and C/O, often employed as indicators of formation history, remains challenging with estimates dispersed on the entire range explored by the model grids.

Simon Petrus, Niall Whiteford, Polychronis Patapis, Beth A. Biller, Andrew Skemer, Sasha Hinkley, Genaro Suárez, Anna Lueber, Paulina Palma-Bifani, Jordan M. Stone, Johanna M. Vos, Caroline V. Morley, Pascal Tremblin, Benjamin Charnay, Christiane Helling, Brittany E. Miles, Aarynn L. Carter, Jason J. Wang, Markus Janson, Eileen C. Gonzales, Ben Sutlieff, Kielan K. W. Hoch, Mickaël Bonnefoy, Gaël Chauvin, Olivier Absil, William O. Balmer, Anthony Boccaletti, Mariangela Bonavita, Mark Booth, Brendan P. Bowler, Zackery W. Briesemeister, Marta L. Bryan, Per Calissendorff, Faustine Cantalloube, Christine H. Chen, Elodie Choquet, Valentin Christiaens, Gabriele Cugno, Thayne Currie, Camilla Danielski, Matthew De Furio, Trent J. Dupuy, Samuel M. Factor, Jacqueline K. Faherty, Michael P. Fitzgerald, Jonathan J. Fortney, Kyle Franson, Julien H. Girard, Carol A. Grady, Thomas Henning, Dean C. Hines, Callie E. Hood, Alex R. Howe, Paul Kalas, Jens Kammerer, Grant M. Kennedy, Matthew A. Kenworthy, Pierre Kervella, Minjae Kim, Daniel Kitzmann, Adam L. Kraus, Masayuki Kuzuhara, Pierre-Olivier Lagage, Anne-Marie Lagrange, Kellen Lawson, Cecilia Lazzoni, Jarron M. Leisenring, Ben W. P. Lew, Michael C. Liu, Pengyu Liu, Jorge Llop-Sayson, James P. Lloyd, Bruce Macintosh, Mathilde Mâlin, Elena Manjavacas, Sebastián Marino, Mark S. Marley, Christian Marois, Raquel A. Martinez, Elisabeth C. Matthews, Brenda C. Matthews, Dimitri Mawet, Johan Mazoyer, Michael W. McElwain, Stanimir Metchev, Michael R. Meyer, Maxwell A. Millar-Blanchaer, Paul Mollière, Sarah E. Moran, Sagnick Mukherjee, Eric Pantin, Marshall D. Perrin, Laurent Pueyo, Sascha P. Quanz, Andreas Quirrenbach, Shrishmoy Ray, Isabel Rebollido, Jea Adams Redai, Bin B. Ren, Emily Rickman et al. (21 additional authors not shown)

Comments: 32 pages, 16 figures, 6 tables, 2 appendices
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2312.03852 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2312.03852v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Simon Petrus
[v1] Wed, 6 Dec 2023 19:07:10 UTC (3,961 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) 🖖🏻