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Title: Probing the physical properties of directly imaged gas giant exoplanets through polarization
Authors: Marley, Mark S
Sengupta, S
Keywords: Polarization;Scattering;Planets and Satellites:Atmospheres;Stars:Atmosphere
Issue Date: Nov-2011
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Citation: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 417, No. 4, pp. 2874–2881
Abstract: It is becoming clear that the atmospheres of the young, self-luminous extrasolar gi- ant planets imaged to date are dusty. Planets with dusty atmospheres may exhibit detectable amounts of linear polarization in the near-infrared, as has been observed from some eld L dwarfs. The asymmetry required in the thermal radiation eld to produce polarization may arise either from the rotation-induced oblateness or from surface inhomogeneities, such as partial cloudiness. While it is not possible at present to predict the extent to which atmospheric dynamics on a given planet may produce surface inhomogeneities substantial enough to produce net non-zero disk integrated polarization, the contribution of rotation-induced oblateness can be estimated. Using a self-consistent, spatially homogeneous atmospheric model and a multiple scatter- ing polarization formalism for this class of exoplanets, we show that polarization on the order of 1% may arise due to the rotation-induced oblateness of the planets. The observed polarization may be even higher if surface inhomogeneities exist and play a signi catnt role. Polarized radiation from self-luminous gas giant exoplanets, if de- tected, provides an additional tool to characterize these young planets and a new method to constrain their surface gravity and masses.
Description: Open Access
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Appears in Collections:IIAP Publications

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