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Remote sensing of exoplanetary atmospheres with ground-based high-resolution near-infrared spectroscopy

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Shulyak,  Denis
Department Planets and Comets, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Rengel,  Miriam
Department Planets and Comets, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Shulyak, D., Rengel, M., Reiners, A., Seemann, U., & Yan, F. (2019). Remote sensing of exoplanetary atmospheres with ground-based high-resolution near-infrared spectroscopy. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 629: A109. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201935691.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-D0F7-A
Abstract
Context. Thanks to the advances in modern instrumentation we have learned about many exoplanets that span a wide range of masses and composition. Studying their atmospheres provides insight into planetary origin, evolution, dynamics, and habitability. Present and future observing facilities will address these important topics in great detail by using more precise observations, high-resolution spectroscopy, and improved analysis methods. Aims. We investigate the feasibility of retrieving the vertical temperature distribution and molecular number densities from expected exoplanet spectra in the near-infrared. We use the test case of the CRIRES+ instrument at the Very Large Telescope which will operate in the near-infrared between 1 and 5 μm and resolving powers of R = 100 000 and R = 50 000. We also determine the optimal wavelength coverage and observational strategies for increasing accuracy in the retrievals. Methods. We used the optimal estimation approach to retrieve the atmospheric parameters from the simulated emission observations of the hot Jupiter HD 189733b. The radiative transfer forward model is calculated using a public version of the τ-REx software package. Results. Our simulations show that we can retrieve accurate temperature distribution in a very wide range of atmospheric pressures between 1 bar and 10−6 bar depending on the chosen spectral region. Retrieving molecular mixing ratios is very challenging, but a simultaneous observations in two separate infrared regions around 1.6 and 2.3 μm helps to obtain accurate estimates; the exoplanetary spectra must be of relatively high signal-to-noise ratio S∕N ≥ 10, while the temperature can already be derived accurately with the lowest value that we considered in this study (S∕N = 5). Conclusions. The results of our study suggest that high-resolution near-infrared spectroscopy is a powerful tool for studying exoplanet atmospheres because numerous lines of different molecules can be analyzed simultaneously. Instruments similar to CRIRES+ will provide data for detailed retrieval and will provide new important constraints on the atmospheric chemistry and physics.