Science and Exploration

Examining Tatooine: Atmospheric Models of Neptune-Like Circumbinary Planets

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
May 31, 2016
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Examining Tatooine: Atmospheric Models of Neptune-Like Circumbinary Planets

Circumbinary planets experience a time varying irradiation pattern as they orbit their two host stars.

In this work, we present the first detailed study of the atmospheric effects of this irradiation pattern on known and hypothetical gaseous circumbinary planets. Using both a one-dimensional Energy Balance Model and a three-dimensional General Circulation Model, we look at the temperature differences between circumbinary planets and their equivalent single-star cases in order to determine the nature of the atmospheres of these planets. We find that for circumbinary planets on stable orbits around their host stars, temperature differences are on average no more than 1.0% in the most extreme cases.

Based on detailed modeling with the General Circulation Model, we find that these temperature differences are not large enough to excite circulation differences between the two cases. We conclude that gaseous circumbinary planets can be treated as their equivalent single-star case in future atmospheric modeling efforts.

E. M. May, E. Rauscher
(Submitted on 27 May 2016)

Comments: 9 pages, 7 figures, Accepted to ApJ
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1605.08785 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1605.08785v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Erin May
[v1] Fri, 27 May 2016 20:00:03 GMT (1567kb)

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