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Infrared radiation from an extrasolar planet

By SpaceRef Editor
May 3, 2005
Filed under , ,

Astrophysics, abstract

From: Jeremy Richardson [view email]
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2005 21:05:04 GMT (208kb)

Infrared radiation from an extrasolar planet

Drake Deming,
Sara Seager,
L. Jeremy Richardson,
Joseph Harrington

Comments: to appear in Nature April 7, posted to Nature online March 23 (11
pages, 3 figures)

A class of extrasolar giant planets – the so-called `hot Jupiters’ – orbit
within 0.05 AU of their primary stars. These planets should be hot and so emit
detectable infrared radiation. The planet HD 209458b is an ideal candidate for
the detection and characterization of this infrared light because it is
eclipsed by the star. This planet has an anomalously large radius (1.35 times
that of Jupiter), which may be the result of ongoing tidal dissipation, but
this explanation requires a non-zero orbital eccentricity (~0.03), maintained
by interaction with a hypothetical second planet. Here we report detection of
infrared (24 micron) radiation from HD 209458b, by observing the decrement in
flux during secondary eclipse, when the planet passes behind the star. The
planet’s 24 micron flux is 55 +/- 10 micro-Jy (1 sigma), with a brightness
temperature of 1130 +/- 150 Kelvins, confirming the predicted heating by
stellar irradiation. The secondary eclipse occurs at the midpoint between
transits of the planet in front of the star (to within +/- 7 min, 1 sigma),
which means that a dynamically significant orbital eccentricity is unlikely.

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