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Strong Water Absorption in the Dayside Emission Spectrum of the Planet HD 189733b

By SpaceRef Editor
February 1, 2009
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Strong Water Absorption in the Dayside Emission Spectrum of the Planet HD 189733b

Carl J. Grillmair, Adam Burrows, David Charbonneau, Lee Armus, John Stauffer, Victoria Meadows, Jeffrey van Cleve, Kaspar von Braun, Deborah Levine

(Submitted on 29 Jan 2009)

Recent observations of the extrasolar planet HD 189733b did not reveal the presence of water in the emission spectrum of the planet. Yet models of such ‘Hot Jupiter’ planets predict an abundance of atmospheric water vapour. Validating and constraining these models is crucial for understanding the physics and chemistry of planetary atmospheres in extreme environments.

Indications of the presence of water in the atmosphere of HD 189733b have recently been found in transmission spectra, where the planet’s atmosphere selectively absorbs the light of the parent star, and in broadband photometry. Here we report on the detection of strong water absorption in a high signal-to-noise, mid-infrared emission spectrum of the planet itself. We find both a strong downturn in the flux ratio below 10 microns and discrete spectral features that are characteristic of strong absorption by water vapour.

The differences between these and previous observations are significant and admit the possibility that predicted planetary-scale dynamical weather structures might alter the emission spectrum over time. Models that match the observed spectrum and the broadband photometry suggest that heat distribution from the dayside to the night side is weak. Reconciling this with the high night side temperature will require a better understanding of atmospheric circulation or possible additional energy sources.

Comments: 11 pages, 1 figure, published in Nature

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Galaxy Astrophysics (astro-ph.GA)

Journal reference: Nature 456, 767-769 (11 Dec 2008)

Cite as: arXiv:0901.4774v1 [astro-ph.EP]

Submission history

From: Carl J. Grillmair [view email]

[v1] Thu, 29 Jan 2009 21:00:12 GMT (196kb)

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