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Bright or Dark? The Importance of 3D Patchy Clouds for Hot Jupiter Dayside Albedos

Presentation #413.01 in the session “Extrasolar Planets: Clouds and Hazes”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
Bright or Dark? The Importance of 3D Patchy Clouds for Hot Jupiter Dayside Albedos

Optical photometric measurements made by Kepler during secondary eclipse reveal varied geometric albedos for hot Jupiters with equilibrium temperatures between 1550-1700 K. Previous works have demonstrated that the presence or absence of high altitude condensates, such as forsterite, iron, corundum, and perovskite, in this temperature regime can significantly alter optical albedos, but these clouds are expected to be confined to localized regions in the atmospheres of these tidally locked planets. Here, we present the first set of self-consistent 3D general circulation models and corresponding cloud and albedo maps for six hot Jupiters with measured optical albedos in this temperature regime. We find that clear sky models are able to reproduce the observed optical albedos of K2-31b and K2-107b, while the observed optical albedos of Kepler-8b, Kepler-17b and HatS-11b (a particularly bright planet) are best matched by cloudy models. We are unable to reproduce the measured bright albedo for Kepler-7b; our models predict a warm interior due to the low surface gravity, which causes darker corundum clouds to dominate instead of bright forsterite clouds. We compare the parametrized cloud model (Virga) with a microphysical cloud model (CARMA) for each planet in our sample, and discuss possible explanations for our inability to reproduce Kepler-7b’s high optical albedo.

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