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Cloudy Mornings & Searing Afternoons on Hot-Jupiters

18 May 2015, 22:00 UTC
Cloudy Mornings & Searing Afternoons on Hot-Jupiters
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Hot-Jupiters are a class of planets that orbit very close to their host stars. As a result, these planets receive extremely intense irradiation and are expected to be tidally-locked, with one side experiencing permanent day and one side experiencing permanent night. The strong temperature contrast between the permanent day and night sides on a hot-Jupiter drives a powerful west-to-east circulation that goes around the planet.If the orbit of the hot-Jupiter is observed edge-on, it will appear to pass behind its host star on every orbit. Such an event is known as an eclipse. The planet’s evening-side is more visible pre-eclipse (i.e. during the first half of the orbit), while the planet’s morning-side is more visible post-eclipse (i.e. during the second half of the orbit). As the planet circles around its host star, some fraction of its illuminated hemisphere will be visible depending on the position of the planet in its orbit. This generates a light curve where the combined brightness of the star and planet varies in a small and periodic fashion every orbit. The variation is small because the star is orders of magnitude brighter than the planet.Figure 1: Artist’s impression of a hot-Jupiter that is glowing red hot.Using ...

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