Doppler signatures of the atmospheric circulation on hot jupiters

Adam P. Showman, Jonathan J. Fortney, Nikole K. Lewis, Megan Shabram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations

Abstract

The meteorology of hot Jupiters has been characterized primarily with thermal measurements, but recent observations suggest the possibility of directly detecting the winds by observing the Doppler shift of spectral lines seen during transit. Motivated by these observations, we show how Doppler measurements can place powerful constraints on the meteorology. We show that the atmospheric circulation - and Doppler signature - of hot Jupiters splits into two regimes. Under weak stellar insolation, the day-night thermal forcing generates fast zonal jet streams from the interaction of atmospheric waves with the mean flow. In this regime, air along the terminator (as seen during transit) flows toward Earth in some regions and away from Earth in others, leading to a Doppler signature exhibiting superposed blueshifted and redshifted components. Under intense stellar insolation, however, the strong thermal forcing damps these planetary-scale waves, inhibiting their ability to generate jets. Strong frictional drag likewise damps these waves and inhibits jet formation. As a result, this second regime exhibits a circulation dominated by high-altitude, day-to-night airflow, leading to a predominantly blueshifted Doppler signature during transit. We present state-of-the-art circulation models including non-gray radiative transfer to quantify this regime shift and the resulting Doppler signatures; these models suggest that cool planets like GJ 436b lie in the first regime, HD 189733b is transitional, while planets hotter than HD 209458b lie in the second regime. Moreover, we show how the amplitude of the Doppler shifts constrains the strength of frictional drag in the upper atmospheres of hot Jupiters. If due to winds, the ∼2 km s-1 blueshift inferred on HD 209458b may require drag time constants as short as 104-106 s, possibly the result of Lorentz-force braking on this planet's hot dayside.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume762
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Keywords

  • GJ 436b)
  • HD 209458b
  • atmospheric effects
  • hydrodynamics
  • methods: numerical
  • planets and satellites: atmospheres
  • planets and satellites: general
  • planets and satellites: individual (HD 189733b
  • waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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