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Towards Mapping Brown Dwarf and Giant Exoplanet Atmospheres

Presentation #217.03 in the session Exoplanet Atmosphere Modeling and Dynamics.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Towards Mapping Brown Dwarf and Giant Exoplanet Atmospheres

Brown dwarfs and directly-imaged exoplanets have atmospheres with complex clouds. Variability monitoring is a powerful tool that can probe these clouds. Variability monitoring has been carried out for a large number of brown dwarfs in the literature, and a small but growing number of directly imaged exoplanets. Recently, Tan & Showman (2021) used three-dimensional atmospheric models to simulate the atmospheres of exoplanets and brown dwarfs. These models produce the most detailed surface maps to date, and produce light curve variability similar to what has been observed in brown dwarfs. With this simulated dataset, we are testing mapping techniques for potential future exoplanet research. The Starry package (Luger et al. (2019)) is a set of tools that can map stars and exoplanets based on time series data. We used Starry to produce maps that match the light curves, however degeneracies remain between different maps that can fit the light curves equally well. Additionally we investigate the possibility of probing the evolutionary timescale of clouds with evolving light curves. We also apply these tools to observed light curves from brown dwarfs and exoplanets. In future work we will also work with Starry to try to identify and constrain non-degenerate parameters such as viewing inclination and the spatial extent of atmospheric features.

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