Science.gov

Sample records for extrasolar planetary atmospheres

  1. Mineral clouds and ionisation processes in extrasolar, planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helling, Ch.; Jardine, M.; Stark, C. R.; Rimmer, P.; Diver, D. A.

    2013-09-01

    The steady increase of the know extrasolar planets broadens our knowledge and at the same time, reveals our lack of understanding. The habitability of a planet depends, amongst other things, on the exposure of the planetary surface to radiation, how clouds form and which effect clouds have on the composition and on the electric state of the gas from which they form. We have studied the formation of mineral clouds (Fig. 1) on planetary atmospheres using a kinetic approach which allows us to predict the size distribution and material composition of the cloud particles. Using theses results we have investigated whether such clouds can be charged and under which conditions an electric field breakdown of the ambient gas, such as lightning or other transient luminous events, may occur. Our results suggest that different intra-cloud discharge processes dominate at different heights inside a cloud. We discuss the efficiency of electric field breakdowns and the electron enrichment (Fig. 2) to be expected in extrasolar atmospheres.

  2. Characterization of extrasolar planetary atmospheres by thermal infrared photometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pierrehumbert, R.; Lloyd, J. P.

    2010-12-01

    Exoplanet observations offer the potential to study planetary atmospheres at stages of evolution not accessible in our own solar system. The detection of any atmosphere at all around an M-dwarf Super-Earth class planet would provide a powerful constraint on theories of atmospheric escape. We propose a method for detection and characterization of atmospheres through thermal infrared photometry. The method takes advantage of the changing infrared emission seen by a distant observer, caused by the variation in which part of the planet is viewed as it proceeds in its orbit. We focus on the novel issues presented by planets with a distinct surface. We present a catalog of thermal emission signatures pertinent to planets in close-orbits about M-dwarfs. Such planets are expected to be in tide-locked, quasi-synchronous spin states, or 3:2 spin-orbit resonances, and have a very hot spot under the subsolar point, and a very cold nightside, particularly when the atmosphere is thin or absent. When there is an atmosphere, the low Coriolis force makes heat transport very efficient, leading to an atmosphere that is horizontally isothermal. This behavior is familiar from the WTG approximation widely applied to the Earth's tropics, and we have verified by GCM simulations that it applies globally for planets in slow spin-states. When the atmosphere is optically thick in some parts of the thermal infrared, the dichotomy beween atmospheric and surface temperature contrasts leaves a characteristic imprint on the thermal emission time series. The figure illustrates the method for a tide-locked planet in a circular orbit, with stellar luminosity and semi-major axis similar to Gliese 581c. The orbit is viewed edge-on but transit effects are not shown. We show synthetic observations at two wavenumbers, for both an airless case and a case with an isothermal atmosphere. In the optically thick band, the the atmosphere shows up in the moderation of the photometry curve. We will also show signatures for planets in eccentric orbits and other spin states, and from simulations of partially ice-covered waterworlds. Typical ratios of planetary to stellar fluxes are on the order of ten ppm. For a system ten light-years distant, photon counts are on the order of 10 m-2s{-1]. Pertinent instrumental issues will be discussed

  3. The Atmospheres of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Richardson, L. J.; Seager, S.

    2007-01-01

    In this chapter we examine what can be learned about extrasolar planet atmospheres by concentrating on a class of planets that transit their parent stars. As discussed in the previous chapter, one way of detecting an extrasolar planet is by observing the drop in stellar intensity as the planet passes in front of the star. A transit represents a special case in which the geometry of the planetary system is such that the planet s orbit is nearly edge-on as seen from Earth. As we will explore, the transiting planets provide opportunities for detailed follow-up observations that allow physical characterization of extrasolar planets, probing their bulk compositions and atmospheres.

  4. The Atmospheres of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marley, M. S.

    2010-01-01

    The characteristics of irradiated solar system planetary atmospheres have been studied for decades. Modern planetary science benefits from an exhaustive body of ground- and space-based data. The study of extrasolar planetary atmospheres, by contrast, is in its infancy and currently rests on a few score of datapoints, mostly of the transiting planets. As the study of exoplanetary atmospheres blossoms, it is well worth remembering lessons learned from the solar system. In this contribution, based on my Les Houches lecture on exoplanet atmospheres, I briefly review a few of the key concepts relevant to understanding planetary atmospheres and point to examples both in our own solar system and among the exoplanets. This short survey aims not to review the field but rather stresses the importance of understanding the structure, dynamics, cloud processes and photochemistry of planetary atmospheres and points the reader towards useful reference works. Here I particularly explain the importance of cloud and photochemical processes in controlling the spectra and albedos of extrasolar planets and urge that care be taken in the interpretation of exoplanet colors.

  5. Extrasolar Planetary Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ksanfomaliti, L. V.

    2000-11-01

    The discovery of planetary systems around alien stars is an outstanding achievement of recent years. The idea that the Solar System may be representative of planetary systems in the Galaxy in general develops upon the knowledge, current until the last decade of the 20th century, that it is the only object of its kind. Studies of the known planets gave rise to a certain stereotype in theoretical research. Therefore, the discovery of exoplanets, which are so different from objects of the Solar System, alters our basic notions concerning the physics and very criteria of normal planets. A substantial factor in the history of the Solar System was the formation of Jupiter. Two waves of meteorite bombardment played an important role in that history. Ultimately there arose a stable low-entropy state of the Solar System, in which Jupiter and the other giants in stable orbits protect the inner planets from impacts by dangerous celestial objects, reducing this danger by many orders of magnitude. There are even variants of the anthropic principle maintaining that life on Earth owes its genesis and development to Jupiter. Some 20 companions more or less similar to Jupiter in mass and a few ``infrared dwarfs,'' have been found among the 500 solar-type stars belonging to the main sequence. Approximately half of the exoplanets discovered are of the ``hot-Jupiter'' type. These are giants, sometimes of a mass several times that of Jupiter, in very low orbits and with periods of 3-14 days. All of their parent stars are enriched with heavy elements, [Fe/H] = 0.1-0.2. This may indicate that the process of exoplanet formation depends on the chemical composition of the protoplanetary disk. The very existence of exoplanets of the hot-Jupiter type considered in the context of new theoretical work comes up against the problem of the formation of Jupiter in its real orbit. All the exoplanets in orbits with a semimajor axis of more than 0.15-0.20 astronomical units (AU) have orbital eccentricities of more than 0.1, in most cases of 0.2-0.5. In conjunction with their possible migration into the inner reaches of the Solar System, this poses a threat to the very existence of the inner planets. Recent observations of gas-dust clouds in very young stars show that hydrogen dissipates rapidly, in several million years, and dissipation is completed earlier than, according to the accretion theory, the gas component of such a planet as Jupiter forms. The mass of the remaining hydrogen is usually small, much smaller than Jupiter's mass. However, the giant planets of the Solar System retain a few percent of the amount of hydrogen that should be contained in the early protoplanetary disk, creating difficulties in understanding their formation. A plausible explanation is that gravitational instabilities in the protoplanetary disk could be the mechanism of their rapid formation.

  6. Atmospheres of Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marley, Mark

    2006-01-01

    The next decade will almost certainly see the direct imaging of extrasolar giant planets around nearby stars. Unlike purely radial velocity detections, direct imaging will open the door to characterizing the atmosphere and interiors of extrasola planets and ultimately provide clues on their formation and evolution through time. This process has already begun for the transiting planets, placing new constraints on their atmospheric structure, composition, and evolution. Indeed the key to understanding giant planet detectability, interpreting spectra, and constraining effective temperature and hence evolution-is the atmosphere. I will review the universe of extrasolar giant planet models, focusing on what we have already learned from modeling and what we will likely be able to learn from the first generation of direct detection data. In addition to these theoretical considerations, I will review the observations and interpretation of the - transiting hot Jupiters. These objects provide a test of our ability to model exotic atmospheres and challenge our current understanding of giant planet evolution.

  7. The chemistry of extrasolar planetary systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bond, Jade Chantelle

    2008-06-01

    This work examines the chemical nature of extrasolar planetary systems, considering both the host star and any potential terrestrial planets located within the system. Extrasolar planetary host stars are found to be enriched over non-host stars in several r- and s-process elements. These enrichments, however, are in keeping with general galactic chemical evolution trends. This implies that host stars have not experienced any unusual chemical processing or pollution and that the observed enrichments are primordial in nature. When combined with detailed chemical models, the dynamical models of O'Brien et al. (2006) are found to produce terrestrial planets with bulk elemental abundances in excellent agreement with observed planetary values. This clearly indicates that the combination of dynamical and chemical modeling applied here is successfully reproducing the terrestrial planets of the Solar System to the first order. Furthermore, these planets are found to form with a considerable amount of water, negating the need for large amounts of exogenous delivery. Little dependence on the orbital properties of Jupiter and Saturn is observed for the main rock-forming elements due to the largely homogenous disk composition calculated. The same modeling approach is applied to known extrasolar planetary systems. Terrestrial planets were found to be ubiquitous, forming in all simulations. Generally, small (< 1[Special characters omitted.] ) terrestrial planets are produced close to their host star with little radial mixing occurring. Planetary compositions are found to be diverse, ranging from Earth-like to refractory dominated and C-dominated, containing significant amounts of carbide material. Based on these simulations, stars with Solar elemental ratios are the best place to focus future Earth-like planet searches as these systems are found to produce the most Earthlike terrestrial planets which are located within the habitable zones of their systems and containing a significant amount of water. C-rich planets, although unusual, are expected to exist in ~20% of known extrasolar planetary systems based on their host star photospheric compositions. These planets are unlike any body we have previously observed and provide an exciting avenue for future observation and simulation.

  8. Detectability of extrasolar planetary transits

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borucki, W. J.; Scargle, J. D.; Hudson, H. S.

    1985-01-01

    Precise stellar photometry can be used to detect other planetary systems. However, the intrinsic variability of stellar luminosity imposes a fundamental limit on the sensitivity of this method. Based on recent precise solar observations made from the Solar Maximum Mission satellite, it appears that the detection of earth-sized planets will be marginal during periods of high stellar activity. However, with a suitable photometer larger planets should be readily detectable even in the presence of stellar activity equal to that of the sun at the peak of its sunspot cycle. The high precision, multiple-star photometric system required to detect planets in other stellar systems could be used to monitor flares, starspots, and global oscillations.

  9. Extrasolar Planetary Imaging Coronagraph: Visible Nulling Coronagraph Testbed Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lyon, Richard G.

    2008-01-01

    The Extrasolar Planetary Imaging Coronagraph (EPIC) is a proposed NASA Discovery mission to image and characterize extrasolar giant planets in orbits with semi-major axes between 2 and 10 AU. EPIC will provide insights into the physical nature of a variety of planets in other solar systems complimenting radial velocity (RV) and astrometric planet searches. It will detect and characterize the atmospheres of planets identified by radial velocity surveys, determine orbital inclinations and masses, characterize the atmospheres around A and F stars, observed the inner spatial structure and colors of inner Spitzer selected debris disks. EPIC would be launched to heliocentric Earth trailing drift-away orbit, with a 3-year mission lifetime ( 5 year goal) and will revisit planets at least three times at intervals of 9 months. The starlight suppression approach consists of a visible nulling coronagraph (VNC) that enables high order starlight suppression in broadband light. To demonstrate the VNC approach and advance it's technology readiness the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Lockheed-Martin have developed a laboratory VNC and have demonstrated white light nulling. We will discuss our ongoing VNC work and show the latest results from the VNC testbed,

  10. Exploring Extrasolar Planetary Systems: New Observations of Extrasolar Planets Enabled by the James Webb Space Telescope

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clampin, Mark

    2012-01-01

    The search for extrasolar planets has been increasingly success over the last few years. In excess of 700 systems are now known, and Kepler has approx.2500 additional candidate systems, yet to be confirmed. Recently, progress has also been made in directly imaging extrasolar planets, both from the ground and in space. In this presentation will discuss the techniques employed to discover planetary systems, and highlight the capabilities, enabled by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). JWST is a large 6.5 meter aperture infrared telescope that is scheduled for launch in 2018, and will allow us to transition to characterizing the properties of these extrasolar planets and the planetary systems in which they reside.

  11. Hydrodynamic escape from planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tian, Feng

    Hydrodynamic escape is an important process in the formation and evolution of planetary atmospheres. Due to the existence of a singularity point near the transonic point, it is difficult to find transonic steady state solutions by solving the time-independent hydrodynamic equations. In addition to that, most previous works assume that all energy driving the escape flow is deposited in one narrow layer. This assumption not only results in less accurate solutions to the hydrodynamic escape problem, but also makes it difficult to include other chemical and physical processes in the hydrodynamic escape models. In this work, a numerical model describing the transonic hydrodynamic escape from planetary atmospheres is developed. A robust solution technique is used to solve the time dependent hydrodynamic equations. The method has been validated in an isothermal atmosphere where an analytical solution is available. The hydrodynamic model is applied to 3 cases: hydrogen escape from small orbit extrasolar planets, hydrogen escape from a hydrogen rich early Earth's atmosphere, and nitrogen/methane escape from Pluto's atmosphere. Results of simulations on extrasolar planets are in good agreement with the observations of the transiting extrasolar planet HD209458b. Hydrodynamic escape of hydrogen from other hypothetical close-in extrasolar planets are simulated and the influence of hydrogen escape on the long-term evolution of these extrasolar planets are discussed. Simulations on early Earth suggest that hydrodynamic escape of hydrogen from a hydrogen rich early Earth's atmosphere is about two orders magnitude slower than the diffusion limited escape rate. A hydrogen rich early Earth's atmosphere could have been maintained by the balance between the hydrogen escape and the supply of hydrogen into the atmosphere by volcanic outgassing. Origin of life may have occurred in the organic soup ocean created by the efficient formation of prebiotic molecules in the hydrogen rich early Earth's atmosphere. Simulations show that hydrodynamic escape of nitrogen from Pluto is able to remove a ~3 km layer of ice over the age of the solar system. The escape flux of neutral nitrogen may interact with the solar wind at Pluto's orbit and may be detected by the New Horizon mission.

  12. Stellar Ablation of Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, Thomas E.; Horwitz, J. L.

    2007-01-01

    We review observations and theories of the solar ablation of planetary atmospheres, focusing on the terrestrial case where a large magnetosphere holds off the solar wind, so that there is little direct atmospheric impact, but also couples the solar wind electromagnetically to the auroral zones. We consider the photothermal escape flows known as the polar wind or refilling flows, the enhanced mass flux escape flows that result from localized solar wind energy dissipation in the auroral zones, and the resultant enhanced neutral atom escape flows. We term these latter two escape flows the "auroral wind." We review observations and theories of the heating and acceleration of auroral winds, including energy inputs from precipitating particles, electromagnetic energy flux at magnetohydrodynamic and plasma wave frequencies, and acceleration by parallel electric fields and by convection pickup processes also known as "centrifugal acceleration." We consider also the global circulation of ionospheric plasmas within the magnetosphere, their participation in magnetospheric disturbances as absorbers of momentum and energy, and their ultimate loss from the magnetosphere into the downstream solar wind, loading reconnection processes that occur at high altitudes near the magnetospheric boundaries. We consider the role of planetary magnetization and the accumulating evidence of stellar ablation of extrasolar planetary atmospheres. Finally, we suggest and discuss future needs for both the theory and observation of the planetary ionospheres and their role in solar wind interactions, to achieve the generality required for a predictive science of the coupling of stellar and planetary atmospheres over the full range of possible conditions.

  13. Inclination Excitation in Extrasolar Planetary Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Becker, Juliette; Adams, Fred C.

    2015-01-01

    The Kepler Mission has detected dozens of planetary systems with more than four transiting planets. This sample provides a collection of planetary systems with little or no excited inclination between the inferred orbits. This present study examines the magnitude and efficacy of three potential mechanisms for exciting orbital inclination in these systems: self-excitation of orbital inclination in initially coplanar planetary systems, perturbations by larger bodies within the planetary systems, and perturbations by massive bodies external to the systems. For each of these mechanisms, we determine the regime(s) of parameter space for which orbital inclination excitation is effective. This work provides constraints on the properties (masses and orbital elements) of possible additional bodies in observed planetery systems, and on their dynamical history. One interesting application is to consider the relative size of the external perturbations both in and out of clusters.

  14. IONIZATION OF EXTRASOLAR GIANT PLANET ATMOSPHERES

    SciTech Connect

    Koskinen, Tommi T.; Cho, James Y-K.; Achilleos, Nicholas; Aylward, Alan D.

    2010-10-10

    Many extrasolar planets orbit close in and are subject to intense ionizing radiation from their host stars. Therefore, we expect them to have strong, and extended, ionospheres. Ionospheres are important because they modulate escape in the upper atmosphere and can modify circulation, as well as leave their signatures, in the lower atmosphere. In this paper, we evaluate the vertical location Z{sub I} and extent D{sub I} of the EUV ionization peak layer. We find that Z{sub I{approx}}1-10 nbar-for a wide range of orbital distances (a = 0.047-1 AU) from the host star-and D{sub I}/H{sub p{approx}}>15, where H{sub p} is the pressure scale height. At Z{sub I}, the plasma frequency is {approx}80-450 MHz, depending on a. We also study global ion transport, and its dependence on a, using a three-dimensional thermosphere-ionosphere model. On tidally synchronized planets with weak intrinsic magnetic fields, our model shows only a small, but discernible, difference in electron density from the dayside to the nightside ({approx}9 x 10{sup 13} m{sup -3} to {approx}2 x 10{sup 12} m{sup -3}, respectively) at Z{sub I}. On asynchronous planets, the distribution is essentially uniform. These results have consequences for hydrodynamic modeling of the atmospheres of close-in extrasolar giant planets.

  15. On Orbital Elements of Extrasolar Planetary Candidates and Spectroscopic Binaries

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stepinski, T. F.; Black, D. C.

    2001-01-01

    We estimate probability densities of orbital elements, periods, and eccentricities, for the population of extrasolar planetary candidates (EPC) and, separately, for the population of spectroscopic binaries (SB) with solar-type primaries. We construct empirical cumulative distribution functions (CDFs) in order to infer probability distribution functions (PDFs) for orbital periods and eccentricities. We also derive a joint probability density for period-eccentricity pairs in each population. Comparison of respective distributions reveals that in all cases EPC and SB populations are, in the context of orbital elements, indistinguishable from each other to a high degree of statistical significance. Probability densities of orbital periods in both populations have P(exp -1) functional form, whereas the PDFs of eccentricities can he best characterized as a Gaussian with a mean of about 0.35 and standard deviation of about 0.2 turning into a flat distribution at small values of eccentricity. These remarkable similarities between EPC and SB must be taken into account by theories aimed at explaining the origin of extrasolar planetary candidates, and constitute an important clue us to their ultimate nature.

  16. Predicting the Atmospheric Composition of Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sharp, A. G.; Moses, J. I.; Friedson, A. J.; Fegley, B., Jr.; Marley, M. S.; Lodders, K.

    2004-01-01

    To date, approximately 120 planet-sized objects have been discovered around other stars, mostly through the radial-velocity technique. This technique can provide information about a planet s minimum mass and its orbital period and distance; however, few other planetary data can be obtained at this point in time unless we are fortunate enough to find an extrasolar giant planet that transits its parent star (i.e., the orbit is edge-on as seen from Earth). In that situation, many physical properties of the planet and its parent star can be determined, including some compositional information. Our prospects of directly obtaining spectra from extrasolar planets may improve in the near future, through missions like NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder. Most of the extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) discovered so far have masses equal to or greater than Jupiter's mass, and roughly 16% have orbital radii less than 0.1 AU - extremely close to the parent star by our own Solar-System standards (note that Mercury is located at a mean distance of 0.39 AU and Jupiter at 5.2 AU from the Sun). Although all EGPs are expected to have hydrogen-dominated atmospheres similar to Jupiter, the orbital distance can strongly affect the planet's temperature, physical, chemical, and spectral properties, and the abundance of minor, detectable atmospheric constituents. Thermochemical equilibrium models can provide good zero-order predictions for the atmospheric composition of EGPs. However, both the composition and spectral properties will depend in large part on disequilibrium processes like photochemistry, chemical kinetics, atmospheric transport, and haze formation. We have developed a photochemical kinetics, radiative transfer, and 1-D vertical transport model to study the atmospheric composition of EGPs. The chemical reaction list contains H-, C-, O-, and N-bearing species and is designed to be valid for atmospheric temperatures ranging from 100-3000 K and pressures up to 50 bar. Here we examine the effect of stellar distance (e.g., incident ultraviolet flux, atmospheric temperature) on the chemical properties of EGPs. The model is applied to two generic Class II and III intermediate temperature EGPs located at 3.3 and 0.27 AU from a solar-like parent star, and the results are compared with a model for Jupiter at 5.2 AU.

  17. Planetary atmospheres with ALMA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lellouch, Emmanuel

    2008-01-01

    Thanks to its sensitivity, spatial resolution and instantaneous uv-coverage, ALMA will permit many new studies related to the general topic of the couplings between chemistry and dynamics in planetary atmospheres. It will include: (1) three-dimensional mapping of composition, temperatures and winds in the atmospheres of Mars, Venus and Titan; (2) several aspects of Giant Planet composition and dynamics, such as the origin of oxygen, the evolution of Shoemaker Levy 9 products in Jupiter’s atmosphere, and the deep atmosphere structure and meteorology; (3) the study of tenuous and distant atmospheres (Io, Enceladus, Pluto, Triton and other Kuiper Belt objects).

  18. Transiting extrasolar planetary candidates in the Galactic bulge.

    PubMed

    Sahu, Kailash C; Casertano, Stefano; Bond, Howard E; Valenti, Jeff; Smith, T Ed; Minniti, Dante; Zoccali, Manuela; Livio, Mario; Panagia, Nino; Piskunov, Nikolai; Brown, Thomas M; Brown, Timothy; Renzini, Alvio; Rich, R Michael; Clarkson, Will; Lubow, Stephen

    2006-10-01

    More than 200 extrasolar planets have been discovered around relatively nearby stars, primarily through the Doppler line shifts owing to reflex motions of their host stars, and more recently through transits of some planets across the faces of the host stars. The detection of planets with the shortest known periods, 1.2-2.5 days, has mainly resulted from transit surveys which have generally targeted stars more massive than 0.75 M(o), where M(o) is the mass of the Sun. Here we report the results from a planetary transit search performed in a rich stellar field towards the Galactic bulge. We discovered 16 candidates with orbital periods between 0.4 and 4.2 days, five of which orbit stars of masses in the range 0.44-0.75 M(o). In two cases, radial-velocity measurements support the planetary nature of the companions. Five candidates have orbital periods below 1.0 day, constituting a new class of ultra-short-period planets, which occur only around stars of less than 0.88 M(o). This indicates that those orbiting very close to more-luminous stars might be evaporatively destroyed or that jovian planets around stars of lower mass might migrate to smaller radii. PMID:17024085

  19. Remote sensing of planetary properties and biosignatures on extrasolar terrestrial planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Des Marais, David J.; Harwit, Martin O.; Jucks, Kenneth W.; Kasting, James F.; Lin, Douglas N C.; Lunine, Jonathan I.; Schneider, Jean; Seager, Sara; Traub, Wesley A.; Woolf, Neville J.

    2002-01-01

    The major goals of NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) and the European Space Agency's Darwin missions are to detect terrestrial-sized extrasolar planets directly and to seek spectroscopic evidence of habitable conditions and life. Here we recommend wavelength ranges and spectral features for these missions. We assess known spectroscopic molecular band features of Earth, Venus, and Mars in the context of putative extrasolar analogs. The preferred wavelength ranges are 7-25 microns in the mid-IR and 0.5 to approximately 1.1 microns in the visible to near-IR. Detection of O2 or its photolytic product O3 merits highest priority. Liquid H2O is not a bioindicator, but it is considered essential to life. Substantial CO2 indicates an atmosphere and oxidation state typical of a terrestrial planet. Abundant CH4 might require a biological source, yet abundant CH4 also can arise from a crust and upper mantle more reduced than that of Earth. The range of characteristics of extrasolar rocky planets might far exceed that of the Solar System. Planetary size and mass are very important indicators of habitability and can be estimated in the mid-IR and potentially also in the visible to near-IR. Additional spectroscopic features merit study, for example, features created by other biosignature compounds in the atmosphere or on the surface and features due to Rayleigh scattering. In summary, we find that both the mid-IR and the visible to near-IR wavelength ranges offer valuable information regarding biosignatures and planetary properties; therefore both merit serious scientific consideration for TPF and Darwin.

  20. Remote sensing of planetary properties and biosignatures on extrasolar terrestrial planets.

    PubMed

    Des Marais, David J; Harwit, Martin O; Jucks, Kenneth W; Kasting, James F; Lin, Douglas N C; Lunine, Jonathan I; Schneider, Jean; Seager, Sara; Traub, Wesley A; Woolf, Neville J

    2002-01-01

    The major goals of NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) and the European Space Agency's Darwin missions are to detect terrestrial-sized extrasolar planets directly and to seek spectroscopic evidence of habitable conditions and life. Here we recommend wavelength ranges and spectral features for these missions. We assess known spectroscopic molecular band features of Earth, Venus, and Mars in the context of putative extrasolar analogs. The preferred wavelength ranges are 7-25 microns in the mid-IR and 0.5 to approximately 1.1 microns in the visible to near-IR. Detection of O2 or its photolytic product O3 merits highest priority. Liquid H2O is not a bioindicator, but it is considered essential to life. Substantial CO2 indicates an atmosphere and oxidation state typical of a terrestrial planet. Abundant CH4 might require a biological source, yet abundant CH4 also can arise from a crust and upper mantle more reduced than that of Earth. The range of characteristics of extrasolar rocky planets might far exceed that of the Solar System. Planetary size and mass are very important indicators of habitability and can be estimated in the mid-IR and potentially also in the visible to near-IR. Additional spectroscopic features merit study, for example, features created by other biosignature compounds in the atmosphere or on the surface and features due to Rayleigh scattering. In summary, we find that both the mid-IR and the visible to near-IR wavelength ranges offer valuable information regarding biosignatures and planetary properties; therefore both merit serious scientific consideration for TPF and Darwin. PMID:12469366

  1. Turbulence in Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ioannou, Petros; Farrell, Brian

    2013-04-01

    A survey of the solar system reveals a variety of turbulent regimes in the large scale circulation of planetary atmospheres. These regimes include convectively forced turbulence in Jupiter's atmosphere and self maintained baroclinic turbulence in the Earth's midlatitude atmosphere. A general theory of turbulent equilibria, Stochastic Structural Stability Theory (SSST), and its expression in mechanistic models for the maintenance of statistically steady turbulent states in planetary atmospheres will be described and applied to obtain the turbulent equilibria that determine the general circulation of Jupiter's atmosphere and of the Earth's midlatitude atmosphere. Among the phenomena explained by the statistically steady fixed points of the SSST system are spontaneous self organization of turbulent flows into large spatial scale jets; geophysical examples of which include the Jovian banded winds and the Earth's polar front jet. The theory reveals the existence of a manifold of nonlinear equilibria in planetary turbulence corresponding to different climate regimes. Also explained is emergence of marginally stable, highly non-normal equilibria in baroclinic turbulence. These states characterize both observations and simulations of strongly turbulent baroclinic flows and are referred to generically as baroclinically adjusted states. The baroclinically adjusted state is revealed to be not simply a marginally stable state but to have the structure of a specific fixed point equilibrium. In addition it will be shown that these equilibria naturally imply power law relations such as that between heat flux and temperature gradient.

  2. Photochemistry in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Levine, J. S.; Graedel, T. E.

    1981-01-01

    Widely varying paths of evolutionary history, atmospheric processes, solar fluxes, and temperatures have produced vastly different planetary atmospheres. The similarities and differences between the earth atmosphere and those of the terrestrial planets (Venus and Mars) and of the Jovian planets are discussed in detail; consideration is also given to the photochemistry of Saturn, Uranus, Pluto, Neptune, Titan, and Triton. Changes in the earth's ancient atmosphere are described, and problems of interest in the earth's present troposphere are discussed, including the down wind effect, plume interactions, aerosol nucleation and growth, acid rain, and the fate of terpenes. Temperature fluctuations in the four principal layers of the earth's atmosphere, predicted decreases in the ozone concentration as a function of time, and spectra of particles in the earth's upper atmosphere are also presented. Finally, the vertical structure of the Venus cloud system and the thermal structure of the Jovian planets are shown graphically.

  3. Terrestrial planet formation in extra-solar planetary systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raymond, Sean N.

    2008-05-01

    Terrestrial planets form in a series of dynamical steps from the solid component of circumstellar disks. First, km-sized planetesimals form likely via a combination of sticky collisions, turbulent concentration of solids, and gravitational collapse from micron-sized dust grains in the thin disk midplane. Second, planetesimals coalesce to form Moon- to Mars-sized protoplanets, also called “planetary embryos”. Finally, full-sized terrestrial planets accrete from protoplanets and planetesimals. This final stage of accretion lasts about 10-100 Myr and is strongly affected by gravitational perturbations from any gas giant planets, which are constrained to form more quickly, during the 1-10 Myr lifetime of the gaseous component of the disk. It is during this final stage that the bulk compositions and volatile (e.g., water) contents of terrestrial planets are set, depending on their feeding zones and the amount of radial mixing that occurs. The main factors that influence terrestrial planet formation are the mass and surface density profile of the disk, and the perturbations from giant planets and binary companions if they exist. Simple accretion models predicts that low-mass stars should form small, dry planets in their habitable zones. The migration of a giant planet through a disk of rocky bodies does not completely impede terrestrial planet growth. Rather, “hot Jupiter” systems are likely to also contain exterior, very water-rich Earth-like planets, and also “hot Earths”, very close-in rocky planets. Roughly one third of the known systems of extra-solar (giant) planets could allow a terrestrial planet to form in the habitable zone.

  4. Snowball Planets: A Possible Type of Water-Rich Terrestrial Planet in Extrasolar Planetary Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tajika, E.

    2008-12-01

    Existence of liquid water on the planetary surface is essential for life. However, terrestrial planets with abundant water have multiple climate modes, including an ice-free, a partially ice-covered, and a globally ice- covered state, even when the incident flux from the central star and the abundance of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are the same. This multiplicity of climate mode is derived from large difference in the albedo of ice and water. Recent geological studies have revealed that the Earth experienced global glaciations ("snowball Earth" events) in its history. In the snowball glaciations, liquid water is thought to have existed under the ice shell because of geothermal heat flow from the Earth"fs interior. By analogy with the snowball glaciations, I discuss the conditions for an extrasolar terrestrial planet which is covered with ice but has an internal ocean for the timescale of planetary evolution owing to geothermal heat flow from the planetary interior. I show that liquid water can exist if the planetary mass and the water abundance are comparable to the Earth, although a planet with a mass of <0.4 Me (Me is the Earth's mass) would not be able to maintain the internal ocean. Liquid water would be absolutely stable for a planet with a mass of >4 Me (i.e., super- Earth), irrespective of planetary orbit and luminosity of the central star. It is therefore implied that super-Earth inevitably have liquid water either on its surface (for the ice-freee or partially ice-covered modes) or beneath the ice (for the globally ice-covered mode). Searches for terrestrial planets in extrasolar planetary systems should consider such a "snowball planet", which is a possible type of water-rich terrestrial planet other than an Earth-like "ocean planet". Because a snowball planet is much brighter than (more than twice) an ocean planet with the same size, it would be a good target for the astronomical observation in the future.

  5. Infrared spectra of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Townes, C. H.

    1975-01-01

    The development of high spectral resolution and highly sensitive long infrared wavelength instruments is reported. This instrumentation is used to examine molecular lines in planetary atmospheres in enough detail to obtain new information about these atmospheres. Such information includes (1) pressure and temperature relations in planetary atmospheres, and (2) molecular and isotopic composition.

  6. The signature of hot hydrogen in the atmosphere of the extrasolar planet HD 209458b.

    PubMed

    Ballester, Gilda E; Sing, David K; Herbert, Floyd

    2007-02-01

    About ten per cent of the known extrasolar planets are gas giants that orbit very close to their parent stars. The atmospheres of these 'hot Jupiters' are heated by the immense stellar irradiation. In the case of the planet HD 209458b, this energy deposition results in a hydrodynamic state in the upper atmosphere, allowing for sizeable expansion and escape of neutral hydrogen gas. HD 209458b was the first extrasolar planet discovered that transits in front of its parent star. The size of the planet can be measured using the total optical obscuration of the stellar disk during an observed transit, and the structure and composition of the planetary atmosphere can be studied using additional planetary absorption signatures in the stellar spectrum. Here we report the detection of absorption by hot hydrogen in the atmosphere of HD 209458b. Previously, the lower atmosphere and the full extended upper atmosphere of HD 209458b have been observed, whereas here we probe a layer where the escaping gas forms in the upper atmosphere of HD 209458b. PMID:17268463

  7. Dissipation in Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schubert, Gerald; Mitchell, J.

    2012-10-01

    The net radiative entropy flux of a planet is negative because atmospheres absorb solar radiation at a higher temperature than the temperature at which they re-emit an equal amount of longwave radiation to space. If in the long term the entropy of an atmosphere is constant, the radiative entropy loss must be balanced by the entropy production associated with thermally direct heat transports and dissipation. Given estimates of the thermally direct sources of entropy production and the temperature at which dissipation occurs, this determines the rate of dissipation in an atmosphere. It is estimated that the entropy production due to dissipation in the atmospheres of Venus, Earth, Mars and Titan occurs at the rate, respectively, of about ≤23, 29, 2, and ≤4 mW m-2 K-1. If the dissipation in Earth’s atmosphere occurs between temperatures of 250 K and 288 K the dissipation rate must lie between 7.3 and 8.4 W m- 2, consistent with other recent estimates. The terrestrial heat engine operates with an efficiency of about 60% of the Carnot efficiency. Sources of dissipation in planetary atmospheres are highly uncertain, even for Earth. For Earth, frictional dissipation in rainfall is comparable to the turbulent dissipation of kinetic energy. Rainfall might also be a significant source of dissipation on Titan but it is not likely to be important for Mars or Venus. The breaking of upward propagating internal gravity waves generated by convection and flow over the surface topography is another source of dissipation and is possibly dominant on Venus.

  8. Studies of Tenuous Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Combi, Michael R.; Beebe, Reta (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    In order to understand the physical and chemical processes which produce the tenuous planetary and planetary satellite (upper) atmospheres through interactions with their particle, field, and radiation environs, it is necessary to analyze remotely observed and spacecraft data with physically meaningful models. With this in mind, we have undertaken a coupled program of theoretical modeling and complementary data analysis regarding the global distributions of neutral and ionized gases in, and escape from, tenuous planetary atmospheres of Io and Europa. The theoretical models developed will have further applications to other tenuous atmospheres such as that of Pluto and Titan or the upper atmospheres of the terrestrial planets.

  9. Transmission Spectra as Diagnostics of Extrasolar Giant Planet Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, Timothy M.

    2001-06-01

    Atmospheres of transiting extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) such as HD 209458b must impose features on the spectra of their parent stars during transits; these features contain information about the physical conditions and chemical composition of the atmospheres. The most convenient observational index showing these features is the ``spectrum ratio'' ?(?), defined as the wavelength-dependent ratio of spectra taken in and out of transit. The principal source of structure in ? is the variation with wavelength of the height at which the EGP atmosphere first becomes opaque to tangential rays-one may think of the planet as having different radii, and hence different transit depths, at each wavelength. The characteristic depth of absorption lines in ? scales with the atmospheric scale height and with the logarithm of the opacity ratio between continuum and strong lines. For close-in EGPs, line depths of 10-3 relative to the stellar continuum can occur. The atmospheres of EGPs probably consist mostly of molecular species, including H2, CO, H2O, and CH4, while the illuminating flux is characteristic of a Sun-like star. Thus, the most useful diagnostics are likely to be the near-infrared bands of these molecules, and the visible/near-IR resonance lines of the alkali metals. I describe a model that estimates ?(?) for EGPs with prescribed radius, mass, temperature structure, chemical composition, and cloud properties. This model assumes hydrostatic and chemical equilibrium in an atmosphere with chemistry involving only H, C, N, and O. Other elements (He, Na, K, Si) are included as nonreacting minor constituents. Opacity sources include Rayleigh scattering, the strongest lines of Na and K, collision-induced absorption by H2, scattering by cloud particles, and molecular lines of CO, H2O, and CH4. The model simulates Doppler shifts from height-dependent winds and from planetary rotation, and deals in a schematic way with photoionization of Na and K by the stellar UV flux. Using this model, I investigated the diagnostic potential of various spectral features for planets similar to HD 209458b. Clouds are the most important determinants of the depth of features in ? they decrease the strength of all features as they reach higher in the atmosphere. The relative strengths of molecular lines provide diagnostics for the heavy-element abundance, temperature, and the vertical temperature structure, although diagnostics for different physical properties tend to be somewhat degenerate. Planetary rotation with likely periods leaves a clear signature on the line profiles, as do winds with speeds comparable to that of rotation. Successful use of these diagnostics will require spectral observations with signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of 103 or better and resolving power R=?/?? ranging from 103 to 106, depending on the application. Because of these stringent demands, it will be important to evolve analysis methods that combine information from many lines into a few definitive diagnostic indices.

  10. Studies of extended planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hunten, D. M.

    1991-01-01

    The following topics are covered: (1) telescopic observations and analysis of planetary atmospheres (including the Moon and Mars) and the Io torus; (2) occultation observations; and (3) supporting laboratory studies.

  11. Extra-Solar Planetary Imager (ESPI) for Space Based Jovian Planetary Detection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lyon, Rick G.; Melnick, Gary J.; Nisenson, Peter; Papaliolios, Costa; Ridgeway, Steve; Friedman, Edward; Gezari, Dan Y.; Harwit, Martin; Graf, Paul

    2002-01-01

    We report on out Extra-Solar Planetary Imager (ESPI) study for a recent Midex (NASA Medium Class Explorer Mission) proposal. Proposed for ESPI was a 1.5 x 1.5 square meter Jacquinot apodized square aperture telescope. The combination of apodization and a square aperture telescope significantly reduces the diffracted light from a bright central source over much of the telescope focal plane. As a result, observations of very faint astronomical objects next to bright sources with angular separations as small as 0.32 arcseconds become possible. This permits a sensitive search for exo-planets in reflected light. The system is capable of detecting a Jupiter-like planet in a relatively long-period orbit around as many as 160 to 175 stars with a signal-to-noise ratio greater than 5 in observations lasting maximally 100 hours per star. We discuss the effects of wavefront error, mirror speckle, pointing error and signal-to-noise issues, as well as the scalability of our ESPI study with respect to NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder mission.

  12. Radial Velocity Detection of Extra-Solar Planetary Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cochran, William D.

    1998-01-01

    The McDonald Observatory Planetary Search (MOPS) was designed to search for Jovian-mass planets in orbit around solar-type stars by making high-precision measurements of the Radial Velocity (RV) of a star, to attempt to detect the reflex orbital motion of the star around the star-planet barycenter. In our solar system, the velocity of the Sun around the Sun-Jupiter barycenter averages 12.3 m/ s. The MOPS survey started operation in September 1987, and searches 36 bright, nearby, solar-type dwarfs to 10 m/s precision. The survey was started using telluric O2 absorption lines as the velocity reference metric. Observations use the McDonald Observatory 2.7-m Harlan Smith Telescope coude spectrograph with the six-foot camera. This spectrograph configuration isolates a single order of the echelle grating on a Texas Instruments 800 x 800 CCD. The telluric line method gave us a routine radial velocity precision of about 15 m/s for stars down to about 5-th magnitude. However, the data obtained with this technique suffered from some source of long-term systematic errors, which was probably the intrinsic velocity variability of the terrestrial atmosphere, i.e. winds. In order to eliminate this systematic error and to improve our overall measurement precision, we installed a stabilized I2 gas absorption cell as the velocity metric for the MOPS in October 1990. In use at the telescope, the cell is placed directly in front of the spectrograph entrance slit, with starlight passing through the cell. The use of this sealed stabilized I2 cell removes potential problems with possible long-term drifts in the velocity metric. The survey now includes a sample of 36 nearby F, G, and K type stars of luminosity class V or IV-V.

  13. The chemistry of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huntress, W. T., Jr.

    1976-01-01

    Present knowledge concerning the chemistry of planetary atmospheres is reviewed along with the theories which attempt to explain observational data. The known gross atmospheric compositions of the terrestrial and giant planets are listed, differences between the atmospheres of earth and Venus are discussed, and the atmospheres of the giant planets are described. The origin and evolution of the atmospheres of earth, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus are outlined, and chemical processes in the atmospheres are examined, particularly cloud formation. The question of organic synthesis and evolution in the reducing atmospheres of the giant planets is considered. It is noted that laboratory work on the individual chemical processes and reactions involved in the evolution of organic compounds in planetary atmospheres, comets, and interstellar space points to the inevitability of organic-compound synthesis in all these situations and to the pervasiveness of organic chemistry throughout the universe.

  14. Direct detection of extra-solar planetary systems from balloon borne telescopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Terrile, Richard J.; Ftaclas, Christ

    1997-01-01

    Analysis of a 1.5-m diameter High Altitude Balloon Circumstellar Imaging Telescope (HABCIT) indicates that it offers a fast and low cost path to direct detection of extrasolar planets. Above an altitude of about 30 km, scatter in the visible due to the atmosphere is more than 1000 times smaller than the diffraction sidelobes for a 1.5-m telescope at 1 arcsec in the visible. This permits a thousandfold reduction in the total background against which the planet must be detected. By flying a scatter-compensated 1.5-m telescope and high efficiency coronagraph on a balloon platform, a very near-term and low-cost opportunity exists to achieve exciting scientific results and technology demonstrations. For a thousandfold reduction in the background, a Jupiter-like planet could be detected around more than 70 stars with an average integration time of 16 h. For the very nearest stars, complete planetary systems can be characterized down to nearly Earth sized planets over a range of orbital distances (1-5 AU).

  15. Can The Periods of Some Extra-Solar Planetary Systems be Quantized?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    El Fady Morcos, Abd

    A simple formula was derived before by Morcos (2013 ), to relate the quantum numbers of planetary systems and their periods. This formula is applicable perfectly for the solar system planets, and some extra-solar planets , of stars of approximately the same masses like the Sun. This formula has been used to estimate the periods of some extra-solar planet of known quantum numbers. The used quantum numbers were calculated previously by other authors. A comparison between the observed and estimated periods, from the given formula has been done. The differences between the observed and calculated periods for the extra-solar systems have been calculated and tabulated. It is found that there is an error of the range of 10% The same formula has been also used to find the quantum numbers, of some known periods, exo-planet. Keywords: Quantization; Periods; Extra-Planetary; Extra-Solar Planet REFERENCES [1] Agnese, A. G. and Festa, R. “Discretization on the Cosmic Scale Inspirred from the Old Quantum Mechanics,” 1998. http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/9807186 [2] Agnese, A. G. and Festa, R. “Discretizing ups-Andro- medae Planetary System,” 1999. http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/9910534. [3] Barnothy, J. M. “The Stability of the Solar Systemand of Small Stellar Systems,” Proceedings of the IAU Sympo-sium 62, Warsaw, 5-8 September 1973, pp. 23-31. [4] Morcos, A.B. , “Confrontation between Quantized Periods of Some Extra-Solar Planetary Systems and Observations”, International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2013, 3, 28-32. [5] Nottale, L. “Fractal Space-Time and Microphysics, To-wards a Theory of Scale Relativity,” World Scientific, London, 1994. [6] Nottale , L., “Scale-Relativity and Quantization of Extra- Solar Planetary Systems,” Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vol. 315, 1996, pp. L9-L12 [7] Nottale, L., Schumacher, G. and Gay, J. “Scale-Relativity and Quantization of the Solar Systems,” Astronomy & Astrophysics letters, Vol. 322, 1997, pp. 1018-10 [8]Nottale, L. “Scale-Relativity and Quantization of Exo- planet Orbital Semi-Major Axes,” Astronomy & Astro- physics, Vol. 361, 2000, pp. 379-387.

  16. An extrasolar planetary system with three Neptune-mass planets.

    PubMed

    Lovis, Christophe; Mayor, Michel; Pepe, Francesco; Alibert, Yann; Benz, Willy; Bouchy, François; Correia, Alexandre C M; Laskar, Jacques; Mordasini, Christoph; Queloz, Didier; Santos, Nuno C; Udry, Stéphane; Bertaux, Jean-Loup; Sivan, Jean-Pierre

    2006-05-18

    Over the past two years, the search for low-mass extrasolar planets has led to the detection of seven so-called 'hot Neptunes' or 'super-Earths' around Sun-like stars. These planets have masses 5-20 times larger than the Earth and are mainly found on close-in orbits with periods of 2-15 days. Here we report a system of three Neptune-mass planets with periods of 8.67, 31.6 and 197 days, orbiting the nearby star HD 69830. This star was already known to show an infrared excess possibly caused by an asteroid belt within 1 au (the Sun-Earth distance). Simulations show that the system is in a dynamically stable configuration. Theoretical calculations favour a mainly rocky composition for both inner planets, while the outer planet probably has a significant gaseous envelope surrounding its rocky/icy core; the outer planet orbits within the habitable zone of this star. PMID:16710412

  17. Radial Velocity Detection of Extra-Solar Planetary Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cochran, William D.

    2004-01-01

    This NASA Origins Program grant supported four closely related research programs at The University of Texas at Austin: 1) The McDonald Observatory Planetary Search (MOPS) Program, using the McDonald Observatory 2.7m Harlan Smith telescope and its 2dcoud6 spectrometer, 2) A high-precision radial-velocity survey of Hyades dwarfs, using the Keck telescope and its HIRES spectrograph, 3) A program at McDonald Observatory to obtain spectra of the parent stars of planetary systems at R = 210,000, and 4) the start of high precision radial velocity surveys using the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. The most important results from NASA support of these research programs are described below. A list of all papers published under support of this grant is included at the end.

  18. Radial Velocity Detection of Extra-Solar Planetary Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cochran, William D.

    2004-01-01

    This NASA Origins Program grant supported four closely related research programs at The University of Texas at Austin: 1) The McDonald Observatory Planetary Search (MOPS) Program, using the McDonald Observatory 2.7m Harlan Smith telescope and its 2dcoude spectrometer, 2) A high-precision radial-velocity survey of Hyades dwarfs, using the Keck telescope and its HIRES spectrograph, 3) A program at McDonald Observatory to obtain spectra of the parent stars of planetary systems at R = 210,000, and 4) the start of high precision radial velocity surveys using the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. The most important results from NASA support of these research programs are described. A list of all papers published under support of this grant is included at the end.

  19. Planetary Formation: From The Earth And Moon To Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack J.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    1999-01-01

    An overview of current theories of planetary growth, emphasizing the formation of habitable planets, is presented. These models are based upon observations of the Solar System and of young stars and their environments. They predict that rocky planets should form around most single stars, although it is possible that in some cases such planets are lost - to orbital decay within the protoplanetary disk. Terrestrial planets are believed to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. Giant planets begin their growth like terrestrial planets, but if they become massive enough before the protoplanetary disk dissipates, then they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas. Specific issues to be discussed include: (1) how do giant planets influence the formation and habitability of terrestrial planets? (2) could a giant impact leading to lunar formation have occurred - 100 million years after the condensation of the oldest meteorites?

  20. The Astronomical Detection of Biosignatures on Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets: The Virtual Planetary Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crisp, D.; Meadows, V. S.; Parkinson, C. D.; Allen, M. A.; Velusami, T.; Tinetti, G.; Rye, R.; Krelove, K.

    2003-05-01

    NASA and ESA are designing space-based observatories to detect and characterize extrasolar terrestrial planets. Because these systems will initially resolve planets only as point sources, we must learn to distinguish habitable worlds and to discriminate between planets with and without life based entirely on the interpretation of remote sensing observations of disk-averaged spectra. The Virtual Planetary Laboratory (VPL) is being developed to assess the information content of such observations and to optimize the designs and search strategies for future missions. The VPL is a suite of computer models that simulates environmental processes that contribute to a planet's spectrum. Its core consists of coupled radiative transfer, climate, and atmospheric chemistry models that have been validated in studies of the Earth and our neighboring planets. Geologic, biospheric, and exogenic modules are being added to simulate a broad range of environments on planets in orbit around stars with different luminosities and stellar types. A self consistent description of these physical, chemical, and biological processes is essential for assessing the detectability of spectral biosignatures because these processes can conspire to exaggerate or mask discriminating spectral features. Given initial conditions (stellar type, orbit characteristics, mass, radius, rotation rate, surface and atmospheric bulk composition, surface type, volatile inventory, etc.), the VPL marches forward in time to generate an equilibrium environment. It then produces a disk-averaged spectrum for a specified viewing geometry, processes this spectrum with an instrument simulator model, and analyzes it to assess the detectability of biosignatures with instruments like those being considered for NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder and ESA's Darwin missions. Here, we review the objectives, scope, and architecture of the VPL, and summarize some preliminary results. This work was performed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory / California Institute of Technology with support from the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

  1. Clouds in Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    West, R.; Murdin, P.

    2000-11-01

    What are clouds? The answer to that question is both obvious and subtle. In the terrestrial atmosphere clouds are familiar as vast collections of small water drops or ice crystals suspended in the air. In the atmospheres of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Saturn's moon Titan, Uranus, Neptune, and possibly Pluto, they are composed of several other substances including sulfuric acid, ammonia, hydroge...

  2. Clouds in Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    West, R.

    1999-01-01

    In the terrestrial atmosphere clouds are familiar as vast collections of small water drops or ice cyrstals suspended in the air. The study of clouds touches on many facets of armospheric science. The chemistry of clouds is tied to the chemistry of the surrounding atmosphere.

  3. PLANETARY MIGRATION AND ECCENTRICITY AND INCLINATION RESONANCES IN EXTRASOLAR PLANETARY SYSTEMS

    SciTech Connect

    Lee, Man Hoi; Thommes, Edward W. E-mail: ethommes@physics.uoguelph.ca

    2009-09-10

    The differential migration of two planets due to planet-disk interaction can result in capture into the 2:1 eccentricity-type mean-motion resonances. Both the sequence of 2:1 eccentricity resonances that the system is driven through by continued migration and the possibility of a subsequent capture into the 4:2 inclination resonances are sensitive to the migration rate within the range expected for type II migration due to planet-disk interaction. If the migration rate is fast, the resonant pair can evolve into a family of 2:1 eccentricity resonances different from those found by Lee. This new family has outer orbital eccentricity e {sub 2} {approx}> 0.4-0.5, asymmetric librations of both eccentricity resonance variables, and orbits that intersect if they are exactly coplanar. Although this family exists for an inner-to-outer planet mass ratio m {sub 1}/m {sub 2} {approx}> 0.2, it is possible to evolve into this family by fast migration only for m {sub 1}/m {sub 2} {approx}> 2. Thommes and Lissauer have found that a capture into the 4:2 inclination resonances is possible only for m {sub 1}/m {sub 2} {approx}< 2. We show that this capture is also possible for m {sub 1}/m {sub 2} {approx}> 2 if the migration rate is slightly slower than that adopted by Thommes and Lissauer. There is significant theoretical uncertainty in both the sign and the magnitude of the net effect of planet-disk interaction on the orbital eccentricity of a planet. If the eccentricity is damped on a timescale comparable to or shorter than the migration timescale, e {sub 2} may not be able to reach the values needed to enter either the new 2:1 eccentricity resonances or the 4:2 inclination resonances. Thus, if future observations of extrasolar planetary systems were to reveal certain combinations of mass ratio and resonant configuration, they would place a constraint on the strength of eccentricity damping during migration, as well as on the rate of the migration itself.

  4. Oscillations of relative inclination angles in compact extrasolar planetary systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Becker, Juliette C.; Adams, Fred C.

    2016-01-01

    The Kepler mission has detected dozens of compact planetary systems with more than four transiting planets. This sample provides a collection of close-packed planetary systems with relatively little spread in the inclination angles of the inferred orbits. A large fraction of the observational sample contains limited multiplicity, begging the question whether there is a true diversity of multitransiting systems, or if some systems merely possess high mutual inclinations, allowing them to appear as single-transiting systems in a transit-based survey. This paper begins an exploration of the effectiveness of dynamical mechanisms in exciting orbital inclination within exoplanetary systems of this class. For these tightly packed systems, we determine that the orbital inclination angles are not spread out appreciably through self-excitation. In contrast, the two Kepler multiplanet systems with additional non-transiting planets are susceptible to oscillations of their inclination angles, which means their currently observed configurations could be due to planet-planet interactions alone. We also provide constraints and predictions for the expected transit duration variations for each planet. In these multiplanet compact Kepler systems, oscillations of their inclination angles are remarkably hard to excite; as a result, they tend to remain continually mutually transiting (CMT-stable). We study this issue further by augmenting the planet masses and determining the enhancement factor required for oscillations to move the systems out of transit. The oscillations of inclination found here inform the recently suggested dichotomy in the sample of Solar systems observed by Kepler.

  5. Understanding Microbial Contributions to Planetary Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DesMarais, David J.

    2000-01-01

    Should our search of distant, extrasolar planetary atmospheres encounter evidence of life, that evidence will most likely be the gaseous products of microorganisms. Our biosphere was exclusively microbial for over 80 percent of its history and, even today, microbes strongly influence atmospheric composition. Life's greatest environmental impact arises from its capacity for harvesting energy and creating organic matter. Microorganisms catalyze the equilibration of C, S and transition metal species at temperatures where such reactions can be very slow in the absence of life. Sunlight has been harvested through photosynthesis to create enormous energy reservoirs that exist in the form of coexisting reservoirs of reduced, organic C and S stored in Earth's crust, and highly oxidized species (oxygen, sulfate and ferric iron) stored in the crust, oceans and atmosphere. Our civilization taps that storehouse of energy by burning fossil fuels. As astrobiologists, we identify the chemical consequences of distant biospheres as expressed in the atmospheres of their planets. Our approach must recognize that planets, biospheres and atmospheres evolve and change. For example, a tectonically more active early Earth hosted a thermophilic, non-photosynthetic biosphere and a mildly reducing, carbon dioxide-rich and oxygen-poor atmosphere. Microorganisms acquired energy by consuming hydrogen and sulfide and producing a broad array of reduced C and S gases, most notably, methane. Later, diverse types of bacterial photosynthesis developed that enhanced productivity but were incapable of splitting water to produce oxygen. Later, but still prior to 2.6 billion years ago, oxygenic photosynthesis developed. We can expect to encounter distant biospheres that represent various stages of evolution and that coexist with atmospheres ranging from mildly reducing to oxidizing compositions. Accordinaly, we must be prepared to interpret a broad range of atmospheric compositions, all containing signatures of life. Remarkably little is known about the composition of our own earlier atmosphere, particularly prior to the rise of oxygen levels some 2.0 to 2.2 billion years ago. Thus, field and laboratory observations and theoretical simulations should be conducted to examine the relationships between the structure and function of microbial ecosystems and their gaseous products. Ecosystems that are analogs of our ancient biosphere (e.g., based upon chemosynthesis or non-oxygenic photosynthesis, thermophilic and subsurface communities, etc.) should be included. Because key environmental parameters such as temperature and levels of hydrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen varied during planetary evolution, their consequences for microbial ecosystems should be explored.

  6. Intercomparison of General Circulation Models for Hot Extrasolar Planet Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cho, James

    2013-11-01

    In this collaborative work with I. Polichtchouk, C. Watkins, H. Th. Thrastarson, O. M. Umurhan, and M. de la Torre-Juárez, we compare five general circulation models (GCMs) which have been recently used to study hot extrasolar planet atmospheres (BOB, CAM, IGCM, MITgcm, and PEQMOD), under three test cases useful for assessing model convergence and accuracy. Such a broad, detailed intercomparison has not been performed thus far for extrasolar planets study. The models considered all solve the traditional primitive equations, but employ different numerical algorithms or grids (e.g., pseudospectral and finite volume, with the latter separately in longitude-latitude and ``cubed-sphere'' grids). The test cases are chosen to cleanly address specific aspects of the behaviors typically reported in hot extrasolar planet simulations: 1) steady-state, 2) nonlinearly evolving baroclinic wave, and 3) response to fast timescale thermal relaxation. When initialized with a steady jet, all models maintain the steadiness, as they should--except MITgcm in cubed-sphere grid. A very good agreement is obtained for a baroclinic wave evolving from an initial instability in spectral models (only). However, exact numerical convergence is still not achieved across the spectral models: amplitudes and phases are observably different. When subject to a typical ``hot-Jupiter''-like forcing, all five models show quantitatively different behavior--although qualitatively similar, time-variable, quadrupole-dominated flows are produced. Hence, as have been advocated in several past studies, specific quantitative predictions (such as the location of large vortices and hot regions) by GCMs should be viewed with caution. Overall, in the tests considered here, spectral models in pressure coordinate (PEBOB and PEQMOD) perform the best and MITgcm in cubed-sphere grid performs the worst. This work has been supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, Westfield Small Grant, NASA Postdoctoral Program, and Institute for Theory and Computation, Harvard College Observatory.

  7. Dynamics of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ingersoll, Andrew P.

    1989-01-01

    The overall goal is to illuminate the mechanisms that control weather and climate on the Earth and other planets. Each planet presents its own puzzling behavior - the stability of jets and vortices in Jupiter's otherwise turbulent atmosphere, the superrotation of the Venus atmosphere, the interplay of dust, polar volatiles, and climate change in Mars, the supersonic meteorology of Io, and the counterintuitive equator-to-pole temperature gradients on the outer planets. The data sets are generally those obtained from spacecraft - cloud-tracked winds, radiometrically inferred temperatures, and the results of in situ observations where appropriate. The approach includes both data analysis and modeling, ranging from analytic modeling to time-dependent numerical modeling of atmospheric dynamics. The latter approach involves the use of supercomputers such as the San Diego Cray. Progress is generally made when a model with a small number of free parameters either fits a data set that has a large number of independent observations or applies to several planets at once.

  8. Spectroscopy of planetary atmospheres in our Galaxy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tinetti, Giovanna; Encrenaz, Thérèse; Coustenis, Athena

    2013-10-01

    About 20 years after the discovery of the first extrasolar planet, the number of planets known has grown by three orders of magnitude, and continues to increase at neck breaking pace. For most of these planets we have little information, except for the fact that they exist and possess an address in our Galaxy. For about one third of them, we know how much they weigh, their size and their orbital parameters. For less than 20, we start to have some clues about their atmospheric temperature and composition. How do we make progress from here? We are still far from the completion of a hypothetical Hertzsprung-Russell diagram for planets comparable to what we have for stars, and today we do not even know whether such classification will ever be possible or even meaningful for planetary objects. But one thing is clear: planetary parameters such as mass, radius and temperature alone do not explain the diversity revealed by current observations. The chemical composition of these planets is needed to trace back their formation history and evolution, as happened for the planets in our Solar System. As in situ measurements are and will remain off-limits for exoplanets, to study their chemical composition we will have to rely on remote sensing spectroscopic observations of their gaseous envelopes. In this paper, we critically review the key achievements accomplished in the study of exoplanet atmospheres in the past ten years. We discuss possible hurdles and the way to overcome those. Finally, we review the prospects for the future. The knowledge and the experience gained with the planets in our solar system will guide our journey among those faraway worlds.

  9. Planetary atmospheres. [reviewing recent research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leovy, Conway

    1987-01-01

    Observations and theoretical models of planetary atmospheres published during the period 1983-1986 are reviewed, including Vega and Voyager data and results from ground-based remote sensing. Consideration is given to water-vapor and sulfur-compound distributions, electrical phenomena, and dynamics in the Venus atmosphere; dust storms, water cycles, and water and ice erosion on Mars; the compositions, temperature profiles, and dynamics of the Jovian and Saturnian atmospheres; chemical processes and zonal winds on Titan; and the radiation budgets and chemical compositions of the outer planets.

  10. PASCAL - Planetary Atmospheres Spectral Catalog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rothman, Laurence; Gordon, Iouli

    2010-05-01

    Spectroscopic observation of planetary atmospheres, stellar atmospheres, comets, and the interstellar medium is the most powerful tool for extracting detailed information concerning the properties of these objects. The HITRAN molecular spectroscopic database1 has traditionally served researchers involved with terrestrial atmospheric problems, such as remote-sensing of constituents in the atmosphere, pollution monitoring at the surface, identification of sources seen through the atmosphere, and numerous environmental issues. A new thrust of the HITRAN program is to extend this longstanding database to have capabilities for studying the above-mentioned planetary and astronomical systems. The new extension is called PASCAL (Planetary Atmospheres Spectral Catalog). The methodology and structure are basically identical to the construction of the HITRAN and HITEMP databases. We will acquire and assemble spectroscopic parameters for gases and spectral bands of molecules that are germane to the studies of planetary atmospheres. These parameters include the types of data that have already been considered for transmission and radiance algorithms, such as line position, intensity, broadening coefficients, lower-state energies, and temperature dependence values. Additional parameters beyond what is currently considered for the terrestrial atmosphere will be archived. Examples are collision-broadened halfwidths due to various foreign partners, collision-induced absorption, and temperature dependence factors. New molecules (and their isotopic variants), not currently included in the HITRAN database, will be incorporated. That includes hydrocarbons found on Titan but not archived in HITRAN (such as C3H4, C4H2, C3H8). Other examples include sulfur-bearing molecules such as SO and CS. A further consideration will be spectral bands that arise as opportunities to study exosolar planets. The task involves acquiring the best high-resolution data, both experimental and theoretical, covering a wide spectral range from the microwave through ultraviolet. The data are frequently from multiple sources and must be merged, with special attention to the unique quantum identification of each transition. The resultant line lists are then validated and incorporated into a structured database that is easily employed by modelers. Partition sums that are necessary for applications at a wide range of temperature will also be generated. For molecules with dense spectra, especially molecules with many low-lying fundamental vibrations, the approach is to cast them into sets of pressure-temperature absorption cross-section files. In this case, we will acquire the best laboratory measurements of these gases and transform them into the standard reference files for use in the radiative-transfer codes. This effort is supported by the NASA Planetary Atmospheres program, under the grant NNX10AB94G.

  11. The role of carbon in extrasolar planetary geodynamics and habitability

    SciTech Connect

    Unterborn, Cayman T.; Kabbes, Jason E.; Pigott, Jeffrey S.; Panero, Wendy R.; Reaman, Daniel M.

    2014-10-01

    The proportions of oxygen, carbon, and major rock-forming elements (e.g., Mg, Fe, Si) determine a planet's dominant mineralogy. Variation in a planet's mineralogy subsequently affects planetary mantle dynamics as well as any deep water or carbon cycle. Through thermodynamic models and high pressure diamond anvil cell experiments, we demonstrate that the oxidation potential of C is above that of Fe at all pressures and temperatures, indicative of 0.1-2 Earth-mass planets. This means that for a planet with (Mg+2Si+Fe+2C)/O > 1, excess C in the mantle will be in the form of diamond. We find that an increase in C, and thus diamond, concentration slows convection relative to a silicate-dominated planet, due to diamond's ∼3 order of magnitude increase in both viscosity and thermal conductivity. We assert then that in the C-(Mg+2Si+Fe)-O system, there is a compositional range in which a planet can be habitable. Planets outside of this range will be dynamically sluggish or stagnant, thus having limited carbon or water cycles leading to surface conditions inhospitable to life as we know it.

  12. The Role of Carbon in Extrasolar Planetary Geodynamics and Habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Unterborn, Cayman T.; Kabbes, Jason E.; Pigott, Jeffrey S.; Reaman, Daniel M.; Panero, Wendy R.

    2014-10-01

    The proportions of oxygen, carbon, and major rock-forming elements (e.g., Mg, Fe, Si) determine a planet's dominant mineralogy. Variation in a planet's mineralogy subsequently affects planetary mantle dynamics as well as any deep water or carbon cycle. Through thermodynamic models and high pressure diamond anvil cell experiments, we demonstrate that the oxidation potential of C is above that of Fe at all pressures and temperatures, indicative of 0.1-2 Earth-mass planets. This means that for a planet with (Mg+2Si+Fe+2C)/O > 1, excess C in the mantle will be in the form of diamond. We find that an increase in C, and thus diamond, concentration slows convection relative to a silicate-dominated planet, due to diamond's ~3 order of magnitude increase in both viscosity and thermal conductivity. We assert then that in the C-(Mg+2Si+Fe)-O system, there is a compositional range in which a planet can be habitable. Planets outside of this range will be dynamically sluggish or stagnant, thus having limited carbon or water cycles leading to surface conditions inhospitable to life as we know it.

  13. ROCKY EXTRASOLAR PLANETARY COMPOSITIONS DERIVED FROM EXTERNALLY POLLUTED WHITE DWARFS

    SciTech Connect

    Klein, B.; Jura, M.; Zuckerman, B.; Koester, D. E-mail: jura@astro.ucla.edu E-mail: koester@astrophysik.uni-kiel.de

    2011-11-01

    We report Keck High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer data and model atmosphere analysis of two helium-dominated white dwarfs, PG1225-079 and HS2253+8023, whose heavy pollutions most likely derive from the accretion of terrestrial-type planet(esimal)s. For each system, the minimum accreted mass is {approx}10{sup 22} g, that of a large asteroid. In PG1225-079, Mg, Cr, Mn, Fe, and Ni have abundance ratios similar to bulk Earth values, while we measure four refractory elements, Ca, Sc, Ti, and V, all at a factor of {approx}2-3 higher abundance than in the bulk Earth. For HS2253+8023 the swallowed material was compositionally similar to bulk Earth in being more than 85% by mass in the major element species, O, Mg, Si, and Fe, and with abundances in the distinctive proportions of mineral oxides-compelling evidence for an origin in a rocky parent body. Including previous studies we now know of four heavily polluted white dwarfs where the measured oxygen and hydrogen are consistent with the view that the parents' bodies formed with little ice, interior to any snow line in their nebular environments. The growing handful of polluted white dwarf systems with comprehensive abundance measurements form a baseline for characterizing rocky exoplanet compositions that can be compared with bulk Earth.

  14. Diversity and Origin of 2:1 Orbital Resonances in Extrasolar Planetary Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Man Hoi

    2004-08-01

    A diversity of 2:1 resonance configurations can be expected in extrasolar planetary systems, and their geometry can provide information about the origin of the resonances. Assembly during planet formation by the differential migration of planets due to planet-disk interaction is one scenario for the origin of mean-motion resonances in extrasolar planetary systems. The stable 2:1 resonance configurations that can be reached by differential migration of planets with constant masses and initially coplanar and nearly circular orbits are (1) antisymmetric configurations with the mean-motion resonance variables θ1=λ1-2λ2+ϖ1 and θ2=λ1-2λ2+ϖ2 (where λj and ϖj are the mean longitudes and the longitudes of periapse, respectively) librating about 0° and 180°, respectively (as in the Io-Europa pair), (2) symmetric configurations with both θ1 and θ2 librating about 0° (as in the GJ 876 system), and (3) asymmetric configurations with θ1 and θ2 librating about angles far from either 0° or 180°. There are, however, stable 2:1 resonance configurations with symmetric (θ1~θ2~0deg), asymmetric, and antisymmetric (θ1~180deg and θ2~0deg) librations that cannot be reached by differential migration of planets with constant masses and initially coplanar and nearly circular orbits. If real systems with these configurations are ever found, their origin would require (1) a change in the planetary mass ratio m1/m2 during migration, (2) a migration scenario involving inclination resonances, or (3) multiple-planet scattering in crowded planetary systems. We find that the asymmetric configurations with large e2 and the θ1~180deg and θ2~0deg configurations have intersecting orbits and that the θ1~θ2~0deg configurations with e1>0.714 have prograde periapse precessions.

  15. The HARPS search for southern extra-solar planets. XXVII. Seven new planetary systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moutou, C.; Mayor, M.; Lo Curto, G.; Ségransan, D.; Udry, S.; Bouchy, F.; Benz, W.; Lovis, C.; Naef, D.; Pepe, F.; Queloz, D.; Santos, N. C.; Sousa, S. G.

    2011-03-01

    We are conducting a planet search survey with HARPS since seven years. The volume-limited stellar sample includes all F2 to M0 main-sequence stars within 57.5 pc, where extrasolar planetary signatures are systematically searched for with the radial-velocity technics. In this paper, we report the discovery of new substellar companions of seven main-sequence stars and one giant star, detected through multiple Doppler measurements with the instrument HARPS installed on the ESO 3.6 m telescope, La Silla, Chile. These extrasolar planets orbit the stars HD 1690, HD 25171, HD 33473A, HD 89839, HD 113538, HD 167677, and HD 217786. The already-published giant planet around HD 72659 is also analysed here, and its elements are better determined by the addition of HARPS and Keck data. The other discoveries are giant planets in distant orbits, ranging from 0.3 to 29 MJup in mass and between 0.7 and 10 years in orbital period. The low metallicity of most of these new planet-hosting stars reinforces the current trend for long-distance planets around metal-poor stars. Long-term radial-velocity surveys allow probing the outskirts of extrasolar planetary systems, although confidence in the solution may be low until more than one orbital period is fully covered by the observations. For many systems discussed in this paper, longer baselines are necessary to refine the radial-velocity fit and derive planetary parameters. The radial-velocity time series of stars BD -114672 and HIP 21934 are also analysed and their behaviour interpreted in terms of the activity cycle of the star, rather than long-period planetary companions. Based on observations made with the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6 m telescope at La Silla Observatory under programme IDs 072.C-0488(E) and 085.C-0019.RV data are only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/527/A63

  16. Modelling the formation of atmospheric dust in brown dwarfs and planetary atmospheres.

    PubMed

    Helling, Christiane; Fomins, Aleksejs

    2013-07-13

    Atmospheric dust from volcanoes, sand storms and biogenic products provides condensation seeds for water cloud formation on the Earth. Extrasolar planetary objects such as brown dwarfs and extrasolar giant planets have no comparable sources of condensation seeds. Hence, understanding cloud formation and further its implications for the climate requires a modelling effort that includes the treatment of seed formation (nucleation), growth and evaporation, in addition to rain-out, mixing and gas-phase depletion. This paper discusses nucleation in the ultra-cool atmospheres of brown dwarfs and extrasolar giant planets whose chemical gas-phase composition differs largely from the terrestrial atmosphere. A kinetic model for atmospheric dust formation is described, which, in recent work, has become part of a cloud-formation model. For the first time, diffusive replenishment of the upper atmosphere is introduced as a source term into our model equations. This paper further aims to show how experimental and computational chemistry work links into our dust-formation model, which is driven by applications in extraterrestrial environments. PMID:23734048

  17. Planetary Atmospheres at High Resolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gurwell, M.; Butler, B.; Moullet, A.

    2013-10-01

    The long millimeter through submillimeter bands are particularly well suited for studying the wide variety of planetary atmospheres in our solar system. Temperatures ranging from a few 10s to hundreds of degrees, coupled with typically high densities (relative to the ISM) mean that thermal ‘continuum’ emission can be strong and molecular rotational transitions can be well-populated. Large bodies (Jovian and terrestrial planets) can be reasonably well studied by current interferometers such as the Submillimeter Array, IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer, and Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy, yet many smaller bodies with atmospheres can only be crudely studied, primarily due to lack of sensitivity on baselines long enough to well resolve the object. Newly powerful interferometers such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array will usher in a new era of planetary atmospheric exploration. The vast sensitivity and spatial resolution of these arrays will increase our ability to image all bodies with extremely fine fidelity (due to the large number of antennas), and for study of smaller objects by resolving their disks into many pixels while providing the sensitivity necessary to detect narrow and/or weak line emission. New science topics will range from detailed mapping of HDO, ClO, and sulfur species in the mesosphere of Venus and PH3 and H2S in the upper tropospheres of the gas and ice giants, high SNR mapping of winds on Mars, Neptune and Titan, down to spectroscopic imaging of volcanic eruptions within the tenuous atmosphere on Io, resolved imaging of CO and other species in the atmosphere of Pluto, and even potentially detection of gases within the plumes of Enceladus.

  18. Spectral Signatures of Photosynthesis. II. Coevolution with Other Stars And The Atmosphere on Extrasolar Worlds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kiang, Nancy Y.; Segura, Antígona; Tinetti, Giovanna; Govindjee; Blankenship, Robert E.; Cohen, Martin; Siefert, Janet; Crisp, David; Meadows, Victoria S.

    2007-02-01

    As photosynthesis on Earth produces the primary signatures of life that can be detected astronomically at the global scale, a strong focus of the search for extrasolar life will be photosynthesis, particularly photosynthesis that has evolved with a different parent star. We take previously simulated planetary atmospheric compositions for Earth-like planets around observed F2V and K2V, modeled M1V and M5V stars, and around the active M4.5V star AD Leo; our scenarios use Earth's atmospheric composition as well as very low O2 content in case anoxygenic photosynthesis dominates. With a line-by-line radiative transfer model, we calculate the incident spectral photon flux densities at the surface of the planet and under water. We identify bands of available photosynthetically relevant radiation and find that photosynthetic pigments on planets around F2V stars may peak in absorbance in the blue, K2V in the red-orange, and M stars in the near-infrared, in bands at 0.93-1.1 μm, 1.1-1.4 μm, 1.5-1.8 μ m, and 1.8-2.5 μm. However, underwater organisms will be restricted to wavelengths shorter than 1.4 μm and more likely below 1.1 μm. M star planets without oxygenic photosynthesis will have photon fluxes above 1.6 μm curtailed by methane. Longer-wavelength, multi-photo-system series would reduce the quantum yield but could allow for oxygenic photosystems at longer wavelengths. A wavelength of 1.1 μm is a possible upper cutoff for electronic transiprotions versus only vibrational energy; however, this cutoff is not strict, since such energetics depend on molecular configuration. M star planets could be a half to a tenth as productive as Earth in the visible, but exceed Earth if useful photons extend to 1.1 μm for anoxygenic photosynthesis. Under water, organisms would still be able to survive ultraviolet flares from young M stars and acquire adequate light for growth. Key Words: Photosynthesis-Astrobiology - Photosynthetic pigments - Oxygenic photosynthesis - Anoxygenic photosynthesis - Atmospheric photochemistry - F stars-G stars - Sun - K stars - M stars - AD Leo - Atmospheric oxygen - Atmospheric radiative transfer - Chlorophyll - Bacteriochlorophyll - Photosystems - Radiation spectrum - Photosynthetically active radiation - Light harvesting - Modeling - Extrasolar planets - Earth like planets - Virtual Planetary Laboratory - Biosignatures. Astrobiology 7(1), 252 - 274.

  19. IONIZATION IN ATMOSPHERES OF BROWN DWARFS AND EXTRASOLAR PLANETS. III. BREAKDOWN CONDITIONS FOR MINERAL CLOUDS

    SciTech Connect

    Helling, Ch.; Jardine, M.; Stark, C.; Diver, D.

    2013-04-20

    Electric discharges were detected directly in the cloudy atmospheres of Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn, are debatable for Venus, and indirectly inferred for Neptune and Uranus in our solar system. Sprites (and other types of transient luminous events) have been detected only on Earth, and are theoretically predicted for Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus. Cloud formation is a common phenomenon in ultra-cool atmospheres such as in brown dwarf and extrasolar planetary atmospheres. Cloud particles can be expected to carry considerable charges which may trigger discharge events via small-scale processes between individual cloud particles (intra-cloud discharges) or large-scale processes between clouds (inter-cloud discharges). We investigate electrostatic breakdown characteristics, like critical field strengths and critical charge densities per surface, to demonstrate under which conditions mineral clouds undergo electric discharge events which may trigger or be responsible for sporadic X-ray emission. We apply results from our kinetic dust cloud formation model that is part of the DRIFT-PHOENIX model atmosphere simulations. We present a first investigation of the dependence of the breakdown conditions in brown dwarf and giant gas exoplanets on the local gas-phase chemistry, the effective temperature, and primordial gas-phase metallicity. Our results suggest that different intra-cloud discharge processes dominate at different heights inside mineral clouds: local coronal (point discharges) and small-scale sparks at the bottom region of the cloud where the gas density is high, and flow discharges and large-scale sparks near, and maybe above, the cloud top. The comparison of the thermal degree of ionization and the number density of cloud particles allows us to suggest the efficiency with which discharges will occur in planetary atmospheres.

  20. On the Abundance of Water in Extrasolar Planetary Systems as a Function of Stellar Metallicity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dominguez, Gerardo

    2016-06-01

    The discovery, to date, of several hundred confirmed extra solar planets and a statistical analysis of their properties has revealed intriguing patterns in the abundance and types of extrasolar planets. The metallicity of the host star appears to be a driver in determining extrasolar planetary system characteristics, although a mechanistic understanding of these relationships is not currently available. Understanding the broad relationship(s) between the characteristics of extrasolar planets and stellar metallicity thus appears timely.Recent work examining the timescales for water production in protoplanetary disks suggest that ionizing radiation required to drive surface chemistry in protoplanetary disks is insufficient and production timescales too slow to account for a significant amount of water in protoplanetary disks. Here we focus on the timescales for water production in cold molecular clouds and examine the relationship of this timescale as a function of molecular cloud metallicity. To do this, we consider the distribution of surface area concentration (dA/dV) in molecular clouds as a function of their metallicity and various MRN-like dust grain size distributions. We find that molecular cloud metallicity is a significant factor in determining upper-limits to the availability of water in molecular clouds and by extension, protoplanetary disks. The spectral index of the MRN distribution affects the upper-limits to H2O abundance, but the effect is not as significant as metallicity. We find that the ratio of H2O/SiO2 produced in a molecular cloud of solar metallicity can easily account for Earth’s present day ratio , supporting the “wet” hypothesis for the origins of Earth’s water. Future studies will focus on the retention of water on interstellar dust grain surfaces in protoplanetary disk environments inside the water line, the abundance of other volatile species, more detailed estimates of H2O destruction timescales in molecular clouds, and potential dynamical implications of our findings.

  1. Diurnal forcing of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houben, Howard C.

    1991-01-01

    The utility of the Mars Planetary Boundary Layer Model (MPBL) for calculations in support of the Mars 94 balloon mission was substantially enhanced by the introduction of a balloon equation of motion into the model. Both vertical and horizontal excursions of the balloon are calculated along with its volume, temperature, and pressure. The simulations reproduce the expected 5-min vertical oscillations of a constant density balloon at altitude on Mars. The results of these calculations are presented for the nominal target location of the balloon. A nonlinear balanced model was developed for the Martian atmosphere. It was used to initialize a primitive equation model for the simulations of the Earth's atmosphere at the time of the El Chichon eruption in 1982. It is also used as an assimilation model to update the temperature and wind fields at frequent intervals.

  2. Isotopic ratios in planetary atmospheres.

    PubMed

    de Bergh, C

    1995-03-01

    Recent progress on measurements of isotopic ratios in planetary or satellite atmospheres include measurements of the D/H ratio in the methane of Uranus, Neptune and Titan and in the water of Mars and Venus. Implications of these measurements on our understanding of the formation and evolution of the planets and satellite are discussed. Our current knowledge of the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen isotopic ratios in the atmospheres of these planets, as well as on Jupiter and Saturn, is also reviewed. We finally show what progress can be expected in the very near future due to some new ground-based instrumentation particularly well suited to such studies, and to forthcoming space missions. PMID:11539257

  3. Chemical kinetics on extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Moses, Julianne I

    2014-04-28

    Chemical kinetics plays an important role in controlling the atmospheric composition of all planetary atmospheres, including those of extrasolar planets. For the hottest exoplanets, the composition can closely follow thermochemical-equilibrium predictions, at least in the visible and infrared photosphere at dayside (eclipse) conditions. However, for atmospheric temperatures approximately <2000K, and in the uppermost atmosphere at any temperature, chemical kinetics matters. The two key mechanisms by which kinetic processes drive an exoplanet atmosphere out of equilibrium are photochemistry and transport-induced quenching. I review these disequilibrium processes in detail, discuss observational consequences and examine some of the current evidence for kinetic processes on extrasolar planets. PMID:24664912

  4. PLANET-PLANET SCATTERING IN PLANETESIMAL DISKS. II. PREDICTIONS FOR OUTER EXTRASOLAR PLANETARY SYSTEMS

    SciTech Connect

    Raymond, Sean N.; Armitage, Philip J.; Gorelick, Noel

    2010-03-10

    We develop an idealized dynamical model to predict the typical properties of outer extrasolar planetary systems, at radii comparable to the Jupiter-to-Neptune region of the solar system. The model is based upon the hypothesis that dynamical evolution in outer planetary systems is controlled by a combination of planet-planet scattering and planetary interactions with an exterior disk of small bodies ('planetesimals'). Our results are based on 5000 long duration N-body simulations that follow the evolution of three planets from a few to 10 AU, together with a planetesimal disk containing 50 M{sub +} from 10 to 20 AU. For large planet masses (M {approx}> M{sub Sat}), the model recovers the observed eccentricity distribution of extrasolar planets. For lower-mass planets, the range of outcomes in models with disks is far greater than that which is seen in isolated planet-planet scattering. Common outcomes include strong scattering among massive planets, sudden jumps in eccentricity due to resonance crossings driven by divergent migration, and re-circularization of scattered low-mass planets in the outer disk. We present the distributions of the eccentricity and inclination that result, and discuss how they vary with planet mass and initial system architecture. In agreement with other studies, we find that the currently observed eccentricity distribution (derived primarily from planets at a {approx}< 3 AU) is consistent with isolated planet-planet scattering. We explain the observed mass dependence-which is in the opposite sense from that predicted by the simplest scattering models-as a consequence of strong correlations between planet masses in the same system. At somewhat larger radii, initial planetary mass correlations and disk effects can yield similar modest changes to the eccentricity distribution. Nonetheless, strong damping of eccentricity for low-mass planets at large radii appears to be a secure signature of the dynamical influence of disks. Radial velocity measurements capable of detecting planets with K {approx} 5 m s{sup -1} and periods in excess of 10 years will provide constraints on this regime. Finally, we present an analysis of the predicted separation of planets in two-planet systems, and of the population of planets in mean-motion resonances (MMRs). We show that, if there are systems with {approx} Jupiter-mass planets that avoid close encounters, the planetesimal disk acts as a damping mechanism and populates MMRs at a very high rate (50%-80%). In many cases, resonant chains (in particular the 4:2:1 Laplace resonance) are set up among all three planets. We expect such resonant chains to be common among massive planets in outer planetary systems.

  5. The role of planetary formation and evolution in shaping the composition of exoplanetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turrini, D.; Nelson, R. P.; Barbieri, M.

    2015-12-01

    Over the last twenty years, the search for extrasolar planets has revealed the rich diversity of outcomes from the formation and evolution of planetary systems. In order to fully understand how these extrasolar planets came to be, however, the orbital and physical data we possess are not enough, and they need to be complemented with information about the composition of the exoplanets. Ground-based and space-based observations provided the first data on the atmospheric composition of a few extrasolar planets, but a larger and more detailed sample is required before we can fully take advantage of it. The primary goal of a dedicated space mission like the Exoplanet Characterization Observatory (EChO) proposal is to fill this gap and to expand the limited data we possess by performing a systematic survey of extrasolar planets. The full exploitation of the data that space-based and ground-based facilities will provide in the near future, however, requires knowledge about the sources and sinks of the chemical species and molecules that will be observed. Luckily, the study of the past history of the Solar System provides several indications about the effects of processes like migration, late accretion and secular impacts, and on the time they occur in the life of planetary systems. In this work we will review what is already known about the factors influencing the composition of planetary atmospheres, focusing on the case of gaseous giant planets, and what instead still need to be investigated.

  6. Impact erosion of terrestrial planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ahrens, Thomas J.

    1992-01-01

    I review current ideas about the nature of the planetesimals - composition, size distribution, and the planetary encounter velocity. Previous papers on accretion and erosion of planetary atmospheres as a result of multiple impacts are reviewed. Finally, the effects of blowing off a substantial fraction of the atmosphere from a terrestrial planet due to a single giant body impact are discussed.

  7. Planetary Atmospheres as Heat Engines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schubert, G.; Mitchell, J. L.

    We review the workings of Earth's atmospheric heat engine and describe the energy and entropy exchanges that occur to support the atmospheric circulation. The heat absorbed by the atmosphere increases its internal and gravitational potential energies. A very small percentage of potential energy is converted into kinetic energy to maintain the circulation against dissipation, which irreversibly converts it to internal energy. The thermodynamic efficiency of the atmospheric heat engine can be defined as the fraction of the radiative imbalance at the surface converted to the kinetic energy of the motions. This is equivalent to the ratio of the frictional energy dissipation to the convective heat flux. Estimates of this ratio for Earth are several percent, much less than the Carnot efficiency of about 13%. We apply these concepts to the atmospheres of Venus, Mars, and Titan. The rate of dissipation of atmospheric kinetic energy is one of the main quantities entering the energy budgets of these planetary atmospheres. For Earth, frictional dissipation in rainfall is comparable to the turbulent dissipation of kinetic energy. Rainfall might also be a significant source of dissipation on Titan but it is not likely to be important for Mars or Venus. Frictional dissipation in dust storms might be a uniquely martian phenomenon. The breaking of upward propagating internal gravity waves generated by convection and flow over surface topography is another source of dissipation and is possibly dominant on Venus. The fluxes of radiative entropy are estimated for Earth, Venus, Mars, and Titan. The net radiative entropy flux of a planet is negative because atmospheres absorb solar radiation at a higher temperature than the temperature at which they reemit an equal amount of longwave radiation to space. If in a state of statistical equilibrium, the entropy of an atmosphere is constant; the radiative entropy loss must be balanced by the entropy production associated with thermally direct heat transports, frictional dissipation, and other processes. If estimates of entropy production through thermally direct heat transports and other processes can be obtained and combined with estimates of the temperature at which frictional or turbulent dissipation occurs, then the rate at which frictional dissipation generates heat can be constrained. Using this approach, it is estimated that entropy production due to frictional dissipation in the atmospheres of Venus, Earth, Mars, and Titan occurs at a rate, respectively, of less than about 23, 29, 2, and 0.1 mW m-2 K-1. If frictional dissipation in Earth's atmosphere occurs between the temperatures of 250 K and 288 K, the rate must be less than 7.3-8.4 W m-2. This upper bound is much larger than observationally based estimates of the rate of frictional dissipation because other sources of entropy production are difficult to evaluate and are not taken into account. Carnot efficiencies of the atmospheres of Venus, Earth, Mars, and Titan are, respectively, less than about 27.5%, 13.2%, 4.4%, and 4.1%.

  8. Infrared observations of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Orton, Glenn S.; Baines, Kevin H.; Bergstralh, Jay T.

    1988-01-01

    The goal of this research in to obtain infrared data on planetary atmospheres which provide information on several aspects of structure and composition. Observations include direct mission real-time support as well as baseline monitoring preceding mission encounters. Besides providing a broader information context for spacecraft experiment data analysis, observations will provide the quantitative data base required for designing optimum remote sensing sequences and evaluating competing science priorities. In the past year, thermal images of Jupiter and Saturn were made near their oppositions in order to monitor long-term changes in their atmospheres. Infrared images of the Jovian polar stratospheric hot spots were made with IUE observations of auroral emissions. An exploratory 5-micrometer spectrum of Uranus was reduced and accepted for publication. An analysis of time-variability of temperature and cloud properties of the Jovian atomsphere was made. Development of geometric reduction programs for imaging data was initiated for the sun workstation. Near-infrared imaging observations of Jupiter were reduced and a preliminary analysis of cloud properties made. The first images of the full disk of Jupiter with a near-infrared array camera were acquired. Narrow-band (10/cm) images of Jupiter and Saturn were obtained with acousto-optical filters.

  9. The Late Stage of Planetary System Formation: Evidence from Secular Interactions among Extra-Solar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greenberg, Richard; Barnes, R.

    2007-10-01

    Secular interactions among planets can keep their orbital major axes in (or librating about) alignment, a configuration that until recently was widely considered characteristic of extrasolar planetary systems. Using up-to-date orbits of extrasolar planets and our numerical integrations, we find that such librations are actually not common but in fact are quite rare; most pairs of planets' major axes are consistent with circulation relative to one another. However, the new results confirm our earlier hypothesis that two-planet systems (whether librating or circulating) tend to lie near a separatrix between libration and circulation. Similarly, in systems of more than two planets, many adjacent orbits lie near a separatrix that divides modes of circulation. A defining characteristic of near-separatrix motion is that one eccentricity periodically reaches zero. One explanation for the origin of this type of interaction, applied to the Upsilon Andromedae system, has been that a scattering event occurred as two planets on circular orbits passed by one another. This scattering event throws one planet from the system, while the other goes into the near-separatrix interaction with a third planet. Using numerical integrations, we consider hundreds of this type of scattering event and find that near-separatrix motion is rare (<5% of cases, compared with nearly 50% of observed cases), and seems to require a specific sequence of events. Also, while half of observed librating systems oscillate about aligned pericenters and half about anti-aligned, our test of the planet-planet scattering model produces nearly all the former. We propose an alternative scattering model: The disturbing body was already on a very high eccentricity orbit, scattered in from another part of the system. After it set one of the regular planets on a moderately eccentric orbit, this rogue planet might quickly be ejected from the system, leaving behind planets in near-separatrix orbits.

  10. A SEARCH FOR WIDE COMPANIONS TO THE EXTRASOLAR PLANETARY SYSTEM HR 8799

    SciTech Connect

    Close, Laird M.; Males, Jared R.

    2010-01-20

    The extrasolar planetary system around HR 8799 is the first multiplanet system ever imaged. It is also, by a wide margin, the highest mass system with >27 Jupiters of planetary mass past 25 AU. This is a remarkable system with no analog in any other known planetary system. In the first part of this paper, we investigated the nature of two faint objects imaged near the system. These objects are considerably fainter (H = 20.4 and 21.6 mag) and more distant (projected separations of 612 and 534 AU) than the three known planetary companions b, c, and d (68-24 AU). It is possible that these two objects could be lower mass planets (of mass approx5M{sub Jup} and approx3M{sub Jup}) that have been scattered to wider orbits. We make the first direct comparison of newly reduced archival Gemini adaptive optics images to archival Hubble Space Telescope/NICMOS images. With nearly a decade between these epochs, we can accurately assess the proper motion nature of each candidate companion. We find that both objects are unbound to HR 8799 and are background. We estimate that HR 8799 has no companions of H < 22 from approx5'' to 15''. Any scattered giant planets in the HR 8799 system are >600 AU or less than 3 M{sub Jup} in mass. In the second part of this paper, we search for any sign of a 'reverse parallax signature' in the astrometric residuals of HR 8799b. No such signal was found and we conclude, as expected, that HR 8799b has the same parallax as HR 8799A. In the third part of this paper, we carry out a search for wider common proper motion objects. We found one object within 1 deg{sup 2} in the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey-Digitized Sky Survey images with similar (<2sigma) proper motions to HR 8799 at a separation of 4.'0. We conclude that it is not likely a bound companion to HR 8799 based on available photometry.

  11. Theory of radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Minin, Igor'n.

    The foundations of radiative-transfer theory for planetary atmospheres are presented. Particular consideration is given to the physical principles of optical models of the atmosphere; exact analytical methods of radiative-transfer theory; calculations for atmospheres of small and large optical thickness; polarized-light scattering; nonstationary radiation fields; and the transfer of thermal radiation.

  12. Thorium Abundances in Solar Twins and Analogs: Implications for the Habitability of Extrasolar Planetary Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Unterborn, Cayman T.; Johnson, Jennifer A.; Panero, Wendy R.

    2015-06-01

    We present the first investigation of Th abundances in solar twins and analogues to understand the possible range of this radioactive element and its effect on rocky planet interior dynamics and potential habitability. The abundances of the radioactive elements Th and U are key components of a planets energy budget, making up 30%-50% of the Earths. Radiogenic heat drives interior mantle convection and surface plate tectonics, which sustains a deep carbon and water cycle and thereby aides in creating Earths habitable surface. Unlike other heat sources that are dependent on the planets specific formation history, the radiogenic heat budget is directly related to the mantle concentration of these nuclides. As a refractory element, the stellar abundance of Th is faithfully reflected in the terrestrial planets concentration. We find that log {{? }Th} varies from 59% to 251% that of solar, suggesting extrasolar planetary systems may possess a greater energy budget with which to support surface to interior dynamics and thus increase their likelihood to be habitable compared to our solar system.

  13. The photochemistry of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dalgarno, A.

    1988-01-01

    Recent theoretical and observational investigations of photochemical processes in the atmospheres of the planets and their satellites are reviewed. Particular attention is given to the CO2-dominated atmospheres of Mars and Venus, the hydrogen-dominated atmospheres of the Jovian planets, the SO2 atmosphere of Io, and the massive atmospheres of Titan and Triton. The principal reaction paths involved are listed and briefly characterized, and numerical data on atmospheric compositions are given in tables.

  14. Infrared remote sensing of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Encrenaz, Therese

    2000-12-01

    Infrared remote sensing is a powerful tool for studying the chemical composition and the thermal structure of planetary atmospheres. Infrared spectra, in particular, are used to derive molecular abundances and to infer elemental and isotopic ratios, which allow to constrain theoretical models of the formation and early evolution of the solar system, as well as the history of planetary atmospheres. Infrared imaging and spectroscopy have been performed from the ground but also from space planetary missions (Mariner 9 on Mars, Voyager on the giant planets, Galileo on Jupiter), and from the ISO Earth-orbiting infrared satellite. In the forthcoming decade, the Cassini mission will explore the Saturn system. Planetary exploration from Earth orbit will be performed by the FIRST and NGST space observatories.

  15. Spin of Planetary Probes in Atmospheric Flight

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lorenz, R. D.

    Probes that enter planetary atmospheres are often spun during entry or descent for a variety of reasons. Their spin rate histories are influenced by often subtle effects. The spin requirements, control methods and flight experience from planetary and earth entry missions are reviewed. An interaction of the probe aerodynamic wake with a drogue parachute, observed in Gemini wind tunnel tests, is discussed in connection with the anomalous spin behaviour of the Huygens probe.

  16. Studies of planetary upper atmospheres through occultations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Elliot, J. L.

    1982-01-01

    The structure, composition, dynamics and energy balance of planetary upper atmospheres through interpretation of steller occultation data from Uranus is discussed. The wave-optical problem of modelling strong scintillation for arbitrary turbulent atmospheres is studied, as well as influence of turbulence. It was concluded that quasi-global features of atmospheric structure are accurately determined by numerical inversion. Horizontally inhomogeneous structures are filtered out and have little effect on temperature profiles.

  17. Detection techniques for tenuous planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoenig, S. A. (Principal Investigator)

    1975-01-01

    Electrostatic charging of dust and its effect on planetary atmospheres is discussed, along with its applications to Martian atmosphere. Laboratory and field experiments in dust storms indicate that the major atmospheric parameters on Mars include: (1) pressure, temperature, and relative humidity; (2) wind velocity and direction; (3) particulate size and composition; and (4) electrostatic charge and field gradient. Various instrumentation techniques adapted for a Mars Lander are briefly reviewed. The effect of exoelectron emission on surface catalysis is studied.

  18. Extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Lissauer, J J; Marcy, G W; Ida, S

    2000-11-01

    The first known extrasolar planet in orbit around a Sun-like star was discovered in 1995. This object, as well as over two dozen subsequently detected extrasolar planets, were all identified by observing periodic variations of the Doppler shift of light emitted by the stars to which they are bound. All of these extrasolar planets are more massive than Saturn is, and most are more massive than Jupiter. All orbit closer to their stars than do the giant planets in our Solar System, and most of those that do not orbit closer to their star than Mercury is to the Sun travel on highly elliptical paths. Prevailing theories of star and planet formation, which are based on observations of the Solar System and of young stars and their environments, predict that planets should form in orbit about most single stars. However, these models require some modifications to explain the properties of the observed extrasolar planetary systems. PMID:11035782

  19. Extrasolar planets

    PubMed Central

    Lissauer, Jack J.; Marcy, Geoffrey W.; Ida, Shigeru

    2000-01-01

    The first known extrasolar planet in orbit around a Sun-like star was discovered in 1995. This object, as well as over two dozen subsequently detected extrasolar planets, were all identified by observing periodic variations of the Doppler shift of light emitted by the stars to which they are bound. All of these extrasolar planets are more massive than Saturn is, and most are more massive than Jupiter. All orbit closer to their stars than do the giant planets in our Solar System, and most of those that do not orbit closer to their star than Mercury is to the Sun travel on highly elliptical paths. Prevailing theories of star and planet formation, which are based on observations of the Solar System and of young stars and their environments, predict that planets should form in orbit about most single stars. However, these models require some modifications to explain the properties of the observed extrasolar planetary systems. PMID:11035782

  20. Convective storms in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hueso, R.; Sánchez-Lavega, A.

    2013-05-01

    The atmospheres of the planets in the Solar System have different physical properties that in some cases can be considered as extreme when compared with our own planet's more familiar atmosphere. From the tenuous and cold atmosphere of Mars to the dense and warm atmosphere of Venus in the case of the terrestrial planets, to the gigantic atmospheres of the outer planets, or the nitrogen and methane atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan, we can find a large variety of physical environments. The comparative study of these atmospheres provides a better understanding of the physics of a geophysical fluid. In many of these worlds convective storms of different intensity appear. They are analogous to terrestrial atmospheres fed by the release of latent heat when one of the gases in the atmosphere condenses and they are therefore called moist convective storms. In many of these planets they can produce severe meteorological phenomena and by studying them in a comparative way we can aspire to get a further insight in the dynamics of these atmospheres even beyond the scope of moist convection. A classical example is the structure of the complex systems of winds in the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn. These winds are zonal and alternate in latitude but their deep structure is not accessible to direct observation. However the behaviour of large--scale convective storms vertically extending over the "weather layer" allows to study the buried roots of these winds. Another interesting atmosphere with a rather different structure of convection is Titan, a world where methane is close to its triple point in the atmosphere and can condense in bright clouds with large precipitation fluxes that may model part of the orography of the surface making Titan a world with a methane cycle similar to the hydrological cycle of Earth's atmosphere.

  1. Work on Planetary Atmospheres and Planetary Atmosphere Probes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lester, Peter

    1999-01-01

    A summary final report of work accomplished is presented. Work was performed in the following areas: (1) Galileo Probe science analysis, (2) Galileo probe Atmosphere Structure Instrument, (3) Mars Pathfinder Atmosphere Structure/Meteorology instrument, (4) Mars Pathfinder data analysis, (5) Science Definition for future Mars missions, (6) Viking Lander data analysis, (7) winds in Mars atmosphere Venus atmospheric dynamics, (8) Pioneer Venus Probe data analysis, (9) Pioneer Venus anomaly analysis, (10) Discovery Venus Probe Titan probe instrument design, and (11) laboratory studies of Titan probe impact phenomena. The work has resulted in more than 10 articles published in archive journals, 2 encyclopedia articles, and many working papers. This final report is organized around the four planets on which there was activity, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Titan, with a closing section on Miscellaneous Activities. A major objective was to complete the fabrication, test, and evaluation of the atmosphere structure experiment on the Galileo probe, and to receive, analyze and interpret data received from the spacecraft. The instrument was launched on April 14, 1989. Calibration data were taken for all experiment sensors. The data were analyzed, fitted with algorithms, and summarized in a calibration report for use in analyzing and interpreting data returned from Jupiter's atmosphere. The sensors included were the primary science pressure, temperature and acceleration sensors, and the supporting engineering temperature sensors. Computer programs were written to decode the Experiment Data Record and convert the digital numbers to physical quantities, i.e., temperatures, pressures, and accelerations. The project office agreed to obtain telemetry of checkout data from the probe. Work to extend programs written for use on the Pioneer Venus project included: (1) massive heat shield ablation leading to important mass loss during entry; and (2) rapid planet rotation, which introduced terms of motion not needed on Venus. When the Galileo Probe encountered Jupiter, analysis and interpretation of data commenced. The early contributions of the experiment were to define (1) the basic structure of the deep atmosphere, (2) the stability of the atmosphere, (3) the upper atmospheric profiles of density, pressure, and temperature. The next major task in the Galileo Probe project was to refine, verify and extend the analysis of the data. It was the verified, and corrected data, which indicated a dry abiabatic atmosphere within measurement accuracy. Temperature in the thermosphere was measured at 900 K. Participation in the Mars atmospheric research included: (1) work as a team member of the Mars Atmosphere Working Group, (2) contribution to the Mars Exobiology Instrument workshop, (3) asssistance in planning the Mars global network and (4) assitance in planning the Soviet-French Mars mission in 1994. This included a return to the Viking Lander parachute data to refine and improve the definition of winds between 1.5 and 4 kilometer altitude at the two entry sites. The variability of the structure of Mars atmosphere was addressed, which is known to vary with season, latitude, hemisphere and dust loading of the atmosphere. This led to work on the Pathfinder project. The probe had a deployable meteorology mast that had three temperature sensors, and a wind sensor at the tip of the mast. Work on the Titan atmospheric probe was also accomplished. This included developing an experiment proposal to the European Space Agency (ESA), which was not selected. However, as an advisor in the design and preparation of the selected experiment the researcher interacted with scientist on the Huygens Probe Atmosphere Structure Experiment. The researcher also participated in the planning for the Venus Chemical Probe. The science objectives of the probe were to resolve unanswered questions concerning the minor species chemistry of Venus' atmosphere that control cloud formation, greenhouse effectiveness, and the thermal structure. The researcher also reviewed problems with the Pioneer Venus Probe, that caused anomalies which occurred on the Probes at and below 12.5 km level of the Venus' atmosphere. He convened and participated in a workshop that concluded the most likely hardware cause was insulation failure in the electrical harness outside the Probes' pressure vessels. It was discovered that the shrink tubing material failed at 600K. This failure could explain the anomalies experienced by the probes. The descent data of the Pioneer probes, and the Soviet Vega Lander was analyzed to evaluate the presence of small scale gravity waves in and below the Venus cloud layer.

  2. Chemical kinetics and modeling of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yung, Yuk L.

    1990-01-01

    A unified overview is presented for chemical kinetics and chemical modeling in planetary atmospheres. The recent major advances in the understanding of the chemistry of the terrestrial atmosphere make the study of planets more interesting and relevant. A deeper understanding suggests that the important chemical cycles have a universal character that connects the different planets and ultimately link together the origin and evolution of the solar system. The completeness (or incompleteness) of the data base for chemical kinetics in planetary atmospheres will always be judged by comparison with that for the terrestrial atmosphere. In the latter case, the chemistry of H, O, N, and Cl species is well understood. S chemistry is poorly understood. In the atmospheres of Jovian planets and Titan, the C-H chemistry of simple species (containing 2 or less C atoms) is fairly well understood. The chemistry of higher hydrocarbons and the C-N, P-N chemistry is much less understood. In the atmosphere of Venus, the dominant chemistry is that of chlorine and sulfur, and very little is known about C1-S coupled chemistry. A new frontier for chemical kinetics both in the Earth and planetary atmospheres is the study of heterogeneous reactions. The formation of the ozone hole on Earth, the ubiquitous photochemical haze on Venus and in the Jovian planets and Titan all testify to the importance of heterogeneous reactions. It remains a challenge to connect the gas phase chemistry to the production of aerosols.

  3. Dynamics and Origin of Extra-solar Planetary Systems and Microlensing Detection of Extra-solar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peale, S. J.

    2003-01-01

    We compare a space-based microlensing search for planets, with a ground based microlensing search originally proposed by D. Tytler (Beichman, et al. 1996). Perturbations of microlensing light curves when the lens star has a planetary companion are sought by one wide angle survey telescope and an array of three or four followup narrow angle telescopes distributed in longitude that follow events with high precision, high time resolution photometry. Alternative ground based programs are considered briefly. With the four 2 meter telescopes distributed in longitude in the southern hemisphere in the Tytler proposal, observational constraints on a ground-based search for planets during microlensing events toward the center of the galaxy are severe. Probably less than 100 events could be monitored per year with high precision, high time resolution photometry with only about 42% coverage on the average regardless of how many events were discovered by the survey telescope. Statistics for the occurrence and properties for Jupiter-mass planets would be meaningful but relatively meager four years after the program was started, and meaningful statistics for Earth-mass planets would be non existent. In contrast, the 14,500 events in a proposed 4 year space based program (GEST = Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope) would yield very sound statistics on the occurrence, masses and separations of Jupiter-mass planets, and significant constraints on similar properties for Earth-mass planets. The significance of the Jupiter statistics would be to establish the frequency of planetary systems like our own, where terrestrial planets could exist inside the orbits of the giants.

  4. Submillimeter Planetary Atmospheric Chemistry Exploration Sounder

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schlecht, Erich T.; Allen, Mark A.; Gill, John J.; Choonsup, Lee; Lin, Robert H.; Sin, Seth; Mehdi, Imran; Siegel, Peter H.; Maestrini, Alain

    2013-01-01

    Planetary Atmospheric Chemistry Exploration Sounder (SPACES), a high-sensitivity laboratory breadboard for a spectrometer targeted at orbital planetary atmospheric analysis. The frequency range is 520 to 590 GHz, with a target noise temperature sensitivity of 2,500 K for detecting water, sulfur compounds, carbon compounds, and other atmospheric constituents. SPACES is a prototype for a powerful tool for the exploration of the chemistry and dynamics of any planetary atmosphere. It is fundamentally a single-pixel receiver for spectral signals emitted by the relevant constituents, intended to be fed by a fixed or movable telescope/antenna. Its front-end sensor translates the received signal down to the 100-MHz range where it can be digitized and the data transferred to a spectrum analyzer for processing, spectrum generation, and accumulation. The individual microwave and submillimeter wave components (mixers, LO high-powered amplifiers, and multipliers) of SPACES were developed in cooperation with other programs, although with this type of instrument in mind. Compared to previous planetary and Earth science instruments, its broad bandwidth (approx. =.13%) and rapid tunability (approx. =.10 ms) are new developments only made possible recently by the advancement in submillimeter circuit design and processing at JPL.

  5. Infrared laboratory studies of synthetic planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, D.

    1973-01-01

    Previous research dealing with telluric gases is briefly reviewed. Current research concerning absorption-line broadening, and particulate constituents of planetary atmospheres are discussed. Two articles are included: optical constants of liquid ammonia in the infrared, and broadening of infrared absorption lines at reduced temperatures for nitrous oxide.

  6. Detection techniques for tenuous planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoenig, S. A.

    1972-01-01

    The research for the development of new types of detectors for analysis of planetary atmospheres is summarized. Topics discussed include: corona discharge humidity detector, surface catalysis and exo-electron emission, and analysis of soil samples by means of exo-electron emission. A report on the exo-electron emission during heterogeneous catalysis is included.

  7. Work on Planetary Atmospheres and Planetary Atmosphere Probes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Seiff, Alvin; Lester, Peter

    1999-01-01

    A major objective of the grant was to complete the fabrication, test, and evaluation of the atmosphere structure experiment on the Galileo Probe, and to receive, analyze, and interpret data received from the spacecraft. The grantee was competitively selected to be Principal Investigator of Jupiter's atmosphere structure on the Galileo Probe. His primary motivation was to learn as much as possible about Jupiter's atmosphere by means of a successful atmosphere structure experiment, and to support the needs and schedule of the Galileo Project. After a number of launch delays, the Flight instrument was shipped to Kennedy Space Center 2 years after the start of this collaboration, on April 14, 1989, at which time it was determined from System level tests of the ASI on the Probe that the instrument was in good working order and ready for flight. The spacecraft was launched on October 18, 1989. Data analysis of test and calibration data taken over a period of years of instrument testing was continued in preparation for the encounter. The initial instrument checkout in space was performed on October 26, 1989. The data set received by telemetry was thoroughly analyzed, and a report of the findings was transmitted to the Probe Operations Office on Feb. 28, 1990. Key findings reported were that the accelerometer biases had shifted by less than 1 mg through launch and since calibration at Bell Aerospace in 1983; accelerometer scale factors, evaluated by means of calibration currents, fell on lines of variation with temperature established in laboratory calibrations; pressure sensor offsets, correlated as a function of temperature, fell generally within the limits of several years of ground test data; atmospheric and engineering temperature sensor data were internally consistent within a few tenths of a degree; and the instrument electronics performed all expected functions without any observable fault. Altogether, this checkout was highly encouraging of the prospects of instrument performance, although performed greater than 5 years prior to Jupiter encounter. Capability of decoding the science data from the Experiment Data Record to be provided at encounter was developed and exercised using the tape recording of the first Cruise Checkout data. A team effort was organized to program the selection and combination of data words defining pressure, temperature, acceleration, turbulence, and engineering quantities; to apply decalibration algorithms to convert readings from digital numbers to physical quantities; and to organize the data into a suitable printout. A paper on the Galileo Atmosphere Structure Instrument was written and submitted for publication in a special issue of Space Science Reviews. At the Journal editor's request, the grantee reviewed other Probe instrument papers submitted for this special issue. Calibration data were carefully taken for all experiment sensors and accumulated over a period of 10 years. The data were analyzed, fitted with algorithms, and summarized in a calibration report for use in analyzing and interpreting data returned from Jupiter's atmosphere. The sensors included were the primary science pressure, temperature, and acceleration sensors, and the supporting engineering temperature sensors. This report was distributed to experiment coinvestigators and the Probe Project Office.

  8. Solving multiple scattering problems in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irvine, W. M.; Lenoble, J.

    1974-01-01

    Multiple scattering problems, radiative transfer problems in planetary atmospheres within extended visible portion of the spectrum, are examined. The direct and inverse problems and the extinction coefficient are defined, along with other scattering characteristics. Albedos in semi-infinite and finite atmospheres are considered, as well as surface illumination, energy deposition, and polarization. The Eddington approximation figures prominently in the calculations. Precise numerical methods and analytical solutions are included.

  9. IONIZATION IN ATMOSPHERES OF BROWN DWARFS AND EXTRASOLAR PLANETS. I. THE ROLE OF ELECTRON AVALANCHE

    SciTech Connect

    Helling, Ch.; Jardine, M.; Witte, S.; Diver, D. A.

    2011-01-20

    Brown dwarf and extrasolar planet atmospheres form clouds which strongly influence the local chemistry and physics. These clouds are globally neutral obeying dust-gas charge equilibrium which is, on short timescales, inconsistent with the observation of stochastic ionization events of the solar system planets. We argue that a significant volume of the clouds in brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets is susceptible to local discharge events. These are electron avalanches triggered by charged dust grains. Such intra-cloud discharges occur on timescales shorter than the time needed to neutralize the dust grains by collisional processes. An ensemble of discharges is likely to produce enough free charges to suggest a partial and stochastic coupling of the atmosphere to a large-scale magnetic field.

  10. Atmospheric escape, redox evolution, and planetary habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Catling, D. C.; Zahnle, K. J.

    2011-12-01

    Through the greenhouse effect, the presence and composition of an atmosphere is critical for defining a (conventional) circumstellar habitable zone in terms of planetary surface temperatures suitable for liquid water. Lack of knowledge of planetary atmospheres is likely to frustrate attempts to say with any certainty whether detected terrestrial-sized exoplanets may or may not be habitable. Perhaps an underappreciated role in such considerations is the evolutionary effect of atmospheric escape for determining atmospheric composition or whether an atmosphere exists in the first place. Whether atmospheres exist at all on planets is demonstrably connected to the effect of integrated atmospheric escape. When we observe our own Solar System and transiting exoplanets, the existence of an atmosphere is clearly delineated by a relative vulnerability to thermal escape and impact erosion. The prevalence of thermal escape as a key evolutionary determinant for the presence of planetary atmosphere is shown by a relationship between the relative solar (or stellar) heating and the escape velocity. Those bodies with too much stellar heating and too smaller escape velocity end up devoid of atmospheres. Impact erosion is evident in the relationship between impact velocity and escape velocity. Escape due to impacts is particularly important for understanding the large differences in the atmospheres of giant planet moons, such as Ganymede versus Titan. It is also significant for Mars-sized planets. The oxidation state of atmospheres is important for some theories of the origin of life (where an early reducing atmosphere is helpful for organic synthesis) and the evolution of advanced life (where free molecular oxygen is the best source of high energy metabolism). Surfaces on some relatively small planets and moons are observed to have evolved to an oxidized state, which theory and observation can explain through atmospheric escape. There are several examples in the Solar System where a net escape of hydrogen relative to heavier oxygen is the generally accepted explanation for the present oxidation state: Venus and Mars amongst the planets, and Ganymede, Europa, and Rhea amongst bodies with extremely tenuous atmospheres. We also argue that hydrogen escape was the key factor for oxidizing the Earth and facilitating the increase of photosynthetically-produced oxygen in the Proterozoic atmosphere. Our view about the primacy of hydrogen escape with regard to the Earth's atmospheric oxygenation is perhaps less widely accepted. However, it was inevitable that hydrogen escaped from Earth's early anoxic atmosphere at a significant rate. The result was a very big integrated oxidation consistent with what is observed in the Earth's crust in addition to some export to the mantle. In conclusion, a better understanding of atmospheric escape processes appears critical for understanding the suitability of planets for harboring life from simple to advanced forms.

  11. Studies of Tenuous Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Combi, Michael R.

    1998-01-01

    The final report includes an overall project overview as well as scientific background summaries of dust and sodium in comets, and tenuous atmospheres of Jupiter's natural satellites. Progress and continuing work related to dust coma and tenuous atmospheric studies are presented. Also included are published articles written during the course of the report period. These are entitled: (1) On Europa's Magnetospheric Interaction: An MHD Simulation; (2) Dust-Gas Interrelations in Comets: Observations and Theory; and (3) Io's Plasma Environment During the Galileo Flyby: Global Three Dimensional MHD Modeling with Adaptive Mesh Refinement.

  12. Comparative Planetary Atmospheres of Pluto and Triton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strobel, D. F.; Zhu, X.

    2015-10-01

    Both atmospheres of Pluto and Neptune's largest satellite Triton have cold surfaces with similar surface gravities and atmospheric surface pressures. We have updated the Zhu et al.Icarus 228 , 301, 2014) model for Pluto's atmosphere by adopting Voigt line profiles in the radiation code with the latest spectral database and extended the model to Triton's atmosphere by including additional parameterized heating due to the magnetospheric electron energy deposition. Numerical experiments show that the escape rate of an atmosphere for an icy planetary body similar to Pluto or Triton is quite sensitive to the methane abundance and planetary surface gravity. Together this leads to a cumulative effect on the density variation with the altitude that significantly changes the atmospheric scale height at the exobase together with the exobase altitude. The atmospheric thermal structure near the exobase is sensitive to the atmospheric escape rate only when it is significantly greater than 10 26 molecules s-1 above which an enhanced escape rate corresponds to a stronger radial velocity that adiabatically cools the atmosphere to a lower temperature.

  13. Diurnal forcing of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houben, Howard C.

    1991-01-01

    A free convection parameterization has been introduced into the Mars Planetary Boundary Layer Model (MPBL). Previously, the model would fail to generate turbulence under conditions of zero wind shear, even when statically unstable. This in turn resulted in erroneous results at the equator, for example, when the lack of Coriolis forcing allowed zero wind conditions. The underlying cause of these failures was the level 2 second-order turbulence closure scheme which derived diffusivities as algebraic functions of the Richardson number (the ratio of static stability to wind shear). In the previous formulation, the diffusivities were scaled by the wind shear--a convenient parameter since it is non-negative. This was the drawback that all diffusivities are zero under conditions of zero shear (viz., the free convection case). The new scheme tests for the condition of zero shear in conjunction with static instability and recalculates the diffusivities using a static stability scaling. The results for a simulation of the equatorial boundary layer at autumnal equinox are presented. (Note that after some wind shear is generated, the model reverts to the traditional diffusivity calculation.)

  14. Detection techniques for tenuous planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoenig, S. A.

    1978-01-01

    The application of detectors developed for analysis of planetary atmospheres under partial vacuum conditions, and data obtained during dust charging studies to various industrial problems is summarized. A specialized apparatus for dust measurements on a planetary lander was designed with the capability of measuring ambient dust density as a function of particle size, as well as for observing the charge of the collected dust. the optical system operates on an intermittent basis and requires only low power. No radioactive source or delicate detection equipment is required. Advances in monitoring catalyst operation by means of exoelection emission are also reported.

  15. Atmospheric planetary wave response to external forcing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stevens, D. E.; Reiter, E. R.

    1985-01-01

    The tools of observational analysis, complex general circulation modeling, and simpler modeling approaches were combined in order to attack problems on the largest spatial scales of the earth's atmosphere. Two different models were developed and applied. The first is a two level, global spectral model which was designed primarily to test the effects of north-south sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) gradients between the equatorial and midlatitude north Pacific. The model is nonlinear, contains both radiation and a moisture budget with associated precipitation and surface evaporation, and utilizes a linear balance dynamical framework. Supporting observational analysis of atmospheric planetary waves is briefly summarized. More extensive general circulation models have also been used to consider the problem of the atmosphere's response, especially in the horizontal propagation of planetary scale waves, to SSTA.

  16. Spectral signatures of photosynthesis. II. Coevolution with other stars and the atmosphere on extrasolar worlds.

    PubMed

    Kiang, Nancy Y; Segura, Antígona; Tinetti, Giovanna; Govindjee; Blankenship, Robert E; Cohen, Martin; Siefert, Janet; Crisp, David; Meadows, Victoria S

    2007-02-01

    As photosynthesis on Earth produces the primary signatures of life that can be detected astronomically at the global scale, a strong focus of the search for extrasolar life will be photosynthesis, particularly photosynthesis that has evolved with a different parent star. We take previously simulated planetary atmospheric compositions for Earth-like planets around observed F2V and K2V, modeled M1V and M5V stars, and around the active M4.5V star AD Leo; our scenarios use Earth's atmospheric composition as well as very low O2 content in case anoxygenic photosynthesis dominates. With a line-by-line radiative transfer model, we calculate the incident spectral photon flux densities at the surface of the planet and under water. We identify bands of available photosynthetically relevant radiation and find that photosynthetic pigments on planets around F2V stars may peak in absorbance in the blue, K2V in the red-orange, and M stars in the near-infrared, in bands at 0.93-1.1 microm, 1.1-1.4 microm, 1.5-1.8 microm, and 1.8-2.5 microm. However, underwater organisms will be restricted to wavelengths shorter than 1.4 microm and more likely below 1.1 microm. M star planets without oxygenic photosynthesis will have photon fluxes above 1.6 microm curtailed by methane. Longer-wavelength, multi-photo-system series would reduce the quantum yield but could allow for oxygenic photosystems at longer wavelengths. A wavelength of 1.1 microm is a possible upper cutoff for electronic transitions versus only vibrational energy; however, this cutoff is not strict, since such energetics depend on molecular configuration. M star planets could be a half to a tenth as productive as Earth in the visible, but exceed Earth if useful photons extend to 1.1 microm for anoxygenic photosynthesis. Under water, organisms would still be able to survive ultraviolet flares from young M stars and acquire adequate light for growth. PMID:17407410

  17. Studies of extended planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hunten, Donald M.

    1988-01-01

    Spectroscopic observations of gases and plasmas in the Jupiter system, and related phenomena such as the recently-discovered sodium atmospheres of Mercury and the Moon were made. Cunningham's work on Jupiter spectroscopy is complete. The optical thickness of the ammonia cloud increases from about 3 in the morning to 6 at sunset. This effect seems to be due to the combination of internal heat flow and a convective region heated at the top, giving strong convection at night and none during the day. Near-simultaneous methane data are of poor quality, but are consistent with this picture. Schneider's work on the sodium environment of Io is also complete. The eclipse data extend to nearly 10 Io radii and nicely match the densities in the outer regions (to 100 Io radii) obtained from the intensity scattered in the D lines. Other data show very fast jets of sodium (up to 100 km/sec), frequently tilted out of the orbital plane. Researchers seem to be seeing neutralized ions, not from the torus itself but from atmospheric sodium ionized and then quickly neutralized. The data set on Mercurian sodium has been augmented, and supplemented by IR reflectance spectra.

  18. Chemistry of Planetary Atmospheres: Insights and Prospects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yung, Yuk

    2015-11-01

    Using observations from the Mariners, Pioneers, Vikings, Voyagers, Pioneer Venus, Galileo, Venus Express, Curiosity, Cassini, New Horizons, and numerous observatories both in orbit of Earth and on the ground, I will give a survey of the major chemical processes that control the composition of planetary atmospheres. For the first time since the beginning of the space age, we understand the chemistry of planetary atmospheres ranging from the primitive atmospheres of the giant planets to the highly evolved atmospheres of terrestrial planets and small bodies. Our understanding can be distilled into three important ideas: (1) The stability of planetary atmospheres against escape of their constituents to space, (2) the role of equilibrium chemistry in determining the partitioning of chemical species, and (3) the role of disequilibrium chemistry, which produces drastic departures from equilibrium chemistry. To these three ideas we must also add a fourth: the role of biochemistry at Earth's surface, which makes its atmospheric chemistry unique in the cosmochemical environment. Only in the Earth's atmosphere do strong reducing and oxidizing species coexist to such a degree. For example, nitrogen species in the Earth's atmosphere span eight oxidation states from ammonia to nitric acid. Much of the Earth's atmospheric chemistry consists of reactions initiated by the degradation of biologically produced molecules. Life uses solar energy to drive chemical reactions that would otherwise not occur; it represents a kind of photochemistry that is special to Earth, at least within the Solar System. It remains to be seen how many worlds like Earth there are beyond the Solar System, especially as we are now exploring the exoplanets using Kepler, TESS, HST, Spitzer, soon to be launched missions such as JWST and WFIRST, and ground-based telescopes. The atmospheres of the Solar System provide a benchmark for studying exoplanets, which in turn serve to test and extend our current understanding of planetary atmospheres. Ultimately, we may be able to answer these profound questions: Are we alone in the universe? What makes a planet habitable? How does life originate? And what is the destiny for life on our own planet?

  19. Relativistic breakdown in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dwyer, J. R.

    2007-04-01

    In 2003, a new electrical breakdown mechanism involving the production of runaway avalanches by positive feedback from runaway positrons and energetic photons was introduced. This mechanism, which shall be referred to as ``relativistic feedback,'' allows runaway discharges in gases to become self-sustaining, dramatically increasing the flux of runaway electrons, the accompanying high-energy radiation, and resulting ionization. Using detailed Monte Carlo calculations, properties of relativistic feedback are investigated. It is found that once relativistic feedback fully commences, electrical breakdown will occur and the ambient electric field, extending over cubic kilometers, will be discharged in as little as 2×10-5 s. Furthermore, it is found that the flux of energetic electrons and x rays generated by this mechanism can exceed the flux generated by the standard relativistic runaway electron model by a factor of 1013, making relativistic feedback a good candidate for explaining terrestrial gamma-ray flashes and other high-energy phenomena observed in the Earth's atmosphere.

  20. Relativistic breakdown in planetary atmospheres

    SciTech Connect

    Dwyer, J. R.

    2007-04-15

    In 2003, a new electrical breakdown mechanism involving the production of runaway avalanches by positive feedback from runaway positrons and energetic photons was introduced. This mechanism, which shall be referred to as 'relativistic feedback', allows runaway discharges in gases to become self-sustaining, dramatically increasing the flux of runaway electrons, the accompanying high-energy radiation, and resulting ionization. Using detailed Monte Carlo calculations, properties of relativistic feedback are investigated. It is found that once relativistic feedback fully commences, electrical breakdown will occur and the ambient electric field, extending over cubic kilometers, will be discharged in as little as 2x10{sup -5} s. Furthermore, it is found that the flux of energetic electrons and x rays generated by this mechanism can exceed the flux generated by the standard relativistic runaway electron model by a factor of 10{sup 13}, making relativistic feedback a good candidate for explaining terrestrial gamma-ray flashes and other high-energy phenomena observed in the Earth's atmosphere.

  1. Atmospheric Excitation of Planetary Normal Modes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tanimoto, Toshiro

    2001-01-01

    The objectives of this study were to: (1) understand the phenomenon of continuous free oscillations of the Earth and (2) examine the idea of using this phenomenon for planetary seismology. We first describe the results on (1) and present our evaluations of the idea (2) in the final section. In 1997, after almost forty years since the initial attempt by Benioff et al, continuous free oscillations of the Earth were discovered. Spheroidal fundamental modes between 2 and 7 millihertz are excited continuously with acceleration amplitudes of about 0.3-0.5 nanogals. The signal is now commonly found in virtually all data recorded by STS-1 type broadband seismometers at quiet sites. Seasonal variation in amplitude and the existence of two coupled modes between the atmosphere and the solid Earth support that these oscillations are excited by the atmosphere. Stochastic excitation due to atmospheric turbulence is a favored mechanism, providing a good match between theory and data. The atmosphere has ample energy to support this theory because excitation of these modes require only 500-10000 W whereas the atmosphere contains about 117 W of kinetic energy. An application of this phenomenon includes planetary seismology, because other planets may be oscillating due to atmospheric excitation. The interior structure of planets could be learned by determining the eigenfrequencies in the continuous free oscillations. It is especially attractive to pursue this idea for tectonically quiet planets, since quakes may be too infrequent to be recorded by seismic instruments.

  2. Ionization in atmospheres of brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets VI: Properties of large-scale discharge events

    SciTech Connect

    Bailey, R. L.; Helling, Ch.; Hodosán, G.; Bilger, C.; Stark, C. R.

    2014-03-20

    Mineral clouds in substellar atmospheres play a special role as a catalyst for a variety of charge processes. If clouds are charged, the surrounding environment becomes electrically activated, and ensembles of charged grains are electrically discharging (e.g., by lightning), which significantly influences the local chemistry creating conditions similar to those thought responsible for life in early planetary atmospheres. We note that such lightning discharges contribute also to the ionization state of the atmosphere. We apply scaling laws for electrical discharge processes from laboratory measurements and numerical experiments to DRIFT-PHOENIX model atmosphere results to model the discharge's propagation downward (as lightning) and upward (as sprites) through the atmospheric clouds. We evaluate the spatial extent and energetics of lightning discharges. The atmospheric volume affected (e.g., by increase of temperature or electron number) is larger in a brown dwarf atmosphere (10{sup 8}-10{sup 10} m{sup 3}) than in a giant gas planet (10{sup 4}-10{sup 6} m{sup 3}). Our results suggest that the total dissipated energy in one event is <10{sup 12} J for all models of initial solar metallicity. First attempts to show the influence of lightning on the local gas phase indicate an increase of small carbohydrate molecules like CH and CH{sub 2} at the expense of CO and CH{sub 4}. Dust-forming molecules are destroyed and the cloud particle properties are frozen in unless enough time is available for complete evaporation. We summarize instruments potentially suitable to observe lightning on extrasolar objects.

  3. Diurnal Forcing of Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houben, Howard C.

    1997-01-01

    Much progress has been made on calculations of the Martian seasonal water cycle using the Mars Climate Model developed for this purpose. Two papers, documenting the model and the water transport results obtained with it have been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets. An additional paper describing results related to the evolution of the seasonal water cycle as a result of orbital changes was published in Advances in Space Research. Since that time, further studies have concentrated on the consequences of the soil adsorption required to match the observed water cycle and its relation to the stability of ground ice and other potential water reservoirs. Earth-related studies have concentrated on incorporating an efficient and realistic microphysical model into the Ames Stratospheric General Circulation Model used to simulate the spread of the ML Pinatubo and other volcanic clouds in the stratosphere. In addition, visualizations of the simulations are being incorporated into a video describing the UARS mission. A paper describing the new stratospheric aerosol microphysics package (and its consequences for volcanic cloud evolution) will be submitted in the near future. The paper will discuss the relative importance of condensation and coagulation to early particle growth and the separation of the cloud by sedimentation of the larger particles. A more general paper which highlights the observation that particle number densities did not increase dramatically after the ML Pinatubo eruption is planned. Simulations of atmospheric transport will be extended to include studies of terrestrial tropospheric tracers using the Fifth-Generation Penn State/NCAR Mesoscale Model.

  4. Planetary atmospheric physics and solar physics research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1973-01-01

    An overview is presented on current and planned research activities in the major areas of solar physics, planetary atmospheres, and space astronomy. The approach to these unsolved problems involves experimental techniques, theoretical analysis, and the use of computers to analyze the data from space experiments. The point is made that the research program is characterized by each activity interacting with the other activities in the laboratory.

  5. High-Oxygen Planetary Atmospheres and the Existence of Intelligent Life in the Universe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Catling, D. C.; McKay, C. P.

    1999-09-01

    The existence of a high partial pressure of oxygen in planetary atmospheres elsewhere in the universe is a likely prerequisite for the existence of animal-like life and hence the existence of intelligent life. Whether a planet develops such an atmosphere is influenced by planetary parameters including the composition and size of the planet. The transition to a high oxygen atmosphere would depend on the ability of plate tectonics to provide for organic carbon burial that prohibits back-reaction with photosynthesized atmospheric oxygen. On Earth, plate tectonics accompanied by the oxygen production of photosynthetic bacteria in the Precambrian oceans led to the growth in the level of atmospheric oxygen detectable around 2.0 Gyr ago. Thus, there is a minimum size for an extrasolar planet that develops a high oxygen atmosphere based on the requirement to sustain plate tectonics. On the other hand, if the planet were too big, the loss of early hydrogen may be too slow on the timescale of solar evolution. The timing of the accumulation of atmospheric oxygen, which on Earth resulted in the biological evolution of eukaryotes (eventually including oxygen-utilizing metazoans such as ourselves), would thus appear to depend on geophysics. This may imply a relationship between planetary size and possible degree of biological complexity through time on terrestrial-type planets elsewhere in the Universe.

  6. Origin and evolution of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewis, John S.

    1992-01-01

    This report concerns several research tasks related to the origin and evolution of planetary atmospheres and the large-scale distribution of volatile elements in the Solar System. These tasks and their present status are as follows: (1) we have conducted an analysis of the volatility and condensation behavior of compounds of iron, aluminum, and phosphorus in the atmosphere of Venus in response to publish interpretations of the Soviet Venera probe XRF experiment data, to investigate the chemistry of volcanic gases, injection of volatiles by cometary and asteroidal impactors, and reactions in the troposphere; (2) we have completed and are now writing up our research on condensation-accretion modeling of the terrestrial planets; (3) we have laid the groundwork for a detailed study of the effects of water transport in the solar nebula on the bulk composition, oxidation state, and volatile content of preplanetary solids; (4) we have completed an extensive laboratory study of cryovolcanic materials in the outer solar system; (5) we have begun to study the impact erosion and shock alteration of the atmosphere of Mars resulting from cometary and asteroidal bombardment; and (6) we have developed a new Monte Carlo model of the cometary and asteroidal bombardment flux on the terrestrial planets, including all relevant chemical and physical processes associated with atmospheric entry and impact, to assess both the hazards posed by this bombardment to life on Earth and the degree of cross-correlation between the various phenomena (NO(x) production, explosive yield, crater production, iridium signature, etc.) that characterize this bombardment. The purpose of these investigations has been to contribute to the developing understanding of both the dynamics of long-term planetary atmosphere evolution and the short-term stability of planetary surface environments.

  7. Constraints on planetary formation from the discovery & study of transiting Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Triaud, A. H. M. J.

    2011-08-01

    After centuries of wondering about the presence of other worlds outside our Solar System, the first extrasolar planets were discovered about fifteen years ago. Since the quest continued. The greatest discovery of our new line of research, exoplanetology, has probably been the large diversity that those new worlds have brought forward; a diversity in mass, in size, in orbital periods, as well as in the architecture of the systems we discover. Planets very different from those composing our system have been detected. As such, we found hot Jupiters, gas giants which orbital period is only of a few days, mini-Neptunes, bodies five to ten time the mass of the Earth but covered by a thick gas layer, super-Earths of similar masses but rocky, lava worlds, and more recently, maybe the first ocean planet. Many more surprises probably await us. This thesis has for subject this very particular planet class: the hot Jupiters. Those astonishing worlds are still badly understood. Yet, thanks to the evolution of observational techniques and of the treatment of their signals, we probably have gathered as much knowledge from these worlds, than what was known of our own gas giants prior to their visit by probes. They are laboratories for a series of intense physical phenomena caused by their proximity to their star. Notably, these planets are found in average much larger than expected. In addition to these curiosities, their presence so close to their star is abnormal, the necessary conditions for the formation of such massive bodies, this close, not being plausible. Thus it is more reasonable to explain their current orbits by a formation far from their star, followed by an orbital migration. It is on this last subject that this thesis is on: the origin of hot Jupiters. The laws of physics are universal. Therefore, using the same physical phenomena, we need to explain the existence of hot Jupiters, while explaining why the Jupiter within our Solar System is found five times the Earth-Sun distance. In Astronomy, we cannot do experiments; we are a part of it. Instead, we search and characterise several similar objects in order to extract information out of them statistically. To answer our question, we needed to find several objects and detect the clues from their past history bringing us back to the processes that led to their formation. There are several manners with which one can find planets. For this thesis, the so-called transit method was used. It consists in detecting a periodic loss of light from a star in front of which a planet passes: a transit. This method is particularly sensitive to the presence of hot Jupiters. During this thesis, about fifty planets of such type have been discovered, about a third of the known hot Jupiters. Those planets are confirmed thanks to radial velocity measurements, the same technique that led to the discovery of the first extrasolar planet, around the star 51 Pegasi. The analysis of the stellar light affected by the presence of a planet around it, notably the light received during transit, allows us to know about the mass, the size of the planet, its orbital period, the shape of its orbit, its temperature, even the chemical composition of its atmosphere. Furthermore, these observations give us the occasion to study the star around which is found the planet, such as its mass, its size, its rotation speed, as well as give estimates on its age. One type of observations was employed in particular: the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect. During transit, this effect creates an anomaly compared to the expected radial velocities. Through a modelisation of this anomaly, it is possible to measure the projection of the angle between the orbital plane of the planet and the equatorial plane of the star, on the sky. In our System, all planets are located more or less in a same plane : the ecliptic. The equatorial plane of the Sun is also almost aligned with the ecliptic. This observation led Kant and Laplace to postulate on the formation of planets from matter spread in the form of a primordial disc around the Sun; such discs are nowadays observed around young stars. This angle was measured for the newly discovered planets, and, surprisingly, instead of observing planets in orbit above the equator of their star, a wide variety was found. Some planets are even in orbit in the direction counter to that which was expected. Those observations, combined with others of similar type, as well as with those already known parameters from that astonishing planet population, allow us to explore the phenomena that occurred probably soon after their formation. Those hot Jupiters have had an eventful history. When the disc in which they formed dissipated, gravitational interactions with other planets in the same system, or caused by the presence of another star in the system, have led those gas giants on inclined, some retrograde, and very elliptic orbits. During their regular passage at the closest point with their star, the dissipation of tidal forces within the planet and the star induced a circularisation and a reduction of their orbital periods, on which we observe them nowadays.

  8. The superrotation mechanisms for rarefied planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savina, O. N.; Bespalov, P. A.

    Experimental studies of atmospheric flows carried out for several planets have found the possibility of superrotation of their atmospheres. Several possible superrotation mechanisms have been discussed in the literature, but none of them was universal. We considered the kinetics of a rarefied rotating planetary atmosphere. The spatial distributions of the atmospheric gas density and mean angular velocity were determined by analyzing the exact solution of the boundary-value problem for the two-dimensional collisionless Boltzmann equation that includes particles with elliptical and hyperbolic orbits. We found that the angular velocity of the gas at some distance from the planet could be higher than that in the initial layer starting from which the atmosphere is rarefied. The solution of the kinetic equation with weak elastic collisions was obtained and analyzed. Based on this results we clarified that for the rarefied atmosphere replenished with particles injected from a spherical surface inside these collisions are significant. We shown peculiarities of the motion of a rarefied gas in the gravitationalfield of a slowly rotating planet can give rise to superrotation. We find out one of the superrotation mechanisms for rarefied planetary atmospheres is the separation of particles: some of them fly away from the planet, while others become its satellites. Satellites are fast particles for slowly rotating planets. The superrotation can be explained by the factthat the ballistic angular velocity on the planet surface is higher than the angular velocity of the planet. Based on the proposed mechanism, we calculated quantity of the superrotation for the exospheres of Venus, Earth, and Mars. Our estimates have shown qualitative accordance with the known experimental data.

  9. Atmosphere Models for the Brown Dwarf Gliese 229 B and the Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marley, Mark S.

    1996-01-01

    Brown dwarfs inhabit a realm intermediate between the more massive stars and the less massive planets. Their thermal infrared emission is powered by the release of gravitational potential energy as regulated by their atmospheres. Long known only as theoretical constructs. the discovery of the first unimpeachable brown dwarf. Gliese 229 has opened up a new field: the study of brown dwarf atmospheres. The subsequent discoverv of numerous extrasolar giant planets circling nearby stars, further demonstrated the need for a comprehensive modeling effort to understand this new class of jovian atmospheres. Although no spectra are yet available of the new planets, the next generation of groundbased and spacebased telescopes will return such data. Here author report on the effort with Ames collaborator Dr. Christopher McKay to better understand these new atmospheres.

  10. Molecular Line and Continuum Opacities for Modeling of Extrasolar Giant Planet and Cool Stellar Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weck, P. F.; Stancil, P. C.; Schweitzer, A.; Hauschildt, P. H.; Kirby, K.; Yamaguchi, Y.; Allen, W.

    2002-11-01

    The molecular hue and continuum opacities are investigated in the atmospheres of cool stars and Extrasolar Giant Planets (EGPs). Using a combination of ab inito and experimentally derived potential curves and dipole transition moments, accurate data have been calculated for rovibrationally-resolved oscillator strengths and photodissociation cross sections in the B' 2∑+ ← X 2∑+ and A 2II ← X 2∑+ baud systems in MgH. We also report our progress on the study of the electronic structure of LiCl and FeH.

  11. Optical efficiencies of lightning in planetary atmospheres.

    PubMed

    Borucki, W J; McKay, C P

    1987-08-01

    Spacecraft observations show that the presence of lightning activity is not confined to the terrestrial atmosphere, but is also found in the atmospheres of Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. Lightning activity may also occur in Titan's thick atmosphere. Calculations show that lightning produces a significant fraction of the nitric oxide that reacts with the ozone and chlorine compounds in the terrestrial stratosphere. In the atmosphere of the primordial Earth, lightning could have been the major source of many of the molecules required for the formation of life. To determine the effects of lightning activity in the atmospheres of other planets from spacecraft images requires a knowledge of the optical properties of the lightning discharge. Here we report the first simulations of lightning in planetary atmospheres by laser-induced plasmas. These simulations show that the fraction of the energy in lightning discharge channels that is radiated in the visible spectrum is similar for Earth, Venus and Titan, but quite different for Jupiter. One implication of our results is that the amount of trace gases produced by lightning in the jovian atmosphere must be larger than previously estimated. PMID:11540880

  12. Origin and evolution of planetary and satellite atmospheres

    SciTech Connect

    Atreya, S.K.; Pollack, J.B.; Matthews, M.S.

    1989-01-01

    The present volume on the origin and evolution of planet and satellite atmospheres discusses the chemistry of interstellar gas and grains, planetary accretion, cometary composition, the inventories of asteroid volatiles, key similarities and differences among the terrestrial planets' atmospheric compositions, and planets' atmospheric escape and water loss. Also discussed are planetary atmosphere-planetary interior evolutionary coupling, the atmospheric composition of the outer planets, the structure and composition of giant planet interiors, the tenuous atmosphere of Io, the sources of the atmospheres of the outer solar system's satellites, the present state and chemical evolution of the Titan, Triton, and Pluto atmospheres, and the thermal structure and heat balance of the outer planets.

  13. The Compositional Diversity of Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carter-Bond, J. C.; O'Brien, D. P.

    2011-12-01

    The details of the formation of the terrestrial planets are long-standing questions in the geological, planetary and astronomical sciences, with the discovery of extrasolar planetary systems placing even greater emphasis on these questions. Here we present simulations of the bulk compositions of simulated terrestrial planets in extrasolar planetary systems. These simulations incorporate both giant planet migration into the dynamical simulations and a variety of ices, clathrates and hydrates into the chemical modeling, providing us with a more inclusive view of extrasolar terrestrial planet formation. We find that a diverse range of extrasolar terrestrial planets are produced, ranging from bulk elemental compositions similar to that of Earth to those that are enriched in elements such as C and Si, producing planets with compositions unlike anything we have previously observed. Giant planet migration significantly alters the composition of the final terrestrial planet by redistributing material throughout the system. Simulated terrestrial planets produced within the migration simulations are found to contain larger amounts of Mg-silicate species and hydrous material. These variations in composition will greatly influence planetary processes such as plate tectonics, planetary interior structure and the primary atmospheric composition.

  14. Updated Review of Planetary Atmospheric Electricity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yair, Y.; Fischer, G.; Simões, F.; Renno, N.; Zarka, P.

    This paper reviews the progress achieved in planetary atmospheric electricity, with focus on lightning observations by present operational spacecraft, aiming to fill the hiatus from the latest review published by Desch et al. (Rep. Prog. Phys. 65:955-997, 2002). The information is organized according to solid surface bodies (Earth, Venus, Mars and Titan) and gaseous planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune), and each section presents the latest results from space-based and ground-based observations as well as laboratory experiments. Finally, we review planned future space missions to Earth and other planets that will address some of the existing gaps in our knowledge.

  15. Updated Review of Planetary Atmospheric Electricity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yair, Y.; Fischer, G.; Simões, F.; Renno, N.; Zarka, P.

    2008-06-01

    This paper reviews the progress achieved in planetary atmospheric electricity, with focus on lightning observations by present operational spacecraft, aiming to fill the hiatus from the latest review published by Desch et al. (Rep. Prog. Phys. 65:955 997, 2002). The information is organized according to solid surface bodies (Earth, Venus, Mars and Titan) and gaseous planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune), and each section presents the latest results from space-based and ground-based observations as well as laboratory experiments. Finally, we review planned future space missions to Earth and other planets that will address some of the existing gaps in our knowledge.

  16. Planetary Atmospheres and Evolution of Complex Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Catling, D.

    2014-04-01

    Let us define "complex life" as actively mobile organisms exceeding tens of centimeter size scale with specialized, differentiated anatomy comparable to advanced metazoans. Such organisms on any planet will need considerable energy for growth and metabolism, and an atmosphere is likely to play a key role. The history of life on Earth suggests that there were at least two major hurdles to overcome before complex life developed. The first was biological. Large, three-dimensional multicellular animals and plants are made only of eukaryotic cells, which are the only type that can develop into a large, diverse range of cell types unlike the cells of microbes. Exactly how eukaryotes allow 3D multicellularity and how they originated are matters of debate. But the internal structure and bigger and more modular genomes of eukaryotes are important factors. The second obstacle for complex life was having sufficient free, diatomic oxygen (O2). Aerobic metabolism provides about an order of magnitude more energy for a given intake of food than anaerobic metabolism, so anaerobes don't grow multicellular beyond filaments because of prohibitive growth efficiencies. A precursor to a 2.4 Ga rise of oxygen was the evolution of water-splitting, oxygen-producing photosynthesis. But although the atmosphere became oxidizing at 2.4 Ga, sufficient atmospheric O2 did not occur until about 0.6 Ga. Earth-system factors were involved including planetary outgassing (as affected by size and composition), hydrogen escape, and processing of organic carbon. An atmosphere rich in O2 provides the largest feasible energy source per electron transfer in the Periodic Table, which suggests that O2 would be important for complex life on exoplanets. But plentiful O2 is unusual in a planetary atmosphere because O2 is easily consumed in chemical reactions with reducing gases or surface materials. Even with aerobic metabolism, the partial pressure of O2 (pO2) must exceed ~10^3 Pa to allow organisms that rely on O2 diffusion to evolve to mm size. pO2 in the range ~10^3-10^4 Pa is needed to exceed the threshold of cm size for complex life with circulatory physiology. The timescale to reach pO2 ~10^4 Pa, or "oxygenation time", was long on the Earth (~3.9 billion years), within almost a factor of two of the Sun's main sequence lifetime. The oxygenation time could preclude complex life on rocky planets with prodigious reducing volatiles orbiting stars that end their main sequence lives before planetary oxygenation takes place. Conversely, Earth-like planets orbiting long-lived stars are potentially favorable places for complex life.

  17. Detection techniques for tenuous planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoenig, S. A.

    1971-01-01

    The development of new types of detectors for analysis of planetary atmospheres is discussed. Initially, the interest was in detectors for use under partial vacuum conditions. The program has been extended to include detectors for use at one atmosphere and adsorption system for control and separation of gases. Results to date have included detectors for O2 and H2 under partial vacuum conditions. Experiments on detectors for use at high pressures began in 1966, and systems for CO, H2, and O2, were reported. Electrically controlled adsorbent was developed. It was demonstrated that under proper conditions a thin film of semiconductor material could be electrically cycled to adsorb and desorb a specific gas. This work was extended to obtain quantitative data on the use of semiconductors as controllable adsorbents.

  18. Detection techniques for tenuous planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoenig, S. A.; Summerton, J. E.; Kirchner, J. D.; Allred, J. B.

    1974-01-01

    The development of new types of detectors for analysis of planetary atmospheres is discussed. Initially, the interest was in detectors for use under partial vacuum conditions; recently, the program has been extended to include detectors for use at one atmosphere and adsorption systems for control and separation of gases. Results to date have included detector for O2 and H2 under partial vacuum conditions. Experiments on detectors for use at high pressures began in 1966; and systems for CO, H2, and O2 were reported in 1967 and 1968. In 1968 studies began on an electrically controlled adsorbent. It was demonstrated that under proper conditions a thin film of semiconductor material could be electrically cycled to absorb and desorb a specific gas. This work was extended to obtain quantitative data on the use of semiconductors as controllable adsorbents.

  19. The Blue Dot Workshop: Spectroscopic Search for Life on Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Des Marais, David J. (Editor)

    1997-01-01

    This workshop explored the key questions and challenges associated with detecting life on an extrasolar planet. The final product will be a NASA Conference Publication which includes the abstracts from 21 talks, summaries of key findings, and recommendations for future research. The workshop included sessions on three related topics: the biogeochemistry of biogenic gases in the atmosphere, the chemistry and spectroscopy of planetary atmospheres, and the remote sensing of planetary atmospheres and surfaces. With the observation that planetary formation is probably a common phenomenon, together with the advent of the technical capability to locate and describe extrasolar planets, this research area indeed has an exciting future.

  20. Observations and Modeling of Tropical Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laraia, Anne

    2016-01-01

    This thesis is a comprised of three different projects within the topic of tropical atmospheric dynamics. First, I analyze observations of thermal radiation from Saturn's atmosphere and from them, determine the latitudinal distribution of ammonia vapor near the 1.5-bar pressure level. The most prominent feature of the observations is the high brightness temperature of Saturn's subtropical latitudes on either side of the equator. After comparing the observations to a microwave radiative transfer model, I find that these subtropical bands require very low ammonia relative humidity below the ammonia cloud layer in order to achieve the high brightness temperatures observed. We suggest that these bright subtropical bands represent dry zones created by a meridionally overturning circulation. Second, I use a dry atmospheric general circulation model to study equatorial superrotation in terrestrial atmospheres. A wide range of atmospheres are simulated by varying three parameters: the pole-equator radiative equilibrium temperature contrast, the convective lapse rate, and the planetary rotation rate. A scaling theory is developed that establishes conditions under which superrotation occurs in terrestrial atmospheres. The scaling arguments show that superrotation is favored when the off-equatorial baroclinicity and planetary rotation rates are low. Similarly, superrotation is favored when the convective heating strengthens, which may account for the superrotation seen in extreme global-warming simulations. Third, I use a moist slab-ocean general circulation model to study the impact of a zonally-symmetric continent on the distribution of monsoonal precipitation. I show that adding a hemispheric asymmetry in surface heat capacity is sufficient to cause symmetry breaking in both the spatial and temporal distribution of precipitation. This spatial symmetry breaking can be understood from a large-scale energetic perspective, while the temporal symmetry breaking requires consideration of the dynamical response to the heat capacity asymmetry and the seasonal cycle of insolation. Interestingly, the idealized monsoonal precipitation bears resemblance to precipitation in the Indian monsoon sector, suggesting that this work may provide insight into the causes of the temporally asymmetric distribution of precipitation over southeast Asia.

  1. Constraining Oxygen False Positives in Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harman, C. E.; Schottelkotte, J. C.; Kasting, J. F.

    2014-03-01

    Oxygen (O2) and ozone (O3) in the present Earth's atmosphere are byproducts of oxygenic photosynthesis coupled with organic carbon burial. On Earth, no known abiotic surface process would be able to generate such an atmosphere, and by extension, lifeless exoplanets are expected to be devoid of O2. As a result, molecular oxygen and ozone are often seen as convincing signposts for life. Recently, however, a number of authors have demonstrated the abiotic generation of molecular oxygen in a planetary atmosphere, either under oxidizing conditions (Hu et al., 2013) or around an M star (Tian et al., 2013). This èfalse positive', if verified, would remove oxygen and ozone from an already short list of easily detectable biosignatures. We explore oxygen false positives with our 1-D photochemical model, updated from Segura et al. (2007). Preliminary results show that if water vapor photolysis longward of ~200 nm is neglected, substantial amounts of CO and O2 can build up in the lower part of the atmosphere. Additionally, the ultimate fate of CO and O2 produced in such atmospheres is strongly dependent on the imposed lower boundary condition, with low depositional velocities corresponding to higher mixing ratios in the lower atmosphere. The deposition velocity of a gas depends on it dissolved concentration, however, and so one needs to consider the chemistry of these gases in solution. Ongoing work seeks to test the conclusions of Tian et al., (2013) by exploring this dependence on ocean chemistry and by including spectra from AD Leo (an active M-dwarf, used by Domagal-Goldman et al., (2011)) to compare with the M-dwarf spectra used by Tian et al.

  2. Galactic cosmic rays on extrasolar Earth-like planets. II. Atmospheric implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grießmeier, J.-M.; Tabataba-Vakili, F.; Stadelmann, A.; Grenfell, J. L.; Atri, D.

    2016-03-01

    Context. Theoretical arguments indicate that close-in terrestial exoplanets may have weak magnetic fields. As described in the companion article (Paper I), a weak magnetic field results in a high flux of galactic cosmic rays to the top of the planetary atmosphere. Aims: We investigate effects that may result from a high flux of galactic cosmic rays both throughout the atmosphere and at the planetary surface. Methods: Using an air shower approach, we calculate how the atmospheric chemistry and temperature change under the influence of galactic cosmic rays for Earth-like (N2-O2 dominated) atmospheres. We evaluate the production and destruction rate of atmospheric biosignature molecules. We derive planetary emission and transmission spectra to study the influence of galactic cosmic rays on biosignature detectability. We then calculate the resulting surface UV flux, the surface particle flux, and the associated equivalent biological dose rates. Results: We find that up to 20% of stratospheric ozone is destroyed by cosmic-ray protons. The effect on the planetary spectra, however, is negligible. The reduction of the planetary ozone layer leads to an increase in the weighted surface UV flux by two orders of magnitude under stellar UV flare conditions. The resulting biological effective dose rate is, however, too low to strongly affect surface life. We also examine the surface particle flux: For a planet with a terrestrial atmosphere (with a surface pressure of 1033 hPa), a reduction of the magnetic shielding efficiency can increase the biological radiation dose rate by a factor of two, which is non-critical for biological systems. For a planet with a weaker atmosphere (with a surface pressure of 97.8 hPa), the planetary magnetic field has a much stronger influence on the biological radiation dose, changing it by up to two orders of magnitude. Conclusions: For a planet with an Earth-like atmospheric pressure, weak or absent magnetospheric shielding against galactic cosmic rays has little effect on the planet. It has a modest effect on atmospheric ozone, a weak effect on the atmospheric spectra, and a non-critical effect on biological dose rates. For planets with a thin atmosphere, however, magnetospheric shielding controls the surface radiation dose and can prevent it from increasing to several hundred times the background level.

  3. Arctic Climate and Atmospheric Planetary Waves

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cavalieri, D. J.; Haekkinen, S.

    2000-01-01

    Analysis of a fifty-year record (1946-1995) of monthly-averaged sea level pressure data provides a link between the phases of planetary-scale sea level pressure waves and Arctic Ocean and ice variability. Results of this analysis show: (1) a breakdown of the dominant wave I pattern in the late 1960's, (2) shifts in the mean phase of waves 1 and 2 since this breakdown, (3) an eastward shift in the phases of both waves 1 and 2 during the years of simulated cyclonic Arctic Ocean circulation relative to their phases during the years of anticyclonic circulation, (4) a strong decadal variability of wave phase associated with simulated Arctic Ocean circulation changes. Finally, the Arctic atmospheric circulation patterns that emerge when waves 1 and 2 are in their extreme eastern and western positions suggest an alternative approach to determine significant forcing patterns of sea ice and high-latitude variability.

  4. Dynamical Simulations of Extrasolar Planetary Systems with Debris Disks Using a GPU Accelerated N-Body Code

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, Alexander

    This thesis begins with a description of a hybrid symplectic integrator named QYMSYM which is capable of planetary system simulations. This integrator has been programmed with the Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) language which allows for implementation on Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). With the enhanced compute performance made available by this choice, QYMSYM was used to study the effects debris disks have on the dynamics of the extrasolar planetary systems HR 8799 and KOI-730. The four planet system HR 8799 was chosen because it was known to have relatively small regions of stability in orbital phase space. Using this fact, it can be shown that a simulated debris disk of moderate mass around HR 8799 can easily pull this system out of these regions of stability. In other cases it is possible to migrate the system to a region of stability - although this requires significantly more mass and a degree of fine tuning. These findings suggest that previous studies on the stability of HR 8799 which do not include a debris disk may not accurately report on the size and location of the stable orbital phase space available for the planets. This insight also calls into question the practice of using dynamical simulations to help constrain observed planetary orbital data. Next, by studying the stability of another four planet system, KOI-730, whose planets are in an 8:6:4:3 mean motion resonance, we were additionally able to determine mass constraints on debris disks for KOI-730 like Kepler objects. Noting that planet inclinations increase by a couple of degrees when migrating through a Neptune mass debris disk, and that planet candidates discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope are along the line of site, it is concluded that significant planetary migration did not occur among the Kepler objects. This result indicates that Kepler objects like KOI-730 have relatively small or stable debris disks which did not cause migration of their planets - ruling out late-heavy bombardment style events. In both cases, the inclusion of debris disks in our simulations provided new results or useful constraints.

  5. AN ALUMINUM/CALCIUM-RICH, IRON-POOR, WHITE DWARF STAR: EVIDENCE FOR AN EXTRASOLAR PLANETARY LITHOSPHERE?

    SciTech Connect

    Zuckerman, B.; Klein, B.; Jura, M.; Koester, D.; Dufour, P.; Melis, Carl

    2011-10-01

    The presence of elements heavier than helium in white dwarf atmospheres is often a signpost for the existence of rocky objects that currently or previously orbited these stars. We have measured the abundances of various elements in the hydrogen-atmosphere white dwarfs G149-28 and NLTT 43806. In comparison with other white dwarfs with atmospheres polluted by heavy elements, NLTT 43806 is substantially enriched in aluminum but relatively poor in iron. We compare the relative abundances of Al and eight other heavy elements seen in NLTT 43806 with the elemental composition of bulk Earth, with simulated extrasolar rocky planets, with solar system meteorites, with the atmospheric compositions of other polluted white dwarfs, and with the outer layers of the Moon and Earth. The best agreement is found with a model that involves accretion of a mixture of terrestrial crust and upper mantle material onto NLTT 43806. The implication is that NLTT 43806 is orbited by a differentiated rocky planet, perhaps quite similar to Earth, that has suffered a collision that stripped away some of its outer layers.

  6. A theoretical framework for volcanic degassing chemistry in a comparative planetology perspective and implications for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gaillard, Fabrice; Scaillet, Bruno

    2014-10-01

    Magmatic degassing is ubiquitous and enduring, yet its impact on both planetary surficial chemistry and how it may have varied among planetary systems remains imprecise. A large number of factors are likely to be involved in the control of magmatic gas compositions, leading roles being given to the redox state and volatile abundances in planetary interiors, and the fate of the latter during mantle melting. We however show that the pressure at which degassing occurs, that is the atmospheric pressure in most sensible cases, has a prime influence on the composition of subaerial volcanic gases on planets: high surface pressure produces N2- and CO2-rich and dry volcanic gases, while low pressure promotes sulfur-rich gases. In-between, atmospheric pressures close to 1 bar trigger volcanic gases dominated by H2O. This simple pattern broadly mirrors the atmospheres of Venus-Earth-Mars-Io planetary suite and constitutes benchmarks for the prediction and interpretation of atmospheric features of extra-solar planets. Volatile abundances within the planetary body interiors also matter but they play a secondary role. Furthermore, our analysis shows that any difference in redox conditions prevailing during partial melting tends to disappear with the degassing process itself, converging toward a unique - planetary oxygen fugacity - at the venting pressure. A feedback relationship between volcanic gas compositions and atmospheric pressure implies a runaway drying during atmospheric growth; that is volcanic gases must become CO2 richer as the atmospheric mass increases. This may explain some features of the Venusian atmosphere. On Earth, impact ejection of the atmosphere and CO2-sink mechanisms, such as carbonate precipitation and plate tectonics, must have decreased atmospheric pressure allowing the reestablishment of water-rich volcanic gases.

  7. Abundances of isotopes in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Owen, T.

    1978-01-01

    Carbon and oxygen isotopes show no large anomalies on Venus (no more than 10-15%) or Mars (less than 5%); the high value of N-15/N-14 found on Mars is explained by nonthermal escape of nitrogen. The isotopes of nonradiogenic noble gases in the atmosphere of Mars exhibit abundance patterns similar to those in the primordial component of meteoritic gases and in the earth's atmosphere. This implies that gas fractionation took place in the inner solar nebula prior to planet formation. The relatively high value of Xe-129 on Mars emphasizes its deficiency on earth, implying a difference in accretion histories of volatiles for the two planets. In the outer solar system, normal isotope ratios for nitrogen and carbon on Jupiter, and for carbon on Saturn are found, but precision is low (+ or - 15% at best). Controversy exists about the correct value of D/H, with current estimates ranging from 2.3 plus or minus 1.1 to 5.1 plus or - 0.7 times 10 to the minus 5th. Planetary missions planned for the next few years should add considerably to the quantity and quality of these data.

  8. The Presence of Methane in the Atmosphere of an Extrasolar Planet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Swain, Mark R.; Vasisht, Gautam; Tinetti, Giovanna

    2008-01-01

    Molecules present in the atmospheres of extrasolar planets are expected to influence strongly the balance of atmospheric radiation, to trace dynamical and chemical processes, and to indicate the presence of disequilibrium effects. As molecules have the potential to reveal atmospheric conditions and chemistry, searching for them is a high priority. The rotational-vibrational transition bands of water, carbon monoxide and methane are anticipated to be the primary sources of non-continuum opacity in hot-Jupiter planets. As these bands can overlap in wavelength, and the corresponding signatures from them are weak, decisive identification requires precision infrared spectroscopy. Here we report a near-infrared transmission spectrum of the planet HD 189733b that shows the presence of methane. Additionally, a resolved water vapour band at 1.9 (micro)m confirms the recent claim4 of water in this object. On thermochemical grounds, carbon monoxide is expected to be abundant in the upper atmosphere of hot-Jupiter planets, but is not identifiable here; therefore the detection of methane rather than carbon monoxide in such a hot planet could signal the presence of a horizontal chemical gradient away from the permanent dayside, or it may imply an ill-understood photochemical mechanism that leads to an enhancement of methane.

  9. Insights into Planet Formation from Debris Disks - II. Giant Impacts in Extrasolar Planetary Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wyatt, Mark C.; Jackson, Alan P.

    2016-03-01

    Giant impacts refer to collisions between two objects each of which is massive enough to be considered at least a planetary embryo. The putative collision suffered by the proto-Earth that created the Moon is a prime example, though most Solar System bodies bear signatures of such collisions. Current planet formation models predict that an epoch of giant impacts may be inevitable, and observations of debris around other stars are providing mounting evidence that giant impacts feature in the evolution of many planetary systems. This chapter reviews giant impacts, focussing on what we can learn about planet formation by studying debris around other stars. Giant impact debris evolves through mutual collisions and dynamical interactions with planets. General aspects of this evolution are outlined, noting the importance of the collision-point geometry. The detectability of the debris is discussed using the example of the Moon-forming impact. Such debris could be detectable around another star up to 10 Myr post-impact, but model uncertainties could reduce detectability to a few 100 yr window. Nevertheless the 3 % of young stars with debris at levels expected during terrestrial planet formation provide valuable constraints on formation models; implications for super-Earth formation are also discussed. Variability recently observed in some bright disks promises to illuminate the evolution during the earliest phases when vapour condensates may be optically thick and acutely affected by the collision-point geometry. The outer reaches of planetary systems may also exhibit signatures of giant impacts, such as the clumpy debris structures seen around some stars.

  10. Meteoric Material: An Important Component of Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grebowsky, Joseph M.; Moses, Julianne I.; Pesnell, W. Dean; Vondrak, Richard R. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) interact with all planetary atmospheres and leave their imprint as perturbations of the background atmospheric chemistry and structure. They lead to layers of metal ions that can become the dominant positively charged species in lower ionospheric regions. Theoretical models and radio occultation measurements provide compelling evidence that such layers exist in all planetary atmospheres. In addition IDP ablation products can affect neutral atmospheric chemistry, particularly at the outer planets where the IDPs supply oxygen compounds like water and carbon dioxide to the upper atmospheres. Aerosol or smoke particles from incomplete ablation or recondensation of ablated IDP vapors may also have a significant impact on atmospheric properties.

  11. Planetary Atmosphere Dynamics and Radiative Transfer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Atkinson, David H.

    1996-01-01

    This research program has dealt with two projects in the field of planetary atmosphere dynamics and radiative energy transfer, one theoretical and one experimental. The first project, in radiative energy transfer, incorporated the capability to isolate and quantify the contribution of individual atmospheric components to the Venus radiative balance and thermal structure to greatly improve the current understanding of the radiative processes occurring within the Venus atmosphere. This is possible by varying the mixing ratios of each gas species, and the location, number density and aerosol size distributions of the clouds. This project was a continuation of the work initiated under a 1992 University Consortium Agreement. Under the just completed grant, work has continued on the use of a convolution-based algorithm that provided the capability to calculate the k coefficients of a gas mixture at different temperatures, pressures and spectral intervals from the separate k-distributions of the individual gas species. The second primary goal of this research dealt with the Doppler wind retrieval for the Successful Galileo Jupiter probe mission in December, 1995. In anticipation of the arrival of Galileo at Jupiter, software development continued to read the radioscience and probe/orbiter trajectory data provided by the Galileo project and required for Jupiter zonal wind measurements. Sample experiment radioscience data records and probe/orbiter trajectory data files provided by the Galileo Radioscience and Navigation teams at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, respectively, were used for the first phase of the software development. The software to read the necessary data records was completed in 1995. The procedure by which the wind retrieval takes place begins with initial consistency checks of the raw data, preliminary data reductions, wind recoveries, iterative reconstruction of the probe descent profile, and refined wind recoveries. At each stage of the wind recovery consistency is checked and maintained between the orbiter navigational data, the radioscience data, and the probe descent profile derived by the Atmospheric Instrument Team. Preliminary results show that the zonal winds at Jupiter increase with depth to approximately 150 m/s.

  12. Extra-solar planetary systems. III - Potential sites for the origin and evolution of technical civilisations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fogg, M. J.

    1986-07-01

    A series of runs of the Silicon Creation' computer model developed by Fogg (1985) has been analyzed in order to evaluate the probable abundance of planets possessing suitable conditions for the evolution of technologically adept forms of life. The evolutionary simulation encompassed 100,000 disk stars of varying mass, metallicity, and age, and focused on civilizations that may have come into existence on planets over the past 10 to the 10th years of planetary disk history. The frequency of such sites is determined to be 0.00292, and the frequency of planets developing a technological civilization is 0.00009; these figures are two orders of magnitude lower than the most optimistic manipulations of the Drake equation, but not low enough to resolve the Fermi paradox, according to which an alien civilization, if existent, should long ago have colonized the entire Galaxy.

  13. Cloudless Atmospheres for L/T Dwarfs and Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tremblin, P.; Amundsen, D. S.; Chabrier, G.; Baraffe, I.; Drummond, B.; Hinkley, S.; Mourier, P.; Venot, O.

    2016-01-01

    The admitted, conventional scenario to explain the complex spectral evolution of brown dwarfs (BDs) since their first detection 20 years ago has always been the key role played by micron-size condensates, called "dust" or "clouds," in their atmosphere. This scenario, however, faces major problems, in particular the J-band brightening and the resurgence of FeH absorption at the L to T transition, and a physical first-principle understanding of this transition is lacking. In this Letter, we propose a new, completely different explanation for BD and extrasolar giant planet (EGP) spectral evolution, without the need to invoke clouds. We show that, due to the slowness of the CO/ CH4 and N2/NH3 chemical reactions, brown dwarf (L and T, respectively) and EGP atmospheres are subject to a thermo-chemical instability similar in nature to the fingering or chemical convective instability present in Earth oceans and at the Earth core/mantle boundary. The induced small-scale turbulent energy transport reduces the temperature gradient in the atmosphere, explaining the observed increase in near-infrared J-H and J-K colors of L dwarfs and hot EGPs, while a warming up of the deep atmosphere along the L to T transition, as the CO/CH4 instability vanishes, naturally solves the two aforementioned puzzles, and provides a physical explanation of the L to T transition. This new picture leads to a drastic revision of our understanding of BD and EGP atmospheres and their evolution.

  14. Cloudless Atmospheres for L/T Dwarfs and Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tremblin, P.; Amundsen, D. S.; Chabrier, G.; Baraffe, I.; Drummond, B.; Hinkley, S.; Mourier, P.; Venot, O.

    2016-02-01

    The admitted, conventional scenario to explain the complex spectral evolution of brown dwarfs (BDs) since their first detection 20 years ago has always been the key role played by micron-size condensates, called “dust” or “clouds,” in their atmosphere. This scenario, however, faces major problems, in particular the J-band brightening and the resurgence of FeH absorption at the L to T transition, and a physical first-principle understanding of this transition is lacking. In this Letter, we propose a new, completely different explanation for BD and extrasolar giant planet (EGP) spectral evolution, without the need to invoke clouds. We show that, due to the slowness of the CO/CH4 and N2/NH3 chemical reactions, brown dwarf (L and T, respectively) and EGP atmospheres are subject to a thermo-chemical instability similar in nature to the fingering or chemical convective instability present in Earth oceans and at the Earth core/mantle boundary. The induced small-scale turbulent energy transport reduces the temperature gradient in the atmosphere, explaining the observed increase in near-infrared J-H and J-K colors of L dwarfs and hot EGPs, while a warming up of the deep atmosphere along the L to T transition, as the CO/CH4 instability vanishes, naturally solves the two aforementioned puzzles, and provides a physical explanation of the L to T transition. This new picture leads to a drastic revision of our understanding of BD and EGP atmospheres and their evolution.

  15. Diversity and Origin of 2:1 Orbital Resonances in Extrasolar Planetary Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, M. H.; Peale, S. J.

    2003-08-01

    The 2:1 orbital resonances of the two planets about GJ 876 can be easily established by the differential migration of the orbits due to planet-disk interactions. A wide variety of stable 2:1 resonance configurations can be reached by differential migration of planets on initially coplanar and nearly circular orbits. These include configurations with librations of θ 1 = λ 1 - 2λ 2 + ϖ1 (where λ i and ϖi are the mean longitudes and the longitudes of periapse) about 0o and θ 2 = λ 1 - 2λ 2 + ϖ2 about 180o (as in the Io-Europa pair), configurations with librations of both θ 1 and θ 2 about 0o (as in the GJ 876 system), and configurations with asymmetric librations of θ 1 and θ 2 tens of degrees from either 0o or 180o. There are however stable resonance configurations with symmetric or asymmetric librations that cannot be reached by capture into resonances by coplanar differential migration. A particular example is the θ 1 = 180o and θ 2 = 0o configuration with planets on intersecting orbits. If real systems with these configurations are ever found, their origin would require either a migration scenario involving inclination resonances or multiple-planet scattering in crowded planetary systems.

  16. Planetary Formation: From the Earth and Moon to Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    1999-01-01

    An overview of current theories of star and planet formation is presented. These models are based upon observations of the Solar System and of young stars and their environments. They predict that rocky planets should form around most single stars, although it is possible that in some cases such planets are lost to orbital decay within the protoplanetary disk. The frequency of formation of gas giant planets is more difficult to predict theoretically. Terrestrial planets are believed to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. Giant planets begin their growth like terrestrial planets, but they become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk dissipates. Specific issues to be discussed include: (1) how large a solid core is needed to initiate rapid accumulation of gas? (2) can giant planets form very close to stars? (3) could a giant impact leading to lunar formation have occurred approximately 100 million years after the condensation of the oldest meteorites?

  17. Planetary Formation: From the Earth and Moon to Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack J.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    1999-01-01

    An overview of current theories of star and planet formation is presented. These models are based upon observations of the Solar System and of young stars and their environments. They predict that rocky planets should form around most single stars, although it is possible that in some cases-such planets are lost to orbital decay within the protoplanetary disk. The frequency of formation of gas giant planets is more difficult to predict theoretically. Terrestrial planets are believed to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. Giant planets begin their growth like terrestrial planets, but they become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk dissipates. Specific issues to be discussed include: (1) how large a solid core is needed to initiate rapid accumulation of gas? (2) can giant planets form very close to stars? (3) could a giant impact leading to lunar formation have occurred approx. 100 million years after the condensation of the oldest meteorites?

  18. Atmospheric planetary-wave response to external forcing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stevens, D. E.; Reiter, E. R.

    1983-01-01

    A summary of the progress report is given, covering the following areas: atmospheric circulation, planetary waves, adaption of the model to the Cyber 205, continental heat flux anomalies, and nonlinear evolution of inertial instabilities in the tropics.

  19. Astronomical, physical, and meteorological parameters for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allison, Michael; Travis, Larry D.

    1986-01-01

    A newly compiled table of astronomical, physical, and meteorological parameters for planetary atmospheres is presented. Formulae and explanatory notes for their application and a complete listing of sources are also given.

  20. Diversity and Origin of 2:1 Orbital Resonances in Extrasolar Planetary Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, M. H.; Peale, S. J.

    2003-12-01

    The 2:1 orbital resonances of the two planets about GJ 876 can be easily established by the differential migration of the planets due to planet-disk interactions. A wide variety of stable 2:1 resonance configurations can be reached by differential migration of planets with constant masses and initially coplanar and nearly circular orbits. These include configurations with librations of θ 1 = λ 1 - 2λ 2 + ϖ1 (where λ i and ϖi are the mean longitudes and the longitudes of periapse) about 0o and θ 2 = λ 1 - 2λ 2 + ϖ2 about 180o (as in the Io-Europa pair), configurations with librations of both θ 1 and θ 2 about 0o (as in the GJ 876 system), and configurations with asymmetric librations of θ 1 and θ 2 tens of degrees from either 0o or 180o. There are, however, stable resonance configurations with symmetric (θ 1 ≈ θ 2 ≈ 0o), anti-symmetric (θ 1 ≈ 180o and θ 2 ≈ 0o), and asymmetric librations that cannot be reached by differential migration of planets with constant masses and initially coplanar and nearly circular orbits. If real systems with these configurations are ever found, their origin would require (1) a change in the mass ratio m1/m_2 during migration, (2) multiple-planet scattering in crowded planetary systems (Adams & Laughlin 2003), or (3) a migration scenario involving inclination resonances (Thommes & Lissauer 2003). The θ 1 ≈ 180o and θ 2 ≈ 0o configuration can only be reached by the latter two mechanisms.

  1. Chemical Characterization of Extrasolar Super-Earths - Interiors, Atmospheres, and Formation Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Madhusudhan, Nikku; Lee, K.; Uts, I.; Mousis, O.

    2013-01-01

    Recent observations are allowing unprecedented measurements of masses and radii of low-mass transiting extrasolar planets, particularly super-Earths which are defined as planets with masses between 1 and 10 Earth masses. The observed masses, radii, and temperatures of super-Earths provide constraints on their interior structures, geophysical conditions, as well as their atmospheric compositions. Some of the most recently detected super-Earths span a wide gamut of possible compositions, from super-Mercuries and lava planets to water worlds with thick volatile envelopes. In this work, we report joint constraints on the interior and atmospheric compositions of several super-Earths and discuss their possible formation scenarios using new and comprehensive hybrid models of their interiors, non-gray atmospheres, and formation conditions. Our model constraints are based on the masses and visible radii, as well as the latest infrared measurements of transmission and emission spectrophotometry where available, in addition to revised estimates of the stellar parameters. We will present a comparative analysis of several transiting super-Earths currently known and will discuss in detail two super-Earths (GJ 1214b and 55 Cancri e) which have atmospheric data available and which represent two distinct end members in the thermo-chemical phase space of super-Earth conditions. We will also discuss the implications of our results for the diversity of geochemical and geophysical conditions on super-Earths. We will conclude with comments on new observational, theoretical, and experimental efforts that are critical to detailed characterization of super-Earths.

  2. Vibrational-Rotational Spectroscopy For Planetary Atmospheres, volume 1

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mumma, M. J. (Editor); Fox, K. (Editor); Hornstein, J. (Editor)

    1982-01-01

    Comprehensive information on the composition and dynamics of the varied planetary atmospheres is summarized. New observations resulted in new demands for supporting laboratory studies. Spectra observed from spacecraft used to interpret planetary atmospheric structure measurements, to aid in greenhouse and cloud physics calculations, and to plan future experiments are discussed. Current findings and new ideas of physicists, chemists, and planetry astronomers relating to the knowledge of the structure of things large and small, of planets and of molecules are summarized.

  3. First International Conference on Laboratory Research for Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fox, Kenneth (Editor); Allen, John E., Jr. (Editor); Stief, Louis J. (Editor); Quillen, Diana T. (Editor)

    1990-01-01

    Proceedings of the First International Conference on Laboratory Research for Planetary Atmospheres are presented. The covered areas of research include: photon spectroscopy, chemical kinetics, thermodynamics, and charged particle interactions. This report contains the 12 invited papers, 27 contributed poster papers, and 5 plenary review papers presented at the conference. A list of attendees and a reprint of the Report of the Subgroup on Strategies for Planetary Atmospheres Exploration (SPASE) are provided in two appendices.

  4. Aerosols and chemistry in the planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Xi

    This dissertation is devoted to studying aerosols and their roles in regulating chemistry, radiation, and dynamics of planetary atmospheres. In chapter I, we provided a fundamental mathematical basis for the quasi-equilibrium growth assumption, a well-accepted approach to representing formation of secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) in microphysical simulations in the Earth's atmosphere. Our analytical work not only explains the quasi-equilibrium growth, which emerges as a limiting case in our theory, but also predicts the other types of condensational growth, confirmed by the recent laboratory and field experiments. In chapter II, we presented a new photochemical mechanism in which the evaporation of the aerosols composed of sulfuric acid or polysulfur on the nightside of Venus could provide a sulfur source above 90 km. Our model results imply the enhancements of sulfur oxides such as SO, SO2, and SO3. This is inconsistent with the previous model results but in agreement with the recent ground-based and spacecraft observations. In chapters III and IV, we developed a nonlinear optimization approach to retrieve the aerosol and cloud structure on Jupiter from the visible and ultraviolet images acquired by the Cassini spacecraft, combined with the ground-based near-infrared observations. We produced the first realistic spatial distribution of Jovian stratospheric aerosols in latitudes and altitudes. We also retrieved the stratospheric temperature and hydrocarbon species based on the mid-infrared spectra from the Cassini and Voyager spacecrafts. Based on the above information, the accurate and detailed maps of the instantaneous radiative forcing in Jovian stratosphere are obtained, revealing a significant heating effect from the polar dark aerosols in the high latitude region and therefore a strong modulation on the global meridional circulation in the stratosphere of Jupiter. In chapter V, we study the transport of passive tracers, such as aerosols, acetylene (C2H 2) and ethane (C2H6) in the Jovian stratosphere, using both analytical and numerical approaches. We established several benchmark analytical solutions for the coupled photochemical-advective-diffusive system to understand its basic behaviors under different assumptions. A numerical two-dimensional chemical transport model is applied to Jupiter, and the effects of eddy mixing process and meridional circulation on the distributions of stratospheric species are discussed.

  5. Infrared experiments for spaceborne planetary atmospheres research. Full report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1981-01-01

    The role of infrared sensing in atmospheric science is discussed and existing infrared measurement techniques are reviewed. Proposed techniques for measuring planetary atmospheres are criticized and recommended instrument developments for spaceborne investigations are summarized for the following phenomena: global and local radiative budget; radiative flux profiles; winds; temperature; pressure; transient and marginal atmospheres; planetary rotation and global atmospheric activity; abundances of stable constituents; vertical, lateral, and temporal distribution of abundances; composition of clouds and aerosols; radiative properties of clouds and aerosols; cloud microstructure; cloud macrostructure; and non-LTE phenomena.

  6. Comparative Characterization of Extrasolar Super-Earths - Interiors, Atmospheres, and Formation Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Madhusudhan, N.; Lee, K. K.; Mousis, O.

    2012-12-01

    Recent astronomical observations are allowing unprecedented measurements of masses and radii of low-mass transiting extrasolar planets, particularly super-Earths. Defined as planets with masses less than 10 Earth masses, super-Earths are expected to be the closest analogues to terrestrial planets in the solar system that are currently detectable around other stars. The observed masses, radii, and temperatures of super-Earths provide constraints on their interior structures, geophysical conditions, as well as their atmospheric compositions. Some of the most recently detected super-Earths span a wide gamut of possible compositions, from super-Mercuries and lava planets to water worlds with thick gaseous envelopes. In this work, we report joint constraints on the interior and atmospheric compositions of several super-Earths and discuss their possible formation scenarios using comprehensive models of their interiors, non-gray atmospheres, and formation conditions. Our model constraints are based on the sum-total of latest multi-wavelength measurements of transmission spectro-photometry, as well as observations of thermal emission where available. We will present a comparative analysis of all the transiting super-Earths currently known, including the Kepler planets, CoRoT-7b, and the two super-Earths with the most data, GJ 1214b and 55 Cancri e. We will discuss new observations on the horizon, and new theoretical and experimental work that will be critical to the characterization of super-Earths in the coming years. We will conclude with the geophysical implications of our results for different planets.

  7. A systematic retrieval analysis of secondary eclipse spectra. III. Diagnosing chemical disequilibrium in planetary atmospheres

    SciTech Connect

    Line, Michael R.; Yung, Yuk L.

    2013-12-10

    Chemical disequilibrium has recently become a relevant topic in the study of the atmospheres of transiting extrasolar planets, brown dwarfs, and directly imaged exoplanets. We present a new way of assessing whether or not a Jovian-like atmosphere is in chemical disequilibrium from observations of detectable or inferred gases such as H{sub 2}O, CH{sub 4}, CO, and H{sub 2}. Our hypothesis, based on previous kinetic modeling studies, is that cooler atmospheres will show stronger signs of disequilibrium than hotter atmospheres. We verify this with chemistry-transport models and show that planets with temperatures less than ∼1200 K are likely to show the strongest signs of disequilibrium due to the vertical quenching of CO, and that our new approach is able to capture this process. We also find that in certain instances a planetary composition may appear in equilibrium when it actually is not due to the degeneracy in the shape of the vertical mixing ratio profiles. We determine the state of disequilibrium in eight exoplanets using the results from secondary eclipse temperature and abundance retrievals. We find that all of the planets in our sample are consistent with thermochemical equilibrium to within 3σ. Future observations are needed to further constrain the abundances in order to definitively identify disequilibrium in exoplanet atmospheres.

  8. MEP and planetary climates: insights from a two-box climate model containing atmospheric dynamics.

    PubMed

    Jupp, Tim E; Cox, Peter M

    2010-05-12

    A two-box model for equator-to-pole planetary heat transport is extended to include simple atmospheric dynamics. The surface drag coefficient CD is treated as a free parameter and solutions are calculated analytically in terms of the dimensionless planetary parameters eta (atmospheric thickness), omega (rotation rate) and xi (advective capability). Solutions corresponding to maximum entropy production (MEP) are compared with solutions previously obtained from dynamically unconstrained two-box models. As long as the advective capability xi is sufficiently large, dynamically constrained MEP solutions are identical to dynamically unconstrained MEP solutions. Consequently, the addition of a dynamical constraint does not alter the previously obtained MEP results for Earth, Mars and Titan, and an analogous result is presented here for Venus. The rate of entropy production in an MEP state is shown to be independent of rotation rate if the advective capability xi is sufficiently large (as for the four examples in the solar system), or if the rotation rate omega is sufficiently small. The model indicates, however, that the dynamical constraint does influence the MEP state when xi is small, which might be the case for some extrasolar planets. Finally, results from the model developed here are compared with previous numerical simulations in which the effect of varying surface drag coefficient on entropy production was calculated. PMID:20368254

  9. MEP and planetary climates: insights from a two-box climate model containing atmospheric dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Jupp, Tim E.; Cox, Peter M.

    2010-01-01

    A two-box model for equator-to-pole planetary heat transport is extended to include simple atmospheric dynamics. The surface drag coefficient CD is treated as a free parameter and solutions are calculated analytically in terms of the dimensionless planetary parameters η (atmospheric thickness), ω (rotation rate) and ξ (advective capability). Solutions corresponding to maximum entropy production (MEP) are compared with solutions previously obtained from dynamically unconstrained two-box models. As long as the advective capability ξ is sufficiently large, dynamically constrained MEP solutions are identical to dynamically unconstrained MEP solutions. Consequently, the addition of a dynamical constraint does not alter the previously obtained MEP results for Earth, Mars and Titan, and an analogous result is presented here for Venus. The rate of entropy production in an MEP state is shown to be independent of rotation rate if the advective capability ξ is sufficiently large (as for the four examples in the solar system), or if the rotation rate ω is sufficiently small. The model indicates, however, that the dynamical constraint does influence the MEP state when ξ is small, which might be the case for some extrasolar planets. Finally, results from the model developed here are compared with previous numerical simulations in which the effect of varying surface drag coefficient on entropy production was calculated. PMID:20368254

  10. Planetary Research Center. [astronomical photography of planetary surfaces and atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baum, W. A.; Millis, R. L.; Bowell, E. L. G.

    1974-01-01

    Extensive Earth-based photography of Mars, Jupiter, and Venus is presented which monitors the atmospheric and/or surface changes that take place day to day. Color pictures are included of the 1973 dust storm on Mars, showing the daily cycle of the storm's regeneration. Martian topography, and the progress of the storm is examined. Areas most affected by the storm are summarized.

  11. Electrodynamics on extrasolar giant planets

    SciTech Connect

    Koskinen, T. T.; Yelle, R. V.; Lavvas, P.; Cho, J. Y-K.

    2014-11-20

    Strong ionization on close-in extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) suggests that their atmospheres may be affected by ion drag and resistive heating arising from wind-driven electrodynamics. Recent models of ion drag on these planets, however, are based on thermal ionization only and do not include the upper atmosphere above the 1 mbar level. These models are also based on simplified equations of resistive magnetohydrodynamics that are not always valid in extrasolar planet atmospheres. We show that photoionization dominates over thermal ionization over much of the dayside atmosphere above the 100 mbar level, creating an upper ionosphere dominated by ionization of H and He and a lower ionosphere dominated by ionization of metals such as Na, K, and Mg. The resulting dayside electron densities on close-in exoplanets are higher than those encountered in any planetary ionosphere of the solar system, and the conductivities are comparable to the chromosphere of the Sun. Based on these results and assumed magnetic fields, we constrain the conductivity regimes on close-in EGPs and use a generalized Ohm's law to study the basic effects of electrodynamics in their atmospheres. We find that ion drag is important above the 10 mbar level where it can also significantly alter the energy balance through resistive heating. Due to frequent collisions of the electrons and ions with the neutral atmosphere, however, ion drag is largely negligible in the lower atmosphere below the 10 mbar level for a reasonable range of planetary magnetic moments. We find that the atmospheric conductivity decreases by several orders of magnitude in the night side of tidally locked planets, leading to a potentially interesting large-scale dichotomy in electrodynamics between the day and night sides. A combined approach that relies on UV observations of the upper atmosphere, phase curve and Doppler measurements of global dynamics, and visual transit observations to probe the alkali metals can potentially be used to constrain electrodynamics in the future.

  12. Infrared experiments for spaceborne planetary atmospheres research. Executive summary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1981-01-01

    The role of 0.5 to 300 micron remote sensing in planetary atmospheres exploration was evaluated by examining a broad range of measurement techniques including quantitative intercomparisons of existing and planned instruments by the phenomenological method. Key areas of infrared instrumentation requiring development for the investigations of atmospheres were identified.

  13. Time-dependent simulations of disk-embedded planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stökl, A.; Dorfi, E. A.

    2014-03-01

    At the early stages of evolution of planetary systems, young Earth-like planets still embedded in the protoplanetary disk accumulate disk gas gravitationally into planetary atmospheres. The established way to study such atmospheres are hydrostatic models, even though in many cases the assumption of stationarity is unlikely to be fulfilled. Furthermore, such models rely on the specification of a planetary luminosity, attributed to a continuous, highly uncertain accretion of planetesimals onto the surface of the solid core. We present for the first time time-dependent, dynamic simulations of the accretion of nebula gas into an atmosphere around a proto-planet and the evolution of such embedded atmospheres while integrating the thermal energy budget of the solid core. The spherical symmetric models computed with the TAPIR-Code (short for The adaptive, implicit RHD-Code) range from the surface of the rocky core up to the Hill radius where the surrounding protoplanetary disk provides the boundary conditions. The TAPIR-Code includes the hydrodynamics equations, gray radiative transport and convective energy transport. The results indicate that diskembedded planetary atmospheres evolve along comparatively simple outlines and in particular settle, dependent on the mass of the solid core, at characteristic surface temperatures and planetary luminosities, quite independent on numerical parameters and initial conditions. For sufficiently massive cores, this evolution ultimately also leads to runaway accretion and the formation of a gas planet.

  14. A New Perspective on Trapped Radiation Belts in Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Diaz, A.; Lodhi, M. A. K.; Wilson, T. L.

    2005-01-01

    The charged particle fluxes trapped in the magnetic dipole fields of certain planets in our Solar System are interesting signatures of planetary properties in space physics. They also represent a source of potentially hazardous radiation to spacecraft during planetary and interplanetary exploration. The Earth s trapped radiation belts have been studied for years and the physical mechanisms by which primary radiation from the Sun and Galaxy is captured is well understood. The higher-energy particles collide with molecules in the planetary atmosphere and initiate large cascades of secondary radiation which itself becomes trapped by the magnetic dipole field of the planet. Some of it is even backscattered as albedo neutrons.

  15. Planetary Atmospheres and the Search for Life.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Owen, Tobias

    1982-01-01

    Different ways in which the atmospheres of different planets have originated and evolved are discussed. Includes tables on the atmospheric composition of: (1) Earth; (2) Mars; (3) Venus; (4)Titan (Saturn's Satellite); and (5) the outer planets. (SK)

  16. NASA Planetary Astronomy Lunar Atmospheric Imaging Study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stern, S. Alan

    1996-01-01

    Authors have conducted a program of research focused on studies of the lunar atmosphere. Also present preliminary results of an ongoing effort to determine the degree that metal abundances in the lunar atmosphere are stoichiometric, that is, reflective of the lunar surface composition. We make the first-ever mid-ultraviolet spectroscopic search for emission from the lunar atmosphere.

  17. Scientific program in planetary atmospheric studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Broadfoot, A. L.

    1983-01-01

    The Voyager encounters with Jupiter led to two main areas of investigation: (1) the definition of the structure and composition of the upper atmosphere and the interaction of the magnetosphere and atmosphere, and (2) the study of the plasma torus using the EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) data in conjunction with ground-based and in-situ measurements. In the course of these investigations, the atmosphere studies were extended to a comparative study with the bound atmospheres of Saturn and Titan; and the torus study expanded to include the extended atmospheres of Titan (the H torus) and the rings of Saturn.

  18. Planetary Radio Interferometry and Doppler Experiment (PRIDE) for Planetary Atmospheric Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bocanegra Bahamon, Tatiana; Cimo, Giuseppe; Duev, Dmitry; Gurvits, Leonid; Molera Calves, Guifre; Pogrebenko, Sergei

    2015-04-01

    The Planetary Radio Interferometry and Doppler Experiment (PRIDE) is a technique that allows the determination of the radial velocity and lateral coordinates of planetary spacecraft with very high accuracy (Duev, 2012). The setup of the experiment consists of several ground stations from the European VLBI Network (EVN) located around the globe, which simultaneously perform Doppler tracking of a spacecraft carrier radio signal, and are subsequently processed in a VLBI-style in phase referencing mode. Because of the accurate examination of the changes in phase and amplitude of the radio signal propagating from the spacecraft to the multiple stations on Earth, the PRIDE technique can be used for several fields of planetary research, among which planetary atmospheric studies, gravimetry and ultra-precise celestial mechanics of planetary systems. In the study at hand the application of this technique for planetary atmospheric investigations is demonstrated. As a test case, radio occultation experiments were conducted with PRIDE having as target ESA's Venus Express, during different observing sessions with multiple ground stations in April 2012 and March 2014. Once each of the stations conducts the observation, the raw data is delivered to the correlation center at the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE) located in the Netherlands. The signals are processed with a high spectral resolution and phase detection software package from which Doppler observables of each station are derived. Subsequently the Doppler corrected signals are correlated to derive the VLBI observables. These two sets of observables are used for precise orbit determination. The reconstructed orbit along with the Doppler observables are used as input for the radio occultation processing software, which consists of mainly two modules, the geometrical optics module and the ray tracing inversion module, from which vertical density profiles, and subsequently, temperature and pressure profiles of Venus' atmosphere were derived. The demonstration of the capability of PRIDE as a radio science instrument for planetary atmospheric studies is developed in the framework of the upcoming ESA's JUICE mission to study Jupiter's system.

  19. Modeling Planetary Waves in the Middle Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mengel, J. G.; Mayr, H. G.; Chan, K. L.; Porter, H. C.; Einaudi, Franco (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    In our 3D Numerical Spectral Model (NSM) that incorporates the Doppler Spread Parameterization of Hines, planetary waves are generated with zonal wavenumbers 1-4 that have amplitudes as large as 25 m/s and periods between 50 and 2 days. The waves are generated spontaneously, i.e., without external source, and presumably represent normal modes. Numerical experiments are discussed to shed light on the generation mechanisms. For the wavenumbers 1 and 2 with periods primarily between 4 and 15 days, both eastward and westward propagating waves are generated and their amplitudes are affected significantly by the gravity wave source. For the wavenumbers, 3 and 4 in the upper mesosphere, the waves are virtually monochromatic, with periods around 2.5 days and they propagate westward. These waves behave like Rossby gravity waves; their amplitudes are largest during solstice where the baroclinic instability is playing an important role, but the waves decay when the gravity wave momentum source is turned off. The planetary waves generated in the model produce large amplitude modulations of the diurnal tides at altitudes above 80 km, but contrary to expectations they are not playing an important role for the seasonal variations of the tides. Preliminary results show that such Rossby gravity waves are also generated near the tropopause and are influencing significantly the QBO that is generated in the model.

  20. The runaway greenhouse: implications for future climate change, geoengineering and planetary atmospheres.

    PubMed

    Goldblatt, Colin; Watson, Andrew J

    2012-09-13

    The ultimate climate emergency is a 'runaway greenhouse': a hot and water-vapour-rich atmosphere limits the emission of thermal radiation to space, causing runaway warming. Warming ceases only after the surface reaches approximately 1400 K and emits radiation in the near-infrared, where water is not a good greenhouse gas. This would evaporate the entire ocean and exterminate all planetary life. Venus experienced a runaway greenhouse in the past, and we expect that the Earth will in around 2 billion years as solar luminosity increases. But could we bring on such a catastrophe prematurely, by our current climate-altering activities? Here, we review what is known about the runaway greenhouse to answer this question, describing the various limits on outgoing radiation and how climate will evolve between these. The good news is that almost all lines of evidence lead us to believe that is unlikely to be possible, even in principle, to trigger full a runaway greenhouse by addition of non-condensible greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. However, our understanding of the dynamics, thermodynamics, radiative transfer and cloud physics of hot and steamy atmospheres is weak. We cannot therefore completely rule out the possibility that human actions might cause a transition, if not to full runaway, then at least to a much warmer climate state than the present one. High climate sensitivity might provide a warning. If we, or more likely our remote descendants, are threatened with a runaway greenhouse, then geoengineering to reflect sunlight might be life's only hope. Injecting reflective aerosols into the stratosphere would be too short-lived, and even sunshades in space might require excessive maintenance. In the distant future, modifying Earth's orbit might provide a sustainable solution. The runaway greenhouse also remains relevant in planetary sciences and astrobiology: as extrasolar planets smaller and nearer to their stars are detected, some will be in a runaway greenhouse state. PMID:22869797

  1. Crossing the Boundaries in Planetary Atmospheres - From Earth to Exoplanets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Simon-Miller, Amy A.; Genio, Anthony Del

    2013-01-01

    The past decade has been an especially exciting time to study atmospheres, with a renaissance in fundamental studies of Earths general circulation and hydrological cycle, stimulated by questions about past climates and the urgency of projecting the future impacts of humankinds activities. Long-term spacecraft and Earth-based observation of solar system planets have now reinvigorated the study of comparative planetary climatology. The explosion in discoveries of planets outside our solar system has made atmospheric science integral to understanding the diversity of our solar system and the potential habitability of planets outside it. Thus, the AGU Chapman Conference Crossing the Boundaries in Planetary Atmospheres From Earth to Exoplanets, held in Annapolis, MD from June 24-27, 2013 gathered Earth, solar system, and exoplanet scientists to share experiences, insights, and challenges from their individual disciplines, and discuss areas in which thinking broadly might enhance our fundamental understanding of how atmospheres work.

  2. An application of gas chromatography to planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oyama, V.

    1974-01-01

    A gas chromatography developed for the Viking experiment is described. The instrument is designed to measure gases in planetary atmospheres and head space in a chamber. It is hoped that the chromatograph will also measure any biological activity present in these environments.

  3. Consequences of planetary migration: Kuiper belt dynamics and atmospheric escape from hot Jupiters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murray-Clay, Ruth Ann

    The current resonance structure of the Kuiper belt suggests that during the late stages of planet formation, Neptune migrated outward as it scattered residual planetesimal debris. Extrasolar planetary systems also show evidence for planetary migration. Approximately 1/5 of the extrasolar planets discovered to date are "hot Jupiters," which likely exchanged angular momentum with gas disks, migrating large distances inward to reach their current semi-major axes of ~0.05 AU. In this thesis, I discuss three consequences of planetary migration. (1) During its migration, Neptune captured Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) into mean motion resonances. The current spatial distribution of KBOs in a particular resonance, the 2:1, acts as a celestial speedometer--fast planetary migration generates a larger population of 2:1 resonant KBOs trailing rather than leading Neptune on the sky. We provide an explanation of this phenomenon for the first time. Central to our understanding is how planetary migration shifts the equilibrium points of the superposed direct and indirect potentials felt by a KBO. The currently observed distribution of 2:1 KBOs excludes total migration times < 20 Myr with >99.65% confidence and is statistically consistent with the even population generated by slow migration. However, these observations are beset by systematic uncertainties. Observations with new telescopes such as PanSTARRS or LSST will tell us how quickly Neptune could have migrated. (2) Neptune's migration, powered by scattering planetesimal debris, was stochastic ("noisy"). Extreme stochasticity defeats resonance capture. We construct a theory analogous to Brownian motion for how a planet's orbital semi-major axis fluctuates in response to random planetesimal scatterings. The degree of stochasticity in Neptune's migration depends both on the sizes of the planetesimals driving migration and on their orbital elements and cannot currently be computed using N-body simulations. We find that capture of resonant Kuiper belt objects by a migrating Neptune remains effective if the bulk of the primordial disk was locked in bodies having sizes [Special characters omitted.] km and if the fraction of disk mass in objects with sizes [Special characters omitted.] 1000 km was less than a few percent. Coagulation simulations produce a size distribution of primordial planetesimals that easily satisfies these constraints. We conclude that stochasticity did not interfere with Neptune's ability to capture and retain KBOs in first-order resonances during its migration. (3) Photoionization heating from UV radiation incident on the atmospheres of hot Jupiters drives planetary mass loss. Observations of stellar Lyman- a absorption at high velocities (±100 km s -1 ) have suggested that the hot Jupiter HD 209458b is losing atomic hydrogen. We show that mass loss takes the form of a hydrodynamic ("Parker") wind, emitted either from the planet's dayside during lulls in the stellar wind, or from the nightside when heat is transported there by horizontal flows. A hot Jupiter loses at most ~0.06% of its mass during its host star's pre-main-sequence phase and ~0.6% of its mass during the star's main sequence lifetime. At no stage do planetary winds reach velocities of ±100 km s -1 . We conclude that while UV radiation does indeed drive winds from hot Jupiters, such winds cannot significantly alter planet ary masses during any evolutionary stage, nor can they generate the observed decrements in Lya flux in HD 209458b.

  4. HITRAN2012 and Remote Sensing of Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gordon, I. E.; Rothman, L. S.; Li, G.

    2013-06-01

    For the recently-released HITRAN2012 edition of the database, a substantial effort was taken to extend the HITRAN database to have capabilities for studying a variety of planetary atmospheres. Spectroscopic parameters for gases and spectral bands of molecules that are germane to the studies of planetary atmospheres have been assembled. These parameters include the types of data that have already been considered for transmission and radiance algorithms, such as line position, intensity, broadening coefficients, lower-state energies, and temperature dependence values. Besides adding new bands and isotopologues to the relevant molecules that already exist in HITRAN (methane, hydrogen halides, hydrogen disulfide, etc.), a number of new molecules, namely H_2, CS, C_4H_2, HC_3N and SO_3 have been incorporated into the HITRAN2012 database. For some of the molecules, additional parameters, beyond what is currently considered for the terrestrial atmosphere, have been archived. Examples are pressure-broadened half widths due to various foreign partners. Collision-induced absorption data for a large variety of the collision partners are provided in HITRAN for the first time. Future efforts, including preparation of a new edition of the HITEMP database, will be discussed. Note that another talk is given in the "Atmospheric Species" session, describing HITRAN improvements towards remote sensing of terrestrial atmosphere. This effort is supported by the NASA Planetary Atmospheres program, under the grant NNX10AB94G. L. S. Rothman, I. E. Gordon, et al. "The HITRAN 2012 molecular spectroscopic database," JQSRT, submitted 2013.

  5. Understanding the formation and composition of hazes in planetary atmospheres that contain carbon monoxide

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hörst, S. M.; Yoon, Y. H.; Hicks, R. K.; Tolbert, M. A.

    2012-09-01

    Measurements from the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) have revealed the presence of molecules in Titan's ionosphere with masses in excess of hundreds of amu. Negative ions with mass/charge (m/z) up to 10,000 amu/q [1] and positive ions with m/z up to 400 amu/q [2] have been detected. CAPS has also observed O+ flowing into Titan's upper atmosphere [3], which appears to originate from Enceladus and is likely the source of oxygen bearing molecules in Titan's atmosphere [4]. The observed O+ is deposited in the region now known to contain large organic molecules. A recent Titan atmosphere simulation experiment has shown that incorporation of oxygen into Titan aerosol analogues results in the formation of all five nucleotide bases and the two smallest amino acids, glycine and alanine [5]. Similar chemical processes may have occurred in the atmosphere of the early Earth, or in the atmospheres of extrasolar planets; atmospheric aerosols may be an important source of the building blocks of life. Atmospheric aerosols play an important role in determining the radiation budget of an atmosphere and can also provide a wealth of organic material to the surface. The presence of atmospheric aerosols has been invoked to explain the relatively featureless spectrum of HD 189773b, including the lack of predicted atmospheric Na and K spectral lines [9]. The majority of the O+ precipitating into Titan's atmosphere forms CO (O(3P)+CH3 -> CO+H2+H) [4]. CO has also been detected in the atmospheres of a number of exoplanets including HD 189733b, HD 209458b, and WASP-12b [6-8]. It is therefore important to understand the role CO plays in the formation and composition of hazes in planetary atmospheres. Using a High-Resolution Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) (see e.g. [10]) we have obtained in situ composition measurements of aerosol particles (so-called "tholins") produced in N2/CH4/CO gas mixtures subjected to either FUV radiation (deuterium lamp, 115-400 nm) or a spark discharge for a range of initial CO mixing ratios. A comparison of the composition of tholins produced using the two different energy sources will be presented. The effect of variation of CO mixing ratio on aerosol production and composition will also be discussed.

  6. Stellar activity and its influence on planetary atmosphere evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lammer, H.; Khodachenko, M. L.; Kislyakova, K. G.; Weingrill, J.; Kulikov, Y. N.; Holmström, M.; Zaqarshvili, T. V.; Odert, P.; Leitzinger, M.; Fichtinger, B.; Güdel, M.; Ribas, I.; Hanslmeier, A.; Shematovich, V. I.; Bisikalo, D.

    2011-10-01

    The evolution of planetary atmospheres can only be understood if one recognizes the fact that the radiation and particle environment of the Sun or a planet's host star were not always on the same activity level. New insights, the latest observations and research regarding the evolution of the solar radiation, plasma environment and solar/stellar magnetic field from the observations of solar proxies and their impact on planetary atmospheres with different ages will be given. We present also a new innovative idea how hydrogen coronae and energetic neutral atom (ENA) observations around transiting Earth-like exoplanets by space observatories such as the WSO-UV, can be used for testing the addressed atmospheric evolution studies.

  7. Infrared quantitative spectroscopy and planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flaud, J.-M.

    2009-04-01

    Optical measurements of atmospheric minor constituents are carried out using spectrometers working in the UV-visible, infrared and microwave spectral ranges. In all cases the quality of the analysis and of the interpretation of the atmospheric spectra requires the best possible knowledge of the molecular parameters of the species of interest. To illustrate this point we will concentrate on recent laboratory studies of nitric acid, chlorine nitrate and formaldehyde. Nitric acid is one of the important minor constituent of the terrestrial atmosphere. Using new and accurate experimental results concerning the spectroscopic properties of the H14NO3 and H15NO3 molecules, as well as improved theoretical methods (Perrin et al., 2004), it has been possible to generate an improved set of line parameters for these molecules in the 11.2 μm spectral region. These line parameters were used to detect for the first time the H15NO3 molecule in the atmosphere analyzing atmospheric spectra recorded by the MIPAS experiment. The retrievals of chlorine nitrate profiles are usually performed using absorption cross sections (Birk and Wagner, 2003). Following a high resolution analysis of the ν3 and ν4bands of this species in the 12.8 μm region wepropose, as a possibility, to use line by line calculation simulating its ν4Q-branch for the atmospheric temperature and pressure ranges. For the measurement of atmospheric formaldehyde concentrations, mid-infrared and ultraviolet absorptions are both used by ground, air or satellite instruments. It is then of the utmost importance to have consistent spectral parameters in these various spectral domains. Consequently the aim of the study performed at LISA (Gratien et al., 2007) was to intercalibrate formaldehyde spectra in the infrared and ultraviolet regions acquiring simultaneously UV and IR spectra using a common optical cell. The results of the work will be presented. Also high resolution infrared data derived from Perrin et al., 2003 have been used to determine vertical distributions from the upper troposphere to the stratopause using the high spectral resolution measurements of MIPAS (Steck et al., 2008). References: M. Birk, G. Wagner, J. Quant. Spectros. Radiat.Transfer, 82, 443, 2003. G. Brizzi, M. Carlotti, J.-M. Flaud, A. Perrin and M. Ridolfi, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L03802, 2006. A. Gratien, B. Picquet-Varrault, J. Orphal, E. Perraudin, J.-F. Doussin and J.-M. Flaud, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D05305, 2007. A. Perrin, F. Keller and J.-M. Flaud, J. Mol. Spectrosc., 221, 192, 2003. A. Perrin, J. Orphal, J.-M. Flaud, S. Klee, G. Mellau, H. Mader, D. Walbrodt and M. Winnewisser, J. Mol. Spectrosc, 228, 375, 2004. T. Steck, N. Glatthor, T. von Clarmann, H. Fischer, J. M. Flaud, B. Funke, U. Grabowski, M. Hopfner, S. Kellmann, A. Linden, A. Perrin, and G. P. Stiller, Atm. Chem. Phys., 8, 463, 2008.

  8. A Study on Planetary Atmospheric Circulations using THOR

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mendonça, João; Grosheintz, Luc; Lukas Grimm, Simon; Heng, Kevin

    2015-12-01

    The large variety of planetary parameters observed leads us to think that exoplanets may show a large range of possible climates. It is therefore of the uttermost importance to investigate the influence of astronomical and planetary bulk parameters in driving the atmospheric circulations. In the solar system the results from planetary spacecraft missions have demonstrated how different the planetary climate and atmospheric circulations can be. The study of exoplanets will require probing a far wider range of physical and orbital parameters than the ones of our neighbor planets. For this reason, such a study will involve exploring an even larger diversity of circulation and climate regimes. Our new atmospheric model, THOR, is intended to be extremely flexible and to explore the large diversity of planetary atmospheres.THOR is part of the Exoclimes Simulation Platform, and is a project of the Exoplanet and Exoclimes Group (see www.exoclime.org). THOR solves the complex atmospheric fluid equations in a rotating sphere (fully compressible - nonhydrostatic system) using an icosahedral grid. The main advantages of using our new platform against other recent exoplanet models is that 1) The atmospheric fluid equations are completely represented and no approximations are used that could compromise the physics of the problem; 2) The model uses for the first time in exoplanet studies, a specific icosahedral grid that solves the pole problem; 3) The interface is user friendly and can be easily adapted to a multitude of atmospheric conditions; 4) By using GPU computation, our code greatly improves the typical code running time.We will present and discuss the first detailed results of our simulations, more specifically of two benchmark tests that are a representative sample of the large range of exoplanetary parameters: Earth-like conditions (the Held-Suarez test) and a tidally locked hot-Jupiter. THOR has successfully passed these tests and is able to determine the main mechanisms driving the circulation in the simulated planets. From the 3D numerical simulations we found that some hot-Jupiters atmospheres can sustain multiple dynamical steady states. The results also suggest the presence of a new mechanism that transports heat from the upper to the lower atmosphere. The presence and impact of this mechanism in the global temperature will be discussed in this presentation.

  9. Infrared laboratory studies of synthetic planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, D.

    1972-01-01

    The initial stages of the research were involved with a test of Burch's law of multiplicative transmittance for mixed absorbing gases when their lines are broadened by H2 and He, which are constituents of the atmospheres of the major planets. The broadening of individual lines in the CO fundamental by various gases was investigated. Line strength and half-width for individual CO lines were studied as a function of temperature. Measurements of total band absorptance as a function of absorber thickness and total effective pressure were made at various temperatures for bands of CO and N2O. Attempts were made to develop a phenomenological theory of line broadening that would account for the phenomena observed for the CO fundamental and those reported for more highly polar gases. Laboratory measurements of nitric acid vapor absorptance were compared with balloon measurements in arriving at an estimate of the quantity of nitric acid vapor present in the earth's atmosphere in the region of the ozone layer.

  10. Volcanic Degassing and the Atmosphere of Planetary Suites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gaillard, F.; Scaillet, B.

    2012-12-01

    How unique the Earth is requires an urgent definition in front of the myriad of spatial observations revealing extra solar planets with variable spectral signatures. In the close solar system, high water abundance, atmospheric pressure at 1 bar and an O2-rich atmosphere constitute the main features of the Earth surface. This contrasts with dry Venus and its nearly 100 bar of reduced atmosphere dominated by CO2. This also contrasts with Mars, once flowed by water, today dominated by sulphate deposits, with 0.01 bar of atmospheric pressure and its oxidized surface. Such diversity in the physic and chemistry of planetary surfaces constitutes our most robust observation and benchmark for deciphering the remote exoplanets and defining the possible development of clement conditions for extra-terrestrial life. Volcanic degassing is a fundamental planetary process that conveys igneous volatiles species regulating important physical and chemical features of the exosphere. Understanding the planetary chemical fix supplied by volcanoes and how it can vary is therefore critical for a better definition of systems favorable to life emergence. We show that the atmospheric pressure, defining the minimum pressure of volcanic degassing, is the chief parameter controlling the composition of volcanic gases. On Venus, volcanic degassing occurring at minimum pressure of 100 bar can only be composed of CO2, whereas water and sulfur remain dissolved in the lavas. This explains the dry Venusian atmosphere. Degassing at 1 bar (minimum) on Earth produces mixtures dominated by water, explaining the Earth's wet surface. On Mars, gases produced at less than 0.05 bar contain more sulfur than water and Jupiter moon, Io, emits, in vacuum, gases that are dominated by sulfite. The composition of volcanic gases is therefore merely regulated by the atmospheric pressure. The latter is, in turn, mainly controlled by the size of the planet, even if little certitude exists about the most influential parameter governing atmospheric pressure. Such a behavior is dictated by volatile solubility laws in basalts, which filter the release of gaseous volcanic species independently from the volatile's abundances in the planetary interior. This behavior constitutes a simple but robust indicator for planetary exploration.

  11. Ultraviolet imaging and spectroscopy of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerard, Jean-Claude

    1994-01-01

    The main scientific results of the participation of the Institute of Astrophysics (Belgium) in the NASA's Pioneer Venus mission are reported on. The data were obtained with the Pioneer Orbiter's Ultraviolet Spectrometer (POUVS). The instrument provided a morphological study of the nitric oxide ultraviolet night glow. Information concerning the altitude of the airglow emitting layer was also collected and used to constrain models of turbulent transport on the night side of the planet. Models of the odd nitrogen thermospheric chemistry and transport were developed to analyze the observations and derive the properties of the global circulation of Venus' upper atmosphere. Images of the Jovian ultraviolet aurora were obtained. The morphology and the time variations of the HI Ly-alpha and H2 Lyman and Werner bands were acquired at different longitudes. The observed distribution was compared with the results of the spectrometric observations made with the Voyager and the International Ultraviolet Explorer missions. Images concerning the Io surface albedo and Saturn's disk and ring's reflectivity were also obtained.

  12. Biomarkers of extrasolar planets and their observability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Selsis, Franck; Paillet, Jimmy; Allard, France

    The first space-borne instruments able to detect and characterize extrasolar terrestrial planets, Darwin (ESA) and TPF-C (Terrestrial Planet Finder-Coronograph, NASA), should be launched at the end of the next decade. Beyond the challenge of planet detection itself, the ability to measure mid-infrared (Darwin) and visible (TPF-C) spectra at low resolution will allow us to characterize the exoplanets discovered. The spectral analysis of these planets will extend the field of planetary science beyond the Solar System to the nearby Universe: It will give access to certain planetary properties (albedo, brightness temperature, radius) and reveal the presence of atmospheric compounds, which, together with the radiative budget of the planet, will provide the keys to understanding how the climate system works on these worlds. If terrestrial planets are sufficiently abundant, these missions will collect data for numerous planetary systems of different ages and orbiting different types of stars. Theories for the formation, evolution and habitability of the terrestrial planets will at last face the test observation. The most fascinating perspective offered by these space observatories is the ability to detect spectral signatures indicating biological activity. In this chapter, we review and discuss the concept of extrasolar biosignatures or biomarkers. We focus mainly on the identification of oxygen-rich atmospheres through the detection of O2 and O3 features, addressing also the case of other possible biomarkers and indicators of habitability.

  13. Upper atmospheric planetary-wave and gravity-wave observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Justus, C. G.; Woodrum, A.

    1973-01-01

    Previously collected data on atmospheric pressure, density, temperature and winds between 25 and 200 km from sources including Meteorological Rocket Network data, ROBIN falling sphere data, grenade release and pitot tube data, meteor winds, chemical release winds, satellite data, and others were analyzed by a daily-difference method, and results on the magnitude of atmospheric perturbations interpreted as gravity waves and planetary waves are presented. Traveling planetary-wave contributions in the 25-85 km range were found to have significant height and latitudinal variation. It was found that observed gravity-wave density perturbations and wind are related to one another in the manner predicted by gravity-wave theory. It was determined that, on the average, gravity-wave energy deposition or reflection occurs at all altitudes except the 55-75 km region of the mesosphere.

  14. Planetary atmospheres. [summary of Pioneer and Venus observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beebe, R.

    1983-01-01

    During the period from 1979 to 1982, Pioneer and Voyager missions to Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn combined with ongoing analysis and data collection from the Viking-Mars mission have contributed greatly to an understanding of planetary atmospheres. Research concerning the atmosphere of Venus is discussed, taking into account the atmospheric composition, the isotopic ratios of noble gases, data concerning temperature and pressure, information regarding various atmospheric layers, atmospheric density data, and models regarding the dynamical properties of Venus' atmosphere. Information concerning the atmosphere of Mars is also examined. Isotopic ratios of carbon and oxygen are considered along with altitude profiles, diurnal heating and cooling, and thermal tides and their relationship to dust storms. Attention is given to the temperature structure of the Jovian atmosphere, the morphology of Jovian cloud features, features in the Saturnian atmosphere, information with respect to the atmosphere of Titan, the rotation rates of Uranus, masses and densities of Uranus and Neptune, and the identification of Pluto as a small icy body.

  15. Photochemical hazes in planetary atmospheres: solar system bodies and beyond

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Imanaka, Hiroshi; Cruikshank, Dale P.; McKay, Christopher P.

    2015-11-01

    Recent transit observations of exoplanets have demonstrated the possibility of a wide prevalence of haze/cloud layers at high altitudes. Hydrocarbon photochemical haze could be the candidate for such haze particles on warm sub-Neptunes, but the lack of evidence for methane poses a puzzle for such hydrocarbon photochemical haze. The CH4/CO ratios in planetary atmospheres vary substantially from their temperature and dynamics. An understanding of haze formation rates and plausible optical properties in a wide diversity of planetary atmospheres is required to interpret the current and future observations.Here, we focus on how atmospheric compositions, specifically CH4/CO ratios, affect the haze production rates and their optical properties. We have conducted a series of cold plasma experiments to constrain the haze mass production rates from gas mixtures of various CH4/CO ratios diluted either in H2 or N2 atmosphere. The mass production rates in the N2-CH4-CO system are much greater than those in the H2-CH4-CO system. They are rather insensitive to the CH4/CO ratios larger than at 0.3. Significant formation of solid material is observed both in H2-CO and N2-CO systems without CH4 in the initial gas mixtures. The complex refractive indices were derived for haze samples from N2-CH4, H2-CH4, and H2-CO gas mixtures. These are the model atmospheres for Titan, Saturn, and exoplanets, respectively. The imaginary part of the complex refractive indices in the UV-Vis region are distinct among these samples, which can be utilized for modeling these planetary atmospheres.

  16. Detection of the Magnetospheric Emissions from Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lazio, J.

    2014-12-01

    Planetary-scale magnetic fields are a window to a planet's interior and provide shielding of the planet's atmosphere. The Earth, Mercury, Ganymede, and the giant planets of the solar system all contain internal dynamo currents that generate planetary-scale magnetic fields. These internal dynamo currents arise from differential rotation, convection, compositional dynamics, or a combination of these. If coupled to an energy source, such as the incident kinetic or magnetic energy from the solar wind, a planet's magnetic field can produce electron cyclotron masers in its magnetic polar regions. The most well known example of this process is the Jovian decametric emission, but all of the giant planets and the Earth contain similar electron cyclotron masers within their magnetospheres. Extrapolated to extrasolar planets, the remote detection of the magnetic field of an extrasolar planet would provide a means of obtaining constraints on the thermal state, composition, and dynamics of its interior as well as improved understanding of the basic planetary dynamo process. The magnetospheric emissions from solar system planets and the discovery of extrasolar planets have motivated both theoretical and observational work on magnetospheric emissions from extrasolar planets. Stimulated by these advances, the W.M. Keck Institute for Space Studies hosted a workshop entitled "Planetary Magnetic Fields: Planetary Interiors and Habitability." I summarize the current observational status of searches for magnetospheric emissions from extrasolar planets, based on observations from a number of ground-based radio telescopes, and future prospects for ground-based studies. Using the solar system planetary magnetic fields as a guide, future space-based missions will be required to study planets with magnetic field strengths lower than that of Jupiter. I summarize mission concepts identified in the KISS workshop, with a focus on the detection of planetary electron cyclotron maser emission. The authors acknowledge ideas and advice from the participants in the "Planetary Magnetic Fields: Planetary Interiors and Habitability" workshop organized by the Keck Institute for Space Studies. Part of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA.

  17. Gas chromatographic concepts for the analysis of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Valentin, J. R.; Cullers, D. K.; Hall, K. W.; Krekorian, R. L.; Phillips, J. B.

    1991-01-01

    Over the last few years, new gas chromatographic (GC) concepts were developed for use on board spacecraft or any other restricted environments for determining the chemical composition of the atmosphere and surface material of various planetary bodies. Future NASA Missions include an entry probe that will be sent to Titan and various spacecraft that will land on Mars. In order to be able to properly respond to the mission science requirements and physical restrictions imposed on the instruments by these missions, GC analytical techniques are being developed. Some of these techniques include hardware and mathematical techniques that will improve GC sensitivity and increase the sampling rate of a GC descending through a planetary atmosphere. The technique of Multiplex Gas Chromatography (MGC) is an example of a technique that was studied in a simulated Titan atmosphere. In such an environment, the atmospheric pressure at instrument deployment is estimated to be a few torr. Thus, at such pressures, the small amount of sample that is acquired might not be enough to satisfy the detection requirements of the gas chromatograph. In MGC, many samples are pseudo-randomly introduced to the chromatograph without regard to elution of preceding components. The resulting data is then reduced using mathematical techniques such as cross-correlation of Fourier Transforms. Advantages realized from this technique include: improvement in detection limits of several orders of magnitude and increase in the number of analyses that can be conducted in a given period of time. Results proving the application of MGC at very low pressures emulating the same atmospheric pressures that a Titan Probe will encounter when the instruments are deployed are presented. The sample used contained hydrocarbons that are expected to be found in Titan's atmosphere. In addition, a new selective modulator was developed to monitor water under Martian atmospheric conditions. Since this modulator is selective only to water, the need for a GC column is eliminated. This results in further simplification of the instrument.

  18. Studies on possible propagation of microbial contamination in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dimmick, R. L.; Wolochow, H.; Chatigny, M. A.

    1975-01-01

    Maintained aerosols were studied to demonstrate the metabolism and propagation of microbes in clouds which could occur in the course of a probe of a planetary atmosphere. Bacteriophage was used as a tool to test whether the mechanisms for DNA production remain intact and functional within the airborne bacterial cell. In one test method, bacteria were mixed with coliphage in an atomizer to allow attachment before aerosolization; in another, two suspensions were atomized saperately into a common air stream prior to aerosolization. Results show that biochemical and physiological mechanisms to allow aerobic microbes to propagate in the airborne state do exist.

  19. Radio scintillations during occultations by turbulent planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woo, R.; Ishimaru, A.; Yang, F.-C.

    The radio occultation experiment which uses the radio link between the earth and spacecraft passing behind planets has proven to be an important method for remote sensing turbulence in planetary atmospheres. The effects of defocusing and anisotropic irregularities on the turbulence-induced fluctuations of the radio occultation signal are examined. Rytov's method along with geometrical optics is employed to study the frequency spectra and coherences of the log amplitude and phase fluctuations of spherical waves operating at one as well as two frequencies. Comparison with the Mariner 5 2.3-GHz measurements shows good agreement with the theoretical results.

  20. Model atmospheres and parameters of central stars of planetary nebulae

    SciTech Connect

    Patriarchi, P.; Cerruti-sola, M.; Perinotto, M. Firenze Universita, Florence )

    1989-10-01

    Non-LTE hydrogen and helium model atmospheres have been obtained for temperatures and gravities relevant to the central stars of planetary nebulae. Low-resolution and high-resolution observations obtained by the IUE satellite have been used along with optical data to determine Zanstra temperatures of the central stars of NGC 1535, NGC 6210, NGC 7009, IC 418, and IC 4593. Comparison of the observed stellar continuum of these stars with theoretical results allowed further information on the stellar temperature to be derived. The final temperatures are used to calculate accurate stellar parameters. 62 refs.

  1. Eddy mixing in planetary boundary layer and free atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kurbatskiy, A.; Kurbatskaya, L.

    2014-11-01

    The results obtained from both atmospheric and laboratory experiment and from LES data show that, in the stably stratified flows of the atmospheric boundary layer, turbulent mixing occurs at gradient Richardson number that significantly exceed one: the inverse turbulent Prandtl number decreases with an increase in the thermal stability. The decreasing trend of the inverse turbulent Prandtl number is reproduced in a stably stratified planetary boundary layer in agreement with measurement data with aid of the high closure RANS turbulence scheme, which takes into account the influence of internal gravity waves on the eddy mixing of momentum and heat. Applicability of such RANS turbulence approach for the estimate of eddy diffusivities of momentum and heat in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere also examined. It is concluded that the high closure RANS turbulence scheme shows the good agreement with the direct measurement data of eddy diffusivities for momentum and heat in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere during clear-air conditions.

  2. Constructing an advanced software tool for planetary atmospheric modeling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keller, Richard M.; Sims, Michael; Podolak, Ester; Mckay, Christopher

    1990-01-01

    Scientific model building can be an intensive and painstaking process, often involving the development of large and complex computer programs. Despite the effort involved, scientific models cannot be easily distributed and shared with other scientists. In general, implemented scientific models are complex, idiosyncratic, and difficult for anyone but the original scientist/programmer to understand. We believe that advanced software techniques can facilitate both the model building and model sharing process. In this paper, we describe a prototype for a scientific modeling software tool that serves as an aid to the scientist in developing and using models. This tool includes an interactive intelligent graphical interface, a high level domain specific modeling language, a library of physics equations and experimental datasets, and a suite of data display facilities. Our prototype has been developed in the domain of planetary atmospheric modeling, and is being used to construct models of Titan's atmosphere.

  3. Composition/Structure/Dynamics of comet and planetary satellite atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Combi, Michael R. (Principal Investigator)

    1995-01-01

    This research program addresses two cases of tenuous planetary atmospheres: comets and Io. The comet atmospheric research seeks to analyze a set of spatial profiles of CN in comet Halley taken in a 7.4-day period in April 1986; to apply a new dust coma model to various observations; and to analyze observations of the inner hydrogen coma, which can be optically thick to the resonance scattering of Lyman-alpha radiation, with the newly developed approach that combines a spherical radiative transfer model with our Monte Carlo H coma model. The Io research seeks to understand the atmospheric escape from Io with a hybrid-kinetic model for neutral gases and plasma given methods and algorithms developed for the study of neutral gas cometary atmospheres and the earth's polar wind and plasmasphere. Progress is reported on cometary Hydrogen Lyman-alpha studies; time-series analysis of cometary spatial profiles; model analysis of the dust comae of comets; and a global kinetic atmospheric model of Io.

  4. Experimental Measurement of Dissociative Recombination Relevant to Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cosby, P. C.; Peterson, J. R.; Huestis, D. L.; Petrignani, A.; van der Zande, W.; Larsson, M.; Thomas, R.; Hellberg, F.

    2003-05-01

    Dissociative recombination (DR) is the primary mechanism for electron loss in ionized, low-pressure molecular gases and plasmas, such as planetary ionospheres. Through the use of heavy ion storage rings, there has been considerable progress in recent years in characterizing both the cross sections and the products produced by DR reactions. DR can in principle be strongly dependent on specific rotational, vibrational, and electronic states of the ion, but current work has allowed only investigating ground state species or uncharacterized internal state distributions. Above 150 km in the CO2 atmosphere of Venus, the oxygen molecular ion is formed by the reactions: hν + CO2 -> O+ + O2 and O+ + CO2 -> O2+(v) + CO, where >60% of the O2+(v) is produced in vibrationally excited levels. We report here the first experimental determination of cross sections and products produced in the DR of O2+(v) in its ground state vibrational levels v = 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. In particular, our measurements show substantial variations (factors of 5) in the DR cross sections among these low levels. Our measurements were made at CRYRING using a variable pressure electron-impact ion source with the ion populations characterized by dissociative charge transfer in cesium vapor. This work is partially supported by the NASA Planetary Atmospheres Program under grant NAG5-11173.

  5. Determination of the habitable zone through planetary atmospheric absorption analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poffo, D. A.; Caranti, G. M.; Comes, R. A.

    2014-03-01

    The so-called Habitable Zone (HZ) is a region around a star where a planet without atmosphere and considered as a black body, is subjected to a radiative flux appropriate to maintain liquid water on its surface. The location of this region is closely related to the physical properties of the star and in particular with its luminosity. It is important to note that being a planet within the HZ region is a necessary condition but may not be a sufficient one to be habitable. The concept of Planetary Habitability means that not only orbital conditions must be satisfied, but also that the planet itself must be able to develop and maintain a biosphere (Porto de Mello et al. 2006). This paper aims to determine the planetary HZ for a planet with similar conditions than the Earth, i.e. having an atmosphere, using a simple model based on the interactions between the star radiation and the radiation emitted by the planet with the atmosphere. The absorption spectrum for the proposed atmospheric chemical composition is calculated as a function of temperature by means of the HITRAN database. Another important factor taken into account in this model is cloud cover. Clouds act as "traps" to the long wave radiation emitted by the surface of the planet, resulting in an additional warming contributing to the greenhouse effect, but at the same time, reflect solar radiation back into space (albedo), producing surface cooling (Porto de Mello 2010). Taken these effects into account on a global level, we find a relationship between the orbital location of the planet and the average surface temperature that allows us to extend the habitable limits proposed by Kasting et al (1993).

  6. Building a "big picture" of planetary atmospheres dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Read, Peter; Wang, Yixiong

    Together with Saturn's large satellite, Titan, Earth, Mars and Venus provide four clear and increasingly well-studied examples of terrestrial-style planetary circulation systems under quite different parametric conditions. Clear trends in behaviour can be seen between these planets, especially contrasting the slowly and rapidly rotating bodies, suggesting some analogies with the studies of flow transitions and bifurcations in laboratory flow systems such as the rotating, baroclinic annulus experiment[1,2], and other simple models. This approach to comparative studies comes especially naturally to dynamicists, to whom the ability of even relatively simple, nonlinear, dynamical systems to exhibit radically different behaviours, punctuated by well characterized bifurcations as control parameters are varied, is familiar and commonplace. But is this analogy more than superficial? Does it suggest the possibility of an overarching the-oretical framework or even prototype model that could offer useful quantitative predictions of atmospheric structure, circulation and transport across a wide range of planetary parameters? If so, what are the critical parameters upon which key dynamical properties of the circulation depend? Can comparisons between the Earth and other planetary bodies provide useful insights into the Earth's circulation and climate? These questions come into even sharper focus in the light of the recent discoveries of terrestrial-style planets around other stars, about which obser-vational measurements can provide only very basic, globally integrated parameters. It is vital, therefore, to exploit and understand as fully as possible the available models of atmospheric circulation systems amenable to detailed study within our Solar System, their common aspects and key differences, and to confront them with detailed observations and measurements. In this contribution we examine ways in which numerical models of atmospheric circulation can be used to construct and explore relatively simple parameter spaces for atmospheric circulation systems, along similar lines to what is commonly done in the laboratory, without the need to compute many of the details specific to individual planetary composition, topography etc. Trends observed in such studies indicate that a common theoretical framework can account for many of the basic differences and similarities between the terrestrial planets in the Solar System, although this approach is still in its infancy. Such an approach can even enable simple predictions to be made of the style and intensity of circulation for planets (e.g. around other stars) yet to be discovered. Future work along similar lines, however, will need to take into account a wider range of possibilities than has been studied systematically hitherto, including the full range of planetary obliquity and seasonal variations, ratios of dynamical and radiative timescales, diurnal cycles and tidally-locked states. [1] R. Hide and P. J. Mason. Adv. in Phys., 24:47-99, 1975 [2] Wordsworth, R. D., Read, P. L. Yamazaki, H. Y. (2008) Phys. Fluids, 20, 126602

  7. Data Assimilation and Data Fusion for Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houben, Howard

    2005-01-01

    The overarching goal of this Cooperative Agreement was to develop a model and procedures for the data assimilation of planetary spacecraft atmospheric observations. Data assimilation - in its application to weather analysis and prediction - is the process of finding an initial state of the meteorological variables (winds, temperatures, pressures, etc.) of an atmosphere, which, when propagated forward in time using a deterministic general circulation model, reproduces all of the available observations over that time to within the measurement and computational errors. With this definition, data assimilation is seen to be a natural extension of well-known least-squares minimization techniques. The primary complication arises from the scale of the problem: For the Martian atmosphere with the available nadir-viewing Thermal Emission Spectrometer data from Mars Global Surveyor, approximately 1,000,000 individual measurements of channel radiances (in the 15-micrometer region, where these radiances relate directly to the surface and atmospheric temperature) were made per day. A suitable general circulation model for dealing with this data set has on the order of 20,000 independent variables. After some spatial and temporal averaging of the data - which provides a necessary statistical estimate of the representativeness of the measurements, a crucial issue in data assimilation - the problem reduces in scale to the solution of approximately 50,000 equations for the 20,000 variables.

  8. Continuing Studies in Support of Ultraviolet Observations of Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clark, John

    1997-01-01

    This program was a one-year extension of an earlier Planetary Atmospheres program grant, covering the period 1 August 1996 through 30 September 1997. The grant was for supporting work to complement an active program observing planetary atmospheres with Earth-orbital telescopes, principally the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The recent concentration of this work has been on HST observations of Jupiter's upper atmosphere and aurora, but it has also included observations of Io, serendipitous observations of asteroids, and observations of the velocity structure in the interplanetary medium. The observations of Jupiter have been at vacuum ultraviolet wavelengths, including imaging and spectroscopy of the auroral and airglow emissions. The most recent HST observations have been at the same time as in situ measurements made by the Galileo orbiter instruments, as reflected in the meeting presentations listed below. Concentrated efforts have been applied in this year to the following projects: The analysis of HST WFPC 2 images of Jupiter's aurora, including the Io footprint emissions. We have performed a comparative analysis of the lo footprint locations with two magnetic field models, studied the statistical properties of the apparent dawn auroral storms on Jupiter, and found various other repeated patterns in Jupiter's aurora. Analysis and modeling of airglow and auroral Ly alpha emission line profiles from Jupiter. This has included modeling the aurora] line profiles, including the energy degradation of precipitating charged particles and radiative transfer of the emerging emissions. Jupiter's auroral emission line profile is self-absorbed, since it is produced by an internal source, and the resulting emission with a deep central absorption from the overlying atmosphere permits modeling of the depth of the emissions, plus the motion of the emitting layer with respect to the overlying atmospheric column from the observed Doppler shift of the central absorption. By contrast the airglow emission line, which is dominated by resonant scattering of solar emission, has no central absorption, but displays rapid time variations and broad wings, indicative of a superthermal component (or corona) in Jupiter's upper atmosphere. Modeling of the observed motions of the plumes produced after the impacts of the fragments of Comet S/L-9 with Jupiter in July 1994, from the HST WFPC 2 imaging series.

  9. The HARPS search for southern extra-solar planets. XXXVI. Planetary systems and stellar activity of the M dwarfs GJ 3293, GJ 3341, and GJ 3543

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Astudillo-Defru, N.; Bonfils, X.; Delfosse, X.; Ségransan, D.; Forveille, T.; Bouchy, F.; Gillon, M.; Lovis, C.; Mayor, M.; Neves, V.; Pepe, F.; Perrier, C.; Queloz, D.; Rojo, P.; Santos, N. C.; Udry, S.

    2015-03-01

    Context. Planetary companions of a fixed mass induce reflex motions with a larger amplitude around lower-mass stars, which adds to making M dwarfs excellent targets for extra-solar planet searches. The most recent velocimeters with a stability of ~1 m s-1 can detect very low-mass planets out to the habitable zone of these stars. Low-mass small planets are abundant around M dwarfs, and most of the known potentially habitable planets orbit one of these cool stars. Aims: Our M-dwarf radial velocity monitoring with HARPS on the ESO 3.6 m telescope at La Silla observatory makes a major contribution to this sample. Methods: We present here dense radial velocity (RV) time series for three M dwarfs observed over ~five years: GJ 3293 (0.42 M⊙), GJ 3341 (0.47 M⊙), and GJ 3543 (0.45 M⊙). We extracted these RVs through minimum χ2-matching of each spectrum against a stack of all observed spectra for the same star that has a high signal-to-noise ratio. We then compared potential orbital signals against several stellar activity indicators to distinguish the Keplerian variations induced by planets from the spurious signals that result from rotational modulation of stellar surface inhomogeneities and from activity cycles. Results: Two Neptune-mass planets - msin(i) = 1.4 ± 0.1 and 1.3 ± 0.1Mnept - orbit GJ 3293 with periods P = 30.60 ± 0.02 d and P = 123.98 ± 0.38 d, possibly together with a super-Earth - msin(i) ~ 7.9 ± 1.4 M⊕ - with period P = 48.14 ± 0.12d. A super-Earth - msin(i) ~ 6.1 M⊕ - orbits GJ 3341 with P = 14.207 ± 0.007d. The RV variations of GJ 3543, on the other hand, reflect its stellar activity rather than planetary signals. Based on observations made with the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6 m telescope under the program IDs 072.C-0488, 082.C-0718 and 183.C-0437 at Cerro La Silla (Chile).Tables A.1-A.3 (radial velocity data) are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org and at the CDS via anonymous ftp to http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/575/A119

  10. Plasma Flow Past Cometary and Planetary Satellite Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Combi, Michael R.; Gombosi, Tamas I.; Kabin, Konstantin

    2000-01-01

    The tenuous atmospheres and ionospheres of comets and outer planet satellites share many common properties and features. Such similarities include a strong interaction with their outer radiation, fields and particles environs. For comets the interaction is with the magnetized solar wind plasma, whereas for satellites the interaction is with the strongly magnetized and corotating planetary magnetospheric plasma. For this reason there are many common or analogous physical regimes, and many of the same modeling techniques are used to interpret remote sensing and in situ measurements in order to study the important underlying physical phenomena responsible for their appearances. We present here a review of various modeling approaches which are used to elucidate the basic properties and processes shaping the energetics and dynamics of these systems which are similar in many respects.

  11. Construction of an advanced software tool for planetary atmospheric modeling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Friedland, Peter; Keller, Richard M.; Mckay, Christopher P.; Sims, Michael H.; Thompson, David E.

    1992-01-01

    Scientific model-building can be a time intensive and painstaking process, often involving the development of large complex computer programs. Despite the effort involved, scientific models cannot be distributed easily and shared with other scientists. In general, implemented scientific models are complicated, idiosyncratic, and difficult for anyone but the original scientist/programmer to understand. We propose to construct a scientific modeling software tool that serves as an aid to the scientist in developing, using and sharing models. The proposed tool will include an interactive intelligent graphical interface and a high-level domain-specific modeling language. As a test bed for this research, we propose to develop a software prototype in the domain of planetary atmospheric modeling.

  12. Aerodynamic characteristics of the planetary atmosphere experiments test entry probe

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sammonds, R. I.; Kruse, R. L.

    1975-01-01

    The aerodynamic characteristics of the Planetary Atmosphere Experiments Test entry probe were determined experimentally in ballistic range tests over a wide range of Mach and Reynolds numbers, and were compared with full-scale flight results. The ground facility data agreed with the full-scale data within 2 to 3% in drag coefficient, and within 5 to 10% in static stability, at the higher Mach numbers. Comparisons of the flight data with conventional wind-tunnel data indicated a significant disagreement in drag coefficient in the transonic speed range suggestive of important sting or wall interference effects. Variations in drag coefficient with Mach number were very small hypersonically, but variations with Reynolds number were of the order of 15% at a free-stream Mach number of 13 over the Reynolds number range from 10,000 to 1,000,000. Variations in the lift and static-stability curves with Mach number and Reynolds number were also defined.

  13. The evolution of solar ultraviolet luminosity. [influence on planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zahnle, K. J.; Walker, J. C. G.

    1982-01-01

    Astronomical observations of stars analogous to the sun are used to construct a tentative account of the evolution of solar UV luminosity. Evidence exists that the young sun was a much more powerful source of energetic particles and radiation than it is today, and while on the main sequence, solar activity has declined as an inverse power law of age as a consequence of angular momentum loss to the solar wind. Observations of pre-main sequence stars indicate that before the sun reached the main sequence, it may have emitted as much as ten thousand times the amount of ultraviolet radiation that it does today. The impact of the results on knowledge of photochemistry and escape of constituents of primordial planetary atmospheres is discussed.

  14. Theory of planetary atmospheres: an introduction to their physics and chemistry /2nd revised and enlarged edition/

    SciTech Connect

    Chamberlain, J.W.; Hunten, D.M.

    1987-01-01

    Theoretical models of planetary atmospheres are characterized in an introductory text intended for graduate physics students and practicing scientists. Chapters are devoted to the vertical structure of an atmosphere; atmospheric hydrodynamics; the chemistry and dynamics of the earth stratosphere; planetary astronomy; ionospheres; airglows, auroras, and aeronomy; and the stability of planetary atmospheres. Extensive graphs, diagrams, and tables of numerical data are provided.

  15. The HARPS search for southern extra-solar planets. XXVIII. Up to seven planets orbiting HD 10180: probing the architecture of low-mass planetary systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lovis, C.; Ségransan, D.; Mayor, M.; Udry, S.; Benz, W.; Bertaux, J.-L.; Bouchy, F.; Correia, A. C. M.; Laskar, J.; Lo Curto, G.; Mordasini, C.; Pepe, F.; Queloz, D.; Santos, N. C.

    2011-04-01

    Context. Low-mass extrasolar planets are presently being discovered at an increased pace by radial velocity and transit surveys, which opens a new window on planetary systems. Aims: We are conducting a high-precision radial velocity survey with the HARPS spectrograph, which aims at characterizing the population of ice giants and super-Earths around nearby solar-type stars. This will lead to a better understanding of their formation and evolution, and will yield a global picture of planetary systems from gas giants down to telluric planets. Methods: Progress has been possible in this field thanks in particular to the sub-m s-1 radial velocity precision achieved by HARPS. We present here new high-quality measurements from this instrument. Results: We report the discovery of a planetary system comprising at least five Neptune-like planets with minimum masses ranging from 12 to 25 M⊕, orbiting the solar-type star HD 10180 at separations between 0.06 and 1.4 AU. A sixth radial velocity signal is present at a longer period, probably caused by a 65-M⊕ object. Moreover, another body with a minimum mass as low as 1.4 M⊕ may be present at 0.02 AU from the star. This is the most populated exoplanetary system known to date. The planets are in a dense but still well separated configuration, with significant secular interactions. Some of the orbital period ratios are fairly close to integer or half-integer values, but the system does not exhibit any mean-motion resonances. General relativity effects and tidal dissipation play an important role to stabilize the innermost planet and the system as a whole. Numerical integrations show long-term dynamical stability provided true masses are within a factor ~3 from minimum masses. We further note that several low-mass planetary systems exhibit a rather "packed" orbital architecture with little or no space left for additional planets. In several cases, semi-major axes are fairly regularly spaced on a logarithmic scale, giving rise to approximate Titius-Bode-like (i.e. exponential) laws. These dynamical architectures can be interpreted as the signature of formation scenarios where type I migration and interactions between protoplanets play a major role. However, it remains challenging to explain the presence of so many Neptunes and super-Earths on non-resonant, well-ordered orbits within ~1-2 AU of the central star. Finally, we also confirm the marked dependence of planet formation on both metallicity and stellar mass. Very massive systems are all found around metal-rich stars more massive than the Sun, while low-mass systems are only found around metal-deficient stars less massive than the Sun. Based on observations made with the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6-m telescope at La Silla Observatory (Chile), under program IDs 072.C-0488 and 183.C-0972.Radial velocities are only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/528/A112

  16. IONIZATION IN ATMOSPHERES OF BROWN DWARFS AND EXTRASOLAR PLANETS. IV. THE EFFECT OF COSMIC RAYS

    SciTech Connect

    Rimmer, P. B.; Helling, Ch.

    2013-09-10

    Cosmic rays provide an important source for free electrons in Earth's atmosphere and also in dense interstellar regions where they produce a prevailing background ionization. We utilize a Monte Carlo cosmic ray transport model for particle energies of 10{sup 6} eV atmospheres of free-floating objects. The cosmic ray calculations are applied to DRIFT-PHOENIX model atmospheres of an example brown dwarf with effective temperature T{sub eff} = 1500 K, and two example giant gas planets (T{sub eff} = 1000 K, 1500 K). For the model brown dwarf atmosphere, the electron fraction is enhanced significantly by cosmic rays when the pressure p{sub gas} < 10{sup -2} bar. Our example giant gas planet atmosphere suggests that the cosmic ray enhancement extends to 10{sup -4}-10{sup -2} bar, depending on the effective temperature. For the model atmosphere of the example giant gas planet considered here (T{sub eff} = 1000 K), cosmic rays bring the degree of ionization to f{sub e} {approx}> 10{sup -8} when p{sub gas} < 10{sup -8} bar, suggesting that this part of the atmosphere may behave as a weakly ionized plasma. Although cosmic rays enhance the degree of ionization by over three orders of magnitude in the upper atmosphere, the effect is not likely to be significant enough for sustained coupling of the magnetic field to the gas.

  17. Studies of Pressure-Broadening of Alkali Atom Resonance Lines for Modeling Atmospheres of Extrasolar Giant Planets and Brown Dwarfs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kirby, Kate; Babb, J.; Yoshino, K.

    2004-01-01

    In L-dwarfs and T-dwarfs the resonance lines of sodium and potassium are so profoundly pressure-broadened that their wings extend several hundred nanometers from line center. With accurate knowledge of the line profiles as a function of temperature and pressure: such lines can prove to be valuable diagnostics of the atmospheres of such objects. We have initiated a joint program of theoretical and experimental research to study the line-broadening of alkali atom resonance lines due to collisions with species such as helium and molecular hydrogen. Although potassium and sodium are the alkali species of most interest in the atmospheres of cool brown dwarfs and extrasolar giant planets, some of our theoretical focus this year has involved the calculation of pressure-broadening of lithium resonance lines by He, as a test of a newly developed suite of computer codes. In addition, theoretical calculations have been carried out to determine the leading long range van der Waals coefficients for the interactions of ground and excited alkali metal atoms with helium atoms, to within a probable error of 2%. Such data is important in determining the behavior of the resonance line profiles in the far wings. Important progress has been made on the experimental aspects of the program since the arrival of a postdoctoral fellow in September. A new absorption cell has been designed, which incorporates a number of technical improvements over the previous cell, including a larger cell diameter to enhance the signal, and fittings which allow for easier cleaning, thereby significantly reducing the instrument down-time.

  18. IONIZATION IN ATMOSPHERES OF BROWN DWARFS AND EXTRASOLAR PLANETS. V. ALFVÉN IONIZATION

    SciTech Connect

    Stark, C. R.; Helling, Ch.; Rimmer, P. B.; Diver, D. A.

    2013-10-10

    Observations of continuous radio and sporadic X-ray emission from low-mass objects suggest they harbor localized plasmas in their atmospheric environments. For low-mass objects, the degree of thermal ionization is insufficient to qualify the ionized component as a plasma, posing the question: what ionization processes can efficiently produce the required plasma that is the source of the radiation? We propose Alfvén ionization as a mechanism for producing localized pockets of ionized gas in the atmosphere, having sufficient degrees of ionization (≥10{sup –7}) that they constitute plasmas. We outline the criteria required for Alfvén ionization and demonstrate its applicability in the atmospheres of low-mass objects such as giant gas planets, brown dwarfs, and M dwarfs with both solar and sub-solar metallicities. We find that Alfvén ionization is most efficient at mid to low atmospheric pressures where a seed plasma is easier to magnetize and the pressure gradients needed to drive the required neutral flows are the smallest. For the model atmospheres considered, our results show that degrees of ionization of 10{sup –6}-1 can be obtained as a result of Alfvén ionization. Observable consequences include continuum bremsstrahlung emission, superimposed with spectral lines from the plasma ion species (e.g., He, Mg, H{sub 2}, or CO lines). Forbidden lines are also expected from the metastable population. The presence of an atmospheric plasma opens the door to a multitude of plasma and chemical processes not yet considered in current atmospheric models. The occurrence of Alfvén ionization may also be applicable to other astrophysical environments such as protoplanetary disks.

  19. Thermal escape from extrasolar giant planets

    PubMed Central

    Koskinen, Tommi T.; Lavvas, Panayotis; Harris, Matthew J.; Yelle, Roger V.

    2014-01-01

    The detection of hot atomic hydrogen and heavy atoms and ions at high altitudes around close-in extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) such as HD209458b implies that these planets have hot and rapidly escaping atmospheres that extend to several planetary radii. These characteristics, however, cannot be generalized to all close-in EGPs. The thermal escape mechanism and mass loss rate from EGPs depend on a complex interplay between photochemistry and radiative transfer driven by the stellar UV radiation. In this study, we explore how these processes change under different levels of irradiation on giant planets with different characteristics. We confirm that there are two distinct regimes of thermal escape from EGPs, and that the transition between these regimes is relatively sharp. Our results have implications for thermal mass loss rates from different EGPs that we discuss in the context of currently known planets and the detectability of their upper atmospheres. PMID:24664923

  20. Thermal escape from extrasolar giant planets.

    PubMed

    Koskinen, Tommi T; Lavvas, Panayotis; Harris, Matthew J; Yelle, Roger V

    2014-04-28

    The detection of hot atomic hydrogen and heavy atoms and ions at high altitudes around close-in extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) such as HD209458b implies that these planets have hot and rapidly escaping atmospheres that extend to several planetary radii. These characteristics, however, cannot be generalized to all close-in EGPs. The thermal escape mechanism and mass loss rate from EGPs depend on a complex interplay between photochemistry and radiative transfer driven by the stellar UV radiation. In this study, we explore how these processes change under different levels of irradiation on giant planets with different characteristics. We confirm that there are two distinct regimes of thermal escape from EGPs, and that the transition between these regimes is relatively sharp. Our results have implications for thermal mass loss rates from different EGPs that we discuss in the context of currently known planets and the detectability of their upper atmospheres. PMID:24664923

  1. IONIZATION IN ATMOSPHERES OF BROWN DWARFS AND EXTRASOLAR PLANETS. II. DUST-INDUCED COLLISIONAL IONIZATION

    SciTech Connect

    Helling, Ch.; Jardine, M.; Mokler, F.

    2011-08-10

    Observations have shown that continuous radio emission and also sporadic H{alpha} and X-ray emission are prominent in singular, low-mass objects later than spectral class M. These activity signatures are interpreted as being caused by coupling of an ionized atmosphere to the stellar magnetic field. What remains a puzzle, however, is the mechanism by which such a cool atmosphere can produce the necessary level of ionization. At these low temperatures, thermal gas processes are insufficient, but the formation of clouds sets in. Cloud particles can act as seeds for electron avalanches in streamers that ionize the ambient gas, and can lead to lightning and indirectly to magnetic field coupling, a combination of processes also expected for protoplanetary disks. However, the precondition is that the cloud particles are charged. We use results from DRIFT-PHOENIX model atmospheres to investigate collisional processes that can lead to the ionization of dust grains inside clouds. We show that ionization by turbulence-induced dust-dust collisions is the most efficient kinetic process. The efficiency is highest in the inner cloud where particles grow quickly and, hence, the dust-to-gas ratio is high. Dust-dust collisions alone are not sufficient to improve the magnetic coupling of the atmosphere inside the cloud layers, but the charges supplied either on grains or within the gas phase as separated electrons can trigger secondary nonlinear processes. Cosmic rays are likely to increase the global level of ionization, but their influence decreases if a strong, large-scale magnetic field is present as on brown dwarfs. We suggest that although thermal gas ionization declines in objects across the fully convective boundary, dust charging by collisional processes can play an important role in the lowest mass objects. The onset of atmospheric dust may therefore correlate with the anomalous X-ray and radio emission in atmospheres that are cool, but charged more than expected by pure thermal ionization.

  2. Plasma-induced Escape and Alterations of Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, R. E.; Tucker, O. J.; Ewrin, J.; Cassidy, T. A.; Leblanc, F.

    2009-12-01

    The atmospheres of planets and planetary satellites are typically imbedded in space plasmas. Depending on the interaction with the induced or intrinsic fields energetic ions can have access to the thermosphere and the corona affecting their composition and thermal structure and causing loss to space. These processes are often lumped together as ‘atmospheric sputtering’ (Johnson 1994). In this talk I will review the results of simulations of the plasma bombardment at a number of solar system bodies and use those data to describe the effect on the upper atmosphere and on escape. Of considerable recent interest is the modeling of escape from Titan. Prior to Cassini’s tour of the Saturnian system, plasma-induced escape was suggested to be the dominant loss process, but recent models of enhanced thermal escape, often referred to as ‘slow hydrodynamic’ escape, have been suggested to lead to much larger Titan atmospheric loss rates (Strobel 2008; Cui et al. 2008). Such a process has been suggested to be active at some point in time on a number of solar system bodies. I will present hybrid fluid/ kinetic models of the upper atmosphere of certain bodies in order to test both the plasma-induced and thermal escape processes. Preliminary results suggest that the loss rates estimated using the ‘slow hydrodynamic’ escape process can be orders of magnitude too large. The implications for Mars, Titan and Pluto will be discussed. Background for this talk is contained in the following papers (Johnson 2004; 2009; Chaufray et al. 2007; Johnson et al. 2008; 2009; Tucker and Johnson 2009). References: Chaufray, J.Y., R. Modolo, F. Leblanc, G. Chanteur, R.E. Johnson, and J.G. Luhmann, Mars Solar Wind interaction: formation of the Martian corona and atmosphric loss to space, JGR 112, E09009, doi:10.1029/2007JE002915 (2007) Cui, J., Yelle, R. V., Volk, K. Distribution and escape of molecular hydrogen in Titan's thermosphere and exosphere. J. Geophys. Res. 113, doi:10.1029/2007JE003032 (2008) Johnson, R.E. Plasma-induced Sputtering of an Atmosphere. in Space Science Rev. 69, 215-253 (1994). Johnson, R.E., The Magnetospheric Plasma-Driven Evolution of Satellite Atmospheres, Astrophys. J. 609: L99-L102 (2004). Johnson, R.E., M.R. Combi, J.L. Fox, W-H. Ip, F. Leblanc, M.A. McGrath, V.I. Shematovich, D.F. Strobel, J.H. Waite Jr, Exospheres and Atmospheric Escape, Chapter in Comparative Aeronomy, Ed. A. Nagy, Space Sci. Rev. 139: 355-397, DOI 10.1007/s11214-008-9415-3 (2008) Johnson, R.E., Sputtering and heating of Titan's upper atmosphere, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 367, 753-771, doi:10.1098/rsta.2008.0244 (2009) Johnson, R.E., O.J. Tucker, M. Michael, E.C. Sittler, H.T. Smith, D.T. Young, and J.H. Waite, Mass Loss Processes in Titan's Upper Atmosphere, Springer-Verlag in press (2009) Strobel, D. F. Titan's hydrodynamically escaping atmosphere. Icarus 193, 588—594 (2008)

  3. Extrasolar Storms: The Physics and Chemistry of Evolving Cloud Structures in Brown Dwarf Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Apai, Daniel; Buenzli, Esther; Flateau, Davin; Metchev, Stanimir; Marley, Mark; Radigan, Jacqueline; Lowrance, Patrick; Showman, Adam; Artigau, Etienne; Heinze, Aren; Burgasser, Adam; Mohanty, Subhanjoy

    2012-09-01

    Condensate clouds pose the most significant challenge to the understanding of ultracool atmospheres of brown dwarfs and giant?exoplanets. In three ongoing Spitzer programs we have?taken advantage of Spitzer's ability to obtain high-cadence uninterrupted observations to pioneer a new technique, rotational phase mapping, and successfully explored the properties of cloud covers in ~50 brown?dwarfs. Among other exciting results we found that most brown dwarfs possess heterogeneous cloud cover, often with complex surface structures. Perhaps the most perplexing behavior seen in our surveys is light curve evolution on timescales as short as 5 hours and as long as a year. This unexpected behavior offers a unique opportunity to explore the dynamics of cloud layers, but requires multi-epoch data sets. We propose here to follow up a representative set of varying brown dwarfs via multi-epoch Spitzer and HST phase mapping to carry out the first quantitative exploration of cloud cover evolution. The proposed study will establish the first time-resolved multi-wavelength light curve library for brown dwarfs. Spitzer uniquely offers precise 3-5 micron photometry and continuous coverage that allow us to detect cloud structures a fraction of the size of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter in our targets. Combined with HST grism spectroscopy during a subset of the Spitzer observations, the Spitzer phase maps will allow us to disentangle the effects of cloud formation, differential rotation, large-scale rainout and dispersal of clouds. As different wavelengths probe different pressures and different rotational phases probe different latitudes we will be able to explore the two or even three-dimensional structure of the atmospheres. We will also constrain the dynamical and radiative timescales for brown dwarfs and compare these to theoretical predictions to identify the underlying atmospheric dynamics. This program will leave a unique legacy that will propel studies of ultracool atmosphere studies into a new era.

  4. Extrasolar Storms: The Physics and Chemistry of Evolving Cloud Structures in Brown Dwarf Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Apai, Daniel

    2012-10-01

    Condensate clouds pose the most significant challenge to the understanding of ultracool atmospheres of brown dwarfs and giant exoplanets. In three ongoing Spitzer programs we have taken advantage of Spitzer's ability to obtain high-cadence uninterrupted observations to pioneer a new technique, rotational phase mapping, and successfully explored the properties of cloud covers in ~50 brown dwarfs. Among other exciting results we found that most brown dwarfs possess heterogeneous cloud cover, often with complex surface structures. Perhaps the most perplexing behavior seen in our surveys is light curve evolution on timescales as short as 5 hours and as long as a year. This unexpected behavior offers a unique opportunity to explore the dynamics of cloud layers, but requires multi-epoch data sets. We propose here to follow up a representative set of varying brown dwarfs via multi-epoch Spitzer and HST phase mapping to carry out the first quantitative exploration of cloud cover evolution. The proposed study will establish the first time-resolved multi-wavelength light curve library for brown dwarfs. Spitzer uniquely offers precise 3-5 micron photometry and continuous coverage that allow us to detect cloud structures a fraction of the size of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter in our targets. Combined with HST grism spectroscopy during a subset of the Spitzer observations, the Spitzer phase maps will allow us to disentangle the effects of cloud formation, differential rotation, large-scale rainout and dispersal of clouds. As different wavelengths probe different pressures and different rotational phases probe different latitudes we will be able to explore the two or even three-dimensional structure of the atmospheres. We will also constrain the dynamical and radiative timescales for brown dwarfs and compare these to theoretical predictions to identify the underlying atmospheric dynamics. This program will leave a unique legacy that will propel studies of ultracool atmosphere studies into a new era.

  5. Clouds and Chemistry in the Atmosphere of Extrasolar Planet HR8799b

    SciTech Connect

    Barman, T S; Macintosh, B A; Konopacky, Q M; Marois, C

    2011-03-21

    Using the integral field spectrograph OSIRIS, on the Keck II telescope, broad near-infrared H and K-band spectra of the young exoplanet HR8799b have been obtained. In addition, six new narrow-band photometric measurements have been taken across the H and K bands. These data are combined with previously published photometry for an analysis of the planet's atmospheric properties. Thick photospheric dust cloud opacity is invoked to explain the planet's red near-IR colors and relatively smooth near-IR spectrum. Strong water absorption is detected, indicating a Hydrogen-rich atmosphere. Only weak CH{sub 4} absorption is detected at K band, indicating efficient vertical mixing and a disequilibrium CO/CH{sub 4} ratio at photospheric depths. The H-band spectrum has a distinct triangular shape consistent with low surface gravity. New giant planet atmosphere models are compared to these data with best fitting bulk parameters, T{sub eff} = 1100K {+-} 100 and log(g) = 3.5 {+-} 0.5 (for solar composition). Given the observed luminosity (log L{sub obs}/L{sub {circle_dot}} {approx} -5.1), these values correspond to a radius of 0.75 R{sub Jup{sub 0.12}{sup +0.17}} and mass {approx} 0.72 M{sub Jup{sub -0.6}{sup +2.6}} - strikingly inconsistent with interior/evolution models. Enhanced metallicity (up to {approx} 10 x that of the Sun) along with thick clouds and non-equilibrium chemistry are likely required to reproduce the complete ensemble of spectroscopic and photometric data and the low effective temperatures (< 1000K) required by the evolution models.

  6. The applications of chemical thermodynamics and chemical kinetics to planetary atmospheres research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fegley, Bruce, Jr.

    1990-01-01

    A review of the applications of chemical thermodynamics and chemical kinetics to planetary atmospheres research during the past four decades is presented with an emphasis on chemical equilibrium models and thermochemical kinetics. Several current problems in planetary atmospheres research such as the origin of the atmospheres of the terrestrial planets, atmosphere-surface interactions on Venus and Mars, deep mixing in the atmospheres of the gas giant planets, and the origin of the atmospheres of outer planet satellites all require laboratory data on the kinetics of thermochemical reactions for their solution.

  7. Polarimetric direct detection of extra-solar planets with SPHERE/ZIMPOL

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joos, F.

    2007-06-01

    We are currently working out a phase-B study for building a second generation VLT-instrument, named SPHERE, which aims to directly detect extra-solar planets. SPHERE (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exo-planet REsearch) is a multi-mode instrument for direct detecting and analyzing young (IR) and old (vis) extra-solar planets. The institute of Astronomy at ETH Zurich is responsible for the visual instrument of SPHERE, the high-accuracy imaging polarimeter ZIMPOL (Zurich IMaging POLarimeter). ZIMPOL reaches a polarimetric accuracy of 10^-5. ZIMPOL uses fast (kHz) modulation/demodulation of the incoming polarized signal and is therefore faster than seeing variations. Light reflected by planetary atmospheres can highly be polarized whereas the central star can be assumed as unpolarized. With diffraction limited resolution at the VLT and an extreme adaptive optics combined with coronagraphy direct detection of extra-solar planets will be possible with SPHERE/ZIMPOL.

  8. Compact remote multisensing instrument for planetary surfaces and atmospheres characterization.

    PubMed

    Nurul Abedin, M; Bradley, Arthur T; Ismail, Syed; Sharma, Shiv K; Sandford, Stephen P

    2013-05-10

    This paper describes a prototype feasibility demonstration system of a multipurpose Raman-fluorescence spectrograph and compact lidar system suitable for planetary sciences missions. The key measurement features of this instrument are its abilities to: i) detect minerals and organics at low levels in the dust constituents of surface, subsurface material and rocks on Mars, ii) determine the distribution of trace fluorescent ions with time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy to learn about the geological conditions under which these minerals formed, iii) inspect material toxicity from a mobile robotic platform during local site characterization, iv) measure dust aerosol and cloud distributions, v) measure near-field atmospheric carbon dioxide, and vi) identify surface CO(2)-ice, surface water ice, and surface or subsurface methane hydrate. This prototype instrument and an improved follow-on design are described and have the capability for scientific investigations discussed above, to remotely investigate geological processes from a robotic platform at more than a 20-m radial distance with potential to go beyond 100 m. It also provides single wavelength (532 nm) aerosol/cloud profiling over very long ranges (>10 km with potential to 20 km). Measurement results obtained with this prototype unit from a robotic platform and calculated potential performance are presented in this paper. PMID:23669823

  9. An automated method for tracking clouds in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luz, D.; Berry, D. L.; Roos-Serote, M.

    2008-05-01

    We present an automated method for cloud tracking which can be applied to planetary images. The method is based on a digital correlator which compares two or more consecutive images and identifies patterns by maximizing correlations between image blocks. This approach bypasses the problem of feature detection. Four variations of the algorithm are tested on real cloud images of Jupiter's white ovals from the Galileo mission, previously analyzed in Vasavada et al. [Vasavada, A.R., Ingersoll, A.P., Banfield, D., Bell, M., Gierasch, P.J., Belton, M.J.S., Orton, G.S., Klaasen, K.P., Dejong, E., Breneman, H.H., Jones, T.J., Kaufman, J.M., Magee, K.P., Senske, D.A. 1998. Galileo imaging of Jupiter's atmosphere: the great red spot, equatorial region, and white ovals. Icarus, 135, 265, doi:10.1006/icar.1998.5984]. Direct correlation, using the sum of squared differences between image radiances as a distance estimator (baseline case), yields displacement vectors very similar to this previous analysis. Combining this distance estimator with the method of order ranks results in a technique which is more robust in the presence of outliers and noise and of better quality. Finally, we introduce a distance metric which, combined with order ranks, provides results of similar quality to the baseline case and is faster. The new approach can be applied to data from a number of space-based imaging instruments with a non-negligible gain in computing time.

  10. Analytical theories for spacecraft entry into planetary atmospheres and design of planetary probes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saikia, Sarag J.

    This dissertation deals with the development of analytical theories for spacecraft entry into planetary atmospheres and the design of entry spacecraft or probes for planetary science and human exploration missions. Poincare's method of small parameters is used to develop an improved approximate analytical solution for Yaroshevskii's classical planetary entry equation for the ballistic entry of a spacecraft into planetary atmospheres. From this solution, other important expressions are developed including deceleration, stagnation-point heat rate, and stagnation-point integrated heat load. The accuracy of the solution is assessed via numerical integration of the exact equations of motion. The solution is also compared to the classical solutions of Yaroshevskii and Allen and Eggers. The new second-order analytical solution is more accurate than Yaroshevskii's fifth-order solution for a range of shallow (-3 deg) to steep (up to -90 deg) entry flight path angles, thereby extending the range of applicability of the solution as compared to the classical Yaroshevskii solution, which is restricted to an entry flight path of approximately -40 deg. Universal planetary entry equations are used to develop a new analytical theory for ballistic entry of spacecraft for moderate to large initial flight path angles. Chapman's altitude variable is used as the independent variable. Poincare's method of small parameters is used to develop an analytical solution for the velocity and the flight path angle. The new solution is used to formulate key expressions for range, time-of-flight, deceleration, and aerodynamic heating parameters (e.g., stagnation-point heat rate, total stagnation-point heat load, and average heat input). The classical approximate solution of Chapman's entry equation appears as the zero-order term in the new solution. The new solution represents an order of magnitude enhancement in the accuracy compared to existing analytical solutions for moderate to large entry flight path angles. The analytical theory is very accurate for moderate to large entry angles and for any entry speed. A new analytical theory is developed for ballistic entry at circular speed for zero initial flight path angle and for ballistic entry at circular speed for very small to large initial flight path angles. Two separate solutions for zero and non-zero initial flight path angles are needed to avoid a singularity. The classical Yaroshevskii's solution enters as the zero-order term in the solutions. Using the new solutions, other important expressions are developed such as time-of-flight, range, deceleration, and aerodynamic heating parameters (e.g. average heat input, stagnation-point heat rate, and total stagnation-point heat load). Large-scale human exploration of Mars and in situ exploration of Venus pose great challenges for entry, descent, and landing of spacecraft. The Adaptive Deployable Entry and Placement Technology (ADEPT), a mechanically deployable decelerator, presents an enabling alternative to the traditional rigid aeroshell technology. ADEPT helps in lowering the ballistic coefficient of an entry vehicle and also presents attractive options for lifting and guided entry. Optimal trajectory solutions which minimize peak deceleration and peak heat-flux are computed for four different control strategies. The deployable decelerator for human Mars missions (requiring a landed mass of 40 mt) presents an acceptable entry environment---peak heat-flux of < 80 W/cm2, and peak deceleration of less than 4 G (compared to 200 W/cm2 and 15 G for Mars Science Laboratory respectively). For lifting and guided entry for Venus in situ missions, ADEPT could lead to a two-order-of-magnitude decrease in peak deceleration and to a 50% decrease in peak heat-flux compared to conventional rigid aeroshell technology. There exist a number of attractive trajectory candidates for round-trip human missions to Mars and Venus. However, the speeds the spacecraft will encounter during Earth reentry are unprecedented. NASA's Stardust entry robotic spacecraft which entered Earth (ballistic entry) at a speed of 12.9 km/s is the fastest reentry achieved by a manmade object to date. The goal is to assess the feasibility of Earth reentry for fast free returns Mars and Venus human missions within human tolerance limits and capabilities of current state-of-art vehicle and thermal protection system technologies.

  11. Atom Resonance Lines for Modeling Atmosphere: Studies of Pressure-Broadening of Alkali Atom Resonance Lines for Modeling Atmospheres of Extrasolar Giant Planets and Brown Dwarfs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hasan, Hashima (Technical Monitor); Kirby, K.; Babb, J.; Yoshino, K.

    2005-01-01

    We report on progress made in a joint program of theoretical and experimental research to study the line-broadening of alkali atom resonance lines due to collisions with species such as helium and molecular hydrogen. Accurate knowledge of the line profiles of Na and K as a function of temperature and pressure will allow such lines to serve as valuable diagnostics of the atmospheres of brown dwarfs and extra-solar giant planets. A new experimental apparatus has been designed, built and tested over the past year, and we are poised to begin collecting data on the first system of interest, the potassium resonance lines perturbed by collisions with helium. On the theoretical front, calculations of line-broadening due to sodium collisions with helium are nearly complete, using accurate molecular potential energy curves and transition moments just recently computed for this system. In addition we have completed calculations of the three relevant potential energy curves and associated transition moments for K - He, using the MOLPRO quantum chemistry codes. Currently, calculations of the potential surfaces describing K-H2 are in progress.

  12. Extrasolar Planets & The Power of the Dark Side

    SciTech Connect

    Charbonneau, David

    2009-04-24

    It is only in the last decade that we have direct evidence for planets orbiting nearby Sun-like stars. If such planets happen to pass in front of their stars, we are presented with a golden opportunity to learn about the nature of these objects. Measurements of the dimming of starlight and gravitational wobble allow us to derive the planetary radius and mass, and, by inference, its composition. Recently, we used the Hubble Telescope to detect and study the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet for the first time. I will describe what we have learned about these planets 

  13. The role of FGGE data in the understanding and prediction of atmospheric planetary waves

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, W. E.

    1985-01-01

    The augmented observational data base provided by FGGE offers a unique opportunity to improve the understanding and prediction of atmospheric planetary waves. Substantial progress was made, but a number of problems remain. The research on planetary waves conducted thus far with FGGE data is reviewed. Areas of progress are summarized, and some remaining problems are discussed.

  14. Effects of the seasonal cycle on superrotation in planetary atmospheres

    SciTech Connect

    Mitchell, Jonathan L.; Vallis, Geoffrey K.; Potter, Samuel F.

    2014-05-20

    The dynamics of dry atmospheric general circulation model simulations forced by seasonally varying Newtonian relaxation are explored over a wide range of two control parameters and are compared with the large-scale circulation of Earth, Mars, and Titan in their relevant parameter regimes. Of the parameters that govern the behavior of the system, the thermal Rossby number (Ro) has previously been found to be important in governing the spontaneous transition from an Earth-like climatology of winds to a superrotating one with prograde equatorial winds, in the absence of a seasonal cycle. This case is somewhat unrealistic as it applies only if the planet has zero obliquity or if surface thermal inertia is very large. While Venus has nearly vanishing obliquity, Earth, Mars, and Titan (Saturn) all have obliquities of ∼25° and varying degrees of seasonality due to their differing thermal inertias and orbital periods. Motivated by this, we introduce a time-dependent Newtonian cooling to drive a seasonal cycle using idealized model forcing, and we define a second control parameter that mimics non-dimensional thermal inertia of planetary surfaces. We then perform and analyze simulations across the parameter range bracketed by Earth-like and Titan-like regimes, assess the impact on the spontaneous transition to superrotation, and compare Earth, Mars, and Titan to the model simulations in the relevant parameter regime. We find that a large seasonal cycle (small thermal inertia) prevents model atmospheres with large thermal Rossby numbers from developing superrotation by the influences of (1) cross-equatorial momentum advection by the Hadley circulation and (2) hemispherically asymmetric zonal-mean zonal winds that suppress instabilities leading to equatorial momentum convergence. We also demonstrate that baroclinic instabilities must be sufficiently weak to allow superrotation to develop. In the relevant parameter regimes, our seasonal model simulations compare favorably to large-scale, seasonal phenomena observed on Earth and Mars. In the Titan-like regime the seasonal cycle in our model acts to prevent superrotation from developing, and it is necessary to increase the value of a third parameter—the atmospheric Newtonian cooling time—to achieve a superrotating climatology.

  15. Extrasolar Planetary Imaging Coronagraph (EPIC)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clampin, Mark

    2009-01-01

    EPIC is a NASA mission being studied to detect and characterize Jovian and superEarth planets, and, the dust/debris disks surrounding the parent star. It will be launched into a heliocentric Earth trailing orbit and operate for 5 years. EPIC would operate over the wavelength range of 480 - 960 nm with spectral resolutions of R < 50 and employs a visible nulling coronagraph (VNC) to suppress the starlight, yielding contrast ratios of greater than 9 orders of magnitude. We will discuss the science mission, and its role in the search for habitable planets.

  16. Spectral Irradiance Measurements of Simulated Lightning in Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borucki, W. J.; McKay, C. P.; Jebbens, D.; Lakkaraju, H. S.; Vanajakshi, C. T.; Cuzzi, Jeffrey (Technical Monitor)

    1996-01-01

    Optical emissions from lightning provide information to estimate the altitude, latitude and longitude of lightning storms, the energy of the discharges, and the production of important trace species such as HCN and C2H2. Knowledge of the spectra of planetary lightning is needed to deduce the total energy dissipated by lightning (and thereby, the production of trace gases) and to help design experiments to detect and track lightning storms. Measurements of the spectral irradiance from approximately 380 to 820 nm are reported for laboratory simulations of lightning in the atmospheres of Venus, Jupiter, and Titan. In our laboratory, laser-induced plasmas (LIP) are used to simulate lightning discharges. This technique avoids contamination of the spectra by elect-ode material and maintains a safe environment while allowing the use of flammable gases, such as hydrogen and methane, found in outer planet atmospheres. The observations were made at I and 5 bars pressure for Venus and Jupiter and at 1 bar for the Titan mixture. At a pressure of one bar, our results show prominent lines from H(sub alpha), H(sub beta), H(sub gamma), and H(sub delta) lines of the Balmer Series of atomic hydrogen, a single line from Helium at 588 nm and strong continuum radiation. At pressures of 5 bars, the H(sub alpha) and H(sub beta) lines are wider, the H(sub gamma), and H(sub delta) lines merge into the continuum because of pressure broadening, and the helium line at 588 nm is no longer visible. The observed spectra of simulated lightning in the venusian atmosphere at 1 and 5 bars shows that the OI multiplet at 777.7 nm dominates the spectra, but weak features due to atomic carbon and singly excited and singly ionized oxygen atoms are also visible. Although lightning has not yet been observed on Titan, it conceivable that some form of lightning discharge could be occurring. Therefore experiments on a Titan atmosphere mixture were conducted. The most prominent features seen in the simulated spectra are the H(sub alpha) at 656 nm. from the dissociation of the methane and two strong features at 740 and 820 nm from singly excited nitrogen atoms. Most of the features between 400 and 656 nm are due to ionized nitrogen atoms. A broad, highly structured feature centered near 389 nm is molecular band radiation from CN molecules formed in the cooling plasma of atomic nitrogen, carbon, and hydrogen. It is observed in the lightning simulations of both the venusian and Titan atmospheres, For Venus, Jupiter, and Titan, narrow spectral features that are ideal for detecting lightning in the presence of sunlight are present in the spectra. These features could allow lightning to be detected and tracked by Earth-based instruments.

  17. Planetary Atmosphere Stability in the Habitable Zones of M-stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tian, Feng

    2010-10-01

    The traditional habitable zone depends on conditions suitable for long term stability of liquid water on the surface of planets. It is suggested that the frequent intense stellar CME events could have led to so rapid erosion of planetary atmospheres that generally speaking there is essentially no habitable zones around Earth-mass planets around M-stars. However, fast atmosperic mass loss should put the planetary atmosphere in the hydrodynamic, in which the energy consumption by the outflow could have limited the atmospheric loss and make a CO2-dominant planetary atmosphere stable in the habitable zones of M-stars. In this work we will explore the atmosphere stability of broad range of habitable planets with different mass and atmospheric composition.

  18. Influence of atmospheric turbulence on planetary transceiver laser ranging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dirkx, D.; Noomen, R.; Prochazka, I.; Bauer, S.; Vermeersen, L. L. A.

    2014-12-01

    In this paper we investigate the influence of atmospheric turbulence on the performance of the uplink of a planetary transceiver laser ranging system using a single photon detector. We numerically combine the influence of turbulence in the mean intensity profile variations, scintillation, beam-wander induced pointing errors and stochastic time-of-flight variations, using the Hufnagel-Valley turbulence profile to model the ground turbulence behavior. We map the intensity variations due to turbulence to variations in the probability distribution of the arrival time of the 1st photon in a laser pulse, which influences the range measurement error probability distribution. The turbulence models are applied to assess the influence on single-pass range accuracy and precision statistics, as well as the parameter estimation quality of a Phobos Laser Ranging (PLR) mission. The difference in range measurement error between weak and strong turbulence is 3-4 mm in a PLR concept. This indicates that turbulence is a potentially important contributor to the error budget of interplanetary laser ranging missions, which aim at mm-level accuracy and precision. The single-shot precision is weakly influenced by turbulence, but strong turbulence is found to cause a strong decrease in detected pulse fraction, reducing normal point precision. We show that a trade-off between range accuracy and precision must be made when selecting laser system parameters, considerations for which are influenced by atmospheric turbulence effects. By consistently operating at the single-photon signal strength level, accuracy variations can be largely removed, at the expense of normal point precision, due to the reduced detection probability. We perform parameter estimation of Phobos initial state and observation biases using simulated measurements with and without turbulence, using a daily periodic turbulence strength model. We show that the parameter estimation quality is degraded significantly below that of the turbulence-free case only in the presence of strong turbulence. This shows the existence of a limit of ground turbulence strength below which its influence on parameter estimation becomes negligible.

  19. Nonthermal atoms in planetary, satellite, and cometary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kupperman, David Gerson

    1999-08-01

    The effect of nonthermal atoms is investigated in planetary, satellite, and cometary atmospheres. In the Earth's lower thermosphere, it is demonstrated that nonthermal N(4S) and O(3P) atoms increase the peak NO density, bringing closer model and observational (108 cm-3) densities. However, they are insufficient to remove the total NO deficit and only result in a peak NO density of approximately 3 × 107 cm-3 at 105 km. The loss of nonthermal N(4S) atoms from Titan and Triton are found to be 9 × 1024 and 1.5 × 1024 N atoms s-1, respectively. We find that the observational estimates of Strobel et al. [1992] are consistent with our modeling of escape from Titan. The loss of O atoms from Mars by nonthermal processes is a vital part of understanding the H2O and CO2 budgets in respect to how the Martian atmosphere has evolved. Anderson and Hord [1971] inferred the H escape flux to be approximately 1.8 × 108 cm -2 s-1 from Mariner 6 and 7 ultraviolet data. McElroy et al. [1977] initially calculated an 0 atom escape rate that was approximately half the H escape rate. However, with more sophisticated modeling this result was shown to be an order of magnitude too large [Lammer and Bauer, 1991; Fox, 1993; Luhmann, 1997]. In this work, we demonstrate that the O escape rate due to dissociative recombination of O2 + can be in stoichiometric balance with H escape over a solar cycle. Observations of comet Hale-Bopp reveal a third type of tail consisting of neutral sodium atoms. Using a point source of atomic sodium to model the observed tail, the sodium production is found to be 3.5 × 10 25 atoms s-1. This result suggests that the source of the sodium is either from the nucleus or inner coma. The production rates of water and carbon monoxide near perihelion are found to be 1031 s-1 and 2.7 × 1030 s-1 , respectively. The abundance of observed Na in the tail is inconsistent with cosmic abundances, suggesting that the majority of the sodium is trapped in the comet nucleus or dust grains.

  20. Problem of photochemical equilibrium of ozone in planetary atmospheres: Ozone distribution in the lower atmosphere of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grams, G. W.; SHARDANAND

    1972-01-01

    The inherent errors of applying terrestrial atmospheric ozone distribution studies to the atmosphere of other planets are discussed. Limitations associated with some of the earlier treatments of photochemical equilibrium distributions of ozone in planetary atmospheres are described. A technique having more universal application is presented. Ozone concentration profiles for the Martian atmosphere based on the results of the Mariner 4 radio occultation experiment and the more recent results with Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 have been calculated using this approach.

  1. 3.6 AND 4.5 {mu}m PHASE CURVES AND EVIDENCE FOR NON-EQUILIBRIUM CHEMISTRY IN THE ATMOSPHERE OF EXTRASOLAR PLANET HD 189733b

    SciTech Connect

    Knutson, Heather A.; Lewis, Nikole; Showman, Adam P.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Laughlin, Gregory; Burrows, Adam; Cowan, Nicolas B.; Agol, Eric; Aigrain, Suzanne; Charbonneau, David; Desert, Jean-Michel; Deming, Drake; Henry, Gregory W.; Langton, Jonathan

    2012-07-20

    We present new, full-orbit observations of the infrared phase variations of the canonical hot Jupiter HD 189733b obtained in the 3.6 and 4.5 {mu}m bands using the Spitzer Space Telescope. When combined with previous phase curve observations at 8.0 and 24 {mu}m, these data allow us to characterize the exoplanet's emission spectrum as a function of planetary longitude and to search for local variations in its vertical thermal profile and atmospheric composition. We utilize an improved method for removing the effects of intrapixel sensitivity variations and robustly extracting phase curve signals from these data, and we calculate our best-fit parameters and uncertainties using a wavelet-based Markov Chain Monte Carlo analysis that accounts for the presence of time-correlated noise in our data. We measure a phase curve amplitude of 0.1242% {+-} 0.0061% in the 3.6 {mu}m band and 0.0982% {+-} 0.0089% in the 4.5 {mu}m band, corresponding to brightness temperature contrasts of 503 {+-} 21 K and 264 {+-} 24 K, respectively. We find that the times of minimum and maximum flux occur several hours earlier than predicted for an atmosphere in radiative equilibrium, consistent with the eastward advection of gas by an equatorial super-rotating jet. The locations of the flux minima in our new data differ from our previous observations at 8 {mu}m, and we present new evidence indicating that the flux minimum observed in the 8 {mu}m is likely caused by an overshooting effect in the 8 {mu}m array. We obtain improved estimates for HD 189733b's dayside planet-star flux ratio of 0.1466% {+-} 0.0040% in the 3.6 {mu}m band and 0.1787% {+-} 0.0038% in the 4.5 {mu}m band, corresponding to brightness temperatures of 1328 {+-} 11 K and 1192 {+-} 9 K, respectively; these are the most accurate secondary eclipse depths obtained to date for an extrasolar planet. We compare our new dayside and nightside spectra for HD 189733b to the predictions of one-dimensional radiative transfer models from Burrows et al. and conclude that fits to this planet's dayside spectrum provide a reasonably accurate estimate of the amount of energy transported to the night side. Our 3.6 and 4.5 {mu}m phase curves are generally in good agreement with the predictions of general circulation models for this planet from Showman et al., although we require either excess drag or slower rotation rates in order to match the locations of the measured maxima and minima in the 4.5, 8.0, and 24 {mu}m bands. We find that HD 189733b's 4.5 {mu}m nightside flux is 3.3{sigma} smaller than predicted by these models, which assume that the chemistry is in local thermal equilibrium. We conclude that this discrepancy is best explained by vertical mixing, which should lead to an excess of CO and correspondingly enhanced 4.5 {mu}m absorption in this region. This result is consistent with our constraints on the planet's transmission spectrum, which also suggest excess absorption in the 4.5 {mu}m band at the day-night terminator.

  2. Validation of Atmospheric Dynamics (VADY) - connections between planetary waves and atmospheric circulation types

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lang, Benjamin; Jacobeit, Jucundus; Beck, Christoph; Philipp, Andreas

    2015-04-01

    The climate research program "Medium-range Climate Predictions" (MiKlip), funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany (BMBF), has the aim to develop a climate model system (MPI-ESM) that can provide reliable decadal predictions of climate, including extreme weather events. A substantial part of the development process is a comprehensive model validation. Within MiKlip, it includes comparisons of model simulations and observations in order to allow statements about the performance of the model and to give particular recommendations for the further development of the model. The research project "Validation of Atmospheric Dynamics" (VADY), conducted by the cooperation partners "Institute of Geography at the University of Augsburg" (IGUA) and the "German Aerospace Centre" (DLR), contributes to model validation within MiKlip with a special focus on atmospheric waves and circulation dynamics. Within the framework of VADY, DLR validates the representation of atmospheric waves on different levels and scales based on suitable activity indices (e.g. the so-called large-scale dynamical activity index (LDAI), which is a measure for the activity of planetary waves). The focus of IGUA is on the model validation with respect to the representation of atmospheric circulation types, dynamical modes and the teleconnectivity of the atmospheric circulation. Currently, the connection between LDAI and atmospheric circulation types on different levels and for different seasons in the North Atlantic-European region is analysed by considering, in particular, the North Atlantic Oscillation. Results will be shown for the connection between LDAI and atmospheric circulation types and subsequently for the representation of the identified connections in the decadal-prediction model system of MPI-ESM.

  3. Observations of Extrasolar Planet Transits: What's next?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rauer, H.

    2014-03-01

    Transits of extrasolar planets are a goldmine for our understanding of the physical nature of planets beyond the Solar System. Measurements of radii from transit observations combined with mass determinations from radial velocity spectroscopy, or transit timing variations, have provided the first indications to the planetary composition and interior structure. It turns out that planets show a much richer diversity than found in our own planetary system, considering e.g. the so-called 'super-Earths', 'mini-Neptunes', and inflated giant planets. Transiting exoplanets also allow for spectroscopic observations of their atmospheres, either during transit or near secondary eclipse. Exoplanets showing transits have therefore been identified as key observables, not only for planet detection, but in particular for investigating further planetary nature. As a result, a new generation of instruments (space- and groundbased) for exoplanet transit observations is already in the construction phase and is planned for the near future. Most of these target specifically stars bright enough for spectroscopic follow-up observations, a èlesson learned' from past transit surveys. A clear goal for future investigations of habitable planets is the detection and characterization of terrestrial planets which potentially could harbor life. This talk will review the status and in particular the future of transit observations, with a focus on rocky planets in the habitable zone of their host stars.

  4. Analytic theory of orbit contraction and ballistic entry into planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Longuski, J. M.; Vinh, N. X.

    1980-01-01

    A space object traveling through an atmosphere is governed by two forces: aerodynamic and gravitational. On this premise, equations of motion are derived to provide a set of universal entry equations applicable to all regimes of atmospheric flight from orbital motion under the dissipate force of drag through the dynamic phase of reentry, and finally to the point of contact with the planetary surface. Rigorous mathematical techniques such as averaging, Poincare's method of small parameters, and Lagrange's expansion, applied to obtain a highly accurate, purely analytic theory for orbit contraction and ballistic entry into planetary atmospheres. The theory has a wide range of applications to modern problems including orbit decay of artificial satellites, atmospheric capture of planetary probes, atmospheric grazing, and ballistic reentry of manned and unmanned space vehicles.

  5. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, Paul G.

    1992-01-01

    Radio absorptivity data for planetary atmospheres obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments and earth-based radio astronomical observations can be used to infer abundances of microwave absorbing atmospheric constituents in those atmospheres, as long as reliable information regarding the microwave absorbing properties of potential constituents is available. The use of theoretically derived microwave absorption properties for such atmospheric constituents, or using laboratory measurements of such properties under environmental conditions which are significantly different than those of the planetary atmosphere being studied, often leads to significant misinterpretation of available opacity data. The recognition of the need to make such laboratory measurements of simulated planetary atmospheres over a range of temperatures and pressures which correspond to the altitudes probed by both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, and over a range of frequencies which correspond to those used in both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, has led to the development of a facility at Georgia Tech which is capable of making such measurements. The goal of this investigation was to conduct such measurements and to apply the results to a wide range of planetary observations, both spacecraft and earth-based, in order to determine the identity and abundance profiles of constituents in those planetary atmospheres.

  6. Extrasolar planets: constraints for planet formation models.

    PubMed

    Santos, Nuno C; Benz, Willy; Mayor, Michel

    2005-10-14

    Since 1995, more than 150 extrasolar planets have been discovered, most of them in orbits quite different from those of the giant planets in our own solar system. The number of discovered extrasolar planets demonstrates that planetary systems are common but also that they may possess a large variety of properties. As the number of detections grows, statistical studies of the properties of exoplanets and their host stars can be conducted to unravel some of the key physical and chemical processes leading to the formation of planetary systems. PMID:16224012

  7. Laboratory Evaluation and Application of Microwave Absorption Properties Under Simulated Conditions for Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, Paul G.

    1997-01-01

    Radio absorptivity data for planetary atmospheres obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments and earth-based radio astronomical observations can be used to infer abundances of microwave absorbing constituents in those atmospheres, as long as reliable information regarding the microwave absorbing properties of potential constituents is available. The use of theoretically-derived microwave absorption properties for such atmospheric constituents, or using laboratory measurements of such properties under environmental conditions which are significantly different than those of the planetary atmosphere being studied, often leads to significant misinterpretation of available opacity data. Laboratory measurements completed under this grant (NAGW-533), have shown that the opacity from, SO2 under simulated Venus conditions is best described by a different lineshape than was previously used in theoretical predictions. The recognition of the need to make such laboratory measurements of simulated planetary atmospheres over a range of temperatures and pressures which correspond to the altitudes probed by both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, and over a range of frequencies which correspond to those used in both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, has led to the development of a facility at Georgia Tech which is capable of making such measurements. It has been the goal of this investigation to conduct such measurements and to apply the results to a wide range of planetary observations, both spacecraft and earth-based, in order to determine the identity and abundance profiles of constituents in those planetary atmospheres.

  8. The Potential Feasibility of Chlorinic Photosynthesis on Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haas, Johnson

    2009-09-01

    It is highly likely that the first convincing evidence of extrasolar life will arrive in the form of atmospheric absorption spectra. The modern search for life-bearing extrasolar planets emphasizes the potential detection of O2 and O3 absorption spectra in exoplanetary atmospheres as archetypal signatures of biology. However, oxygenic photosynthesis apparently failed to evolve independently more than once on Earth, and is thus unlikely to be reliably ubiquitous throughout the universe. Alternative evolutionary paths may yield planetary atmospheres tinted with the waste products of other dominant metabolisms, including potentially exotic biochemistries. This study examines the potential feasibility of one such exotic metabolism: chlorinic photosynthesis (CPS), defined as biologically-mediated halogenation of aqueous chloride to HClO, Cl2 or partially-oxidized intermediates (e.g. haloalkanes, haloacids, haloaromatics), coupled with photosynthetic CO2 fixation. This metabolic couple is feasible thermodynamically and appears to be geochemically plausible under approximately terrestrial conditions. This study hypothesizes that planetary biospheres dominated by CPS would develop atmospheres enriched with dihalogens and other halogenated compounds, evolve a highly oxidizing surface geochemical environment, and foster biological selection pressures favoring halogen resistance and eventual metazoan heterotrophy based on dihalogen and halocarbon respiration. Planets favoring the evolution of CPS would probably receive equivalent or greater surface UV flux than Earth did in the Paleoarchean (promoting abiotic photo-oxidation of aqueous halides, and establishing a strong biological selective pressure toward their accommodation), and would orbit stars having equivalent or greater bulk metallicities (promoting greater planetary halide abundances) relative to the Sun. Directed searches for such worlds should probably focus on A, F and G0 spectral class stars having bulk metallicities of +0.0 Dex or greater.

  9. PLANETARY CORE FORMATION WITH COLLISIONAL FRAGMENTATION AND ATMOSPHERE TO FORM GAS GIANT PLANETS

    SciTech Connect

    Kobayashi, Hiroshi; Krivov, Alexander V.; Tanaka, Hidekazu

    2011-09-01

    Massive planetary cores ({approx}10 Earth masses) trigger rapid gas accretion to form gas giant planets such as Jupiter and Saturn. We investigate the core growth and the possibilities for cores to reach such a critical core mass. At the late stage, planetary cores grow through collisions with small planetesimals. Collisional fragmentation of planetesimals, which is induced by gravitational interaction with planetary cores, reduces the amount of planetesimals surrounding them, and thus the final core masses. Starting from small planetesimals that the fragmentation rapidly removes, less massive cores are formed. However, planetary cores acquire atmospheres that enlarge their collisional cross section before rapid gas accretion. Once planetary cores exceed about Mars mass, atmospheres significantly accelerate the growth of cores. We show that, taking into account the effects of fragmentation and atmosphere, initially large planetesimals enable formation of sufficiently massive cores. On the other hand, because the growth of cores is slow for large planetesimals, a massive disk is necessary for cores to grow enough within a disk lifetime. If the disk with 100 km sized initial planetesimals is 10 times as massive as the minimum mass solar nebula, planetary cores can exceed 10 Earth masses in the Jovian planet region (>5 AU).

  10. Detecting tree-like multicellular life on extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Doughty, Christopher E; Wolf, Adam

    2010-11-01

    Over the next two decades, NASA and ESA are planning a series of space-based observatories to find Earth-like planets and determine whether life exists on these planets. Previous studies have assessed the likelihood of detecting life through signs of biogenic gases in the atmosphere or a red edge. Biogenic gases and the red edge could be signs of either single-celled or multicellular life. In this study, we propose a technique with which to determine whether tree-like multicellular life exists on extrasolar planets. For multicellular photosynthetic organisms on Earth, competition for light and the need to transport water and nutrients has led to a tree-like body plan characterized by hierarchical branching networks. This design results in a distinct bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) that causes differing reflectance at different sun/view geometries. BRDF arises from the changing visibility of the shadows cast by objects, and the presence of tree-like structures is clearly distinguishable from flat ground with the same reflectance spectrum. We examined whether the BRDF could detect the existence of tree-like structures on an extrasolar planet by using changes in planetary albedo as a planet orbits its star. We used a semi-empirical BRDF model to simulate vegetation reflectance at different planetary phase angles and both simulated and real cloud cover to calculate disk and rotation-averaged planetary albedo for a vegetated and non-vegetated planet with abundant liquid water. We found that even if the entire planetary albedo were rendered to a single pixel, the rate of increase of albedo as a planet approaches full illumination would be comparatively greater on a vegetated planet than on a non-vegetated planet. Depending on how accurately planetary cloud cover can be resolved and the capabilities of the coronagraph to resolve exoplanets, this technique could theoretically detect tree-like multicellular life on exoplanets in 50 stellar systems. PMID:21118020

  11. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, Paul G.

    1987-01-01

    Radio absorptivity data for planetary atmospheres obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments and Earth-based radio astronomical observations can be used to infer abundances of microwave absorbing atmospheric constituents in those atmospheres, as long as reliable information regarding the microwave absorping properties of potential constituents is available. The use of theoretically derived microwave absorption properties for such atmospheric constituents, or laboratory measurements of such properties under environmental conditions which are significantly different than those of the planetary atmosphere being studied, often leads to significant misinterpretation of available opacity data. Laboratory measurement of the microwave properties of atmospheric gases under simulated conditions for the outer planets were conducted. Results of these measurements are discussed.

  12. Cosmic ray impact on extrasolar earth-like planets in close-in habitable zones.

    PubMed

    Griessmeier, J-M; Stadelmann, A; Motschmann, U; Belisheva, N K; Lammer, H; Biernat, H K

    2005-10-01

    Because of their different origins, cosmic rays can be subdivided into galactic cosmic rays and solar/stellar cosmic rays. The flux of cosmic rays to planetary surfaces is mainly determined by two planetary parameters: the atmospheric density and the strength of the internal magnetic moment. If a planet exhibits an extended magnetosphere, its surface will be protected from high-energy cosmic ray particles. We show that close-in extrasolar planets in the habitable zone of M stars are synchronously rotating with their host star because of the tidal interaction. For gravitationally locked planets the rotation period is equal to the orbital period, which is much longer than the rotation period expected for planets not subject to tidal locking. This results in a relatively small magnetic moment. We found that an Earth-like extrasolar planet, tidally locked in an orbit of 0.2 AU around an M star of 0.5 solar masses, has a rotation rate of 2% of that of the Earth. This results in a magnetic moment of less than 15% of the Earth's current magnetic moment. Therefore, close-in extrasolar planets seem not to be protected by extended Earth-like magnetospheres, and cosmic rays can reach almost the whole surface area of the upper atmosphere. Primary cosmic ray particles that interact with the atmosphere generate secondary energetic particles, a so-called cosmic ray shower. Some of the secondary particles can reach the surface of terrestrial planets when the surface pressure of the atmosphere is on the order of 1 bar or less. We propose that, depending on atmospheric pressure, biological systems on the surface of Earth-like extrasolar planets at close-in orbital distances can be strongly influenced by secondary cosmic rays. PMID:16225432

  13. Planetary Motion in the Atmospheres of Red Giants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Volobueva, M. I.; Tarakanov, P. A.

    2015-09-01

    When a star reaches the red giant stage in the course of its evolution, its closest planets are in its atmosphere. Numerical gas dynamic models are constructed for hypersonic flow around planets by matter in the atmosphere of a red giant. The results are compared with analytic models for the motion of planets in the atmospheres of stars.

  14. Outer satellite atmospheres: Their nature and planetary interactions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smyth, W. H.; Combi, M. R.

    1984-01-01

    Significant insights regarding the nature and interactions of Io and the planetary magnetosphere were gained through modeling studies of the spatial morphology and brightness of the Io sodium cloud. East-west intensity asymmetries in Region A are consistent with an east-west electric field and the offset of the magnetic and planetary-spin axes. East-west orbital asymmetries and the absolute brightness of Region B suggest a low-velocity (3 km/sec) satellite source of 1 to 2 x 10(26) sodium atoms/sec. The time-varying spatial structure of the sodium directional features in near Region C provides direct evidence for a magnetospheric-wind-driven escape mechanism with a high-velocity (20 km/sec) source of 1 x 10(26) atoms/sec and a flux distribution enhanced at the equator relative to the poles. A model for the Io potassium cloud is presented and analysis of data suggests a low velocity source rate of 5 x 10(24) atoms/sec. To understand the role of Titan and non-Titan sources for H atoms in the Saturn system, the lifetime of hydrogen in the planetary magnetosphere was incorporated into the earlier Titan torus model of Smyth (1981) and its expected impact discussed. A particle trajectory model for cometary hydrogen is presented and applied to the Lyman-alpha distribution of Comet Kohoutek (1973XII).

  15. Discovery of Rotational Modulations in the Planetary-mass Companion 2M1207b: Intermediate Rotation Period and Heterogeneous Clouds in a Low Gravity Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Yifan; Apai, Dániel; Schneider, Glenn H.; Marley, Mark S.; Showman, Adam P.

    2016-02-01

    Rotational modulations of brown dwarfs have recently provided powerful constraints on the properties of ultra-cool atmospheres, including longitudinal and vertical cloud structures and cloud evolution. Furthermore, periodic light curves directly probe the rotational periods of ultra-cool objects. We present here, for the first time, time-resolved high-precision photometric measurements of a planetary-mass companion, 2M1207b. We observed the binary system with Hubble Space Telescope/Wide Field Camera 3 in two bands and with two spacecraft roll angles. Using point-spread function-based photometry, we reach a nearly photon-noise limited accuracy for both the primary and the secondary. While the primary is consistent with a flat light curve, the secondary shows modulations that are clearly detected in the combined light curve as well as in different subsets of the data. The amplitudes are 1.36% in the F125W and 0.78% in the F160W filters, respectively. By fitting sine waves to the light curves, we find a consistent period of {10.7}-0.6+1.2 hr and similar phases in both bands. The J- and H-band amplitude ratio of 2M1207b is very similar to a field brown dwarf that has identical spectral type but different J-H color. Importantly, our study also measures, for the first time, the rotation period for a directly imaged extra-solar planetary-mass companion.

  16. Ion precipitation in planetary upper atmospheres: test particle simulations and implications for escape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Parkinson, Christopher; Liemohn; Fang, Xiaohua

    A 3-D Monte Carlo energetic particle transport model has been developed and successfully applied to ion precipitation into planetary upper atmospheres in our solar system (viz., Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn), and can be readily be extended using a full Lorentz motion formu-lation in the absence of strong dipole planetary magnetic fields. This model can be used with a variety of other models to assess the influence of hot ion precipitation on the thermosphere and exosphere of planetary atmospheres and the subsequent sputtering and escape. For instance in the case of Mars, a pick-up ion transport model already exists to allow for particle acceleration exerted by the convection electric field used in conjunction with existing model results from the Mars Thermosphere General Circulation Model (MTGCM) and the BATS-R-US global MHD model. The loss of exospheric neutrals through ionization, in which they become pick-up ions in the solar wind, can be calculated to examine the relative contribution of the various ionization processes. Solar wind protons as well as pick-up ions from a planetary exosphere routinely enter and alter their upper atmosphere. A study of the pick-up ion escape, sputtering, ion-ization, excitation, and energy deposition will be reviewed and discussed, resulting in a robust examination of the influence of energetic ion transport on planetary upper atmospheres.

  17. On Detecting Biospheres from Chemical Thermodynamic Disequilibrium in Planetary Atmospheres.

    PubMed

    Krissansen-Totton, Joshua; Bergsman, David S; Catling, David C

    2016-01-01

    Atmospheric chemical disequilibrium has been proposed as a method for detecting extraterrestrial biospheres from exoplanet observations. Chemical disequilibrium is potentially a generalized biosignature since it makes no assumptions about particular biogenic gases or metabolisms. Here, we present the first rigorous calculations of the thermodynamic chemical disequilibrium in Solar System atmospheres, in which we quantify the available Gibbs energy: the Gibbs free energy of an observed atmosphere minus that of atmospheric gases reacted to equilibrium. The purely gas phase disequilibrium in Earth's atmosphere is mostly attributable to O2 and CH4. The available Gibbs energy is not unusual compared to other Solar System atmospheres and smaller than that of Mars. However, Earth's fluid envelope contains an ocean, allowing gases to react with water and requiring a multiphase calculation with aqueous species. The disequilibrium in Earth's atmosphere-ocean system (in joules per mole of atmosphere) ranges from ∼20 to 2 × 10(6) times larger than the disequilibria of other atmospheres in the Solar System, where Mars is second to Earth. Only on Earth is the chemical disequilibrium energy comparable to the thermal energy per mole of atmosphere (excluding comparison to Titan with lakes, where quantification is precluded because the mean lake composition is unknown). Earth's disequilibrium is biogenic, mainly caused by the coexistence of N2, O2, and liquid water instead of more stable nitrate. In comparison, the O2-CH4 disequilibrium is minor, although kinetics requires a large CH4 flux into the atmosphere. We identify abiotic processes that cause disequilibrium in the other atmospheres. Our metric requires minimal assumptions and could potentially be calculated from observations of exoplanet atmospheres. However, further work is needed to establish whether thermodynamic disequilibrium is a practical exoplanet biosignature, requiring an assessment of false positives, noisy observations, and other detection challenges. Our Matlab code and databases for these calculations are available, open source. PMID:26789355

  18. PLATO: PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rauer, Heike

    2013-04-01

    This decade is witnessing a rapid increase in our understanding of the nature of extra-solar planet systems and their host stars. Missions such as Corot and Kepler have confirmed that not only are extra-solar planets a common occurrence, but that multiple planetary systems are also the norm. Whilst there has been significant progress in discovery and to some extent understanding of extra solar planets and their host star(s), major questions remain as we seek to reveal the presence of extra-solar planets harbouring life. PLATO is a proposed ESA M3 mission which will revolutionise our understanding of extra-solar planets, through its discovery of planets around hundreds of thousands of stars, orders of magnitudes more than previously known. Its exquisite sensitivity will ensure that it detects planets to Earth masses and within the 'habitable' zone. PLATO will probe the interiors of both the host star(s) and their orbiting planetary systems. This presentation will describe the PLATO science yield: detecting Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone with known radii and masses, including planets orbiting solar-like stars; obtaining statistically significant numbers of characterized small planets at different orbits, around various star types; thus providing a set of well characterised small terrestrial planets around bright stars as constraints to planet formation theories and as targets for future atmosphere spectroscopy.

  19. Aerosol charging processes in planetary and terrestrial atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tripathi, S.; Michael, M.

    2015-10-01

    Interactions between the ions and aerosols cause charge exchange, which can lead to substantial aerosol charge and ion removal in the atmosphere. Aerosol charging plays an important role in various processes such as aerosol scavenging by droplets and aerosol growth by affecting aerosol-aerosol coagulation rates. Ions are removed in regions with abundant aerosol, which may modify charge flow in an atmosphere, such as that associated with an atmospheric electrical circuit. A review will be made of the charging processes and the consequences occurring in atmospheres of Mars, Venus and Titan and compared with terrestrial atmosphere [1], [2], [3],[4], [5]. Some recent results on charging of aerosols in the lower and upper atmosphere of Titan will be presented and consequences will be discussed.

  20. Theory of Tumbling Bodies Entering Planetary Atmospheres with Application to Probe Vehicles and the Australian Tektites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tobak, Murray; Peterson, Victor L.

    1964-01-01

    The tumbling motion of aerodynamically stable bodies entering planetary atmospheres is analyzed considering that the tumbling, its arrest, and the subsequent oscillatory motion are governed by the equation for the fifth Painleve' transcendent. Results based on the asymptotic behavior of the transcendent are applied to study (1) the oscillatory behavior of planetary probe vehicles in relation to aerodynamic heating and loads and (2) the dynamic behavior of the Australian tektites on entering the Earth's atmosphere, under the hypothesis that their origin was the Moon.

  1. The ultraviolet absorption spectrum of CO - Applications to planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    White, H. P.; Hua, Xin-Min; Caldwell, J.; Chen, F. Z.; Judge, D. L.; Wu, C. Y. R.

    1993-01-01

    Laboratory gas-phase photoabsorption cross sections of the CO Cameron 0-0 band and the underlying pseudocontinuum have been measured at a temperature of 147 K and pressures of about 200 mbar, conditions similar to ambient in various planetary and satellite stratospheres in the solar system. A theoretical modeling program has also been used to calculate the band's spectrum. Agreement between the theoretical and the experimental spectra is very good. Models suggest that the observations of the CO Cameron band using the Hubble Space Telescope will be straightforward for Mars, but marginal for Titan.

  2. The effect of carbon monoxide on planetary haze formation

    SciTech Connect

    Hörst, S. M.; Tolbert, M. A

    2014-01-20

    Organic haze plays a key role in many planetary processes ranging from influencing the radiation budget of an atmosphere to serving as a source of prebiotic molecules on the surface. Numerous experiments have investigated the aerosols produced by exposing mixtures of N{sub 2}/CH{sub 4} to a variety of energy sources. However, many N{sub 2}/CH{sub 4} atmospheres in both our solar system and extrasolar planetary systems also contain carbon monoxide (CO). We have conducted a series of atmosphere simulation experiments to investigate the effect of CO on the formation and particle size of planetary haze analogues for a range of CO mixing ratios using two different energy sources, spark discharge and UV. We find that CO strongly affects both number density and particle size of the aerosols produced in our experiments and indicates that CO may play an important, previously unexplored, role in aerosol chemistry in planetary atmospheres.

  3. Possibility of growth of airborne microbes in outer planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dimmick, R. L.; Chatigny, M. A.

    1975-01-01

    It is shown that airborne bacteria can maintain metabolic functions in a suitable atmosphere. It is theorized that particles in the Jovian atmosphere would have physical half-lives of 10 to 1500 years, depending upon which of two turbulent models is chosen.

  4. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, Paul G.

    1989-01-01

    Radio absorptivity data for planetary atmospheres obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments and earth-based radio astronomical observations can be used to infer abundances of microwave absorbing atmospheric constituents in those atmospheres, as long as reliable information regarding the microwave absorbing properties of potential constituents is available. Work performed has shown that laboratory measurements of the millimeter-wave opacity of ammonia between 7.5 mm and 9.3 mm and also at the 3.2 mm wavelength require a different lineshape to be used in the theoretical prediction for millimeter-wave ammonia opacity than was previously used. The recognition of the need to make such laboratory measurements of simulated planetary atmospheres over a range of temperatures and pressures which correspond to the altitudes probed by both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, and over a range of frequencies which correspond to those used in both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, has led to the development of a facility at Georgia Tech which is capable of making such measurements. It has been the goal of this investigation to conduct such measurements and to apply the results to a wide range of planetary observations, both spacecraft and earth-based, in order to determine the identity and abundance profiles of constituents in those planetary atmospheres.

  5. Laboratory measurements of microwave and millimeter-wave properties of planetary atmospheric constituents

    SciTech Connect

    Steffes, P.G.

    1989-01-01

    Accurate data on microwave and millimeter-wave properties of potential planetary atmospheric constituents is critical for the proper interpretation of radio occultation measurements, and of radio astronomical observations of both continuum and spectral line emissions. Such data is also needed to correct for atmospheric effects on radar studies of surface reflectivity. Since the refractive and absorptive properties of atmospheric constituents often vary drastically from theoretically-predicted profiles, especially under the extreme conditions characteristic of the planetary atmosphere, laboratory measurements under simulated planetary conditions are required. This paper reviews the instrumentation and techniques used for laboratory measurement of the refractivity and absorptivity of atmospheric constituents at wavelengths longward of 1 mm, under simulated planetary conditions (temperature, pressure, and broadening gases). Techniques for measuring both gases and condensates are considered. Also reviewed are the relative accuracies of the various techniques. Laboratory measurements are reviewed which have already been made, and additional measurements which are needed for interpretation of data from Venus and the outer planets, are highlighted.

  6. VUV photochemistry simulation of planetary upper atmosphere using synchrotron radiation.

    PubMed

    Carrasco, Nathalie; Giuliani, Alexandre; Correia, Jean Jacques; Cernogora, Guy

    2013-07-01

    The coupling of a gas reactor, named APSIS, with a vacuum-ultraviolet (VUV) beamline at the SOLEIL synchrotron radiation facility, for a photochemistry study of gas mixtures, is reported. The reactor may be irradiated windowless with gas pressures up to hundreds of millibar, and thus allows the effect of energetic photons below 100 nm wavelength to be studied on possibly dense media. This set-up is perfectly suited to atmospheric photochemistry investigations, as illustrated by a preliminary report of a simulation of the upper atmospheric photochemistry of Titan, the largest satellite of Saturn. Titan's atmosphere is mainly composed of molecular nitrogen and methane. Solar VUV irradiation with wavelengths no longer than 100 nm on the top of the atmosphere enables the dissociation and ionization of nitrogen, involving a nitrogen chemistry specific to nitrogen-rich upper atmospheres. PMID:23765300

  7. THERMO-RESISTIVE INSTABILITY OF HOT PLANETARY ATMOSPHERES

    SciTech Connect

    Menou, Kristen

    2012-07-20

    The atmospheres of hot Jupiters and other strongly forced exoplanets are susceptible to a thermal instability in the presence of ohmic dissipation, weak magnetic drag, and strong winds. The instability occurs in radiatively dominated atmospheric regions when the ohmic dissipation rate increases with temperature faster than the radiative (cooling) rate. The instability domain covers a specific range of atmospheric pressures and temperatures, typically P {approx} 3-300 mbar and T {approx} 1500-2500 K for hot Jupiters, which makes it a candidate mechanism to explain the dayside thermal 'inversions' inferred for a number of such exoplanets. The instability is suppressed by high levels of non-thermal photoionization, in possible agreement with a recently established observational trend. We highlight several shortcomings of the instability treatment presented here. Understanding the emergence and outcome of the instability, which should result in locally hotter atmospheres with stronger levels of drag, will require global nonlinear atmospheric models with adequate MHD prescriptions.

  8. Laboratory Evaluation and Application of Microwave Absorption Properties under Simulated Conditions for Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, Paul G.

    2005-01-01

    Radio absorptivity data for planetary atmospheres obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments, entry probe radio signal absorption measurements, and earth- based or spacecraft-based radio astronomical (emission) observations can be used to infer abundances of microwave absorbing constituents in those atmospheres, as long as reliable information regarding the microwave absorbing properties of potential constituents is available. The use of theoretically-derived microwave absorption properties for such atmospheric constituents, or the use of laboratory measurements of such properties taken under environmental conditions that are significantly different than those of the planetary atmosphere being studied, often leads to significant misinterpretation of available opacity data. For example, new laboratory measurements completed recently by Mohammed and Steffes (2003 and 2004) under this grant (NAG5-12122,5/1/02-4/30/05), have shown that the millimeter-wavelength opacities from both gaseous phosphine (PH3) and gaseous ammonia ("3) under simulated conditions for the outer planets vary significantly from that predicted by theory over a wide range of temperatures and pressures. These results have directly impacted planning and scientific goals for study of Saturn's atmosphere with the Cassini Radio Science Experiment, as discussed below. The recognition of the need to make such laboratory measurements of simulated planetary atmospheres over a range of temperatures and pressures which correspond to the altitudes probed by both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, and over a range of frequencies which correspond to those used in both spacecraft entry probe and orbiter (or flyby) radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, has led to the development of a facility at Georgia Tech which is capable of making such measurements. It has been the goal of this investigation to conduct such measurements and to apply the results to a wide range of planetary observations, both spacecraft and earth-based, in order to determine the identity and abundance profiles of constituents in those planetary atmospheres.

  9. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, Paul G.

    1992-01-01

    Radio absorptivity data for planetary atmospheres obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments and earth-based radio astronomical observations can be used to infer abundances of microwave absorbing atmospheric constituents in those atmospheres, as long as reliable information regarding the microwave absorbing properties of potential constituents is available. The use of theoretically-derived microwave absorption properties for such atmospheric constituents, or using laboratory measurements of such properties under environmental conditions which are significantly different than those of the planetary atmosphere being studied, often leads to significant misinterpretation of available opacity data. For example, laboratory measurements performed by Fahd and Steffes have shown that the opacity from gaseous SO2 under simulated Venus conditions can be well described by the Van Vleck-Weisskopf lineshape at wavelengths shortward of 2 cm, but that the opacity of wavelengths greater than 2 cm is best described by a different lineshape that was previously used in theoretical predictions. The recognition of the need to make such laboratory measurements of simulated planetary atmospheres over a range of temperatures and pressures which correspond to the altitudes probed by both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, and over a range of frequencies which correspond to those used in both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, has led to the development of a facility at Georgia Tech which is capable of making such measurements. It has been the goal of this investigation to conduct such measurements and to apply the results to a wide range of planetary observations, both spacecraft and earth-based, in order to determine the identity and abundance profiles of constituents in those planetary atmospheres.

  10. Laboratory Evaluation and Application of Microwave Absorption Properties under Simulated Conditions for Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, Paul G.

    2002-01-01

    Radio absorptivity data for planetary atmospheres obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments, entry probe radio signal absorption measurements, and earth-based or spacecraft-based radio astronomical (emission) observations can be used to infer abundances of microwave absorbing constituents in those atmospheres, as long as reliable information regarding the microwave absorbing properties of potential constituents is available. The use of theoretically-derived microwave absorption properties for such atmospheric constituents, or the use of laboratory measurements of such properties taken under environmental conditions that are significantly different than those of the planetary atmosphere being studied, often leads to significant misinterpretation of available opacity data. Laboratory measurements have shown that the centimeter-wavelength opacity from gaseous phosphine (PH3) under simulated conditions for the outer planets far exceeds that predicted from theory over a wide range of temperatures and pressures. This fundamentally changed the resulting interpretation of Voyager radio occultation data at Saturn and Neptune. It also directly impacts planning and scientific goals for study of Saturn's atmosphere with the Cassini Radio Science Experiment and the Rossini RADAR instrument. The recognition of the need to make such laboratory measurements of simulated planetary atmospheres over a range of temperatures and pressures which correspond to the altitudes probed by both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, and over a range of frequencies which correspond to those used in both spacecraft entry probe and orbiter (or flyby) radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, has led to the development of a facility at Georgia Tech which is capable of making such measurements. It has been the goal of this investigation to conduct such measurements and to apply the results to a wide range of planetary observations, both spacecraft- and earth-based, in order to determine the identity and abundance profiles of constituents in those planetary atmospheres,

  11. Research in planetary studies and operation of the Mauna Kea Observatory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cruikshank, Dale P.

    1986-01-01

    The research programs are highlighted in the following areas: major planets; planetary satellites and rings; asteroids; comets; dark organic matter; theoretical and analytical structures; extrasolar planetary; and telescopes.

  12. Diversity of Planetary Atmospheric Circulations and Climates in a Simplified General Circulation Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yixiong; Read, Peter

    2014-04-01

    The parametric dependence of terrestrial planetary atmospheric circulations and climates on characteristic parameters is studied. A simplified general circulation model-PUMA is employed to investigate the dynamic effects of planetary rotation rate and equator-to-pole temperature difference on the circulation and climate of terrestrial planetary atmospheres. Five different types of circulation regime are identified by mapping the experimental results in a 2-D parameter space defined by thermal Rossby number and frictional Taylor number. The effect of the transfer and redistribution of radiative energy is studied by building up a new two-band semi-gray radiative-convective scheme, which is capable of modelling greenhouse and anti-greenhouse effects while keeping the tunable parameters as few as possible. The results will provide insights into predicting the habitability of terrestrial exoplanets.

  13. Effective depth of spectral line formation in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lestrade, J. P.; Chamberlain, J. W.

    1980-01-01

    The effective level of line formation for spectroscopic absorption lines has long been regarded as a useful parameter for determining average atmospheric values of the quantities involved in line formation. The identity of this parameter has recently been disputed. This paper reestablishes the dependence of this parameter on the average depth at which photons are absorbed in a semi-infinite atmosphere and shows that the mean depths derived by others are similar in nature and behavior.

  14. Effective depth of spectral line formation in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lestrade, J. P.; Chamberlain, J. W.

    1980-01-01

    The effective level of line formation for spectroscopic absorption lines has long been regarded as a useful parameter for determining average atmospheric values of the quantities involved in line formation. The identity of this parameter was recently disputed. The dependence of this parameter on the average depth where photons are absorbed in a semi-infinite atmosphere is established. It is shown that the mean depths derived by others are similar in nature and behavior.

  15. Possibility of growth of airborne microbes in outer planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dimmick, R. L.; Chatigny, M. A.

    1976-01-01

    The state of the art of laboratory aerobiological research is briefly reviewed. Experiments are described in which the biological behavior of microbes in or on aerosol particles is investigated in a stirred settling chamber and a rotating drum. Experimental findings are summarized which indicate that airborne bacteria can maintain metabolic functions in a suitable atmosphere. These studies have been undertaken in consideration of the possibility that Jupiter's atmosphere might be contaminated if a space probe enters a biological stratum.

  16. Laboratory Evaluation and Application of Microwave Absorption Properties Under Simulated Conditions for Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, Paul G.

    1998-01-01

    Radio absorptivity data for planetary atmospheres obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments, entry probe radio signal absorption measurements, and earth-based radio astronomical observations can be used to infer abundances of microwave absorbing constituents in those atmospheres, as long as reliable information regarding the microwave absorbing properties of potential constituents is available. The use of theoretically-derived microwave absorption properties for such atmospheric constituents, or using laboratory measurements of such properties taken under environmental conditions which are significantly different than those of the planetary atmosphere being studied, often leads to significant misinterpretation of available opacity data. For example, laboratory measurements completed recently by Kolodner and Steffes (ICARUS 132, pp. 151-169, March 1998, attached as Appendix A) under this grant (NAGS-4190), have shown that the opacity from gaseous H2SO4 under simulated Venus conditions is best described by a different formalism than was previously used. The recognition of the need to make such laboratory measurements of simulated planetary atmospheres over a range of temperatures and pressures which correspond to the altitudes probed by both spacecraft entry probe and orbiter radio occultation experiments and by radio astronomical observations, and over a range of frequencies which correspond to those used in such experiments, has led to the development of a facility at Georgia Tech which is capable of making such measurements. It has been the goal of this investigation to conduct such measurements and to apply the results to a wide range of planetary observations, both spacecraft and earth-based, in order to determine the identity and abundance profiles of constituents in those planetary atmospheres.

  17. Spectroscopy in the study of planetary atmospheres - Abundances from the visible region

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lutz, B. L.

    1978-01-01

    Spectrophotometric studies of three molecular constituents - hydrogen, methane, and ammonia - identified in the visible region of the spectra of the outer planets are reviewed. The history of quadrupole line observations for hydrogen molecules and the significance of the HD molecule for the dipole spectrum are considered. Approaches to quantitative estimates of methane concentration in planetary atmospheres are explained, and the detection of ammonia in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn is described.

  18. Transmission spectroscopy of HAT-P-32b with the LBT: confirmation of clouds/hazes in the planetary atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mallonn, M.; Strassmeier, K. G.

    2016-05-01

    Aims: Spectroscopic observations of a transit event of an extrasolar planet offer the opportunity to study the composition of the planetary atmosphere. This can be done with comparably little telescope time using a low-resolution multi-object spectrograph at a large aperture telescope. We observed a transit of the inflated hot Jupiter HAT-P-32b with the Multi-Object Double Spectrograph at the Large Binocular Telescope to characterize its atmosphere from 3300 to 10 000 Å. Methods: A time series of target and reference star spectra was binned in two broad-band wavelength channels, from which differential transit light curves were constructed. These broad-band light curves were used to confirm previous transit parameter determinations. To derive the planetary transmission spectrum with a resolution of R ~ 60, we created a chromatic set of 62 narrow-band light curves. The spectrum was corrected for the third light of a nearby M star. Additionally, we undertook a photometric monitoring campaign of the host star to correct for the influence of starspots. Results: The transmission spectrum of HAT-P-32b shows no pressure-broadened absorption features from Na and K, which is interpreted by the presence of clouds or hazes in the planetary atmosphere. This result is in agreement with previous studies on the same planet. The presence of TiO in gas phase could be ruled out. We find a 2.8σ indication of increased absorption in the line core of potassium (K I 7699 Å). No narrow absorption features of Na and Hα were detected. Furthermore, tentative indications were found for a slope of increasing opacity toward blue wavelengths from the near-IR to the near-UV with an amplitude of two scale heights. If confirmed by follow-up observations, it can be explained by aerosols either causing Mie scattering or causing Rayleigh scattering with an aerosol - gas scale height ratio below unity. The host star was found to be photometrically stable within the measurement precision. Based on observations made with the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) and the STELLA robotic telescopes. The LBT is an international collaboration among institutions in the United States, Italy and Germany. LBT Corporation partners are: LBT Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Germany, representing the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), the Max-Planck Society, and Heidelberg University; The University of Arizona on behalf of the Arizona Board of Regents; Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Italy; The Ohio State University, and The Research Corporation, on behalf of The University of Notre Dame, University of Minnesota and University of Virginia. STELLA is an AIP facility jointly operated by AIP and Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC).Tables of the lightcurves are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (http://130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/590/A100

  19. Atmospheric tides on Venus. III - The planetary boundary layer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dobrovolskis, A. R.

    1983-01-01

    Diurnal solar heating of Venus' surface produces variable temperatures, winds, and pressure gradients within a shallow layer at the bottom of the atmosphere. The corresponding asymmetric mass distribution experiences a tidal torque tending to maintain Venus' slow retrograde rotation. It is shown that including viscosity in the boundary layer does not materially affect the balance of torques. On the other hand, friction between the air and ground can reduce the predicted wind speeds from about 5 to about 1 m/sec in the lower atmosphere, more consistent with the observations from Venus landers and descent probes. Implications for aeolian activity on Venus' surface and for future missions are discussed.

  20. GRAVITY WAVES ON HOT EXTRASOLAR PLANETS. I. PROPAGATION AND INTERACTION WITH THE BACKGROUND

    SciTech Connect

    Watkins, Chris; Cho, J. Y-K. E-mail: J.Cho@qmul.ac.u

    2010-05-01

    We study the effects of gravity waves, or g-modes, on hot extrasolar planets. These planets are expected to possess stably stratified atmospheres, which support gravity waves. In this paper, we review the derivation of the equation that governs the linear dynamics of gravity waves and describe its application to a hot extrasolar planet, using HD 209458 b as a generic example. We find that gravity waves can exhibit a wide range of behaviors, even for a single atmospheric profile. The waves can significantly accelerate or decelerate the background mean flow, depending on the difference between the wave phase and mean flow speeds. In addition, the waves can provide significant heating ({approx}10{sup 2} to {approx}10{sup 3} K per planetary rotation), especially to the region of the atmosphere above about 10 scale heights from the excitation region. Furthermore, by propagating horizontally, gravity waves provide a mechanism for transporting momentum and heat from the dayside of a tidally locked planet to its nightside. We discuss work that needs to be undertaken to incorporate these effects in current atmosphere models of extrasolar planets.

  1. Planetary Atmosphere and Surfaces Chamber (PASC): A Platform to Address Various Challenges in Astrobiology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mateo-Marti, Eva

    2014-08-01

    The study of planetary environments of astrobiological interest has become a major challenge. Because of the obvious technical and economical limitations on in situ planetary exploration, laboratory simulations are one of the most feasible research options to make advances both in planetary science and in developing a consistent description of the origin of life. With this objective in mind, we applied vacuum technology to the design of versatile vacuum chambers devoted to the simulation of planetary atmospheres' conditions. These vacuum chambers are able to simulate atmospheres and surface temperatures representative of the majority of planetary objects, and they are especially appropriate for studying the physical, chemical and biological changes induced in a particular sample by in situ irradiation or physical parameters in a controlled environment. Vacuum chambers are a promising potential tool in several scientific and technological fields, such as engineering, chemistry, geology and biology. They also offer the possibility of discriminating between the effects of individual physical parameters and selected combinations thereof. The implementation of our vacuum chambers in combination with analytical techniques was specifically developed to make feasible the in situ physico-chemical characterization of samples. Many wide-ranging applications in astrobiology are detailed herein to provide an understanding of the potential and flexibility of these experimental systems. Instruments and engineering technology for space applications could take advantage of our environment-simulation chambers for sensor calibration. Our systems also provide the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the chemical reactivity of molecules on surfaces under different environments, thereby leading to a greater understanding of interface processes in prebiotic chemical reactions and facilitating studies of UV photostability and photochemistry on surfaces. Furthermore, the stability and presence of certain minerals on planetary surfaces and the potential habitability of microorganisms under various planetary environmental conditions can be studied using our apparatus. Therefore, these simulation chambers can address multiple different challenging and multidisciplinary astrobiological studies.

  2. Outer satellite atmospheres: Their nature and planetary interactions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smyth, W. H.

    1981-01-01

    Modeling capabilities and initial model calculations are reported for the peculiar directional features of the Io sodium cloud discovered by Pilcher and the extended atomic oxygen atmosphere of Io discovered by Brown. Model results explaining the directional feature by a localized emission from the satellite are encouraging, but as yet, inconclusive; whereas for the oxygen cloud, an escape rate of 1 to 2 x 10 to the 27th power atoms/sec or higher from Io is suggested. Preliminary modeling efforts were also initiated for the extended hydrogen ring-atmosphere of Saturn detected by the Voyager spacecraft and for possible extended atmospheres of some of the smaller satellites located in the E-ring. Continuing research efforts reported for the Io sodium cloud include further refinement in the modeling of the east-west asymmetry data, the asymmetric line profile shape, and the intersection of the cloud with the Io plasma torus. In addition, the completed pre-Voyager modeling of Titan's hydrogen torus is included and the near completed model development for the extended atmosphere of comets is discussed.

  3. A Reassessment of Prebiotic Organic Synthesis in Neutral Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cleaves, H. James; Chalmers, John H.; Lazcano, Antonio; Miller, Stanley L.; Bada, Jeffrey L.

    2008-04-01

    The action of an electric discharge on reduced gas mixtures such as H2O, CH4 and NH3 (or N2) results in the production of several biologically important organic compounds including amino acids. However, it is now generally held that the early Earth’s atmosphere was likely not reducing, but was dominated by N2 and CO2. The synthesis of organic compounds by the action of electric discharges on neutral gas mixtures has been shown to be much less efficient. We show here that contrary to previous reports, significant amounts of amino acids are produced from neutral gas mixtures. The low yields previously reported appear to be the outcome of oxidation of the organic compounds during hydrolytic workup by nitrite and nitrate produced in the reactions. The yield of amino acids is greatly increased when oxidation inhibitors, such as ferrous iron, are added prior to hydrolysis. Organic synthesis from neutral atmospheres may have depended on the oceanic availability of oxidation inhibitors as well as on the nature of the primitive atmosphere itself. The results reported here suggest that endogenous synthesis from neutral atmospheres may be more important than previously thought.

  4. Biological modulation of planetary atmospheres: The early Earth scenario

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schidlowski, M.

    The establishment and subsequent evolution of life on Earth had a profound impact on the chemical regime at the planet's surface and its atmosphere. A thermodynamic gradient was imposed on near-surface environments that served as the driving force for a number on important geochemical transformations. An example is the redox imbalance between the modern atmosphere and the material of the Earth's crust. Current photochemical models predict extremely low partial pressures of oxygen in the Earth's prebiological atmosphere. There is widespread consensus that any large-scale oxygenation of the primitive atmosphere was contingent on the advent of biological (autotrophic) carbon fixation. It is suggested that photoautotrophy existed both as a biochemical process and as a geochemical agent since at least 3.8 Ga ago. Combining the stoichiometry of the photosynthesis reaction with a carbon isotope mass balance and current concepts for the evolution of the stationary sedimentary mass as a funion of time, it is possible to quantify, the accumulation of oxygen and its photosynthetic oxidation equivalents through Earth history.

  5. Exploring extrasolar worlds: from gas giants to terrestrial habitable planets.

    PubMed

    Tinetti, Giovanna; Griffith, Caitlin A; Swain, Mark R; Deroo, Pieter; Beaulieu, Jean Philippe; Vasisht, Gautam; Kipping, David; Waldmann, Ingo; Tennyson, Jonathan; Barber, Robert J; Bouwman, Jeroen; Allard, Nicole; Brown, Linda R

    2010-01-01

    Almost 500 extrasolar planets have been found since the discovery of 51 Peg b by Mayor and Queloz in 1995. The traditional field of planetology has thus expanded its frontiers to include planetary environments not represented in our Solar System. We expect that in the next five years space missions (Corot, Kepler and GAIA) or ground-based detection techniques will both increase exponentially the number of new planets discovered and lower the present limit of a approximately 1.9 Earth-mass object [e.g. Mayor et al., Astron. Astrophys., 2009, 507, 487]. While the search for an Earth-twin orbiting a Sun-twin has been one of the major goals pursued by the exoplanet community in the past years, the possibility of sounding the atmospheric composition and structure of an increasing sample of exoplanets with current telescopes has opened new opportunities, unthinkable just a few years ago. As a result, it is possible now not only to determine the orbital characteristics of the new bodies, but moreover to study the exotic environments that lie tens of parsecs away from us. The analysis of the starlight not intercepted by the thin atmospheric limb of its planetary companion (transit spectroscopy), or of the light emitted/reflected by the exoplanet itself, will guide our understanding of the atmospheres and the surfaces of these extrasolar worlds in the next few years. Preliminary results obtained by interpreting current atmospheric observations of transiting gas giants and Neptunes are presented. While the full characterisation of an Earth-twin might requires a technological leap, our understanding of large terrestrial planets (so called super-Earths) orbiting bright, later-type stars is within reach by current space and ground telescopes. PMID:21302557

  6. Theoretical studies of important processes in planetary and comet atmospheres. Renewel request

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Guberman, Steven L.

    1989-01-01

    Current efforts have focused on the dissociative recombination (DR) of O2(+), a process of great importance in planetary atmospheres. This process is difficult to study experimentally because of the need to determine the dependence of the product electronic states and kinetic energies upon the vibrational distribution of the ion and electron temperature. The knowledge of these characteristics of DR is needed to accurately model planetary ionospheres. Using a theoretical quantum chemical approach, the generation of O(1S) from DR was studied in detail.

  7. Data Assimilation and Transport Modeling in Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houben, Howard C.; Young, Richard E. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Data assimilation is a blanket term used to describe a number of techniques for retrieving important physical parameters from observational data, subject to constraints imposed by prior knowledge (such as, in the case of meteorology, the primitive equations that govern atmospheric motion). Since these newly developed methods make efficient use of computational resources, they are of great importance in the interpretation of the voluminous datasets that are now produced by satellite missions. As proposed, these techniques have been applied to the study of the Martian and terrestrial atmospheres based on available satellite observations. In addition, a sophisticated hydrodynamic model (non-hydrostatic, and therefore applicable to the study of the interiors of the giant planets) has also been developed and successfully applied to the study of tidally induced motions in Jupiter.

  8. Parameterized rotating convection for core and planetary atmosphere dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, K.

    1991-04-01

    New types of convective instability and associated nonlinear phenomena in rapidly rotating spherical systems have been discovered through numerical simulations. The Prandtl number, defined as the ratio of the viscous and thermal diffusivities of a fluid, Pr = nu/kappa, plays a crucial role in determining the fundamental features of both the instabilities and the corresponding nonlinear convection. The results shed new light on regimes of convection in the earth's core and the atmospheres of the major planets.

  9. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, P. G.

    1985-01-01

    Radio absorptivity data for planetary atmospheres obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments and Earth-based radio astronomical observations can be used to infer abundances of microwave absorbing atmospheric constituents in those atmospheres, as long as reliable information regarding the microwave absorbing properties of potential constituents is available. The use of theoretically-derived microwave absorption properties for such atmospheric constituents, or laboratory measurements of such properties under environmental conditions which are significantly different than those of the planetary atmosphere being studied, often lead to significant misinterpretation of available opacity data. Steffes and Eshleman showed that under environmental conditions corresponding to the middle atmosphere of Venus, the microwave absorption due to atmospheric SO2 was 50 percent greater than that calculated from Van Vleck-Weiskopff theory. Similarly, the opacity from gaseous H2SO4 was found to be a factor of 7 greater than theoretically predicted for conditions of the Venus middle atmosphere. The recognition of the need to make such measurements over a range of temperatures and pressures which correspond to the periapsis altitudes of radio occultation experiments, and over a range of frequencies which correspond to both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, has led to the development of a facility at Georgia Tech which is capable of making such measurements.

  10. Evidence for water in the rocky debris of a disrupted extrasolar minor planet.

    PubMed

    Farihi, J; Gänsicke, B T; Koester, D

    2013-10-11

    The existence of water in extrasolar planetary systems is of great interest because it constrains the potential for habitable planets and life. We have identified a circumstellar disk that resulted from the destruction of a water-rich and rocky extrasolar minor planet. The parent body formed and evolved around a star somewhat more massive than the Sun, and the debris now closely orbits the white dwarf remnant of the star. The stellar atmosphere is polluted with metals accreted from the disk, including oxygen in excess of that expected for oxide minerals, indicating that the parent body was originally composed of 26% water by mass. This finding demonstrates that water-bearing planetesimals exist around A- and F-type stars that end their lives as white dwarfs. PMID:24115434

  11. The Role of Remote Sensing Displays in Earth Climate and Planetary Atmospheric Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DelGenio, Anthony D.; Hansen, James E. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    The communities of scientists who study the Earth's climate and the atmospheres of the other planets barely overlap, but the types of questions they pose and the resulting implications for the use and interpretation of remote sensing data sets have much in common. Both seek to determine the characteristic behavior of three-dimensional fluids that also evolve in time. Climate researchers want to know how and why the general patterns that define our climate today might be different in the next century. Planetary scientists try to understand why circulation patterns and clouds on Mars, Venus, or Jupiter are different from those on Earth. Both disciplines must aggregate large amounts of data covering long time periods and several altitudes to have a representative picture of the rapidly changing atmosphere they are studying. This emphasis separates climate scientists from weather forecasters, who focus at any one time on a limited number of images. Likewise, it separates planetary atmosphere researchers from planetary geologists, who rely primarily on single images (or mosaics of images covering the globe) to study two-dimensional planetary surfaces that are mostly static over the duration of a spacecraft mission yet reveal dynamic processes acting over thousands to millions of years. Remote sensing displays are usually two-dimensional projections that capture an atmosphere at an instant in time. How scientists manipulate and display such data, how they interpret what they see, and how they thereby understand the physical processes that cause what they see, are the challenges I discuss in this chapter. I begin by discussing differences in how novices and experts in the field relate displays of data to the real world. This leads to a discussion of the use and abuse of image enhancement and color in remote sensing displays. I then show some examples of techniques used by scientists in climate and planetary research to both convey information and design research strategies using remote sensing displays.

  12. Spectrophotometry of planetary atmosphere from the X-15 rocket airplane

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Murcray, W. B.

    1973-01-01

    Nike-Apache and Nike-Tomahawk rocket flights using spectrophotometric techniques to investigate auroral activity are reported. The specific objectives were to obtain data relative to typical auroral situations, including quiet pre-breakup auroras, westward traveling surges, breakup auroras, and post-breakup auroras. It was found that excited atoms move considerable distances between excitation and emission owing to the high velocity wind conditions prevailing above 200 km. Based on the results of these observations, recommendations are made for future studies of ionized atmospheric activity at higher altitudes.

  13. Outer satellite atmospheres: Their extended nature and planetary interactions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smyth, W. H.; Combi, M. R.

    1984-01-01

    Model calculations for the brightness of the sodium cloud in Region A were performed to clarify the role played by the plasma torus sink in producing the east-west intensity asymmetry observed in the sodium D-lines. It was determined that the east-west electric field, proposed by Barbosa and Kievelson (1983) and Ip and Goertz (1983) to explain the dawn-dusk asymmetry in the torus ion emissions measured by the Voyager UVS instrument, could also produce the east-west sodium intensity asymmetry discovered earlier by Bergstralh et al. (1975, 1977). Model results for the directional features of the sodium cloud are also reported. The completion of the development of the Io potassium cloud model, progress in improving the Titan hydrogen torus model, and efforts in developing our model for hydrogen cometary atmospheres are also discussed.

  14. Other satellite atmospheres: Their nature and planetary interactions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smyth, W. H.

    1982-01-01

    The Io sodium cloud model was successfully generated to include the time and spatial dependent lifetime sink produced by electron impact ionization as the plasma torus oscillates about the satellite plane, while simultaneously including the additional time dependence introduced by the action of solar radiation pressure on the cloud. Very preliminary model results are discussed and continuing progress in analysis of the peculiar directional features of the sodium cloud is also reported. Significant progress was made in developing a model for the Io potassium cloud and differences anticipated between the potassium and sodium cloud are described. An effort to understand the hydrogen atmosphere associated with Saturn's rings was initiated and preliminary results of a very and study are summarized.

  15. Electron-molecule processes relevant to planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, Paul

    2009-10-01

    Electron-molecule collisions play an important role in the nitrogen-rich upper atmospheres of Titan, Triton, and Earth. Modeling these processes requires accurate laboratory data. To this end, measurements and analyses of recent electron impact excitation experiments with molecular nitrogen are presented. Absolute excitation cross sections for transitions from the X,1σg^+(v^''=0) to the C,3πu, E,3σg^+, a^'',1σg^+, b,1πu, c3,1πu, o3,1πu, b^',1σu^+, c4^',1σu^+, G,3πu and F,3πu states are determined from electron energy loss measurements, integrated over a broad range of scattering angles, with incident electron energies ranging from 13 eV to 100 eV. Vibrationally resolved excitation of the C,3πu(v^') state for the v^'=0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 levels will also be discussed, which indicates non-Franck-Condon behavior below roughly 30 eV. Results from rotationally resolved electron-impact induced VUV emission measurements will also be discussed. Of particular interest is the predicted variation of predissociation yield with increasing rotational quantum number. This is expected to introduce additional temperature dependencies to atmospheric models. Preliminary results of vibrationally resolved excitation functions for electron impact induced emissions of the Lyman-Birge-Hopfield (LBH) band system will be presented. Finally, we will discuss an investigation into e-H2 processes related to the Jovian and Saturnian aurora as well as the recently identified atomic hydrogen plume on Saturn.

  16. Electron-Nitrogen Collision Processes Relevant to Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, Paul

    2011-06-01

    Electron-N2 collisions play an important role in the nitrogen-rich upper atmospheres of Titan, Triton, and Earth. Modeling these processes requires accurate laboratory data. Despite the recognized importance of such data, there remained an unsatisfactory degree of consensus among much of the available laboratory collision cross section data. To address this situation, our group has devoted considerable effort over the past decade to improve the status of low energy electron collision data. In doing so, we have measured direct excitation cross sections for at least 17 electronic states of neutral N2 and a variety of key UV emission cross sections. Here we review the result of this effort, highlighting how the picture of electron collision processes has evolved, where consensus has been reached and where discrepancies still exist. New electron energy-loss measurements will be presented for excitation of the valence states, with finely spaced (<1eV) impact energy increments in the threshold-to-peak region where excitation is not in proportion to the Franck-Condon factors. These data are novel in that they include measurements at fixed electron scattering angles, differential in impact energy over a range of scattering angle. Also, new near-threshold integral cross sections are provided and compared to existing data.

  17. Planetary atmospheres minor species sensor balloon flight test to near space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peale, Robert E.; Fredricksen, Christopher J.; Muraviev, Andrei V.; Maukonen, Douglas; Quddusi, Hajrah M.; Calhoun, Seth; Colwell, Joshua E.; Lachenmeier, Timothy A.; Dewey, Russell G.; Stern, Alan; Padilla, Sebastian; Bode, Rolfe

    2015-05-01

    The Planetary Atmospheres Minor Species Sensor (PAMSS) is an intracavity laser absorption spectrometer that uses a mid-infrared quantum cascade laser in an open external cavity for sensing ultra-trace gases with parts-per-billion sensitivity. PAMSS was flown on a balloon by Near Space Corporation from Madras OR to 30 km on 17 July 2014. Based on lessons learned, it was modified and was flown a second time to 32 km by World View Enterprises from Pinal AirPark AZ on 8 March 2015. Successes included continuous operation and survival of software, electronics, optics, and optical alignment during extreme conditions and a rough landing. Operation of PAMSS in the relevant environment of near space has significantly elevated its Technical Readiness Level for trace-gas sensing with potential for planetary and atmospheric science in harsh environments.

  18. Analytical design of sensors for measuring during terminal phase of atmospheric temperature planetary entry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Millard, J. P.; Green, M. J.; Sommer, S. C.

    1972-01-01

    An analytical study was conducted to develop a sensor for measuring the temperature of a planetary atmosphere from an entry vehicle traveling at supersonic speeds and having a detached shock. Such a sensor has been used in the Planetary Atmosphere Experiments Test Probe (PAET) mission and is planned for the Viking-Mars mission. The study specifically considered butt-welded thermocouple sensors stretched between two support posts; however, the factors considered are sufficiently general to apply to other sensors as well. This study included: (1) an investigation of the relation between sensor-measured temperature and free-stream conditions; (2) an evaluation of the effects of extraneous sources of heat; (3) the development of a computer program for evaluating sensor response during entry; and (4) a parametric study of sensor design characteristics.

  19. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, P. G.

    1986-01-01

    The recognition of the need to make laboratory measurements of simulated planetary atmospheres over a range of temperatures and pressure which correspond to the altitudes probed by radio occultation experiments, and over a range of frequencies which correspond to both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, has led to the development of a facility at Georgia Tech which is capable of making such measurements. Construction was completed of the outer planets simulator and measurements were conducted of the microwave absorption and refraction from nitrogen under simulated Titan conditions. The results of these and previous laboratory measurements were applied to a wide range of microwave opacity measurements, in order to derive constituent densities and distributions in planetary atmospheres such as Venus.

  20. Rugged, no-moving-parts windspeed and static pressure probe designs for measurements in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bedard, A. J., Jr.; Nishiyama, R. T.

    1993-01-01

    Instruments developed for making meteorological observations under adverse conditions on Earth can be applied to systems designed for other planetary atmospheres. Specifically, a wind sensor developed for making measurements within tornados is capable of detecting induced pressure differences proportional to wind speed. Adding strain gauges to the sensor would provide wind direction. The device can be constructed in a rugged form for measuring high wind speeds in the presence of blowing dust that would clog bearings and plug passages of conventional wind speed sensors. Sensing static pressure in the lower boundary layer required development of an omnidirectional, tilt-insensitive static pressure probe. The probe provides pressure inputs to a sensor with minimum error and is inherently weather-protected. The wind sensor and static pressure probes have been used in a variety of field programs and can be adapted for use in different planetary atmospheres.

  1. Middle Atmosphere Dynamics with Gravity Wave Interactions in the Numerical Spectral Model: Tides and Planetary Waves

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mayr, Hans G.; Mengel, J. G.; Chan, K. L.; Huang, F. T.

    2010-01-01

    As Lindzen (1981) had shown, small-scale gravity waves (GW) produce the observed reversals of the zonal-mean circulation and temperature variations in the upper mesosphere. The waves also play a major role in modulating and amplifying the diurnal tides (DT) (e.g., Waltersheid, 1981; Fritts and Vincent, 1987; Fritts, 1995a). We summarize here the modeling studies with the mechanistic numerical spectral model (NSM) with Doppler spread parameterization for GW (Hines, 1997a, b), which describes in the middle atmosphere: (a) migrating and non-migrating DT, (b) planetary waves (PW), and (c) global-scale inertio gravity waves. Numerical experiments are discussed that illuminate the influence of GW filtering and nonlinear interactions between DT, PW, and zonal mean variations. Keywords: Theoretical modeling, Middle atmosphere dynamics, Gravity wave interactions, Migrating and non-migrating tides, Planetary waves, Global-scale inertio gravity waves.

  2. Decadal regime shift linkage between global marine fish landings and atmospheric planetary wave forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Powell, A. M., Jr.; Xu, J.

    2015-04-01

    This investigation focuses on a global forcing mechanism for decadal regime shifts and their subsequent impacts. The proposed global forcing mechanism is that the global atmospheric planetary waves can lead to changes in the global surface air-sea conditions and subsequently fishery changes. In this study, the five decadal regime shifts (1956-1957, 1964-1965, 1977-1978, 1988-1989, and 1998-1999) in the most recent 59-year period (1950-2008) have been identified based on Student t tests and their association with global marine ecosystem change has been discussed. Changes in the three major oceanic (Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian) ecosystems will be explored with the goal of demonstrating the linkage between stratospheric planetary waves and the ocean surface forcing that leads to fisheries impacts. The global forcing mechanism is described with a top-down approach to help the multidisciplinary audience follow the analysis. Following previous work, this analysis addresses how changes in the atmospheric planetary waves may influence the vertical wind structure, surface wind stress, and their connection with the global ocean ecosystems based on a coupling of the atmospheric regime shifts with the decadal regime shifts determined from marine life changes. The multiple decadal regime shifts related to changes in marine life are discussed using the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) global fish capture data (catch/stock). Analyses are performed to demonstrate that examining the interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, and fisheries is a plausible approach to explaining decadal climate change in the global marine ecosystems and its impacts. The results show a consistent mechanism, ocean wind stress, responsible for marine shifts in the three major ocean basins. Changes in the planetary wave pattern affect the ocean wind stress patterns. A change in the ocean surface wind pattern from longwave (relatively smooth and less complex) to shorter-wave (more convoluted and more complex) ocean surface wind stress creates changes in global marine fisheries.

  3. Decadal regime shift linkage between global marine fish landings and atmospheric planetary wave forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Powell, A. M., Jr.; Xu, J.

    2014-08-01

    This investigation focuses on a global forcing mechanism for decadal regime shifts and their subsequent impacts. The proposed global forcing mechanism is the global atmospheric planetary waves that can lead to changes in the global surface air-sea conditions and subsequently fishery changes. In this study, the five decadal regime shifts (1956-1957, 1964-1965, 1977-1978, 1988-1989, and 1998-1999) in the recent 59 years (1950-2008) have been identified based on student t tests and their association with global marine ecosystem change has been discussed. Changes in the three major oceanic (Pacific, Atlantic and Indian) ecosystems will be explored with the goal of demonstrating the linkage between stratospheric planetary waves and the ocean surface forcing that leads to fisheries impacts. Due to the multidisciplinary audience, the global forcing mechanism is described from a top-down approach to help the multidisciplinary audience follow the analysis. Following previous work, this analysis addresses how changes in the atmospheric planetary waves may influence the vertical wind structure, surface wind stress, and their connection with the global ocean ecosystems based on a coupling of the atmospheric regime shifts with the decadal regime shifts determined from marine life changes. The multiple decadal regime shifts related to changes in marine life are discussed using the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) global fish capture data (catch/stock). Analyses are performed to demonstrate the interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, and fisheries are a plausible approach to explaining decadal climate change in the global marine ecosystems and its impacts. The results show a consistent mechanism, ocean wind stress, responsible for marine shifts in the three major ocean basins. Changes in the planetary wave pattern affect the ocean wind stress patterns. A change in the ocean surface wind pattern from long wave (relatively smooth and less complex) to shorter wave (more convoluted and more complex) ocean surface wind stress creates changes in the ocean marine fisheries.

  4. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Origin of Planetary Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The session titled Origin of Planetary Systems" included the following reports:Convective Cooling of Protoplanetary Disks and Rapid Giant Planet Formation; When Push Comes to Shove: Gap-opening, Disk Clearing and the In Situ Formation of Giant Planets; Late Injection of Radionuclides into Solar Nebula Analogs in Orion; Growth of Dust Particles and Accumulation of Centimeter-sized Objects in the Vicinity of a Pressure enhanced Region of a Solar Nebula; Fast, Repeatable Clumping of Solid Particles in Microgravity ; Chondrule Formation by Current Sheets in Protoplanetary Disks; Radial Migration of Phyllosilicates in the Solar Nebula; Accretion of the Outer Planets: Oligarchy or Monarchy?; Resonant Capture of Irregular Satellites by a Protoplanet ; On the Final Mass of Giant Planets ; Predicting the Atmospheric Composition of Extrasolar Giant Planets; Overturn of Unstably Stratified Fluids: Implications for the Early Evolution of Planetary Mantles; and The Evolution of an Impact-generated Partially-vaporized Circumplanetary Disk.

  5. Formation, Habitability, and Detection of Extrasolar Moons

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Darren; Kipping, David; Limbach, Mary Anne; Turner, Edwin; Greenberg, Richard; Sasaki, Takanori; Bolmont, Émeline; Grasset, Olivier; Lewis, Karen; Barnes, Rory; Zuluaga, Jorge I.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract The diversity and quantity of moons in the Solar System suggest a manifold population of natural satellites exist around extrasolar planets. Of peculiar interest from an astrobiological perspective, the number of sizable moons in the stellar habitable zones may outnumber planets in these circumstellar regions. With technological and theoretical methods now allowing for the detection of sub-Earth-sized extrasolar planets, the first detection of an extrasolar moon appears feasible. In this review, we summarize formation channels of massive exomoons that are potentially detectable with current or near-future instruments. We discuss the orbital effects that govern exomoon evolution, we present a framework to characterize an exomoon's stellar plus planetary illumination as well as its tidal heating, and we address the techniques that have been proposed to search for exomoons. Most notably, we show that natural satellites in the range of 0.1–0.5 Earth mass (i) are potentially habitable, (ii) can form within the circumplanetary debris and gas disk or via capture from a binary, and (iii) are detectable with current technology. Key Words: Astrobiology—Extrasolar planets—Habitability—Planetary science—Tides. Astrobiology 14, 798–835. PMID:25147963

  6. Observations of Exoplanet Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crossfield, Ian J. M.

    2015-10-01

    Detailed characterization of an extrasolar planet's atmosphere provides the best hope for distinguishing the makeup of its outer layers, and the only hope for understanding the interplay between initial composition, chemistry, dynamics and circulation, and disequilibrium processes. In recent years, some areas have seen rapid progress, while developments in others have come more slowly and/or have been hotly contested. This article gives an observer's perspective on the current understanding of extrasolar planet atmospheres prior to the considerable advances expected from the next generation of observing facilities. Atmospheric processes of both transiting and directly imaged planets are discussed, including molecular and atomic abundances, cloud properties, thermal structure, and planetary energy budgets. In the future we can expect a continuing and accelerating stream of new discoveries, which will fuel the ongoing exoplanet revolution for many years to come.

  7. Variability of solar/stellar activity and magnetic field and its influence on planetary atmosphere evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lammer, Helmut; Güdel, Manuel; Kulikov, Yuri; Ribas, Ignasi; Zaqarashvili, Teimuraz V.; Khodachenko, Maxim L.; Kislyakova, Kristina G.; Gröller, Hannes; Odert, Petra; Leitzinger, Martin; Fichtinger, Bibiana; Krauss, Sandro; Hausleitner, Walter; Holmström, Mats; Sanz-Forcada, Jorge; Lichtenegger, Herbert I. M.; Hanslmeier, Arnold; Shematovich, Valery I.; Bisikalo, Dmitry; Rauer, Heike; Fridlund, Malcolm

    2012-02-01

    It is shown that the evolution of planetary atmospheres can only be understood if one recognizes the fact that the radiation and particle environment of the Sun or a planet's host star were not always on the same level as at present. New insights and the latest observations and research regarding the evolution of the solar radiation, plasma environment and solar/stellar magnetic field derived from the observations of solar proxies with different ages will be given. We show that the extreme radiation and plasma environments of the young Sun/stars have important implications for the evolution of planetary atmospheres and may be responsible for the fact that planets with low gravity like early Mars most likely never build up a dense atmosphere during the first few 100 Myr after their origin. Finally we present an innovative new idea on how hydrogen clouds and energetic neutral atom (ENA) observations around transiting Earth-like exoplanets by space observatories such as the WSO-UV, can be used for validating the addressed atmospheric evolution studies. Such observations would enhance our understanding on the impact on the activity of the young Sun on the early atmospheres of Venus, Earth, Mars and other Solar System bodies as well as exoplanets.

  8. Elemental Compositions of Extrasolar Planetesimals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Siyi; Jura, M.

    2014-01-01

    The composition of extrasolar rocky planets is essential for understanding the formation and evolution of these alien worlds. Studying externally-polluted white dwarfs provides the only method to directly measure the elemental compositions of extrasolar planetesimals, the building blocks of planets. The standard model is that some planetesimals can survive to the white dwarf phase, get perturbed, enter into the tidal radius of the white dwarf and get accreted, polluting its pure hydrogen or helium atmosphere. We have been performing high-resolution spectroscopic observations on a number of polluted white dwarfs to measure the bulk compositions of the accreted objects. To have a full picture of the abundance pattern, we gathered data from both Keck/HIRES and HST/COS. I will present the analysis for one of the most interesting objects -- G29-38. It is the first white dwarf identified with an infrared excess from debris of pulverized planetesimals and among the very first identified polluted hydrogen atmosphere white dwarfs. Our analysis indicates that the accreted extrasolar planetesimal is enhanced in refractory elements and depleted in volatile elements. A detailed comparison with solar system objects show that the observed composition can be best interpreted as a blend of chondritic object with some refractory-rich material, a result from post-nebular processing. When all polluted white dwarfs are viewed as an ensemble, we find that the elemental compositions of accreted extrasolar planetesimals resemble to those of solar system objects to zeroth order. (i) The big four elements, O, Fe, Mg and Si are also dominant. Objects with exotic compositions, e.g. diamond planets and refractory-dominated planets, are yet to be found. (ii) Volatiles, such as carbon and water, are only trace constituents. In terms of bulk composition, solar system objects are essentially normal.

  9. A Mechanism for Land-Atmosphere Feedback Involving Planetary Wave Structures

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koster, Randal D.; Chang, Yehui; Schubert, Siegfried D.

    2014-01-01

    While the ability of land surface conditions to influence the atmosphere has been demonstrated in various modeling and observational studies, the precise mechanisms by which land-atmosphere feedback occurs are still largely unknown particularly the mechanisms that allow land moisture state in one region to affect atmospheric conditions in another. Such remote impacts are examined here in the context of atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) simulations, leading to the identification of one potential mechanism: the phase-locking and amplification of a planetary wave through the imposition of a spatial pattern of soil moisture at the land surface. This mechanism, shown here to be relevant in the AGCM, apparently also operates in nature, as suggested by supporting evidence found in reanalysis data.

  10. Superrotation planetary atmospheres: Mechanical analogy, angular momentum budget and simulation of the spin up process

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mayr, H. G.; Harris, I.; Conrath, B. J.

    1981-01-01

    Superrotation rates observed in planetary atmospheres are analyzed based on the concept of a thermally driven zonally symmetric circulation. Specifically, how this superrotation is produced and maintained against the tendency for friction to oppose differential motions between the atmosphere and the underlying planet is addressed. The time evolution of a fluid leading from corotation under uniform heating to superrotation under globally nonuniform heating is simulated using a three dimensional zonally symmetric spectral model and Laplace transformation. The increased tendency toward geostrophy combined with the increase of surface pressure toward the poles (due to meridional mass transport), induces the atmosphere to subrotate temporarily at lower altitudes. The resulting viscous shear near the surface thus permits angular momentum to flow from the planet into the atmosphere where it propagates upwards and, combined with the change in moment of inertia, produces large superrotation rates at higher viscosities.

  11. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, Paul G.

    1988-01-01

    Radio absorptivity data for planetary atmospheres obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments and earth-based radio astronomical observations can be used to infer abundances of microwave absorbing atmospheric constituents in those atmospheres, as long as reliable information regarding the microwave absorbing properties of potential constituents is available. The key activity for this grant year has continued to be laboratory measurements of the microwave and millimeter-wave properties of the simulated atmospheres of the outer planets and their satellites. A Fabry-Perot spectrometer system capable of operation from 32 to 41 GHz was developed. Initially this spectrometer was used to complete laboratory measurements of the 7.5 to 9.3 mm absorption spectrum of ammonia. Laboratory measurements were begun at wavelengths near 3.2 mm, where a large number of observations of the emission from the outer planets were made. A description of this system is presented.

  12. The spectroscopic search for the trace aerosols in the planetary atmospheres - the results of numerical simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blecka, Maria I.

    2010-05-01

    The passive remote spectrometric methods are important in examinations the atmospheres of planets. The radiance spectra inform us about values of thermodynamical parameters and composition of the atmospheres and surfaces. The spectral technology can be useful in detection of the trace aerosols like biological substances (if present) in the environments of the planets. We discuss here some of the aspects related to the spectroscopic search for the aerosols and dust in planetary atmospheres. Possibility of detection and identifications of biological aerosols with a passive InfraRed spectrometer in an open-air environment is discussed. We present numerically simulated, based on radiative transfer theory, spectroscopic observations of the Earth atmosphere. Laboratory measurements of transmittance of various kinds of aerosols, pollens and bacterias were used in modeling.

  13. DETECTING PLANETARY GEOCHEMICAL CYCLES ON EXOPLANETS: ATMOSPHERIC SIGNATURES AND THE CASE OF SO{sub 2}

    SciTech Connect

    Kaltenegger, L.; Sasselov, D.

    2010-01-10

    We study the spectrum of a planetary atmosphere to derive detectable features in low resolution of different global geochemical cycles on exoplanets-using the sulfur cycle as our example. We derive low-resolution detectable features for first generation space- and ground-based telescopes as a first step in comparative planetology. We assume that the surfaces and atmospheres of terrestrial exoplanets (Earth-like and super-Earths) will most often be dominated by a specific geochemical cycle. Here we concentrate on the sulfur cycle driven by outgassing of SO{sub 2} and H{sub 2}S followed by their transformation to other sulfur-bearing species, which is clearly distinguishable from the carbon cycle, which is driven by outgassing of CO{sub 2}. Due to increased volcanism, the sulfur cycle is potentially the dominant global geochemical cycle on dry super-Earths with active tectonics. We calculate planetary emission, reflection, and transmission spectrum from 0.4 mum to 40 mum with high and low resolution to assess detectable features using current and Archean Earth models with varying SO{sub 2} and H{sub 2}S concentrations to explore reducing and oxidizing habitable environments on rocky planets. We find specific spectral signatures that are observable with low resolution in a planetary atmosphere with high SO{sub 2} and H{sub 2}S concentration. Therefore, first generation space- and ground-based telescopes can test our understanding of geochemical cycles on rocky planets and potentially distinguish planetary environments dominated by the carbon and sulfur cycles.

  14. C/O ratios in extrasolar planetesimals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, David John; Gaensicke, Boris; Farihi, Jay; Koester, Detlev

    2015-12-01

    The wide range of densities found in small exoplanets imply a variety of possible compositions and interior structures. In particular, some models predict that protoplanetary discs with C/O>0.8 may form carbon-dominated planets. The only way to directly test such predictions are studies of evolved planetary systems at white dwarfs. Analysis of planetesimal debris in white dwarf atmospheres provides a unique insight into the chemical compositions of extrasolar planets, which cannot be observed at main-sequence systems. Thus far, such studies have predominantly focused on individual objects. However, the growing sample of abundance studies now allows conclusions to be derived regarding the overall chemical abundances of (solid) exoplanet precursors in a statistically significant sample of systems. Here, we present measurements of the C/O ratio in the debris of planetesimals at 16 white dwarfs observed with the Hubble Space Telescope. These data allow us to constrain the occurrence frequency of carbon-dominated planets. We find no evidence for such carbon planets, with C/O<0.8 by number in all 16 systems.

  15. Exploring Links Between Orbital Dynamics and Atmospheres in Kepler M Dwarf Planetary Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ballard, Sarah

    2015-12-01

    The Solar System furnishes the most familiar planetary architecture: many planets, orbiting nearly coplanar to one another. However, the most common planetary systems in the Milky Way orbit much smaller M dwarf stars, and these may present a very different blueprint. The Kepler data set has furnished more than 100 exoplanets orbiting stars half the mass of the sun and smaller. Half of these planets reside in systems with at least one additional planet. The data much prefer a model with two distinct modes of planet formation around M dwarfs, which occur in roughly equal measure. One mode is one very similar to the Solar System in terms of multiplicity and coplanarity, and the other is very dissimilar. Given this so-called "Kepler Dichotomy," we examine the broadband transmission spectra (with data from Kepler and hundreds of hours of Spitzer observations) of dozens of M dwarf planets: half of which reside in one type of planetary system, and half in the other. Although the data set is too small and the observational uncertainty too large to characterize any one system alone, we examine ensemble trends between planetary dynamics and atmospheric content.

  16. Evaporation and accretion of extrasolar comets following white dwarf kicks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stone, Nicholas; Metzger, Brian D.; Loeb, Abraham

    2015-03-01

    Several lines of observational evidence suggest that white dwarfs receive small birth kicks due to anisotropic mass-loss. If other stars possess extrasolar analogues to the Solar Oort cloud, the orbits of comets in such clouds will be scrambled by white dwarf natal kicks. Although most comets will be unbound, some will be placed on low angular momentum orbits vulnerable to sublimation or tidal disruption. The dusty debris from these comets will manifest itself as an IR excess temporarily visible around newborn white dwarfs; examples of such discs may already have been seen in the Helix Nebula, and around several other young white dwarfs. Future observations with the James Webb Space Telescope may distinguish this hypothesis from alternatives such as a dynamically excited Kuiper Belt analogue. Although competing hypotheses exist, the observation that ?15 per cent of young white dwarfs possess such discs, if interpreted as indeed being cometary in origin, provides indirect evidence that low-mass gas giants (thought necessary to produce an Oort cloud) are common in the outer regions of extrasolar planetary systems. Hydrogen abundances in the atmospheres of older white dwarfs can, if sufficiently low, also be used to place constraints on the joint parameter space of natal kicks and exo-Oort cloud models.

  17. NASA's Planetary Data System: Support for the Delivery of Derived Data Sets at the Atmospheres Node

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chanover, Nancy J.; Beebe, Reta; Neakrase, Lynn; Huber, Lyle; Rees, Shannon; Hornung, Danae

    2015-11-01

    NASA’s Planetary Data System is charged with archiving electronic data products from NASA planetary missions that are sponsored by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. This archive, currently organized by science disciplines, uses standards for describing and storing data that are designed to enable future scientists who are unfamiliar with the original experiments to analyze the data, and to do this using a variety of computer platforms, with no additional support. These standards address the data structure, description contents, and media design. The new requirement in the NASA ROSES-2015 Research Announcement to include a Data Management Plan will result in an increase in the number of derived data sets that are being delivered to the PDS. These data sets may come from the Planetary Data Archiving, Restoration and Tools (PDART) program, other Data Analysis Programs (DAPs) or be volunteered by individuals who are publishing the results of their analysis. In response to this increase, the PDS Atmospheres Node is developing a set of guidelines and user tools to make the process of archiving these derived data products more efficient. Here we provide a description of Atmospheres Node resources, including a letter of support for the proposal stage, a communication schedule for the planned archive effort, product label samples and templates in extensible markup language (XML), documentation templates, and validation tools necessary for producing a PDS4-compliant derived data bundle(s) efficiently and accurately.

  18. Kinetics of Suprathermal Atoms and Molecules in the Rarefied Planetary Atmospheres

    SciTech Connect

    Shematovich, Valery I.

    2008-12-31

    Ground-based and space observations have revealed that the upper layers of planetary atmospheres contain both a thermal fraction of neutral atoms and molecules with the mean particle kinetic energy corresponding to the local gas temperature and a suprathermal (hot) fraction of neutral particles with the mean kinetic energy much higher than the local atmospheric temperature. Atmospheric photochemistry and solar wind/magnetospheric plasma inflow play an important role in the formation of suprathermal atoms and molecules in the rarefied atmospheric gas. The current physical and mathematical models of suprathermal atom formation are presented. These models are used to investigate the formation and kinetics of suprathermal carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen atoms in the upper atmospheres of Venus, Earth, and Mars where they are formed in significant amounts due to the atmospheric photochemistry. The role and input of such photochemical reactions as photo- and electron impact dissociation of the main atmospheric constituents as well as in the exothermic ion-molecular reactions including the dissociative recombination of the ionospheric ions into the formation of hot O populations in the upper atmospheres of the terrestrial planets are estimated.

  19. MAVEN Observations of Escaping Planetary Ions from the Martian Atmosphere: Mass, Velocity, and Spatial Distributions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dong, Yaxue; Fang, Xiaohua; Brain, D. A.; McFadden, James P.; Halekas, Jasper; Connerney, Jack

    2015-04-01

    The Mars-solar wind interaction accelerates and transports planetary ions away from the Martian atmosphere through a number of processes, including ‘pick-up’ by electromagnetic fields. The MAVEN spacecraft has made routine observations of escaping planetary ions since its arrival at Mars in September 2014. The SupraThermal And Thermal Ion Composition (STATIC) instrument measures the ion energy, mass, and angular spectra. It has detected energetic planetary ions during most of the spacecraft orbits, which are attributed to the pick-up process. We found significant variations in the escaping ion mass and velocity distributions from the STATIC data, which can be explained by factors such as varying solar wind conditions, contributions of particles from different source locations and different phases during the pick-up process. We also study the spatial distributions of different planetary ion species, which can provide insight into the physics of ion escaping process and enhance our understanding of atmospheric erosion by the solar wind. Our results will be further interpreted within the context of the upstream solar wind conditions measured by the MAVEN Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA) instrument and the magnetic field environment measured by the Magnetometer (MAG) instrument. Our study shows that the ion spatial distribution in the Mars-Sun-Electric-Field (MSE) coordinate system and the velocity space distribution with respect to the local magnetic field line can be used to distinguish the ions escaping through the polar plume and those through the tail region. The contribution of the polar plume ion escape to the total escape rate will also be discussed.

  20. Detection of Extrasolar Planets by Transit Photometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borucki, William; Koch, David; Webster, Larry; Dunham, Edward; Witteborn, Fred; Jenkins, Jon; Caldwell, Douglas; Showen, Robert; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    A knowledge of other planetary systems that includes information on the number, size, mass, and spacing of the planets around a variety of star types is needed to deepen our understanding of planetary system formation and processes that give rise to their final configurations. Recent discoveries show that many planetary systems are quite different from the solar system in that they often possess giant planets in short period orbits. The inferred evolution of these planets and their orbital characteristics imply the absence of Earth-like planets near the habitable zone. Information on the properties of the giant-inner planets is now being obtained by both the Doppler velocity and the transit photometry techniques. The combination of the two techniques provides the mass, size, and density of the planets. For the planet orbiting star HD209458, transit photometry provided the first independent confirmation and measurement of the diameter of an extrasolar planet. The observations indicate a planet 1.27 the diameter of Jupiter with 0.63 of its mass (Charbonneau et al. 1999). The results are in excellent agreement with the theory of planetary atmospheres for a planet of the indicated mass and distance from a solar-like star. The observation of the November 23, 1999 transit of that planet made by the Ames Vulcan photometer at Lick Observatory is presented. In the future, the combination of the two techniques will greatly increase the number of discoveries and the richness of the science yield. Small rocky planets at orbital distances from 0.9 to 1.2 AU are more likely to harbor life than the gas giant planets that are now being discovered. However, new technology is needed to find smaller, Earth-like planets, which are about three hundred times less massive than Jupiter-like planets. The Kepler project is a space craft mission designed to discover hundreds of Earth-size planets in and near the habitable zone around a wide variety of stars. To demonstrate that the technology exists to find such small planets, our group has conducted an end-to-end system test. The results of the laboratory tests are presented and show that we are ready to start the search for Earth-size planets.

  1. The HARPS search for southern extra-solar planets. XVIII. An Earth-mass planet in the GJ 581 planetary system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mayor, M.; Bonfils, X.; Forveille, T.; Delfosse, X.; Udry, S.; Bertaux, J.-L.; Beust, H.; Bouchy, F.; Lovis, C.; Pepe, F.; Perrier, C.; Queloz, D.; Santos, N. C.

    2009-11-01

    The GJ 581 planetary system is already known to harbour three planets, including two super-Earth planets that straddle its habitable zone. We report the detection of an additional planet - GJ 581e - with a minimum mass of 1.9 M_⊕. With a period of 3.15 days, it is the innermost planet of the system and has a ~5% transit probability. We also correct our previous confusion about the orbital period of GJ 581d (the outermost planet) with a one-year alias, benefitting from an extended time span and many more measurements. The revised period is 66.8 days, and positions the semi-major axis inside the habitable zone of the low mass star. The dynamical stability of the 4-planet system imposes an upper bound on the orbital plane inclination. The planets cannot be more massive than approximately 1.6 times their minimum mass. Based on observations made with the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6 m telescope under the GTO and LP programs 072.C-0488 and 183.C-0437 at Cerro La Silla (Chile). Our radial-velocity, photometric and Ca II H+K index time series (Table 1) are available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/507/487

  2. Studies of satellite and planetary surfaces and atmospheres. [Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars and their satellites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sagan, C.

    1978-01-01

    Completed or published research supported by NASA is summarized. Topics cover limb darkening and the structure of the Jovian atmosphere; the application of generalized inverse theory to the recovery of temperature profiles; models for the reflection spectrum of Jupiter's North Equatorial Belt; isotropic scattering layer models for the red chromosphore on Titan; radiative-convective equilibrium models of the Titan atmosphere; temperature structure and emergent flux of the Jovian planets; occultation of epsilon Geminorum by Mars and the structure and extinction of the Martian upper atmosphere; lunar occultation of Saturn; astrometric results and the normal reflectances of Rhea, Titan, and Iapetus; near limb darkening of solids of planetary interest; scattering light scattering from particulate surfaces; comparing the surface of 10 to laboratory samples; and matching the spectrum of 10: variations in the photometric properties of sulfur-containing mixtures.

  3. Planetary atmosphere models: A research and instructional web-based resource

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gray, Samuel Augustine

    The effects of altitude change on the temperature, pressure, density, and speed of sound were investigated. These effects have been documented in Global Reference Atmospheric Models (GRAMs) to be used in calculating the conditions in various parts of the atmosphere for several planets. Besides GRAMs, there are several websites that provide online calculators for the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere. This thesis presents the creation of an online calculator of the atmospheres of Earth, Mars, Venus, Titan, and Neptune. The websites consist of input forms for altitude and temperature adjustment followed by a results table for the calculated data. The first phase involved creating a spreadsheet reference based on the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere and other planetary GRAMs available. Microsoft Excel was used to input the equations and make a graphical representation of the temperature, pressure, density, and speed of sound change as altitude changed using equations obtained from the GRAMs. These spreadsheets were used later as a reference for the JavaScript code in both the design and comparison of the data output of the calculators. The websites were created using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript coding languages. The calculators could accurately display the temperature, pressure, density, and speed of sound of these planets from surface values to various stages within the atmosphere. These websites provide a resource for students involved in projects and classes that require knowledge of these changes in these atmospheres. This project also created a chance for new project topics to arise for future students involved in aeronautics and astronautics.

  4. Transit of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doyle, Laurance R.

    1998-01-01

    During the past five years we have pursued the detection of extrasolar planets by the photometric transit method, i.e. the detection of a planet by watching for a drop in the brightness of the light as it crosses in front of a star. The planetary orbit must cross the line-of-sight and so most systems will not be lined up for such a transit to ever occur. However, we have looked at eclipsing binary systems which are already edge-on. Such systems must be very small in size as this makes the differential light change due to a transit much greater for a given planet size (the brightness difference will be proportional to the area of the transiting planet to the disc area of the star). Also, the planet forming region should be closer to the star as small stars are generally less luminous (that is, if the same thermal regime for planet formation applies as in the solar system). This led to studies of the habitable zone around other stars, as well. Finally, we discovered that our data could be used to detect giant planets without transits as we had been carefully timing the eclipses of the stars (using a GPS antenna for time) and this will drift by being offset by any giant planets orbiting around the system, as well. The best summary of our work may be to just summarize the 21 refereed papers produced during the time of this grant. This will be done is chronological order and in each section separately.

  5. Ultra-High Resolution Spectroscopic Remote Sensing: A Microscope on Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kostiuk, Theodor

    2010-01-01

    Remote sensing of planetary atmospheres is not complete without studies of all levels of the atmosphere, including the dense cloudy- and haze filled troposphere, relatively clear and important stratosphere and the upper atmosphere, which are the first levels to experience the effects of solar radiation. High-resolution spectroscopy can provide valuable information on these regions of the atmosphere. Ultra-high spectral resolution studies can directly measure atmospheric winds, composition, temperature and non-thermal phenomena, which describe the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere. Spectroscopy in the middle to long infrared wavelengths can also probe levels where dust of haze limit measurements at shorter wavelength or can provide ambiguous results on atmospheric species abundances or winds. A spectroscopic technique in the middle infrared wavelengths analogous to a radio receiver. infrared heterodyne spectroscopy [1], will be describe and used to illustrate the detailed study of atmospheric phenomena not readily possible with other methods. The heterodyne spectral resolution with resolving power greater than 1,000.000 measures the true line shapes of emission and absorption lines in planetary atmospheres. The information on the region of line formation is contained in the line shapes. The absolute frequency of the lines can be measured to I part in 100 ,000,000 and can be used to accurately measure the Doppler frequency shift of the lines, directly measuring the line-of-sight velocity of the gas to --Im/s precision (winds). The technical and analytical methods developed and used to measure and analyze infrared heterodyne measurements will be described. Examples of studies on Titan, Venus, Mars, Earth, and Jupiter will be presented. 'These include atmospheric dynamics on slowly rotating bodies (Titan [2] and Venus [3] and temperature, composition and chemistry on Mars 141, Venus and Earth. The discovery and studies of unique atmospheric phenomena will also be described, such as non-thermal and lasing phenomena on Mars and Venus, mid-infrared aurora on Jupiter [5], and results of small body impacts on Jupiter [6]. The heterodyne technique can also be applied for detailed study of the Earth's stratosphere and mesosphere by measuring trace constituent abundances and temporal and spatial variability as well as winds, which provide information of transport. All ground-based measurements will be described as complementary and supporting studies for on-going and future space missions [7] (Mars Express, Venus Express, Cassini Huygens, JUNO, ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, and the Europa Jupiter System Mission, an Earth Science Venture Class missions), Proposed instrument and technology development for a space flight infrared heterodyne spectrometer will be described.

  6. Laboratory Studies of O2 Excited States Relevant to CO2 Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kostko, O.; Storey-Fisher, K.; Kalogerakis, K. S.

    2013-12-01

    Knowledge of the details relevant to the production of excited O2 is critical for the study and modeling of composition, energy transfer, airglow, and transport dynamics in CO2 planetary atmospheres. Significant gaps and uncertainties exist in our understanding of the above processes, and often the relevant input from laboratory measurements is missing or outdated. We are performing laser-based laboratory experiments to investigate the O-atom three-body recombination responsible for the generation of oxygen airglow in the upper atmosphere of Venus and Mars. In the laboratory, an ultraviolet light pulse from a laser photoinitiates O-atom recombination in a CO2 environment. Spectroscopic techniques are used to probe the excited O2 molecules produced following recombination and subsequent relaxation in CO2. We present our latest laboratory results and discuss their atmospheric implications. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Planetary Astronomy Program under grant AST-1109372. K. Storey-Fisher participated at a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site at SRI International, co-funded by the Division of Physics of the NSF and the Department of Defense in partnership with the NSF REU program (PHY-1002892).

  7. Planetary atmosphere evolution: do other habitable planets exist and can we detect them?

    PubMed

    Kasting, J F

    1996-01-01

    The goal of this conference is to consider whether it is possible within the next few decades to detect Earth-like planets around other stars using telescopes or interferometers on the ground or in space. Implicit in the term "Earth-like" is the idea that such planets might be habitable by Earth-like organisms, or that they might actually be inhabited. Here, I shall address two questions from the standpoint of planetary atmosphere evolution. First, what are the chances that habitable planets exist around other stars? And, second, if inhabited planets exist, what would be the best way to detect them? PMID:11542303

  8. Application of the Stogryn-Hirschfelder treatment of weak dimers to planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Slanina, Zdenek; Fox, Kenneth; Kim, Sang J.

    1992-01-01

    The thermodynamics of carbon dioxide dimerization is treated as an example of the evaluation of weak dimer populations in planetary atmospheres (e.g., Mars and Venus). Two approaches considered are the Stogryn-Hirschfelder (1960) treatment using the Lennard-Jones interaction and calculations based on recent quantum chemical data. Several improvements of these treatments are developed. It is indicated that carbon dioxide dimers may be less or more abundant at the surfaces of Mars or Venus, respectively, than is suggested by previous calculations.

  9. Observed properties of extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Howard, Andrew W

    2013-05-01

    Observational surveys for extrasolar planets probe the diverse outcomes of planet formation and evolution. These surveys measure the frequency of planets with different masses, sizes, orbital characteristics, and host star properties. Small planets between the sizes of Earth and Neptune substantially outnumber Jupiter-sized planets. The survey measurements support the core accretion model, in which planets form by the accumulation of solids and then gas in protoplanetary disks. The diversity of exoplanetary characteristics demonstrates that most of the gross features of the solar system are one outcome in a continuum of possibilities. The most common class of planetary system detectable today consists of one or more planets approximately one to three times Earth's size orbiting within a fraction of the Earth-Sun distance. PMID:23641110

  10. Detecting and Constraining N2 Abundances in Planetary Atmospheres Using Collisional Pairs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwieterman, Edward W.; Robinson, Tyler D.; Meadows, Victoria S.; Misra, Amit; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn

    2015-09-01

    Characterizing the bulk atmosphere of a terrestrial planet is important for determining surface pressure and potential habitability. Molecular nitrogen (N2) constitutes the largest fraction of Earth's atmosphere and is likely to be a major constituent of many terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres. Due to its lack of significant absorption features, N2 is extremely difficult to remotely detect. However, N2 produces an N2-N2 collisional pair, (N2)2, which is spectrally active. Here we report the detection of (N2)2 in Earth's disk-integrated spectrum. By comparing spectra from NASA's EPOXI mission to synthetic spectra from the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory three-dimensional spectral Earth model, we find that (N2)2 absorption produces a ˜35% decrease in flux at 4.15 μm. Quantifying N2 could provide a means of determining bulk atmospheric composition for terrestrial exoplanets and could rule out abiotic O2 generation, which is possible in rarefied atmospheres. To explore the potential effects of (N2)2 in exoplanet spectra, we used radiative transfer models to generate synthetic emission and transit transmission spectra of self-consistent N2-CO2-H2O atmospheres, and analytic N2-H2 and N2-H2-CO2 atmospheres. We show that (N2)2 absorption in the wings of the 4.3 μm CO2 band is strongly dependent on N2 partial pressures above 0.5 bar and can significantly widen this band in thick N2 atmospheres. The (N2)2 transit transmission signal is up to 10 ppm for an Earth-size planet with an N2-dominated atmosphere orbiting within the habitable zone of an M5V star and could be substantially larger for planets with significant H2 mixing ratios.

  11. Characterization of Extrasolar Planets Using SOFIA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Deming, Drake

    2010-01-01

    Topics include: the landscape of extrasolar planets, why focus on transiting planets, some history and Spitzer results, problems in atmospheric structure or hot Jupiters and hot super Earths, what observations are needed to make progress, and what SOFIA can currently do and comments on optimized instruments.

  12. Laboratory studies at high resolution of the infrared absorption spectra of a number of gases found in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hunt, R. H.

    1983-01-01

    The infrared absorption spectra of a number of gases found in planetary atmospheres were studied at high resolution. Absorption line measurements which can be of value for the interpretation of planetary spectra in terms of molecular abundances and conditions in the planetary atmospheres were provided. The high resolution spectra have yielded measurements of individual vibration rotation line parameters including positions, strengths, pressure broadened widths and, where assignments were unknown, the temperature sensitivity of the strengths. Such information allows the determinations of the absorption of a given molecular gas under planetary conditions of temperature and pressure and at the same time it provides the data necessary if the spectra are to be understood in terms of basic molecular theory. Thus this work has included spectral analysis in the form of line assignments as well as fitting of the data to Hamiltonian models. Such fitting is very useful in that it helps to confirm and extend the assignments.

  13. Atmospheric planetary boundary layers: nature, theory, modelling and role in PEEX

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zilitinkevich, Sergej

    2014-05-01

    Atmospheric planetary boundary layers (PBLs) control turbulent exchange processes linking the atmosphere with underlying land, vegetation, urban-canopy or water surfaces. The key PBL parameters are vertical turbulent fluxes of energy, matter (pollutants, greenhouse gases, aerosol particles, etc.) and momentum at the PBL lower and upper boundaries, and the PBL height. This paper presents recent advancements in our understanding the nature of PBL and calculation of the above PBL parameters for the newly discovered PBL types, namely, conventionally-neutral and long-lived stable PBLs, and accounting for large-scale self-organised structures in convective PBLs (cells and rolls in the shear-free and sheared convection, respectively). The emphasis is put on the PBL processes determining local features of weather, climate, and air quality, such as extreme weather events, heavy air-pollution episodes and local consequences of global warming.

  14. Stellar occultations by turbulent planetary atmospheres. I - A heuristic scattering model. II - The Beta Scorpii events

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hubbard, W. B.; Jokipii, J. R.

    1977-01-01

    Effects of atmospheric turbulence on stellar-occultation inversion procedures are investigated using a heuristic scattering model that is believed to reproduce the essential features of turbulence. A quantitative estimate is made of the size of the error in deducing the mean refractivity profile of a planetary atmosphere, taking into account constant as well as exponential scattering. It is shown that ordinary turbulence has no important effect on the average intensity profile in a stellar occultation but could have an important instantaneous effect. A critical examination of possible manifestations of turbulent scattering during occultations of Beta Sco by Jupiter indicates that all observed phenomena during these events can be understood in terms of scintillations produced by turbulence.

  15. Light scattering by randomly oriented cubes and parallelepipeds. [for interpretation of observed data from planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Liou, K. N.; Cai, Q.; Pollack, J. B.; Cuzzi, J. N.

    1983-01-01

    In this paper, the geometric ray tracing theory for the scattering of light by hexagonal cylinders to cubes and parallelepipeds has been modified. Effects of the real and imaginary parts of the refractive index and aspect ratio of the particle on the scattering phase function and the degree of linear polarization are investigated. Causes of the physical features in the scattering polarization patterns are identified in terms of the scattering contribution due to geometric reflections and refractions. The single-scattering phase function and polarization data presented in this paper should be of some use for the interpretation of observed scattering and polarization data from planetary atmospheres and for the physical understanding of the transfer of radiation in an atmosphere containing nonspherical particles.

  16. Numerical Modeling of Normal-Mode Oscillations in Planetary Atmospheres: Application to Saturn and Titan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedson, Andrew James; Ding, Leon

    2015-11-01

    We have developed a numerical model to calculate the frequencies and eigenfunctions of adiabatic, non-radial normal-mode oscillations in the gas giants and Titan. The model solves the linearized momentum, energy, and continuity equations for the perturbation displacement, pressure, and density fields and solves Poisson’s equation for the perturbation gravitational potential. The response to effects associated with planetary rotation, including the Coriolis force, centrifugal force, and deformation of the equilibrium structure, is calculated numerically. This provides the capability to accurately compute the influence of rotation on the modes, even in the limit where mode frequency approaches the rotation rate, when analytical estimates based on functional perturbation analysis become inaccurate. This aspect of the model makes it ideal for studying the potential role of low-frequency modes for driving spiral density waves in the C ring that possess relatively low pattern speeds (Hedman, M.M and P.D. Nicholson, MNRAS 444, 1369-1388). In addition, the model can be used to explore the effect of internal differential rotation on the eigenfrequencies. We will (1) present examples of applying the model to calculate the properties of normal modes in Saturn and their relationship to observed spiral density waves in the C ring, and (2) discuss how the model is used to examine the response of the superrotating atmosphere of Titan to the gravitational tide exerted by Saturn. This research was supported by a grant from the NASA Planetary Atmosphere Program.

  17. Strong scintillations during atmospheric occultations Theoretical intensity spectra. [radio scattering during spacecraft occultations by planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hinson, D. P.

    1986-01-01

    Each of the two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977 has completed a reconnaissance of the Jovian and Saturnian systems. In connection with occultation experiments, strong scintillations were observed. Further theoretical work is required before these scintillations can be interpreted. The present study is, therefore, concerned with the derivation of a theory for strong scattering during atmospheric occultation experiments, taking into account as fundamental quantity of interest the spatial spectrum (or spectral density) of intensity fluctuations. Attention is given to a theory for intensity spectra, and numerical calculations. The new formula derived for Phi-i accounts for strong scattering of electromagnetic waves during atmospheric occultations.

  18. Ash Dispersal in Planetary Atmospheres: Continuum vs. Non-continuum Effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fagents, S. A.; Baloga, S. M.; Glaze, L. S.

    2013-12-01

    The dispersal of ash from a volcanic vent on any given planet is dictated by particle properties (density, shape, and size distribution), the intensity of the eruptive source, and the characteristics of the planetary environment (atmospheric structure, wind field, and gravity) into which the ash is erupted. Relating observations of potential pyroclastic deposits to source locations and eruption conditions requires a detailed quantitative understanding of the settling rates of individual particles under changing ambient conditions. For atmospheres that are well described by continuum mechanics, the conventional Newtonian description of particle motion allows particle settling velocities to be related to particle characteristics via a drag coefficient. However, under rarefied atmospheric conditions (i.e., on Mars and at high altitude on Earth), non-continuum effects become important for ash-sized particles, and an equation of motion based on statistical mechanics is required for calculating particle motion. We have developed a rigorous new treatment of particle settling under variable atmospheric conditions and applied it to Earth and Mars. When non-continuum effects are important (as dictated by the mean free path of atmospheric gas relative to the particle size), fall velocities are greater than those calculated by continuum mechanics. When continuum conditions (i.e., higher atmospheric densities) are reached during descent, our model switches to a conventional formulation that determines the appropriate drag coefficient as the particle transits varying atmospheric properties. The variation of settling velocity with altitude allows computation of particle trajectories, fall durations and downwind dispersal. Our theoretical and numerical analyses show that several key, competing factors strongly influence the downwind trajectories of ash particles and the extents of the resulting deposits. These factors include: the shape of the particles (non-spherical particles fall more slowly than spherical particle shapes commonly adopted in settling models); the formation of particle aggregates, which enhances settling rates; and the lagging of particle motion behind the ambient wind field, which results in less widely dispersed deposits. Above all, any particles experiencing non-continuum effects settle faster and are less widely dispersed than particles falling in an entirely continuum regime. Our model results demonstrate the complex interplay of these factors in the Martian environment, and our approach provides a basis for relating deposits observed in planetary datasets to candidate volcanic sources and eruption conditions. This allows for a critical reassessment of the potential for explosive volcanism to contribute to extremely widespread, fine-grained, layered deposits such as the Medusae Fossae Formation.

  19. Scientific Value of a Saturn Atmospheric Probe Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Simon-Miller, A. A.; Lunine, J. I.; Atreya, S. K.; Spilker, T. R.; Coustenis, A.; Atkinson, D. H.

    2012-01-01

    Atmospheric entry probe mISSions to the giant planets can uniquely discriminate between competing theories of solar system formation and the origin and evolution of the giant planets and their atmospheres. This provides for important comparative studies of the gas and ice giants, and to provide a laboratory for studying the atmospheric chemistries, dynamics, and interiors of all the planets including Earth. The giant planets also represent a valuable link to extrasolar planetary systems. As outlined in the recent Planetary Decadal Survey, a Saturn Probe mission - with a shallow probe - ranks as a high priority for a New Frontiers class mission [1].

  20. Views from EPOXI. Colors in Our Solar System as an Analog for Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Crow, Carolyn A.; McFadden, L. A.; Robinson, T.; Livengood, T. A.; Hewagama, T.; Barry, R. K.; Deming, L. D.; Meadows, V.; Lisse, C. M.

    2010-01-01

    With extrasolar planet detection becoming more common place, the frontiers of extrasolar planet science have moved beyond detection to the observations required to determine planetary properties. Once the existing observational challenges have been overcome, the first visible-light studies of extrasolar Earth-sized planets will likely employ filter photometry or low-resolution. spectroscopy to observe disk-integrated radiation from the unresolved planet. While spectroscopy of these targets is highly desirable, and provides the most robust form of characterization. S/N considerations presently limit spectroscopic measurements of extrasolar worlds. Broadband filter photometry will thus serve as a first line of characterization. In this paper we use Extrasolar Observation and Characterization (EPOCh) filter photometry of the Earth. Moon and Mars model spectra. and previous photometric and spectroscopic observations of a range the solar system planets. Titan, and Moon to explore the limitations of using color as a baseline for understanding extrasolar planets

  1. Intercomparison of Martian Lower Atmosphere Simulated Using Different Planetary Boundary Layer Parameterization Schemes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Natarajan, Murali; Dwyer Cianciolo, Alicia; Smith, Michael D.; Fairlie, T. Duncan

    2015-01-01

    We use the mesoscale modeling capability of Mars Weather Research and Forecasting (MarsWRF) model to study the sensitivity of the simulated Martian lower atmosphere to differences in the parameterization of the planetary boundary layer (PBL). Characterization of the Martian atmosphere and realistic representation of processes such as mixing of tracers like dust depend on how well the model reproduces the evolution of the PBL structure. MarsWRF is based on the NCAR WRF model and it retains some of the PBL schemes available in the earth version. Published studies have examined the performance of different PBL schemes in NCAR WRF with the help of observations. Currently such assessments are not feasible for Martian atmospheric models due to lack of observations. It is of interest though to study the sensitivity of the model to PBL parameterization. Typically, for standard Martian atmospheric simulations, we have used the Medium Range Forecast (MRF) PBL scheme, which considers a correction term to the vertical gradients to incorporate nonlocal effects. For this study, we have also used two other parameterizations, a non-local closure scheme called Yonsei University (YSU) PBL scheme and a turbulent kinetic energy closure scheme called Mellor- Yamada-Janjic (MYJ) PBL scheme. We will present intercomparisons of the near surface temperature profiles, boundary layer heights, and wind obtained from the different simulations. We plan to use available temperature observations from Mini TES instrument onboard the rovers Spirit and Opportunity in evaluating the model results.

  2. Wind enhanced planetary escape - Collisional modifications. [thermal escape of terrestrial H and He from atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Curtis, S. A.; Hartle, R. E.

    1977-01-01

    Effects of collisions and finite winds characteristic of a highly perturbed atmosphere on the thermal escape of terrestrial hydrogen and helium are investigated using a Monte Carlo approach. The limiting cases of vertical and horizontal winds are considered, and the relaxation layer between the collisionless exosphere and the collision-dominated thermosphere is modeled as a plane-parallel slab of given column density, depth, and atmospheric density. For both gases, the upwardly injected flux at the base of the relaxation layer is compared with the returning downward flux distribution at the same location; the technique is also applied to the atmosphere of Titan. The results show that inclusion of collisions in the escape model for terrestrial hydrogen with winds effectively throttles the escape process, that collisional throttling is negligible for helium when the exobase temperature is at least 5000 K, and that the escape of a planetary-atmosphere constituent depends on the ratio of its gravitational and kinetic energies as well as on the ratio of its mass to that of the background gas.

  3. Interactives: Comets, Orbital Motions, and Virtual Ballooning to Explore Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Russell, R. M.; Johnson, R. M.; Genyuk, J.

    2009-12-01

    We will demonstrate interactives and animations from the Windows to the Universe web site (www.windows.ucar.edu) covering three topics: cometary orbits and tails, orbit shapes and orbital motions, and virtual ballooning to explore planetary atmospheres. The comet interactive illustrates the range of shapes and sizes of cometary orbits, the formation of tails when a comet nears the Sun, and the orientations of the dust and ion tails. Our suite of animations and interactives about orbits and orbital motions help learners understand the shapes (eccentricity) and sizes (semi-major axis) of orbits as well as variations in orbital velocity from perihelion to aphelion. Our Mars orbit interactive illustrates the variations in distance between Earth and Mars as the planets orbit and at successive oppositions (closest approaches), which has influenced the history of both telescopic observations of the Red Planet as well as the timing of space missions to Mars. The virtual ballooning interactive enables students to explore the structures of atmospheres by launching virtual weather balloons that send back data on the variation of pressure and temperature with altitude. Learners set the altitude ranges and sampling frequencies for their balloon-borne virtual instruments and collect data over the course of four flights. Students learn about the pressure variation with altitude, temperature vs. altitude relationships in different atmospheric layers, and how to be thoughtful and selective during experimental data collection. Students can explore the atmospheres of Mars, Venus, and Titan as well as Earth.

  4. The molecular physics of photolytic fractionation of sulfur and oxygen isotopes in planetary atmospheres (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, M. S.; Schmidt, J. A.; Hattori, S.; Danielache, S.; Meusinger, C.; Schinke, R.; Ueno, Y.; Nanbu, S.; Kjaergaard, H. G.; Yoshida, N.

    2013-12-01

    Atmospheric photochemistry is able to produce large mass independent anomalies in atmospheric trace gases that can be found in geological and cryospheric records. This talk will present theoretical and experimental investigations of the molecular mechanisms producing photolytic fractionation of isotopes with special attention to sulfur and oxygen. The zero point vibrational energy (ZPE) shift and reflection principle theories are starting points for estimating isotopic fractionation, but these models ignore effects arising from isotope-dependent changes in couplings between surfaces, excited state dynamics, line densities and hot band populations. The isotope-dependent absorption spectra of the isotopologues of HCl, N2O, OCS, CO2 and SO2 have been examined in a series of papers and these results are compared with experiment and ZPE/reflection principle models. Isotopic fractionation in planetary atmospheres has many interesting applications. The UV absorption of CO2 is the basis of photochemistry in the CO2-rich atmospheres of the ancient Earth, and of Mars and Venus. For the first time we present accurate temperature and isotope dependent CO2 absorption cross sections with important implications for photolysis rates of SO2 and H2O, and the production of a mass independent anomaly in the Ox reservoir. Experimental and theoretical results for OCS have implications for the modern stratospheric sulfur budget. The absorption bands of SO2 are complex with rich structure producing isotopic fractionation in photolysis and photoexcitation.

  5. Gamma-ray and neutron spectroscopy of planetary surfaces and atmospheres

    SciTech Connect

    Reedy, R.C.

    1987-01-01

    The neutrons and gamma rays escaping from a planet can be used to map the concentrations of various elements in its surface. In a planet, the high-energy particles in the galactic cosmic rays induce a cascade of particles that includes many neutrons. The ..gamma.. rays are made by the decay of the naturally-occurring radioelements and by nuclear excitations induced by cosmic-ray particles and their secondaries (especially neutron capture or inelastic scattering reactions). After a short history of planetary ..gamma..-ray and neutron spectroscopy, the ..gamma..-ray spectrometer and active neutron detection system planned for the Mars Observer Mission are presented. The results of laboratory experiments that simulate the cosmic-ray bombardments of planetary surfaces and the status of the theoretical calculations for the processes that make and transport neutrons and ..gamma.. rays will be reviewed. Studies of Mars, including its atmosphere, are emphasized, as are new ideas, concepts, and problems that have arisen over the last decade, such as Doppler broadening and peaks from neutron scattering with germanium nuclei in a ..gamma..-ray spectrometer. 23 refs., 1 fig.

  6. THE COMPOSITIONAL DIVERSITY OF EXTRASOLAR TERRESTRIAL PLANETS. I. IN SITU SIMULATIONS

    SciTech Connect

    Bond, Jade C.; Lauretta, Dante S.; O'Brien, David P.

    2010-06-01

    Extrasolar planet host stars have been found to be enriched in key planet-building elements. These enrichments have the potential to drastically alter the composition of material available for terrestrial planet formation. Here, we report on the combination of dynamical models of late-stage terrestrial planet formation within known extrasolar planetary systems with chemical equilibrium models of the composition of solid material within the disk. This allows us to determine the bulk elemental composition of simulated extrasolar terrestrial planets. A wide variety of resulting planetary compositions are found, ranging from those that are essentially 'Earth like', containing metallic Fe and Mg silicates, to those that are dominated by graphite and SiC. This shows that a diverse range of terrestrial planets may exist within extrasolar planetary systems.

  7. Electron conic distributions produced by solar ionizing radiation in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peterson, W. K.; Brain, D. L.; Yau, A. W.; Richards, P. G.

    2015-06-01

    Electron conic distributions have angular distributions with peak fluxes well separated from the field aligned-direction. They have previously been reported at Earth on auroral field lines and at the Moon and Mars on closed crustal magnetic field lines. Here we report observations of electron conics at Earth on closed magnetic field lines well removed from the aurora. We show how these distributions could be produced without plasma wave interactions when magnetic field lines are illuminated by solar ionizing radiation at relatively high altitudes in the ionosphere. Examination of previous reports of electron conic distributions observed in planetary atmospheres show that there are a variety of physical mechanisms that can lead to their formation, not all of which require wave-particle interactions.

  8. Proposal for constructing an advanced software tool for planetary atmospheric modeling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keller, Richard M.; Sims, Michael H.; Podolak, Esther; Mckay, Christopher P.; Thompson, David E.

    1990-01-01

    Scientific model building can be a time intensive and painstaking process, often involving the development of large and complex computer programs. Despite the effort involved, scientific models cannot easily be distributed and shared with other scientists. In general, implemented scientific models are complex, idiosyncratic, and difficult for anyone but the original scientist/programmer to understand. We believe that advanced software techniques can facilitate both the model building and model sharing process. We propose to construct a scientific modeling software tool that serves as an aid to the scientist in developing and using models. The proposed tool will include an interactive intelligent graphical interface and a high level, domain specific, modeling language. As a testbed for this research, we propose development of a software prototype in the domain of planetary atmospheric modeling.

  9. Microwave spectra of van der Waals complexes of importance in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Suenram, R. D.; Lovas, F. J.

    1990-01-01

    The Fourier-transform Fabry-Perot pulsed-molecular-beam microwave spectrometer at NIST was used to study the microwave spectra of a number of molecular dimers and trimers that may be present in planetary atmospheres. The weak van der Waals bonds associated with these species usually give rise to rotational-tunneling splittings in the microwave spectra. The microwave spectrum of the water dimer species was used to illustrate the complications that can arise in the study of the rotational spectra of these loosely bound species. In addition to the water dimer species, the microwave spectra of the following hydrogen-bonded and van der Waals complexes were studied: (CO2)2-H2O, CO2-(H2O)2, CO2-H2S, N2-H2O, CO-H2O, SO2-H2O, and O3-H2O.

  10. Submillimeter Remote Sensing of Planetary and Cometary Atmospheres and LRO/LCROSS Observations of the Moon

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chin, Gordon

    2011-01-01

    Submillimeter remote sensing of planetary and cometary atmospheres have been proposed for Venus and Mars while MIRO on Rosetta will observe the coma of Comet 67P/Churyumov - Cierasimenko in December 2015, UARS and AURA MLS have observed millimeter and submillimeter molecule emissions in the Earth's stratosphere for many decades, Observations of submillimeter wave molecular emissions provide a wealth of information not obtainable by alternative techniques. Submillimeter line emissions exhibit linear temperature dependence, insensitivity to aerosol scattering, extinction, and have separated transitions with well determined line-shapes. These observations have high sensitivities to trace chemical species and can; 1) Fully resolve the line profiles of molecules with high resolution, 2) Provide deterministic retrievals of species abundance, temperature, and pressure, and 3) Measure Doppler shifts of detected molecules for wind velocities.

  11. Using the transit of Venus to probe the upper planetary atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Reale, Fabio; Gambino, Angelo F; Micela, Giuseppina; Maggio, Antonio; Widemann, Thomas; Piccioni, Giuseppe

    2015-01-01

    During a planetary transit, atoms with high atomic number absorb short-wavelength radiation in the upper atmosphere, and the planet should appear larger during a primary transit observed in high-energy bands than in the optical band. Here we measure the radius of Venus with subpixel accuracy during the transit in 2012 observed in the optical, ultraviolet and soft X-rays with Hinode and Solar Dynamics Observatory missions. We find that, while Venus's optical radius is about 80 km larger than the solid body radius (the top of clouds and haze), the radius increases further by >70 km in the extreme ultraviolet and soft X-rays. This measures the altitude of the densest ion layers of Venus's ionosphere (CO2 and CO), useful for planning missions in situ, and a benchmark case for detecting transits of exoplanets in high-energy bands with future missions, such as the ESA Athena. PMID:26102562

  12. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, P. G.

    1986-01-01

    After long arduous work with the simulator, measurements of the refractivity and absorptivity of nitrogen under conditions similar to those for Titan were completed. The most significant measurements, however, were those of the microwave absorption from gaseous ammonia under simulated conditions for the Jovian atmospheres over wavelengths from 1.3 to 22 cm. The results of these measurements are critical in that they confirm the theoretical calculation of the ammonia opacity using the Ben-Reuven lineshape. The application of both these results, and results obtained previously, to planetary observations at microwave frequencies were especially rewarding. Applications of the results for ammonia to radio astronomical observations of Jupiter in the 1.3 to 20 cm wavelength range and the application of results for gaseous H2SO4 under simulated Venus conditions are discussed.

  13. Using the transit of Venus to probe the upper planetary atmosphere

    PubMed Central

    Reale, Fabio; Gambino, Angelo F.; Micela, Giuseppina; Maggio, Antonio; Widemann, Thomas; Piccioni, Giuseppe

    2015-01-01

    During a planetary transit, atoms with high atomic number absorb short-wavelength radiation in the upper atmosphere, and the planet should appear larger during a primary transit observed in high-energy bands than in the optical band. Here we measure the radius of Venus with subpixel accuracy during the transit in 2012 observed in the optical, ultraviolet and soft X-rays with Hinode and Solar Dynamics Observatory missions. We find that, while Venus's optical radius is about 80 km larger than the solid body radius (the top of clouds and haze), the radius increases further by >70 km in the extreme ultraviolet and soft X-rays. This measures the altitude of the densest ion layers of Venus's ionosphere (CO2 and CO), useful for planning missions in situ, and a benchmark case for detecting transits of exoplanets in high-energy bands with future missions, such as the ESA Athena. PMID:26102562

  14. Weak absorptions in high density planetary atmospheres measured by the cavity ring down technique.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Snels, M.; Stefani, S.; Piccioni, G.

    2014-04-01

    High density planetary atmospheres are characterized by a high opacity due to the strong absorbers. Howevere usually several transparency windows exist which allow to study the lower part of the atmosphere as well as the surface emission. The weak absorptions occurring in these transparency windows are mostly due to trace species and to continuum absorption of the major absorber(s). A good example is the atmosphere of Venus, where carbondioxide causes a high opacity throughout most of the infrared wavelengths, but also has some transparency spectral windows in the near infrared, allowing the study of low lying clouds , trace species such as water vapor and in some cases the surface emission. The cavity ring down (CRD) technique has shown to be a good tool for studying weak absorptions. Here we present a CRD apparatus which can be operated at high pressures (up to 40 bar) with a sensitivity which allows to measure attenuations up to 2x10-8 cm-1. This instrument has been used to measure the carbon dioxide absorption at pressures up to 40 bar and has been also used to measure attenuation due to Rayleigh scattering at 1.18 μm.

  15. Water Planetary and Cometary Atmospheres: H2O/HDO Transmittance and Fluorescence Models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Villanueva, G. L.; Mumma, M. J.; Bonev, B. P.; Novak, R. E.; Barber, R. J.; DiSanti, M. A.

    2012-01-01

    We developed a modern methodology to retrieve water (H2O) and deuterated water (HDO) in planetary and cometary atmospheres, and constructed an accurate spectral database that combines theoretical and empirical results. Based on a greatly expanded set of spectroscopic parameters, we built a full non-resonance cascade fluorescence model and computed fluorescence efficiencies for H2O (500 million lines) and HDO (700 million lines). The new line list was also integrated into an advanced terrestrial radiative transfer code (LBLRTM) and adapted to the CO2 rich atmosphere of Mars, for which we adopted the complex Robert-Bonamy formalism for line shapes. We then retrieved water and D/H in the atmospheres of Mars, comet C/2007 WI, and Earth by applying the new formalism to spectra obtained with the high-resolution spectrograph NIRSPEC/Keck II atop Mauna Kea (Hawaii). The new model accurately describes the complex morphology of the water bands and greatly increases the accuracy of the retrieved abundances (and the D/H ratio in water) with respect to previously available models. The new model provides improved agreement of predicted and measured intensities for many H2O lines already identified in comets, and it identifies several unassigned cometary emission lines as new emission lines of H2O. The improved spectral accuracy permits retrieval of more accurate rotational temperatures and production rates for cometary water.

  16. Simulating super earth atmospheres in the laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Claudi, R.; Erculiani, M. S.; Galletta, G.; Billi, D.; Pace, E.; Schierano, D.; Giro, E.; D'Alessandro, M.

    2016-01-01

    Several space missions, such as JWST, TESS and the very recently proposed ARIEL, or ground-based experiments, as SPHERE and GPI, have been proposed to measure the atmospheric transmission, reflection and emission spectra of extrasolar planets. The planet atmosphere characteristics and possible biosignatures will be inferred by studying planetary spectra in order to identify the emission/absorption lines/bands from atmospheric molecules such as water (H2O), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), etc. In particular, it is important to know in detail the optical characteristics of gases in the typical physical conditions of the planetary atmospheres and how these characteristics could be affected by radiation driven photochemical and biochemical reaction. The main aim of the project `Atmosphere in a Test Tube' is to provide insights on exoplanet atmosphere modification due to biological intervention. This can be achieved simulating planetary atmosphere at different pressure and temperature conditions under the effects of radiation sources, used as proxies of different bands of the stellar emission. We are tackling the characterization of extrasolar planet atmospheres by mean of innovative laboratory experiments described in this paper. The experiments are intended to reproduce the conditions on warm earths and super earths hosted by low-mass M dwarfs primaries with the aim to understand if a cyanobacteria population hosted on a Earth-like planet orbiting an M0 star is able to maintain its photosynthetic activity and produce traceable signatures.

  17. Usefulness and Limitations of Energy Limited Escape: Titan and Other Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, Robert E.; Volkov, Alexey N.; Tucker, Orenthal J.

    2015-11-01

    Because thermal conduction and IR cooling are inefficient heat transfer processes, adiabatic expansion leading to molecular escape is often the dominant cooling process for energy deposited in the upper atmosphere of planetary bodies. This led to the use of the energy-limited escape (EL) approximation in which the loss rate is roughly proportional to the heating rate, Q. In applying the EL approximation, it was also frequently assumed that the adiabatic expansion resulted in the gas outflow going sonic. Johnson et al. (2013) used molecular kinetic simulations of an atmosphere with a heated layer to show this was not necessarily the case and estimated a critical heating rate, Qc. For Q greater than ~Qc a sonic point formed below the exobase where the gas properties were collision dominated. As Q increased above ~Qc sonic escape was eventually limited by the energy and number fluxes from the below the heated layer. In that case, adiabatic cooling did dominate upper atmosphere cooling, but the escape rate did not increase with increasing Q as predicted by the EL model. Instead, the escape rate remained nearly constant and the energy per molecule carried off increased nearly monotonically with Q. For heating rates from about twice Qc to more than an order of magnitude lower, the molecular escape rate was well approximated by the energy limited rate, but the upper atmospheric structure could not be described by a fluid model with a sonic point and escape was Jeans-like although the Jeans expressions was often a poor approximation. That is, molecules escape from well below the nominal exobase and collisions remained important well above it (Tucker et al. 2009; 2013) resulting in enhanced-Jeans-like escape (Volkov et al. 2011a,b; Erwin et al. 2013). Here we give a new expression for the escape rate produced by adiabatic cooling and expansion of the upper atmosphere and apply it to atmospheric loss from an early Titan atmosphere and related atmospheres.Ref.: Erwin,J.T., et al.Icarus 226,375(2013);Johnson,R.E. et al.,ApJL768, L4(6pp);Errat:ApJL774,90(2013); Tucker,O.J. et al. PSS57,1889 (2009); Tucker,O.J., et al.Icarus 222,149(2013). Volkov,A.N., et al.Ap.J.Lett.729,L24(5pp)(2011a); ibid Phys. Fluids 23(2011b)

  18. Carbon to oxygen ratios in extrasolar planetesimals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, David J.; Gänsicke, Boris T.; Farihi, Jay; Koester, Detlev

    2016-04-01

    Observations of small extrasolar planets with a wide range of densities imply a variety of planetary compositions and structures. Currently, the only technique to measure the bulk composition of extrasolar planetary systems is the analysis of planetary debris accreting onto white dwarfs, analogous to abundance studies of meteorites. We present measurements of the carbon and oxygen abundances in the debris of planetesimals at ten white dwarfs observed with the Hubble Space Telescope, along with C/O ratios of debris in six systems with previously reported abundances. We find no evidence for carbon-rich planetesimals, with C/O <0.8 by number in all 16 systems. Our results place an upper limit on the occurrence of carbon-rich systems at <17 percent with a 2 σ confidence level. The range of C/O of the planetesimals is consistent with that found in the Solar System, and appears to follow a bimodal distribution: a group similar to the CI chondrites, with log ( < C/O > ) = -0.92, and oxygen-rich objects with C/O less than or equal to that of the bulk Earth. The latter group may have a higher mass fraction of water than the Earth, increasing their relative oxygen abundance.

  19. A high sensitivity polarimeter for the direct detection and characterization of extra-solar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hough, James H.; Lucas, Philip W.; Bailey, Jeremy A.; Tamura, Motohide

    2003-02-01

    We are constructing a high sensitivity optical polarimeter capable of detecting fractional polarization levels below 10-6. The science goal is to directly detect extra-solar planets (ESP), in contrast to the indirect methods such as radial velocity measurements. The polarimeter will detect starlight scattered from the atmosphere of the planet as a polarisation signal thereby giving information on the planetary atmospheres. The radius of the planet and the planet temperature can be determined from the measured albedo. The position angle of polarisation will enable the mass of planets, detected through radial velocity measurements, to be determined without the uncertainty of the orbit inclination (Msini). The polarimeter has an essentially simple and classical design but is able to take advantage, inter alia, of modern detector technology.

  20. XUV-driven mass loss from extrasolar giant planets orbiting active stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chadney, J. M.; Galand, M.; Unruh, Y. C.; Koskinen, T. T.; Sanz-Forcada, J.

    2015-04-01

    Upper atmospheres of Hot Jupiters are subject to extreme radiation conditions that can result in rapid atmospheric escape. The composition and structure of the upper atmospheres of these planets are affected by the high-energy spectrum of the host star. This emission depends on stellar type and age, which are thus important factors in understanding the behaviour of exoplanetary atmospheres. In this study, we focus on Extrasolar Giant Planets (EPGs) orbiting K and M dwarf stars. XUV spectra for three different stars - ɛ Eridani, AD Leonis and AU Microscopii - are constructed using a coronal model. Neutral density and temperature profiles in the upper atmosphere of hypothetical EGPs orbiting these stars are then obtained from a fluid model, incorporating atmospheric chemistry and taking atmospheric escape into account. We find that a simple scaling based solely on the host star's X-ray emission gives large errors in mass loss rates from planetary atmospheres and so we have derived a new method to scale the EUV regions of the solar spectrum based upon stellar X-ray emission. This new method produces an outcome in terms of the planet's neutral upper atmosphere very similar to that obtained using a detailed coronal model of the host star. Our results indicate that in planets subjected to radiation from active stars, the transition from Jeans escape to a regime of hydrodynamic escape at the top of the atmosphere occurs at larger orbital distances than for planets around low activity stars (such as the Sun).

  1. Formation of spectral lines in planetary atmospheres. III - The use of analytic scattering diagrams in computations of synthetic spectra for cloudy atmospheres.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hunt, G. E.

    1972-01-01

    Results of some comparisons that have been made of line profiles and equivalent widths computed from atmospheric models where the scattering has been represented by the Mie theory and a simple analytic expression, the Heyney-Greenstein function. These results show that the spectroscopic features for these models are indistinguishable and demonstrate the value of using this simple analytic function in terms of the great saving in computer time when computing synthetic spectra for any cloudy planetary atmosphere.

  2. Homes for extraterrestrial life: extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Latham, D W

    2001-12-01

    Astronomers are now discovering giant planets orbiting other stars like the sun by the dozens. But none of these appears to be a small rocky planet like the earth, and thus these planets are unlikely to be capable of supporting life as we know it. The recent discovery of a system of three planets is especially significant because it supports the speculation that planetary systems, as opposed to single orbiting planets, may be common. Our ability to detect extrasolar planets will continue to improve, and space missions now in development should be able to detect earth-like planets. PMID:11797754

  3. Direct Imaging of Warm Extrasolar Planets

    SciTech Connect

    Macintosh, B

    2005-04-11

    One of the most exciting scientific discoveries in the last decade of the twentieth century was the first detection of planets orbiting a star other than our own. By now more than 130 extrasolar planets have been discovered indirectly, by observing the gravitational effects of the planet on the radial velocity of its parent star. This technique has fundamental limitations: it is most sensitive to planets close to their star, and it determines only a planet's orbital period and a lower limit on the planet's mass. As a result, all the planetary systems found so far are very different from our own--they have giant Jupiter-sized planets orbiting close to their star, where the terrestrial planets are found in our solar system. Such systems have overturned the conventional paradigm of planet formation, but have no room in them for habitable Earth-like planets. A powerful complement to radial velocity detections of extrasolar planets will be direct imaging--seeing photons from the planet itself. Such a detection would allow photometric measurements to determine the temperature and radius of a planet. Also, direct detection is most sensitive to planets in wide orbits, and hence more capable of seeing solar systems resembling our own, since a giant planet in a wide orbit does not preclude the presence of an Earth-like planet closer to the star. Direct detection, however, is extremely challenging. Jupiter is roughly a billion times fainter than our sun. Two techniques allowed us to overcome this formidable contrast and attempt to see giant planets directly. The first is adaptive optics (AO) which allows giant earth-based telescopes, such as the 10 meter W.M. Keck telescope, to partially overcome the blurring effects of atmospheric turbulence. The second is looking for young planets: by searching in the infrared for companions to young stars, we can see thermal emission from planets that are still warm with the heat of their formation. Together with a UCLA team that leads the field of young-star identification, we carried out a systematic near-infrared search for young planetary companions to {approx}200 young stars. We also carried out targeted high-sensitivity observations of selected stars surrounded by circumstellar dust rings. We developed advanced image processing techniques to allow detection of even fainter sources buried in the noisy halo of scattered starlight. Even with these techniques, around most of our targets our search was only sensitive to planets in orbits significantly wider than our solar system. With some carefully selected targets--very young dusty stars in the solar neighborhood--we reach sensitivities sufficient to see solar systems like our own. Although we discovered no unambiguous planets, we can significantly constrain the frequency of such planets in wide (>50 AU) orbits, which helps determine which models of planet formation remain plausible. Successful modeling of our observations has led us to the design of a next-generation AO system that will truly be capable of exploring solar systems resembling our own.

  4. All Sky Extrasolar Planet Survey with Sloan Telescope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ge, J.; Mahadevan, S.; van Eyken, J.; DeWitt, C.; Cohen, R.; Vanden Heuvel, A.; Wan, X.; Cheng, P.; Dermott, S.; Sarajedini, A.; Telesco, C.; Lada, E.; Kron, R.; Strauss, M.; Gunn, J.; Seager, S.; Shaklan, S.; Lin, D.

    2004-12-01

    We present a plan for a decade-long, all-sky, extrasolar planet survey at the Sloan 2.5 meter wide field telescope for monitoring 1,000,000 stars in the solar neighborhood to detect 100,000 of extrasolar planets between 2005-2020. This survey is enabled by a new generation multiple object Doppler radial velocity instrument based on new Doppler technology called dispersed fixed-delay interferometry pioneered by Ge's group over last four years. The instrument capable of observing hundreds of stars in a single observation increases planet survey speed by more than two orders of magnitude over current single object echelle instruments. One new instrument is designed for monitoring F,G,K type stars in the visible and looking for planetary systems similar to our own. The other one is designed for monitoring very low mass M type stars in the near infrared aiming at detection of earth-like planets in a habitable zone, which may host life. In the end of the survey, the total numbers of known extrasolar planetary systems will be increased by hundreds of times over current total number of known planets. This survey will provide a powerful statistical base for understanding different kinds of extrasolar planetary systems, their formation and evolution. This project has been supported by NSF, NASA and University of Florida

  5. Prototype broadband/high-resolution spectrometer designed for the study of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cook, William B.

    1996-10-01

    Optical remote sensing plays an important role in the study of planetary atmospheres, especially in determining trace gas abundance, temperature profiles and dynamics/winds. Instruments to be flown aboard interplanetary platforms must be small, have low mass and consume little power. Fabry- Perot interferometers (FPI) satisfy these physical constraints and are capable of acquiring spectra suitable for analysis of the atmospheric parameters. Two new applications of FPI technology have recently been developed at UM/SPRL: the multiplex Fabry-Perot interferometer (MFPI) and the multi-order etalon spectrometer (MOES). The MFPI produces a broad bandwidth high resolution spectrum via Fourier transformed interferograms produced by scanning the etalon over large distances. The MOES simultaneously measures several similar lines in a regular spectrum by matching its free spectral range to the line spacing. Thus MFPI provides a means for broadening the usable bandwidth and MOES can record improved signal-to-noise spectra at extremely high resolution. This paper reports recent progress in the design, construction and testing of a prototype instrument incorporating both the MFPI and the MOES concepts using a single set of etalon plates.

  6. Formation, habitability, and detection of extrasolar moons.

    PubMed

    Heller, René; Williams, Darren; Kipping, David; Limbach, Mary Anne; Turner, Edwin; Greenberg, Richard; Sasaki, Takanori; Bolmont, Emeline; Grasset, Olivier; Lewis, Karen; Barnes, Rory; Zuluaga, Jorge I

    2014-09-01

    The diversity and quantity of moons in the Solar System suggest a manifold population of natural satellites exist around extrasolar planets. Of peculiar interest from an astrobiological perspective, the number of sizable moons in the stellar habitable zones may outnumber planets in these circumstellar regions. With technological and theoretical methods now allowing for the detection of sub-Earth-sized extrasolar planets, the first detection of an extrasolar moon appears feasible. In this review, we summarize formation channels of massive exomoons that are potentially detectable with current or near-future instruments. We discuss the orbital effects that govern exomoon evolution, we present a framework to characterize an exomoon's stellar plus planetary illumination as well as its tidal heating, and we address the techniques that have been proposed to search for exomoons. Most notably, we show that natural satellites in the range of 0.1-0.5 Earth mass (i) are potentially habitable, (ii) can form within the circumplanetary debris and gas disk or via capture from a binary, and (iii) are detectable with current technology. PMID:25147963

  7. Formation, Habitability, and Detection of Extrasolar Moons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heller, René; Williams, Darren; Kipping, David; Limbach, Mary Anne; Turner, Edwin; Greenberg, Richard; Sasaki, Takanori; Bolmont, Émeline; Grasset, Olivier; Lewis, Karen; Barnes, Rory; Zuluaga, Jorge I.

    2014-09-01

    The diversity and quantity of moons in the Solar System suggest a manifold population of natural satellites exist around extrasolar planets. Of peculiar interest from an astrobiological perspective, the number of sizable moons in the stellar habitable zones may outnumber planets in these circumstellar regions. With technological and theoretical methods now allowing for the detection of sub-Earth-sized extrasolar planets, the first detection of an extrasolar moon appears feasible. In this review, we summarize formation channels of massive exomoons that are potentially detectable with current or near-future instruments. We discuss the orbital effects that govern exomoon evolution, we present a framework to characterize an exomoon's stellar plus planetary illumination as well as its tidal heating, and we address the techniques that have been proposed to search for exomoons. Most notably, we show that natural satellites in the range of 0.1-0.5 Earth mass (i) are potentially habitable, (ii) can form within the circumplanetary debris and gas disk or via capture from a binary, and (iii) are detectable with current technology.

  8. Aerial Vehicle Surveys of other Planetary Atmospheres and Surfaces: Imaging, Remote-sensing, and Autonomy Technology Requirements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, Larry A.; Pisanich, Gregory; Ippolito, Corey; Alena, Rick

    2005-01-01

    The objective of this paper is to review the anticipated imaging and remote-sensing technology requirements for aerial vehicle survey missions to other planetary bodies in our Solar system that can support in-atmosphere flight. In the not too distant future such planetary aerial vehicle (a.k.a. aerial explorers) exploration missions will become feasible. Imaging and remote-sensing observations will be a key objective for these missions. Accordingly, it is imperative that optimal solutions in terms of imaging acquisition and real-time autonomous analysis of image data sets be developed for such vehicles.

  9. Polarimetry of hot-Jupiter systems and radiative transfer models of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bott, Kimberly; Bailey, Jeremy; Kedziora-Chudczer, Lucyna; Cotton, Daniel; Marshall, Jonathan

    2016-01-01

    Thousands of exoplanets and planet candidates have been detected. The next important step in the contexts of astrobiology, planetary classification and planet formation is to characterise them. My dissertation aims to provide further characterisation to four hot Jupiter exoplanets: the relatively well-characterised HD 189733b, WASP-18b which is nearly large enough to be a brown dwarf, and two minimally characterised non-transiting hot Jupiters: HD 179949b and tau Bootis b.For the transiting planets, this is done through two means. First, published data from previous observations of the secondary eclipse (and transit for HD 189733b) are compared to models created with the Versatile Software for the Transfer of Atmospheric Radiation (VSTAR). Second, new polarimetric observations from the HIgh Precision Polarimetric Instrument are compared to Lambert-Rayleigh polarised light phase curves. For the non-transiting planets, only the polarimetric measurements are compared to models, but toy radiative transfer models are produced for concept. As an introduction to radiative transfer models, VSTAR is applied to the planet Uranus to measure its D/H isotope ratio. A preliminary value is derived for D/H in one part of the atmosphere.Fitting a single atmospheric model to the transmitted, reflected, and emitted light, I confirm the presence of water on HD 189733b, and present a new temperature profile and cloud profile for the planet. For WASP-18b, I confirm the general shape of the temperature profile. No conclusions can be drawn from the polarimetric measurements for the non-transiting planets. I detect a possible variation with phase for transiting planet WASP-18b but cannot confirm it at this time. Alternative sources to the planet are discussed. For HD 189733b, I detect possible variability in the polarised light at the scale expected for the planet. However, the data are also statistically consistent with no variability and are not matched to the phase of the planet.

  10. In-situ exploration of planetary upper atmospheres with balloons ejected from sounding rockets and space probes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Danielides, Michael; Griebel, Hannes; Bayler, Klaus; Herholz, J.

    Balloon missions have been used extensively on Earth to study a large variety of atmospheric characteristics and phenomena. Of primary interest are in situ temperature, pressure and density profiles and wind velocities. The first planetary balloons were flown in the mid 1980s with the Vega 1 and 2 missions to Venus. Since then, balloons have been further developed and planed for, e.g., Mars and Titan. Testing those technologies first on Earth made sense because Earths upper (neutral) atmosphere provides many similarities to Mars atmosphere. The aim of this presentation is to provide a brief overview of the current state in scientific ballooning, and in particular report on the expertise obtained through the MIRIAM (Main Inflated Re-entry Into the Atmosphere Mission Test) Mars balloon near space deployment experiments. The test ballute MIRIAM was flown on board a REXUS 4 sounding rocket from ESRANGE in northern Sweden on October 22nd, 2008. The balloon was deployed at about 140 km altitude. On board were optical instruments, magnetometers, temperature sensors and barometers for atmospheric studies. The data gathered during decent was used to validate inflation, deployment concepts and planetary balloon technologies. Based on those results a new ballute probe MIRIAM-2 is under construction. Its aim is the recording atmospheric parameters which will be then compared to Earth upper atmospheric models. Finally, we address and discuss future prospects for balloon in situ exploration of Mars atmosphere.

  11. DETECTING OCEANS ON EXTRASOLAR PLANETS USING THE GLINT EFFECT

    SciTech Connect

    Robinson, Tyler D.; Meadows, Victoria S.; Crisp, David

    2010-09-20

    Glint, the specular reflection of sunlight off Earth's oceans, may reveal the presence of oceans on an extrasolar planet. As an Earth-like planet nears crescent phases, the size of the ocean glint spot increases relative to the fraction of the illuminated disk, while the reflectivity of this spot increases. Both effects change the planet's visible reflectivity as a function of phase. However, strong forward scattering of radiation by clouds can also produce increases in a planet's reflectivity as it approaches crescent phases, and surface glint can be obscured by Rayleigh scattering and atmospheric absorption. Here, we explore the detectability of glint in the presence of an atmosphere and realistic phase-dependent scattering from oceans and clouds. We use the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory three-dimensional line-by-line, multiple-scattering spectral Earth model to simulate Earth's broadband visible brightness and reflectivity over an orbit. Our validated simulations successfully reproduce phase-dependent Earthshine observations. We find that the glinting Earth can be as much as 100% brighter at crescent phases than simulations that do not include glint, and that the effect is dependent on both orbital inclination and wavelength, where the latter dependence is caused by Rayleigh scattering limiting sensitivity to the surface. We show that this phenomenon may be observable using the James Webb Space Telescope paired with an external occulter.

  12. Observational Studies of Transiting Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Southworth, J.

    2015-07-01

    The study of transiting extrasolar planets is only 15 years old, but has matured into a rich area of research. I review the observational aspects of this work, concentrating on the discovery of transits, the characterization of planets from photometry and spectroscopy, the Homogeneous Studies project, starspots, orbital obliquities, and the atmospheric properties of the known planets. I begin with historical context and conclude with a glance to a future of TESS, CHEOPS, Gaia and PLATO.

  13. VISTA: a micro-thermogravimeter to analyze condensable species in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Palomba, Ernesto; Zampetti, Emiliano; Longobardo, Andrea; Biondi, David; Saggin, Bortolino; Boccaccini, Angelo; Dirri, Fabrizio

    Thermogravimetry is a technique largely used in order to study absorption/desorption and sublimation/evaporation processes in several environments. Micro-thermogravimetry (mu-TGA) is particularly suitable for space applications, due to the very small mass, volume and power required by mu-TGA sensors. VISTA (Volatile In Situ Thermogravimetry Analyser) is a micro-thermogravimeter developed at IAPS-INAF (Rome) which aims to measure the amount of volatiles of scientific interest (e.g. water, organics) in planetary environments. It is based on Piezoelectric Crystal Microbalances (PCM), whose resonant frequency is linearly related to the deposited mass. The PCM heating/cooling allows the release/deposition of volatile materials, allowing to measure their abundance and to infer their composition. The instrument has been selected in the payload of the ESA MarcoPolo-R proposed mission, aiming to analyze in situ and bring to Earth samples of asteroidal regolith. In this framework, VISTA would measure the water and organic content in the asteroid regolith, detect the possible cometary-like activity of the asteroid and assess the contamination issue. VISTA could be used also to assess relevant scientific issue concerning planetary atmospheres. It has been studied for the ESA Cosmic Vision proposed missions EVE (European Venus Explorer) and TAE (Titan Aerial Explorer), which planned an in-situ analysis of the Venus and Titan atmosphere, respectively. In the framework of a Venus in-situ mission, VISTA would have the following goals: - Measurement of dew points of condensable species, and hence of humidity (by cooling the PCM down to condensation temperatures) - Measurement of amount of refractory species in the Venus cloud aerosols (by heating the PCM) - Measurement of electric charge of cloud particles (by coupling the thermogravimeter and an electric field generator) In the framework of a Titan in-situ mission, the heating of the VISTA PCM would: - determine the presence of nucleating aerosols in cloud droplets, hence whether methane cloud droplets homogeneously or heterogeneously nucleate - measure the abundance of organic compounds of particular scientific interest present as nucleating seeds within cloud particles (acetylene, benzene, HCN)

  14. Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pudritz, Ralph; Higgs, Paul; Stone, Jonathon

    2013-01-01

    Preface; Part I. Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life: 1. Observations of extrasolar planetary systems Shay Zucker; 2. The atmospheres of extrasolar planets L. Jeremy Richardson and Sara Seager; 3. Terrestrial planet formation Edward Thommes; 4. Protoplanetary disks, amino acids and the genetic code Paul Higgs and Ralph Pudritz; 5. Emergent phenomena in biology: the origin of cellular life David Deamer; Part II. Life on Earth: 6. Extremophiles: defining the envelope for the search for life in the Universe Lynn Rothschild; 7. Hyperthermophilic life on Earth - and on Mars? Karl Stetter; 8. Phylogenomics: how far back in the past can we go? Henner Brinkmann, Denis Baurain and Hervé Philippe; 9. Horizontal gene transfer, gene histories and the root of the tree of life Olga Zhaxybayeva and J. Peter Gogarten; 10. Evolutionary innovation versus ecological incumbency Adolf Seilacher; 11. Gradual origins for the Metazoans Alexandra Pontefract and Jonathan Stone; Part III. Life in the Solar System?: 12. The search for life on Mars Chris McKay; 13. Life in the dark dune spots of Mars: a testable hypothesis Eörs Szathmary, Tibor Ganti, Tamas Pocs, Andras Horvath, Akos Kereszturi, Szaniszlo Berzci and Andras Sik; 14. Titan: a new astrobiological vision from the Cassini-Huygens data François Raulin; 15. Europa, the Ocean Moon: tides, permeable ice, and life Richard Greenberg; Index.

  15. Formation and Migration of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Armitage, P.

    2004-05-01

    Observations of extrasolar planetary systems have uncovered classes of giant planets that - by virtue of their short orbital periods, high eccentricity, or resonant orbits - have no analog in our Solar System. I will discuss the extent to which these unusual properties can be understood, either as a consequence of interactions between forming planets and the protoplanetary disk, or via the chaotic evolution of multiple planet systems. The planetary observations, when combined with surveys of nearby star formation regions, also provide circumstantial evidence that massive planets may form more rapidly than previously thought. I will compare different theoretical models for how rapid planet formation might occur, via gravitational disk instability or modified versions of core accretion. Support from NASA and PPARC is gratefully acknowledged.

  16. Satellite radio occultation investigations of internal gravity waves in the planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirillovich, Ivan; Gubenko, Vladimir; Pavelyev, Alexander

    Internal gravity waves (IGWs) modulate the structure and circulation of the Earth’s atmosphere, producing quasi-periodic variations in the wind velocity, temperature and density. Similar effects are anticipated for the Venus and Mars since IGWs are a characteristic of stably stratified atmosphere. In this context, an original method for the determination of IGW parameters from a vertical temperature profile measurement in a planetary atmosphere has been developed [Gubenko et al., 2008, 2011, 2012]. This method does not require any additional information not contained in the profile and may be used for the analysis of profiles measured by various techniques. The criterion for the IGW identification has been formulated and argued. In the case when this criterion is satisfied, the analyzed temperature fluctuations can be considered as wave-induced. The method is based on the analysis of relative amplitudes of the wave field and on the linear IGW saturation theory in which these amplitudes are restricted by dynamical (shear) instability processes in the atmosphere. When the amplitude of an internal wave reaches the shear instability threshold, energy is assumed to be dissipated in such a way that the IGW amplitude is maintained at the instability threshold level as the wave propagates upwards. We have extended the developed technique [Gubenko et al., 2008] in order to reconstruct the complete set of wave characteristics including such important parameters as the wave kinetic and potential energy per unit mass and IGW fluxes of the energy and horizontal momentum [Gubenko et al., 2011]. We propose also an alternative method to estimate the relative amplitudes and to extract IGW parameters from an analysis of perturbations of the Brunt-Vaislala frequency squared [Gubenko et al., 2011]. An application of the developed method to the radio occultation (RO) temperature data has given the possibility to identify the IGWs in the Earth's, Martian and Venusian atmospheres and to determine the magnitudes of key wave parameters such as the intrinsic frequency, amplitudes of vertical and horizontal wind velocity perturbations, vertical and horizontal wavelengths, intrinsic vertical and horizontal phase (and group) speeds, kinetic and potential energy per unit mass, vertical fluxes of the wave energy and horizontal momentum. Vertical profiles of temperature retrieved from RO measurements of the CHAMP (Earth), Mars Global Surveyor (Mars), Magellan and Venus Express (Venus) missions are used and analyzed to identify discrete or “narrow spectral” wave events and to determine IGW characteristics in the Earth’s, Martian and Venusian atmospheres. This work was partially supported by the RFBR grant 13-02-00526-а and Program 22 of the RAS Presidium. References. Gubenko V.N., Pavelyev A.G., Andreev V.E. Determination of the intrinsic frequency and other wave parameters from a single vertical temperature or density profile measurement // J. Geophys. Res. 2008. V. 113. No.D08109, doi:10.1029/2007JD008920. Gubenko V.N., Pavelyev A.G., Salimzyanov R.R., Pavelyev A.A. Reconstruction of internal gravity wave parameters from radio occultation retrievals of vertical temperature profiles in the Earth’s atmosphere // Atmos. Meas. Tech. 2011. V. 4. No.10. P. 2153-2162, doi:10.5194/amt-4-2153-2011. Gubenko V.N., Pavelyev A.G., Salimzyanov R.R., Andreev V.E. A method for determination of internal gravity wave parameters from a vertical temperature or density profile measurement in the Earth’s atmosphere // Cosmic Res. 2012. V. 50. No.1. P. 21-31, doi: 10.1134/S0010952512010029.

  17. Extrasolar comets : dynamics and composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lecavelier des Etangs, Alain; Wilson, Paul Anthony; Kiefer, Flavien

    2015-12-01

    Extrasolar comets, or exocomets, are detected using transit spectroscopy in young planetary systems.Spectroscopic observations of β Pictoris revealed a high rate of transits, allowing statistical analysis of exocomets populations. Using more than 1,000 archival spectra, we obtained a sample of several hundreds of signatures of exocomets transiting the disk of the parent star. Statistical analysis of the observed properties of these exocomets allowed the identification of two populations with different physical and dynamical properties. One family consists of exocomets producing shallow absorption lines at high radial velocities (>40 km/s), which can be attributed to old exhausted comets trapped in a mean motion resonance with a massive planet, possibly β Pic b. The second family consists of exocomets which produce deep absorption lines at low radial velocities (˜ 15 km/s), which could be related to the recent fragmentation of one or a few parent bodies.Most recently, our last HST/COS observations of β Pic yielded the first detection of exocomets in the far-UV. Several new species were detected for the first time in exocomets, including HI, CII, NI, OI and all the ionization states of Si. Measuring the abundance of the key species such as Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen in evaporating exocomets allows us to trace the condensation and evaporation processes present in the late stages of planetary formation. Moreover, the measured radial velocities of these exocomets are consistent with the two dynamical populations previously identified. Most importantly, correlations between the dynamical properties and abundances seems to show up. In short, these two families of exocomets have different dynamical properties, and their origin could be determined by studying their chemical composition. I will present the latest results on that subject, and provide an overview of other systems for which signatures of exocomets have been observed.

  18. Arctic Sea Ice Export Through Fram Strait and Atmospheric Planetary Waves

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cavalieri, Donald J.; Koblinsky, Chester (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    A link is found between the variability of Arctic sea ice export through Ram Strait and the phase of the longest atmospheric planetary wave (zonal wave 1) in SLP for the period 1958-1997. Previous studies have identified a link between From Strait ice export and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), but this link has been described as unstable because of a lack of consistency over time scales longer than the last two decades. Inconsistent and low correlations are also found between From Strait ice export and the Arctic Oscillation (AD) index. This paper shows that the phase of zonal wave 1 explains 60% - 70% of the simulated From Strait ice export variance over the Goodyear period 1958 - 1997. Unlike the NAB and AD links, these high variances are consistent for both the first and second halves of the Goodyear period. This consistency is attributed to the sensitivity of the wave I phase at high latitudes to the presence of secondary low pressure systems in the Barents Sea that serve to drive sea ice southward through From Strait. These results provide further evidence that the phase of zonal wave 1 in SLP at high latitudes drives regional as well as hemispheric low frequency Arctic Ocean and sea ice variability.

  19. A Chemical Kinetics Network for Lightning and Life in Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rimmer, P. B.; Helling, Ch

    2016-05-01

    There are many open questions about prebiotic chemistry in both planetary and exoplanetary environments. The increasing number of known exoplanets and other ultra-cool, substellar objects has propelled the desire to detect life and prebiotic chemistry outside the solar system. We present an ion–neutral chemical network constructed from scratch, Stand2015, that treats hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, and oxygen chemistry accurately within a temperature range between 100 and 30,000 K. Formation pathways for glycine and other organic molecules are included. The network is complete up to H6C2N2O3. Stand2015 is successfully tested against atmospheric chemistry models for HD 209458b, Jupiter, and the present-day Earth using a simple one-dimensional photochemistry/diffusion code. Our results for the early Earth agree with those of Kasting for CO2, H2, CO, and O2, but do not agree for water and atomic oxygen. We use the network to simulate an experiment where varied chemical initial conditions are irradiated by UV light. The result from our simulation is that more glycine is produced when more ammonia and methane is present. Very little glycine is produced in the absence of any molecular nitrogen and oxygen. This suggests that the production of glycine is inhibited if a gas is too strongly reducing. Possible applications and limitations of the chemical kinetics network are also discussed.

  20. Toward a coherent set of radiative transfer tools for the analysis of planetary atmospheres .

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grassi, D.; Ignatiev, N. I.; Zasova, L. V.; Piccioni, G.; Adriani, A.; Moriconi, M. L.; Sindoni, G.; D'Aversa, E.; Snels, M.; Altieri, F.; Migliorini, A.; Stefani, S.; Politi, R.; Dinelli, B. M.; Geminale, A.; Rinaldi, G.

    The IAPS experience in the field of analysis of planetary atmospheres from visual and infrared measurements dates back to the early '90 in the frame of the IFSI participation to the Mars96 program. Since then, the forward models as well as retrieval schemes have been constantly updated and have seen a large usage in the analysis of data from Mars Express, Venus Express and Cassini missions. At the eve of a new series of missions (Juno, ExoMars, JUICE), we review the tools currently available to the Italian community, the latest developments and future perspectives. Notably, recent reanalysis of PFS-MEX and VIRTIS-VEX data \\citep{Grassi2014} leaded to a full convergence of complete Bayesian retrieval schemes and approximate forward models, achieving a degree of maturity and flexibility quite close to the state-of-the-art NEMESIS package \\citep{Irwin2007}. As a test case, the retrieval code for the JIRAM observations of hot-spots will be discussed, with extensive validation against simulated observations.

  1. Cross Sections for Electron Impact Excitation of Ions Relevant to Planetary Atmospheres Observation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tayal, Swaraj S.

    1998-01-01

    The goal of this research grant was to calculate accurate oscillator strengths and electron collisional excitation strengths for inelastic transitions in atomic species of relevance to Planetary Atmospheres. Large scale configuration-interaction atomic structure calculations have been performed to obtain oscillator strengths and transition probabilities for transitions among the fine-structure levels and R-matrix method has been used in the calculations of electron-ion collision cross sections of C II, S I, S II, S III, and Ar II. A number of strong features due to ions of sulfur have been detected in the spectra of Jupiter satellite Io. The electron excitation cross sections for the C II and S II transitions are studied in collaboration with the experimental atomic physics group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. There is excellent agreement between experiment and theory which provide an accurate and broad-base test of the ability of theoretical methods used in the calculation of atomic processes. Specifically, research problems have been investigated for: electron impact excitation cross sections of C II: electron impact excitation cross sections of S III; energy levels and oscillator strengths for transitions in S III; collision strengths for electron collisional excitation of S II; electron impact excitation of inelastic transitions in Ar II; oscillator strengths of fine-structure transitions in neutral sulfur; cross sections for inelastic scattering of electrons from atomic nitrogen; and excitation of atomic ions by electron impact.

  2. The Compositional Diversity of Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets. II. Migration Simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carter-Bond, Jade C.; O'Brien, David P.; Raymond, Sean N.

    2012-11-01

    Prior work has found that a variety of terrestrial planetary compositions are expected to occur within known extrasolar planetary systems. However, such studies ignored the effects of giant planet migration, which is thought to be very common in extrasolar systems. Here we present calculations of the compositions of terrestrial planets that formed in dynamical simulations incorporating varying degrees of giant planet migration. We used chemical equilibrium models of the solid material present in the disks of five known planetary host stars: the Sun, GJ 777, HD4203, HD19994, and HD213240. Giant planet migration has a strong effect on the compositions of simulated terrestrial planets as the migration results in large-scale mixing between terrestrial planet building blocks that condensed at a range of temperatures. This mixing acts to (1) increase the typical abundance of Mg-rich silicates in the terrestrial planets' feeding zones and thus increase the frequency of planets with Earth-like compositions compared with simulations with static giant planet orbits, and (2) drastically increase the efficiency of the delivery of hydrous phases (water and serpentine) to terrestrial planets and thus produce waterworlds and/or wet Earths. Our results demonstrate that although a wide variety of terrestrial planet compositions can still be produced, planets with Earth-like compositions should be common within extrasolar planetary systems.

  3. THE COMPOSITIONAL DIVERSITY OF EXTRASOLAR TERRESTRIAL PLANETS. II. MIGRATION SIMULATIONS

    SciTech Connect

    Carter-Bond, Jade C.; O'Brien, David P.; Raymond, Sean N.

    2012-11-20

    Prior work has found that a variety of terrestrial planetary compositions are expected to occur within known extrasolar planetary systems. However, such studies ignored the effects of giant planet migration, which is thought to be very common in extrasolar systems. Here we present calculations of the compositions of terrestrial planets that formed in dynamical simulations incorporating varying degrees of giant planet migration. We used chemical equilibrium models of the solid material present in the disks of five known planetary host stars: the Sun, GJ 777, HD4203, HD19994, and HD213240. Giant planet migration has a strong effect on the compositions of simulated terrestrial planets as the migration results in large-scale mixing between terrestrial planet building blocks that condensed at a range of temperatures. This mixing acts to (1) increase the typical abundance of Mg-rich silicates in the terrestrial planets' feeding zones and thus increase the frequency of planets with Earth-like compositions compared with simulations with static giant planet orbits, and (2) drastically increase the efficiency of the delivery of hydrous phases (water and serpentine) to terrestrial planets and thus produce waterworlds and/or wet Earths. Our results demonstrate that although a wide variety of terrestrial planet compositions can still be produced, planets with Earth-like compositions should be common within extrasolar planetary systems.

  4. Commission 53: Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boss, Alan; Lecavelier des Etangs, Alain; Mayor, Michel; Bodenheimer, Peter; Collier-Cameron, Andrew; Kokubo, Eiichiro; Mardling, Rosemary; Minniti, Dante; Queloz, Didier

    2012-04-01

    Commission 53 was created at the 2006 Prague General Assembly (GA) of the IAU, in recognition of the outburst of astronomical progress in the field of extrasolar planet discovery, characterization, and theoretical work that has occurred since the discovery of the first planet in orbit around a solar-type star in 1995. Commission 53 is the logical successor to the IAU Working Group on Extrasolar Planets (WGESP), which ended its six years of existence in August 2006. The founding President of Commission 53 was Michael Mayor, in honor of his seminal contributions to this new field of astronomy. The current President is Alan Boss, the former chair of the WGESP. The current members of the Commission 53 (C53) Organizing Committee (OC) began their service in August 2009 at the conclusion of the Rio de Janeiro IAU GA.

  5. Atmosphere in a Test Tube

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Claudi, R.; Pace, E.; Ciaravella, A.; Micela, G.; Piccioni, G.; Billi, D.; Cestelli Guidi, M.; Coccola, L.; Erculiani, M. S.; Fedel, M.; Galletta, G.; Giro, E.; La Rocca, N.; Morosinotto, T.; Poletto, L.; Schierano, D.; Stefani, S.

    The ancestor philosophers' dream of thousand of new world is finally realised: more than 1800 extrasolar planets have been discovered in the neighborhood of our Sun. Most of them are very different from those we used to know in our Solar System. Others orbit the Habitable Zone (HZ) of their parent stars. Space missions, as JWST and the very recently proposed ARIEL, or ground based instruments, like SPHERE@VLT, GPI@GEMINI and EPICS@ELT, have been proposed and built to measure the atmospheric transmission, reflection and emission spectra over a wide wavelength range of these new worlds. In order to interpret the spectra coming out by this new instrumentation, it is important to know in detail the optical characteristics of gases in the typical physical conditions of the planetary atmospheres and how those characteristics could be affected by radiation driven photochemical and bio-chemical reaction. Insights in this direction can be achieved from laboratory studies of simulated planetary atmosphere of different pressure and temperature conditions under the effects of radiation sources, used as proxies of different bands of the stellar emission. ''Atmosphere in a Test Tube'' is a collaboration among several Italian astronomical, biological and engineering institutes in order to share their experiencece in performing laboratory experiments on several items concerning extrasolar planet atmospheres.

  6. A Lumped Element Thermal Model of Solar Flare Gradual Phase EUV Emissions for Planetary Atmosphere Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thiemann, Edward; Eparvier, Francis G.

    2015-04-01

    Gradual phase solar flare EUV emissions show a time dependence related to the cooling of the flare plasma where emission lines with higher formation temperatures peak earlier than cooler emission lines. Because photon absorption height in a planetary atmosphere is wavelength dependent, being able to spectrally model this time dependence using available wavelengths is necessary to accurately characterize the temporal response of an atmosphere to a flare when high time cadence measurements of the EUV spectrum are unavailable. Furthermore, both the spectral and wavelength dependent temporal behavior of a flare impact where the total flare energy is absorbed in an atmosphere.To address this challenge, we have developed a Lumped Element Thermal Model (LETM) which can accurately model the flare gradual phase time evolution for emission lines with peak formation temperatures above 106 K based on a cooling rate derived from only two emission lines. We will show that the 13.3 nm Fe XX and 9.4 nm Fe XVIII emission lines can be used to determine a cooling rate. This cooling rate can then be used to calculate a time constant, τi, associated with a ith EUV emission; and the ith emission’s time-response can then be modeled by passing the measured Fe XX time-series through a digital low pass filter with time constant τi. An implication of the LETM, is that it constrains the time evolution of the volume integrated flare irradiance which is directly related to the flare emission measure. Detailed analysis suggests that the LETM provides a method to measure the flare thermal conductance and specific heat, and constrains the flare cooling rate and differential emission measure.To broaden the utility of the LETM, correlations between the emission line derived cooling rate and broadband measurements made by MAVEN EUV or other commonly available Earth assets must be found. Therefore, in addition to introducing the LETM, we will review progress towards finding correlations with properties of broadband soft x-ray measurements, as well as relevant multi-channel instruments.

  7. A Balloon-Borne Telescope System for Planetary Atmosphere and Plasma Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taguchi, M.; Yoshida, K.; Sakamoto, Y.; Kanazawa, T.; Shoji, Y.; Sawakami, T.; Takahashi, Y.; Hoshino, N.; Sato, T.; Sakanoi, T.

    2007-12-01

    A telescope floating in the polar stratosphere can continuously monitor planets for more than 24 hours. Thin, clear and stable air of the stratosphere makes it possible to observe planets in a condition free from cloud with fine seeing and high atmospheric transmittance. Moreover, a balloon-borne telescope system is less expensive compared with a huge terrestrial telescope or a direct planetary probe mission. Targets of a balloon-borne telescope system will extend over various atmospheric and plasma phenomena on almost all the planets, i.e., a sodium tail of Mercury, lightning, airglow and aurora in the atmospheres of Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, escaping atmospheres of the Earth-type planets, satellite-induced luminous events in the Jovian atmosphere, etc. The first target is global dynamics of the Venusian atmosphere by detecting cloud motion in UV and NIR imagery. A decoupling mechanism and a pair of control moment gyros (CMGs) are mounted at the top of the gondola. The decoupling mechanism isolates the gondola from a balloon and also transfers an excess angular momentum of the CMGs to the balloon. The attitude of the gondola is stabilized at a constant sun azimuthal angle so that a solar cell panel faces to the sun. A 300 mm F30 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope is installed at the bottom of the gondola. DC/DC converters, a PC, a high voltage power supply for a piezo-electrically moving mirror and digital video recorders are contained in a sealed cell. The azimuthal angle is detected by a sun-sensor. A PC processes sensor output to control DC motors used in the decoupling mechanism and CMGs with an accuracy in azimuthal attitude of about 0.5 deg. The two-axis gimbal mount of the telescope is controlled by the same PC, guiding an object within a field-of-view of a guide telescope. Residual tracking error is detected by a position sensitive photomultiplier tube and corrected by the two-axis moving mirror installed in the optical system. The optical path is divided into three paths with different colors: the first one with wavelengths less than 450 nm, the second one with 550-630 nm, and the last one more than 750 nm. The first and last paths are utilized for imagery of UV and NIR with bandpass filters and analog and digital CCD video cameras, respectively. The second path is for tracking error detection. The first experiment was scheduled in June, 2007 at Sanriku Balloon Center (SBC), Japan, but it was postponed until late August because of delay in final testing of the system. As of submission of this abstract the gondola has been ready for launch but has not yet been launched. The result of experiment will be presented.

  8. Planetary wave coupling between the troposphere and the middle atmosphere as a possible sun-weather mechanism

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Geller, M. A.; Alpert, J. C.

    1980-01-01

    The possibility of planetary wave coupling between the troposphere and solar-induced alterations in the upper atmosphere providing a viable mechanism for giving rise to sun-weather relationships is investigated. Some of the observational evidence for solar-activity-induced effects on levels of the upper atmosphere ranging from the thermosphere down to the lower stratosphere are reviewed. It is concluded that there is evidence for such effects extending down to the middle stratosphere and below. Evidence is also reviewed that these effects are due to changes in solar ultraviolet emission during disturbed solar conditions. A theoretical planetary wave model is then used to see at what levels in the upper atmosphere moderate changes in the mean zonal wind state would result in tropospheric changes. It is concluded that changes in the mean zonal flow of about 20% at levels in the vicinity of 35 km or below would give rise to changes in the tropospheric planetary wave pattern that are less than but on the same order as the observed interannual variability in the tropospheric wave pattern at middle and high latitudes.

  9. Simulating influences of QBO phases and orographic gravity wave forcing on planetary waves in the middle atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gavrilov, Nikolai M.; Koval, Andrej V.; Pogoreltsev, Alexander I.; Savenkova, Elena N.

    2015-12-01

    Recently developed parameterization of stationary orographic gravity waves (OGWs) generated by the Earth's topography was implemented into a general circulation model of the middle and upper atmosphere. We performed numerical simulations of the zonal mean wind and amplitudes of stationary planetary waves and normal atmospheric modes with periods of 4-16 days at altitudes from the troposphere to the lower thermosphere in January for easterly and westerly phases of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) including and excluding the stationary OGW parameterization. Simulations show that accounting dynamical and thermal effects of stationary OGWs can lead to substantial changes (up to 50-90 %) in the amplitudes of stationary planetary waves. Amplitudes of westward travelling normal atmospheric modes change (up to 50-90 %) at different altitudes and latitudes of the northern hemisphere due to OGW effects. Transitions from the easterly to westerly QBO phases can change planetary wave amplitudes up to ±30-90 % at middle and high latitudes. These changes in PW amplitudes are consistent with distributions of EP-flux and refractive index under different QBO phases simulated including our parameterization of stationary OGWs.

  10. On the use of Very Low Frequency transmitter data for remote sensing of atmospheric gravity and planetary waves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pal, Sujay; Chakraborty, Suman; Chakrabarti, Sandip K.

    2015-02-01

    Continuous ground-based monitoring of Very Low Frequency (VLF) transmitter signals is an efficient remote sensing tool for studying of the lower ionosphere (60-90 km). Here, we present the use of VLF radio data to study short-period (∼min-hrs) atmospheric gravity waves and long-period (∼days) planetary waves. We analyse VLF data from several receiving stations obtained by ICSP-VLF network during the total solar eclipse of July, 2009 to show the existence of short-period atmospheric gravity waves. We find dominant wave periods range from 10 min to 1 h around the time of maximum eclipse phase which could be associated with atmospheric gravity waves excited due to the eclipse. We also analyse VLF amplitude data of 2007 received at ICSP, Kolkata from VTX (18.2 kHz) transmitter for planetary wave-type oscillations in the mesosphere-lower ionosphere system. Fourier and wavelet analysis show presence of periodic structures with periodicity in the range of 5-27 days. We compare VLF planetary spectrum with spectrum obtained from total column density of Ozone and mesospheric average temperature data which may indicate vertical coupling between the stratosphere and ionosphere in winter to early spring time.

  11. Studies of Tidal and Planetary Wave Variability in the Middle Atmosphere using UARS and Correlative MF Radar Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fritts, David C.

    1996-01-01

    The goals of this research effort have been to use MF radar and UARS/HRDI wind measurements for correlative studies of large-scale atmospheric dynamics, focusing specifically on the tidal and various planetary wave structures occurring in the middle atmosphere. We believed that the two data sets together would provide the potential for much more comprehensive studies than either by itself, since they jointly would allow the removal of ambiguities in wave structure that are difficult to resolve with either data set alone. The joint data were to be used for studies of wave structure, variability, and the coupling of these motions to mean and higher-frequency motions.

  12. Pervasive orbital eccentricities dictate the habitability of extrasolar earths.

    PubMed

    Kita, Ryosuke; Rasio, Frederic; Takeda, Genya

    2010-09-01

    The long-term habitability of Earth-like planets requires low orbital eccentricities. A secular perturbation from a distant stellar companion is a very important mechanism in exciting planetary eccentricities, as many of the extrasolar planetary systems are associated with stellar companions. Although the orbital evolution of an Earth-like planet in a stellar binary system is well understood, the effect of a binary perturbation on a more realistic system containing additional gas-giant planets has been very little studied. Here, we provide analytic criteria confirmed by a large ensemble of numerical integrations that identify the initial orbital parameters leading to eccentric orbits. We show that an extrasolar earth is likely to experience a broad range of orbital evolution dictated by the location of a gas-giant planet, which necessitates more focused studies on the effect of eccentricity on the potential for life. PMID:20879864

  13. HAT-P-15b: A 10.9 DAY EXTRASOLAR PLANET TRANSITING A SOLAR-TYPE STAR

    SciTech Connect

    Kovacs, G.; Bakos, G. A.; Hartman, J. D.; Torres, G.; Noyes, R. W.; Latham, D. W.; Sasselov, D. D.; Stefanik, R. P.; Esquerdo, G. A.; Fernandez, J. M.; Howard, A. W.; Marcy, G. W.; Isaacson, H.; Fischer, D. A.; Johnson, J. A.; Lazar, B. Beky J.; Papp, I.; Sari, P.

    2010-12-01

    We report the discovery of HAT-P-15b, a transiting extrasolar planet in the 'period valley', a relatively sparsely populated period regime of the known extrasolar planets. The host star, GSC 2883-01687, is a G5 dwarf with V= 12.16. It has a mass of 1.01 {+-} 0.04 M{sub sun}, radius of 1.08 {+-} 0.04 R{sub sun}, effective temperature 5568 {+-} 90 K, and metallicity [Fe/H] = +0.22 {+-} 0.08. The planetary companion orbits the star with a period P = 10.863502 {+-} 0.000027 days, transit epoch T{sub c} = 2454638.56019 {+-} 0.00048 (BJD), and transit duration 0.2285 {+-} 0.0015 days. It has a mass of 1.946 {+-} 0.066 M{sub J} and radius of 1.072 {+-} 0.043 R{sub J} yielding a mean density of 1.96 {+-} 0.22 g cm{sup -3}. At an age of 6.8{sup +2.5}{sub -1.6} Gyr, the planet is H/He-dominated and theoretical models require about 2% (10 M{sub +}) worth of heavy elements to reproduce its measured radius. With an estimated equilibrium temperature of {approx}820 K during transit, and {approx}1000 K at occultation, HAT-P-15b is a potential candidate to study moderately cool planetary atmospheres by transmission and occultation spectroscopy.

  14. Planetary-scale wave structures of the earth's atmosphere revealed from the COSMIC observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anisetty, S. K. A. V. Prasad Rao; Brahmanandam, P. S.; Uma, G.; Babu, A. Narendra; Huang, Ching-Yuang; Kumar, G. Anil; Ram, S. Tulasi; Wang, Hsiao-Lan; Chu, Yen-Hsyang

    2014-02-01

    GPS radio occultation (GPS RO) method, an active satellite-to-satellite remote sensing technique, is capable of producing accurate, all-weather, round the clock, global refractive index, density, pressure, and temperature profiles of the troposphere and stratosphere. This study presents planetary-scale equatorially trapped Kelvin waves in temperature profiles retrieved using COSMIC (Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate) satellites during 2006-2009 and their interactions with background atmospheric conditions. It is found that the Kelvin waves are not only associated with wave periods of higher than 10 days (slow Kelvin waves) with higher zonal wave numbers (either 1 or 2), but also possessing downward phase progression, giving evidence that the source regions of them are located at lower altitudes. A thorough verification of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) reveals that deep convection activity has developed regularly over the Indonesian region, suggesting that the Kelvin waves are driven by the convective activity. The derived Kelvin waves show enhanced (diminished) tendencies during westward (eastward) phase of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) in zonal winds, implying a mutual relation between both of them. The El Nio and Southern Oscillation (ENSO) below 18 km and the QBO features between 18 and 27 km in temperature profiles are observed during May 2006-May 2010 with the help of an adaptive data analysis technique known as Hilbert Huang Transform (HHT). Further, temperature anomalies computed using COSMIC retrieved temperatures are critically evaluated during different phases of ENSO, which has revealed interesting results and are discussed in light of available literature.

  15. Extrasolar Planet Inferometric Survey (EPIcS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shao, Michael; Baliunas, Sallie; Boden, Andrew; Kulkarni, Shrinivas; Lin, Douglas N. C.; Loredo, Tom; Queloz, Didier; Shaklan, Stuart; Tremaine, Scott; Wolszczan, Alexander

    2004-01-01

    The discovery of the nature of the solar system was a crowning achievement of Renaissance science. The quest to evaluate the properties of extrasolar planetary systems is central to both the intellectual understanding of our origins and the cultural understanding of humanity's place in the Universe; thus it is appropriate that the goals and objectives of NASA's breakthrough Origins program emphasize the study of planetary systems, with a focus on the search for habitable planets. We propose an ambitious research program that will use SIM - the first major mission of the Origins program - to explore planetary systems in our Galactic neighborhood. Our program is a novel two-tiered SIM survey of nearby stars that exploits the capabilities of SIM to achieve two scientific objectives: (i) to identify Earth-like planets in habitable regions around nearby Sunlike stars: and (ii) to explore the nature and evolution of planetary systems in their full variety. The first of these objectives was recently recommended by the Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee (the McKee-Taylor Committee) as a prerequisite for the development of the Terrestrial Planet Finder mission later in the decade. Our program combines this two-part survey with preparatory and contemporaneous research designed to maximize the scientific return from the limited and thus precious observing resources of SIM.

  16. The D to H ratio on Titan and the planets: Implications for origin and evolution of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pinto, J. P.; Lunine, J. I.; Kim, S. J.; Yung, Y. L.

    1986-01-01

    Measurements of deuterated methane show that Titan's atmosphere is enriched by at least several times in deuterium compared to the major planets. Potential causative factors for this enrichment are condensation to form tropospheric methane clouds, fractionation occuring over a hypothetical CH4-C2H2 ocean and between the ocean and the clathrate crust beneath, fractionation which occurred during the formation of Titan and fractionation occuring as a result of the evolution of Titan's atmosphere. The greater part of the observed fractionation is probably derived from the formation of Titan and the subsequent evolution of Titan atmosphere driven by photochemistry. The latter process is developed here for the first time. The D/H ratio in a planetary atmosphere is one readily available measure of the origin and evolution of the hydrogen bearing volatiles on the planet. Comparison between D/H ratio in the inner solar system and the outer solar system may pose important constraints on current theories.

  17. Turbulence in planetary occultations. II - Effects on atmospheric profiles derived from Doppler measurements. III - Effects on atmospheric profiles derived from intensity measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haugstad, B. S.

    1978-01-01

    The nature and magnitude of turbulence-induced errors in atmospheric profiles derived from Doppler measurements made during radio occultations are investigated. It is found that turbulence in planetary atmospheres induces both fluctuating and systematic errors in derived profiles, but the errors of both types are very small. Consideration of the occultation of Mariner 10 by Venus and of the Pioneer occultations by Jupiter shows that the rms fractional errors in the atmospheric profiles derived from these observations were less than 0.01 in both temperature and pressure, while the fractional systematic errors were typically of the order of 1 millionth. The extent to which atmospheric profiles derived from radio and optical intensity measurements are affected by turbulence is also examined. The results indicate that turbulence in planetary atmospheres has only a marginal effect on derived profiles in the weak-scattering limit and that the turbulence-induced errors in this case are always much larger than the corresponding errors in profiles derived from radio Doppler measurements.

  18. Laboratory and theoretical work in the service of planetary atmospheric research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coustenis, Athena

    2015-08-01

    A large quantity of observations is obtained by instruments onboard space missions exploring our solar system and by large ground-based telescopes observing the planets and also the exoplanets. Spectroscopy plays a major role in this type of investigation. To analyze and exploit these observations, planetary scientists need spectroscopic data covering wide ranges in wavelength but also in temperature, pressure, distance, etc.The outer regions of our solar system in particular, including the giant gaseous planets Jupiter and Saturn and their satellites, have recently been the target of space missions such as Cassini-Huygens and several investigations from the ground. Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, in particular, offers many similarities with our own planet, among which a dense atmosphere whose major component is dinitrogen at about 95%. Combining with methane (at a few percent) and hydrogen, gives rise to a complex organic chemistry with hydrocarbons and nitriles. Oxygen compounds also exist in Titan’s atmosphere. By studying Titan, we learn about our own planet and our Solar system Solar as a whole [1,2,3]. To properly interpret the Cassini-Huygens data and in anticipation of future missions like ESA’s JUICE to the Jupiter system, spectroscopic data are crucially needed. In the field of exoplanets (over 1000 discovered to date), it also becomes urgent to have adequate data of several molecules in order to analyze the observations returned to us every day by major observatories on Earth and in the space [4,5]. I will discuss recent applications from theoretical and experimental studies on the investigation of Titan and exoplanets, with emphasis on methane. I will also present some needs for future analyses.References: [1] Campargue, A., et al. 2012. Icarus 219, 110-128. [2] Coustenis, A., et al. 2013. Astrophys. J. 799, 177, 9p. [3] Hirtzig, et al., 2013. Icarus 226, 470-486 and corrigendum 1182-1182. [4] Tinetti, G., Encrenaz, Th., Coustenis, A., 2013. Astron. Astrophys. Rev. 21, #63. [5] Encrenaz, T., et al., 2014. Experimental Astronomy, DOI: 10.1007/s10686-014-9415-0.

  19. Photochemical abiotic synthesis of amino-acid precursors from simulated planetary atmospheres by vacuum ultraviolet light

    SciTech Connect

    Takahashi, Jun-ichi; Masuda, Hitomi; Kaneko, Takeo; Kobayashi, Kensei; Saito, Takeshi; Hosokawa, Teruo

    2005-07-15

    For the purpose of investigating the photon energy dependence of the photoinduced abiotic synthesis of organic molecules, gas mixtures that simulate typical planetary atmospheres, including a carbon source (CO or CH{sub 4}), a nitrogen source (N{sub 2} or NH{sub 3}), and H{sub 2}O, were irradiated with synchrotron radiation through a vacuum-ultraviolet transmitting window. Three kinds of window material, fused silica, synthetic quartz, and MgF{sub 2}, were used as a high-energy-cutting filter, whose absorption-edge energies are 6.4, 8.1, and 10.5 eV, respectively. Three types of gas mixture, Titan-type (CH{sub 4}-N{sub 2}-H{sub 2}O), comet-type (CO-NH{sub 3}-H{sub 2}O), and primitive-Earth-type (CO-N{sub 2}-H{sub 2}O), were irradiated with vacuum-ultraviolet photons in the three energy ranges. After the irradiation, amino-acid formation yields in the acid-hydrolyzed solution of the product were measured with a high-performance liquid chromatograph method. From the Titan- and comet-type mixtures, amino acids were detected by irradiation with photons lower than 8.1 eV. For both mixtures, the averaged quantum yields of glycine generation in the photon energy region of 7-10.5 eV were of the order of 10{sup -5}, which was larger by about one order than that in the region 5-8 eV. On the other hand, from the primitive-Earth-type mixture, amino-acid formation was difficult to detect even with irradiation as high as 10.5 eV, even though amino acids were generated in comparable yields from the Titan- and comet-type mixtures by irradiation with soft x rays or proton beam, whose energies are much higher. These results suggest that the vacuum ultraviolet light is a more effective energy source for the generation of the precursors of bioorganic compounds in extraterrestrial environments than in primitive-Earth atmosphere.

  20. Extrasolar Planets in the Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    George, Samuel J.

    2011-01-01

    The field of extrasolar planets is still, in comparison with other astrophysical topics, in its infancy. There have been about 300 or so extrasolar planets detected and their detection has been accomplished by various different techniques. Here we present a simple laboratory experiment to show how planets are detected using the transit technique.

  1. Extrasolar Planets in the Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    George, Samuel J.

    2011-01-01

    The field of extrasolar planets is still, in comparison with other astrophysical topics, in its infancy. There have been about 300 or so extrasolar planets detected and their detection has been accomplished by various different techniques. Here we present a simple laboratory experiment to show how planets are detected using the transit technique.…

  2. The aurora as a source of planetary-scale waves in the middle atmosphere. [atmospheric turbulence caused by auroral energy absorption

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chiu, Y. T.; Straus, J. M.

    1974-01-01

    Photographs of global scale auroral forms taken by scanning radiometers onboard weather satellites in 1972 show that auroral bands exhibit well organized wave motion with typical zonal wave number of 5 or so. The scale size of these waves is in agreement with that of well organized neutral wind fields in the 150- to 200-km region during the geomagnetic storm of May 27, 1967. Further, the horizontal scale size revealed by these observations are in agreement with that of high altitude traveling ionospheric disturbances. It is conjectured that the geomagnetic storm is a source of planetary and synoptic scale neutral atmospheric waves in the middle atmosphere. Although there is, at present, no observation of substorm related waves of this scale size at mesospheric and stratospheric altitudes, the possible existence of a new source of waves of the proper scale size to trigger instabilities in middle atmospheric circulation systems may be significant in the study of lower atmospheric response to geomagnetic activity.

  3. Venusian middle-atmospheric dynamics in the presence of a strong planetary-scale 5.5-day wave

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamamoto, Masaru; Takahashi, Masaaki

    2012-02-01

    The middle atmospheric dynamics on Venus are investigated using a middle atmosphere general circulation model. The magnitude of the superrotation is sensitive to the amplitude of the planetary-scale waves. In particular, the critical level absorptions of the forced planetary-scale waves might contribute to the maintenance of the superrotation near the cloud base. In the case of strong 5.5-day wave forcing, the superrotation with zonal wind speed higher than 100 m s -1 is maintained by the forced wave. Four-day and 5.5-day waves are found near the equatorial cloud top and base, respectively. The planetary-scale waves have a Y-shaped pattern maintained by the amplitude modulation in the presence of strong thermal tides. The polar hot dipole is unstable and its dynamical behavior is complex near the cloud top in this model. The dipole merges into a monopole or breaks up into a tripole when the divergent eddies with high zonal wavenumbers are predominant in the hot dipole region. A cold collar is partly enhanced by a cold phase of slowly propagating waves with zonal wavenumber 1. Although such a complex dipole behavior has not been observed yet, it is likely to occur under a dynamical condition similar to the present simulation. Thus, the dynamical approach using a general circulation model might be useful for analyzing Venus Express and ground-based observation data.

  4. Basic research in meteorology and atmospheric physics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Opstbaum, R.

    1972-01-01

    A survey is reported of methods for sounding the atmospheric temperature profile by remote measurements. The emphasis for this period was placed on sounding in the microwave region of the spectrum, sounding in cloudy atmosphere, and measuring sea temperatures remotely. Summaries of the research in the following areas are included: orbital detection of stratospheric aerosols, monthly precipitation charts for the world, determining planetary cloud structure by remote polarization measurement, analysis of Mariner 6 and 7 multicolor photometric photographs of Mars, and techniques for photometric detection of extrasolar planets.

  5. Laboratory studies, analysis, and interpretation of the spectra of hydrocarbons present in planetary atmospheres including cyanoacetylene, acetylene, propane, and ethane

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blass, William E.; Daunt, Stephen J.; Peters, Antoni V.; Weber, Mark C.

    1990-01-01

    Combining broadband Fourier transform spectrometers (FTS) from the McMath facility at NSO and from NRC in Ottawa and narrow band TDL data from the laboratories with computational physics techniques has produced a broad range of results for the study of planetary atmospheres. Motivation for the effort flows from the Voyager/IRIS observations and the needs of Voyager analysis for laboratory results. In addition, anticipation of the Cassini mission adds incentive to pursue studies of observed and potentially observable constituents of planetary atmospheres. Current studies include cyanoacetylene, acetylene, propane, and ethane. Particular attention is devoted to cyanoacetylen (H3CN) which is observed in the atmosphere of Titan. The results of a high resolution infrared laboratory study of the line positions of the 663, 449, and 22.5/cm fundamental bands are presented. Line position, reproducible to better than 5 MHz for the first two bands, are available for infrared astrophysical searches. Intensity and broadening studies are in progress. Acetylene is a nearly ubiquitous atmospheric constituent of the outer planets and Titan due to the nature of methane photochemistry. Results of ambient temperature absolute intensity measurements are presented for the fundamental and two two-quantum hotband in the 730/cm region. Low temperature hotband intensity and linewidth measurements are planned.

  6. Planetary Surface Instruments Workshop

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meyer, Charles (Editor); Treiman, Allan H. (Editor); Kostiuk, Theodor (Editor)

    1996-01-01

    This report on planetary surface investigations and planetary landers covers: (1) the precise chemical analysis of solids; (2) isotopes and evolved gas analyses; (3) planetary interiors; planetary atmospheres from within as measured by landers; (4) mineralogical examination of extraterrestrial bodies; (5) regoliths; and (6) field geology/processes.

  7. ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION OF ECCENTRIC HOT NEPTUNE GJ436b

    SciTech Connect

    Lewis, Nikole K.; Showman, Adam P.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Marley, Mark S.; Freedman, Richard S.; Lodders, Katharina

    2010-09-01

    GJ436b is a unique member of the transiting extrasolar planet population being one of the smallest and least irradiated and possessing an eccentric orbit. Because of its size, mass, and density, GJ436b could plausibly have an atmospheric metallicity similar to Neptune (20-60 times solar abundances), which makes it an ideal target to study the effects of atmospheric metallicity on dynamics and radiative transfer in an extrasolar planetary atmosphere. We present three-dimensional atmospheric circulation models that include realistic non-gray radiative transfer for 1, 3, 10, 30, and 50 times solar atmospheric metallicity cases of GJ436b. Low metallicity models (1 and 3 times solar) show little day/night temperature variation and strong high-latitude jets. In contrast, higher metallicity models (30 and 50 times solar) exhibit day/night temperature variations and a strong equatorial jet. Spectra and light curves produced from these simulations show strong orbital phase dependencies in the 50 times solar case and negligible variations with orbital phase in the 1 times solar case. Comparisons between the predicted planet/star flux ratio from these models and current secondary eclipse measurements support a high metallicity atmosphere (30-50 times solar abundances) with disequilibrium carbon chemistry at play for GJ436b. Regardless of the actual atmospheric composition of GJ436b, our models serve to illuminate how metallicity influences the atmospheric circulation for a broad range of warm extrasolar planets.

  8. Elemental Compositions of Two Extrasolar Rocky Planetesimals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, S.; Jura, M.; Koester, D.; Klein, B.; Zuckerman, B.

    2014-03-01

    We report Keck/HIRES and Hubble Space Telescope/COS spectroscopic studies of extrasolar rocky planetesimals accreted onto two hydrogen atmosphere white dwarfs, G29-38 and GD 133. In G29-38, eight elements are detected, including C, O, Mg, Si, Ca, Ti, Cr, and Fe while in GD 133, O, Si, Ca, and marginally Mg are seen. These two extrasolar planetesimals show a pattern of refractory enhancement and volatile depletion. For G29-38, the observed composition can be best interpreted as a blend of a chondritic object with some refractory-rich material, a result from post-nebular processing. Water is very depleted in the parent body accreted onto G29-38, based on the derived oxygen abundance. The inferred total mass accretion rate in GD 133 is the lowest of all known dusty white dwarfs, possibly due to non-steady state accretion. We continue to find that a variety of extrasolar planetesimals all resemble to zeroth order the elemental composition of bulk Earth. Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W.M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W.M. Keck Foundation.

  9. Elemental compositions of two extrasolar rocky planetesimals

    SciTech Connect

    Xu, S.; Jura, M.; Klein, B.; Zuckerman, B.; Koester, D. E-mail: jura@astro.ucla.edu E-mail: ben@astro.ucla.edu

    2014-03-10

    We report Keck/HIRES and Hubble Space Telescope/COS spectroscopic studies of extrasolar rocky planetesimals accreted onto two hydrogen atmosphere white dwarfs, G29-38 and GD 133. In G29-38, eight elements are detected, including C, O, Mg, Si, Ca, Ti, Cr, and Fe while in GD 133, O, Si, Ca, and marginally Mg are seen. These two extrasolar planetesimals show a pattern of refractory enhancement and volatile depletion. For G29-38, the observed composition can be best interpreted as a blend of a chondritic object with some refractory-rich material, a result from post-nebular processing. Water is very depleted in the parent body accreted onto G29-38, based on the derived oxygen abundance. The inferred total mass accretion rate in GD 133 is the lowest of all known dusty white dwarfs, possibly due to non-steady state accretion. We continue to find that a variety of extrasolar planetesimals all resemble to zeroth order the elemental composition of bulk Earth.

  10. Analytic evaluation of the weighting functions for remote sensing of blackbody planetary atmospheres : the case of limb viewing geometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ustinov, Eugene A.

    2006-01-01

    In a recent publication (Ustinov, 2002), we proposed an analytic approach to evaluation of radiative and geophysical weighting functions for remote sensing of a blackbody planetary atmosphere, based on general linearization approach applied to the case of nadir viewing geometry. In this presentation, the general linearization approach is applied to the limb viewing geometry. The expressions, similar to those obtained in (Ustinov, 2002), are obtained for weighting functions with respect to the distance along the line of sight. Further on, these expressions are converted to the expressions for weighting functions with respect to the vertical coordinate in the atmosphere. Finally, the numerical representation of weighting functions in the form of matrices of partial derivatives of grid limb radiances with respect to the grid values of atmospheric parameters is used for a convolution with the finite field of view of the instrument.

  11. Planet Formation and the Characteristics of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack J.; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    An overview of current theories of planetary growth, emphasizing the formation of extrasolar planets, is presented. Models of planet formation are based upon observations of the Solar System, extrasolar planets, and young stars and their environments. Terrestrial planets are believed to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. Giant planets begin their growth like terrestrial planets, but if they become massive enough before the protoplanetary disk dissipates, then they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas. These models predict that rocky planets should form in orbit about most single stars. It is uncertain whether or not gas giant planet formation is common, because most protoplanetary disks may dissipate before solid planetary cores can grow large enough to gravitationally trap substantial quantities of gas. A potential hazard to planetary systems is radial decay of planetary orbits resulting from interactions with material within the disk. Planets more massive than Earth have the potential to decay the fastest, and may be able to sweep up smaller planets in their path. The implications of the giant planets found in recent radial velocity searches for the abundances of habitable planets are discussed.

  12. A TEOM (tm) particulate monitor for comet dust, near Earth space, and planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1988-01-01

    Scientific missions to comets, near earth space, and planetary atmospheres require particulate and mass accumulation instrumentation for both scientific and navigation purposes. The Rupprecht & Patashnick tapered element oscillating microbalance can accurately measure both mass flux and mass distribution of particulates over a wide range of particle sizes and loadings. Individual particles of milligram size down to a few picograms can be resolved and counted, and the accumulation of smaller particles or molecular deposition can be accurately measured using the sensors perfected and toughened under this contract. No other sensor has the dynamic range or sensitivity attained by these picogram direct mass measurement sensors. The purpose of this contract was to develop and implement reliable and repeatable manufacturing methods; build and test prototype sensors; and outline a quality control program. A dust 'thrower' was to be designed and built, and used to verify performance. Characterization and improvement of the optical motion detection system and drive feedback circuitry was to be undertaken, with emphasis on reliability, low noise, and low power consumption. All the goals of the contract were met or exceeded. An automated glass puller was built and used to make repeatable tapered elements. Materials and assembly methods were standardized, and controllers and calibrated fixtures were developed and used in all phases of preparing, coating and assembling the sensors. Quality control and reliability resulted from the use of calibrated manufacturing equipment with measurable working parameters. Thermal and vibration testing of completed prototypes showed low temperature sensitivity and high vibration tolerance. An electrostatic dust thrower was used in vacuum to throw particles from 2 x 10(exp 6) g to 7 x 10(exp -12) g in size. Using long averaging times, particles as small as 0.7 to 4 x 10(exp 11) g were weighted to resolutions in the 5 to 9 x 10(exp -13) g range. The drive circuit and optics systems were developed beyond what was anticipated in the contract, and are now virtually flight prototypes. There is already commercial interest in the developed capability of measuring picogram mass losses and gains. One area is contamination and outgassing research, both measuring picogram losses from samples and collecting products of outgassing.

  13. Atmospheric Biomarkers and their Evolution over Geological Timescales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaltenegger, Lisa; Jucks, K.; Traub, W.

    The search for life on extrasolar planets is based on the assumption that one can screen extrasolar planets for habitability spectroscopically. The first space born instruments able to detect as well as characterize extrasolar planets, Darwin and terrestrial planet finder (TPF-I and TPF-C) are scheduled to launch before the end of the next decade. The composition of the planetary surface, atmosphere, and its temperature-pressure profile influence a detectable spectroscopic signal considerably. For future space-based missions it will be crucial to know this influence to interpret the observed signals and detect signatures of life in remotely observed atmospheres. We give an overview of biomarkers in the visible and IR range, corresponding to the TPF-C and TPF-I/DARWIN concepts, respectively. We also give an overview of the evolution of biomarkers over time and its implication for the search for life on extrasolar Earth-like planets. We show that atmospheric features on Earth can provide clues of biological activities for at least 2 billion years.

  14. Working model of the atmosphere and near planetary space of Jupiter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moroz, V. I. (Editor)

    1978-01-01

    Basic physical characteristics of Jupiter, its gravitational field, atmosphere, electromagnetic radiation, magnetosphere, meteorite situation and satellites are presented in tables, graphs and figures. Means of observation of the atmosphere and three models of the atmosphere are presented and analyzed.

  15. PHOTOMETRIC ORBITS OF EXTRASOLAR PLANETS

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, Robert A.

    2009-09-10

    We define and analyze the photometric orbit (PhO) of an extrasolar planet observed in reflected light. In our definition, the PhO is a Keplerian entity with six parameters: semimajor axis, eccentricity, mean anomaly at some particular time, argument of periastron, inclination angle, and effective radius, which is the square root of the geometric albedo times the planetary radius. Preliminarily, we assume a Lambertian phase function. We study in detail the case of short-period giant planets (SPGPs) and observational parameters relevant to the Kepler mission: 20 ppm photometry with normal errors, 6.5 hr cadence, and three-year duration. We define a relevant 'planetary population of interest' in terms of probability distributions of the PhO parameters. We perform Monte Carlo experiments to estimate the ability to detect planets and to recover PhO parameters from light curves. We calibrate the completeness of a periodogram search technique, and find structure caused by degeneracy. We recover full orbital solutions from synthetic Kepler data sets and estimate the median errors in recovered PhO parameters. We treat in depth a case of a Jupiter body-double. For the stated assumptions, we find that Kepler should obtain orbital solutions for many of the 100-760 SPGP that Jenkins and Doyle estimate Kepler will discover. Because most or all of these discoveries will be followed up by ground-based radial velocity observations, the estimates of inclination angle from the PhO may enable the calculation of true companion masses: Kepler photometry may break the 'msin i' degeneracy. PhO observations may be difficult. There is uncertainty about how low the albedos of SPGPs actually are, about their phase functions, and about a possible noise floor due to systematic errors from instrumental and stellar sources. Nevertheless, simple detection of SPGPs in reflected light should be robust in the regime of Kepler photometry, and estimates of all six orbital parameters may be feasible in at least a subset of cases.

  16. Photometric Orbits of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, Robert A.

    2009-09-01

    We define and analyze the photometric orbit (PhO) of an extrasolar planet observed in reflected light. In our definition, the PhO is a Keplerian entity with six parameters: semimajor axis, eccentricity, mean anomaly at some particular time, argument of periastron, inclination angle, and effective radius, which is the square root of the geometric albedo times the planetary radius. Preliminarily, we assume a Lambertian phase function. We study in detail the case of short-period giant planets (SPGPs) and observational parameters relevant to the Kepler mission: 20 ppm photometry with normal errors, 6.5 hr cadence, and three-year duration. We define a relevant "planetary population of interest" in terms of probability distributions of the PhO parameters. We perform Monte Carlo experiments to estimate the ability to detect planets and to recover PhO parameters from light curves. We calibrate the completeness of a periodogram search technique, and find structure caused by degeneracy. We recover full orbital solutions from synthetic Kepler data sets and estimate the median errors in recovered PhO parameters. We treat in depth a case of a Jupiter body-double. For the stated assumptions, we find that Kepler should obtain orbital solutions for many of the 100-760 SPGP that Jenkins & Doyle estimate Kepler will discover. Because most or all of these discoveries will be followed up by ground-based radial velocity observations, the estimates of inclination angle from the PhO may enable the calculation of true companion masses: Kepler photometry may break the "msin i" degeneracy. PhO observations may be difficult. There is uncertainty about how low the albedos of SPGPs actually are, about their phase functions, and about a possible noise floor due to systematic errors from instrumental and stellar sources. Nevertheless, simple detection of SPGPs in reflected light should be robust in the regime of Kepler photometry, and estimates of all six orbital parameters may be feasible in at least a subset of cases.

  17. Direct Detection of C4H2 Photochemical Products: Possible Routes to Complex Hydrocarbons in Planetary Atmospheres.

    PubMed

    Bandy, R E; Lakshminarayan, C; Frost, R K; Zwier, T S

    1992-12-01

    The photochemistry of diacetylene (C4H2), the largest hydrocarbon to be unambiguously identified in planetary atmospheres, is of considerable importance to understanding the mechanisms by which complex molecules are formed in the solar system. In this work, the primary products of C4H2's ultraviolet photochemistry were determined in a two-laser pump-probe scheme in which the products of C4H2 photoexcitation are detected by vacuum ultraviolet photoionization in a time-of-flight mass spectrometer. Three larger hydrocarbon primary products were observed with good yield in the C4H2* + C4H2 reaction: C6H2, C812, and C8H3. Neither C6H2 nor C8H3 is anticipated by current photochemical models of the atmospheres of Titan, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and Triton. The free hydrogen atoms that are released during the formation of the C8H3 and C8H2 products also may partially offset the role of C4H2 in catalysing the recombination of free hydrogen atoms in the planetary atmospheres. PMID:17742532

  18. Direct detection of C4H2 photochemical products - Possible routes to complex hydrocarbons in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bandy, Ralph E.; Lakshminarayan, Chitra; Frost, Rex K.; Zwier, Timothy S.

    1992-01-01

    The photochemistry of diacetylene (C4H2), the largest hydrocarbon to be unambiguously identified in planetary atmospheres, is of considerable importance to understanding the mechanisms by which complex molecules are formed in the solar system. In this work, the primary products of C4H2's ultraviolet photochemistry were determined in a two-laser pump-probe scheme in which the products of C4H2 photoexcitation are detected by vacuum ultraviolet photoionization in a time-of-flight mass spectrometer. Three larger hydrocarbon primary products were observed with good yield in the C4H2 + C4H2 reaction: C6H2, C8H2, and C8H3. Neither C6H2 or C8H3 is anticipated by current photochemical models of the atmospheres of Titan, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and Triton. The free hydrogen atoms that are released during the formation of the C8H3 and C8H2 products also may partially offset the role of C4H2 in catalyzing the recombination of free hydrogen atoms in the planetary atmospheres.

  19. Comparative Planetology and the Search for Habitable Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meadows, V. S.

    2008-12-01

    In the last decade, comparative planetology has grown to encompass not just the planets in our own Solar System, but also the more than 300 planets that are now known to orbit other stars in our Galaxy. The vast majority of the planets discovered so far are gas or ice giants, but a growing fraction have masses less than 10 Earth masses, and so may be terrestrial. Over the next two decades, NASA and ESA are planning to build large space-borne telescopes that will enable statistical studies and the first direct detection and characterization of terrestrial planets beyond our Solar System. These missions will allow the study of planets formed under diverse initial conditions, and at stages of evolution that are billions of years younger or older than the Earth. Ultimately though, these missions will finally provide the technical capability to search for habitable environments and life on planets beyond our Solar System. The scientific foundation that will guide this search is built on comparative climate studies of the planets in our own Solar System. From the perspective of extrasolar planet studies, the evolution of the climates of Venus, Earth and Mars inform the definition and characteristics of planetary habitability. Climate and chemistry models, developed initially to be flexible enough for Venus, Earth and Mars studies, and validated against measurements and observations of these planets, are now being modified to model a diversity of plausible extrasolar planetary environments. Specifically, these models have been used to better understand the interaction between the parent star, and the global environment and biosphere of a terrestrial planet for planetary systems unlike our Solar System. Additionally, planetary radiative transfer models developed for Venus, Earth and Mars studies can be used to predict the spectroscopic appearance of distant planetary environments and to simulate a telescopic view of the Earth as an extrasolar planet. This presentation will discuss the relevance of Solar System based comparative climatology to extrasolar planet studies, and show examples of its application to a range of simulated extrasolar terrestrial planet environments.

  20. Exploring hot mini-neptune atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miguel, Yamila; Kaltenegger, Lisa

    2013-07-01

    Motivated by the diversity of exoplanets detected by ground and space surveys, we use a one-dimensional photochemical model that includes disequilibrium chemistry to build a grid of hot extrasolar giant and mini-Neptune atmospheres around F, G, K and M stars. We address the differences in hot exoplanet atmospheres according to the observables semi-major axis and stellar type, exploring their detectable atmospheric features. These planets are interesting targets for future observations, therefore, addressing their atmospheric structure and composition is a major issue and the aim of our work. Our atmospheric grid can be applied to current and future planetary observations to characterize exoplanet atmospheres and serves as a reference to interpret the results of atmospheric retrieval analysis.

  1. Optical Spectra of Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Heap, Sara R.; Hubeny, Ivan; Sudarsky, David; Burrows, Adam

    2004-01-01

    The flux distribution of a planet relative to its host star is a critical quantity for planning space observatories to detect and characterize extrasolar giant planets (EGP's). In this paper, we present optical planet-star contrasts of Jupiter-mass planets as a function of stellar type, orbital distance, and planetary cloud characteristics. As originally shown by Sudarsky et al. (2000, 2003), the phaseaveraged brightness of an EGP does not necessarily decrease monotonically with greater orbital distance because of changes in its albedo and absorption spectrum at lower temperatures. We apply our results to Eclipse, a 1.8-m optical telescope + coronograph to be proposed as a NASA Discovery mission later this year.

  2. Using N2-N2 Collisionally-Induced Absorption to Detect N2 and Determine Pressure in Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwieterman, Edward; Robinson, T. D.; Meadows, V.; Crisp, D.; Misra, A.

    2014-01-01

    Planetary habitability is determined by the stability of liquid water at the surface, which depends on surface temperature and pressure. While molecular nitrogen (N2) constitutes the bulk of Earth’s atmosphere 78% by volume) and is the biggest contributor to surface pressure, it is also extremely hard to remotely detect. In particular, N2 lacks significant absorption features in the visible to near infrared because it is a symmetric homonuclear molecule with no transitional dipole moment. However, nitrogen has a collisionally-induced absorption (CIA) feature near 4.3 μm, nearly coincident with the 4.3 μm CO2 band but extending to shorter wavelengths. This feature has been known to spectroscopists for some time, but has never been considered in the context of exoplanet characterization from full-disk observations. We report a direct detection of this N2-N2 CIA feature in disk-integrated spectra of Earth taken by NASA’s EPOXI mission. We use the Virtual Planetary Laboratory’s 3D, line-by-line, multiply scattering Earth Model (Robinson et al., 2011) to match the EPOXI spectrum with a synthetic spectrum that includes N2-N2 CIA (coefficients from Lafferty et al., 1996). Because N2 is stable in the atmosphere for geologically long periods and is present in large quantities in the atmospheres of Earth and Venus, it may be a major component of many terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres. Since the strength of a CIA feature goes as the square of the density of the gas, it is more sensitive to pressure than other forms of absorption. We use a self-consistent 1D climate model and a line-by-line radiative transfer model to explore different pressure scenarios from 0.2 to 10 bars assuming pure N2-CO2-H2O atmospheres. We investigate the detectability of N2 in direct beam and transmission and quantify the signal-to-noise ratio required to distinguish between the different pressure cases. For example, to detect the difference between the 1 and 2 bar models at a 5-sigma level in direct beam observations at 4 μm (Δλ=0.05 μm), we find a signal-to noise ratio of 8.1 is required. For planets whose atmospheres contain primarily nitrogen, this is another tool to quantify pressure and, thus, to help constrain planetary habitability.

  3. Planetary population synthesis coupled with atmospheric escape: a statistical view of evaporation

    SciTech Connect

    Jin, Sheng; Ji, Jianghui; Mordasini, Christoph; Van Boekel, Roy; Henning, Thomas; Parmentier, Vivien E-mail: mordasini@mpia.de

    2014-11-01

    We apply hydrodynamic evaporation models to different synthetic planet populations that were obtained from a planet formation code based on the core-accretion paradigm. We investigated the evolution of the planet populations using several evaporation models, which are distinguished by the driving force of the escape flow (X-ray or EUV), the heating efficiency in energy-limited evaporation regimes, or both. Although the mass distribution of the planet populations is barely affected by evaporation, the radius distribution clearly shows a break at approximately 2 R {sub ⊕}. We find that evaporation can lead to a bimodal distribution of planetary sizes and to an 'evaporation valley' running diagonally downward in the orbital distance—planetary radius plane, separating bare cores from low-mass planets that have kept some primordial H/He. Furthermore, this bimodal distribution is related to the initial characteristics of the planetary populations because low-mass planetary cores can only accrete small primordial H/He envelopes and their envelope masses are proportional to their core masses. We also find that the population-wide effect of evaporation is not sensitive to the heating efficiency of energy-limited description. However, in two extreme cases, namely without evaporation or with a 100% heating efficiency in an evaporation model, the final size distributions show significant differences; these two scenarios can be ruled out from the size distribution of Kepler candidates.

  4. On the temperature dependence of possible S8 infrared bands in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Khare, B. N.; Sagan, C.

    1976-01-01

    Measurements of the temperature dependence between 77 and 333 K of the infrared spectrum of cyclic octatomic sulfur are reported. It is suggested that the 23 micrometer Jovian feature is not due to 3 sub 8 and that the temperature dependence of the frequency of the 835/cm band of S sub 8 may be a useful temperature marker in planetary studies.

  5. High-Contrast Imaging using Adaptive Optics for Extrasolar Planet Detection

    SciTech Connect

    Evans, J W

    2006-08-18

    Direct imaging of extrasolar planets is an important, but challenging, next step in planetary science. Most planets identified to date have been detected indirectly--not by emitted or reflected light but through the effect of the planet on the parent star. For example, radial velocity techniques measure the doppler shift in the spectrum of the star produced by the presence of a planet. Indirect techniques only probe about 15% of the orbital parameter space of our solar system. Direct methods would probe new parameter space, and the detected light can be analyzed spectroscopically, providing new information about detected planets. High contrast adaptive optics systems, also known as Extreme Adaptive Optics (ExAO), will require contrasts of between 10{sup -6} and 10{sup -7} at angles of 4-24 {lambda}/D on an 8-m class telescope to image young Jupiter-like planets still warm with the heat of formation. Contrast is defined as the intensity ratio of the dark wings of the image, where a planet might be, to the bright core of the star. Such instruments will be technically challenging, requiring high order adaptive optics with > 2000 actuators and improved diffraction suppression. Contrast is ultimately limited by residual static wavefront errors, so an extrasolar planet imager will require wavefront control with an accuracy of better than 1 nm rms within the low- to mid-spatial frequency range. Laboratory demonstrations are critical to instrument development. The ExAO testbed at the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics was designed with low wavefront error and precision optical metrology, which is used to explore contrast limits and develop the technology needed for an extrasolar planet imager. A state-of-the-art, 1024-actuator micro-electrical-mechanical-systems (MEMS) deformable mirror was installed and characterized to provide active wavefront control and test this novel technology. I present 6.5 x 10{sup -8} contrast measurements with a prolate shaped pupil and flat mirror demonstrating that the testbed can operate in the necessary contrast regime. Wavefront measurements and simulations indicate that contrast is limited by wavefront error, not diffraction. I demonstrate feasibility of the MEMS deformable mirror for meeting the stringent residual wavefront error requirements of an extrasolar planet imager with closed-loop results of 0.54 nm rms within controllable spatial frequencies. Individual contributors to final wavefront quality have been identified and characterized. I also present contrast measurements of 2 x 10{sup -7} made with the MEMS device and identify amplitude errors as the limiting error source. Closed-loop performance and simulated far-field measurements using a Kolmogorov phase plate to introduce atmosphere-like optical errors are also presented.

  6. High-contrast imaging using adaptive optics for extrasolar planet detection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evans, Julia Wilhelmsen

    Direct imaging of extrasolar planets is an important, but challenging in planetary science. Most planets identified to elate have been detected indirectly---not by emitted or reflected light but through the effect of the planet on the parent star. Indirect techniques only probe about 15% of the orbital parameter space of our solar system. Direct methods would probe new parameter space, and the detected light, can be analyzed spectroscopically, providing new information about detected planets. High contrast adaptive optics systems, also known as Extreme Adaptive Optics (ExAO), will require contrasts of between 10 -6 and 10 -7 at angles of 4--24 l/D on an 8-m class telescope to image young Jupiter-like planets. Such instruments will be technically challenging, requiring high-order adaptive optics with > 2000 actuators and improved diffraction suppression. Contrast is ultimately limited by residual static wavefront errors, so an extrasolar planet imager will require wavefront control with an accuracy of better than 1 nm rms within the low- to mid-spatial frequency range. Laboratory demonstrations are critical to instrument development. The ExAO testbed at the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics was designed with low wavefront error and precision optical metrology, which is used to explore contrast limits and develop the technology needed for an extrasolar planet imager. A state-of- the-art, 1024-actuator micro-electrical-mechanical-systems (MEMS) deformable mirror was the orbital parameter space of our 10-7 at (angles of 4-24 A/D, installed and characterized to provide active wavefront control and test this novel technology. I present 6.5 x 10 -8 contrast measurements with a prolate shaped pupil and flat mirror demonstrating that the testbed can operate in the necessary contrast regime. Wavefront measurements and simulations indicate that contrast is limited by wavefront error, not diffraction. I demonstrate feasibility of the MEMS deformable mirror for meeting the residual wavefront error requirements of an extrasolar planet imager with closed-loop results of 0.54 nm rms within controllable spatial frequencies. Individual contributors to final wavefront quality have been identified and characterized. I also present contrast measurements of 2 x 10 -7 made with time MEMS device and identify amplitude errors as the limiting error source. Closed-loop performance and simulated far-field measurements using a Kolmogorov phase plate to introduce atmosphere-like optical errors are also presented.

  7. Taxonomy of the extrasolar planet.

    PubMed

    Plávalová, Eva

    2012-04-01

    When a star is described as a spectral class G2V, we know that the star is similar to our Sun. We know its approximate mass, temperature, age, and size. When working with an extrasolar planet database, it is very useful to have a taxonomy scale (classification) such as, for example, the Harvard classification for stars. The taxonomy has to be easily interpreted and present the most relevant information about extrasolar planets. I propose an extrasolar planet taxonomy scale with four parameters. The first parameter concerns the mass of an extrasolar planet in the form of units of the mass of other known planets, where M represents the mass of Mercury, E that of Earth, N Neptune, and J Jupiter. The second parameter is the planet's distance from its parent star (semimajor axis) described in a logarithm with base 10. The third parameter is the mean Dyson temperature of the extrasolar planet, for which I established four main temperature classes: F represents the Freezing class, W the Water class, G the Gaseous class, and R the Roasters class. I devised one additional class, however: P, the Pulsar class, which concerns extrasolar planets orbiting pulsar stars. The fourth parameter is eccentricity. If the attributes of the surface of the extrasolar planet are known, we are able to establish this additional parameter where t represents a terrestrial planet, g a gaseous planet, and i an ice planet. According to this taxonomy scale, for example, Earth is 1E0W0t, Neptune is 1N1.5F0i, and extrasolar planet 55 Cnc e is 9E-1.8R1. PMID:22506608

  8. A Massively Parallel Particle Code for Rarefied Ionized and Neutral Gas Flows in Earth and Planetary Atmospheres, Ionospheres and Magnetospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Combi, Michael R.

    2004-01-01

    In order to understand the global structure, dynamics, and physical and chemical processes occurring in the upper atmospheres, exospheres, and ionospheres of the Earth, the other planets, comets and planetary satellites and their interactions with their outer particles and fields environs, it is often necessary to address the fundamentally non-equilibrium aspects of the physical environment. These are regions where complex chemistry, energetics, and electromagnetic field influences are important. Traditional approaches are based largely on hydrodynamic or magnetohydrodynamic MHD) formulations and are very important and highly useful. However, these methods often have limitations in rarefied physical regimes where the molecular collision rates and ion gyrofrequencies are small and where interactions with ionospheres and upper neutral atmospheres are important.

  9. Schumann resonance: a tool to study planetary atmospheric electricity and the origin and evolution of the solar system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamelin, M.; Simoes, F. A.; Pfaff, R. F.; Béghin, C.; Berthelier, J.; Chamberlin, P. C.; Farrell, W. M.; Freudenreich, H.; Grard, R.; Klenzing, J.; Lebreton, J.; Martin, S.; Rowland, D. E.; Yair, Y.

    2012-12-01

    Investigation of extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves produced by lightning activity has been used to assist the characterization of a variety of phenomena related to atmospheric electricity in the Earth environment. Detection of Schumann Resonance spectral features of the earth-ionosphere cavity from outside the cavity offers new remote sensing capabilities to assess tropospheric-space weather connections, namely periodic patterns observed in a variety of tropospheric, ionospheric, and magnetospheric processes. A link between the water mixing ratio and atmospheric electrical conductivity makes Schumann resonance a suitable tool to assess volatile abundance of the outer planets, offering new capabilities to constrain thermodynamic parameters of the protosolar nebula from which the solar system evolved. In this work we discuss a technique and associated instrumentation to detect Schumann resonance signatures of planetary environments and subsequently to infer the fraction of volatiles and to investigate weather patterns in the gaseous envelopes of the giant planets.

  10. Microfabricated Two-plate Ion Traps: A New Tool for Planetary Atmosphere Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Austin, Daniel

    2009-09-01

    Mass spectrometers are an important analytical tool in planetary exploration because of their high chemical specificity, high sensitivity, and the application to a wide variety of sample and analyte types. We have developed a novel miniature ion trap mass spectrometer using microfabrication techniques. The mass analyzer is made using two ceramic plates, the facing surfaces of which are patterned with electrodes using microlithography. Appropriate electrical potentials applied to the patterns yield quadrupole trapping fields. High mass resolution, in excess of 1000, has been demonstrated in the lab. This device combines small size, low mass, excellent mechanical ruggedness, and low-power operation. Tandem mass analysis has been demonstrated, and would be particularly useful in identification of unknown compounds. Funding on this development has been from the NASA Planetary Instrument Definition and Development Program.

  11. Planetary astronomy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morrison, David; Hunten, Donald; Ahearn, Michael F.; Belton, Michael J. S.; Black, David; Brown, Robert A.; Brown, Robert Hamilton; Cochran, Anita L.; Cruikshank, Dale P.; Depater, Imke

    1991-01-01

    The authors profile the field of astronomy, identify some of the key scientific questions that can be addressed during the decade of the 1990's, and recommend several facilities that are critically important for answering these questions. Scientific opportunities for the 1990' are discussed. Areas discussed include protoplanetary disks, an inventory of the solar system, primitive material in the solar system, the dynamics of planetary atmospheres, planetary rings and ring dynamics, the composition and structure of the atmospheres of giant planets, the volcanoes of IO, and the mineralogy of the Martian surface. Critical technology developments, proposed projects and facilities, and recommendations for research and facilities are discussed.

  12. Multiple scattering of polarized light in planetary atmospheres. II - Sunlight reflected by terrestrial water clouds.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hansen, J. E.

    1971-01-01

    The intensity and polarization of sunlight reflected by terrestrial water clouds are computed with the doubling method. The calculations illustrate that this method can be effectively used in problems involving strongly anisotropic phase matrices. The method can, therefore, be used to derive information about planetary clouds, including those of the earth, from polarimetric observations. The results of the computations indicate that the polarization is more sensitive than the intensity to cloud microstructure, such as particle size and shape.

  13. Kinetic Energy Release in molecular dications fragmentation after VUV and EUV ionization and escape from planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Falcinelli, Stefano; Rosi, Marzio; Candori, Pietro; Vecchiocattivi, Franco; Farrar, James M.; Pirani, Fernando; Balucani, Nadia; Alagia, Michele; Richter, Robert; Stranges, Stefano

    2014-09-01

    The measurements of the Kinetic Energy Release (KER) for various ionic species originating from two-body dissociations reactions, induced by double photoionization of CO2, C2H2 and N2O neutral molecular precursors of interest in planetary atmospheres, are reported. The KER distributions as a function of the ultraviolet (UV) photon energy in the range of 30-65 eV (Vacuum and Extreme UV photons) are extracted from the electron-ion-ion coincidence spectra obtained by using tunable synchrotron radiation coupled with ion imaging techniques. This experimental method allows assessing the probability of escape for some simple ionic species in the upper atmosphere of Mars and Titan. In fact, the KER measured for H+, C+, CH+, CH2+, N+, O+, CO+, N2+ and NO+ fragment ions are ranging between 1.0 and 5.5 eV (only for H+ the maximum value reaches 6.0 eV), and these translational energies are large enough to allow these ionic species in participating in the atmospheric escape from Mars and Titan into space (for CO+, N2+ and NO+, the measured KER of 0.5-2.5 eV, 0.5-2.8 eV and 1.0-2.5 eV, respectively, allows the possible escape only from the Titan atmosphere).

  14. On the wavelength dependence of the effects of turbulence on average refraction angles in occultations by planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haugstad, B. S.; Eshleman, V. R.

    1979-01-01

    The dependence of the effects of planetary atmospheric turbulence on radio or optical wavelength in occultation experiments is discussed, and the analysis of Hubbard and Jokipii (1977) is criticized. It is argued that in deriving a necessary condition for the applicability of their method, Hubbard and Jokipii neglect a factor proportional to the square of the ratio of atmospheric or local Fresnel zone radius and the inner scale of turbulence, and fail to establish sufficient conditions, thereby omitting the square of the ratio of atmospheric scale height and the local Fresnel zone radius. The total discrepancy is said to mean that the results correspond to geometrical optics instead of wave optics, as claimed, thus being inapplicable in a dicussion of wavelength dependence. Calculations based on geometrical optics show that the bias in the average bending angle depends on the wavelength in the same way as does the bias in phase path caused by turbulence in a homogeneous atmosphere. Hubbard and Jokipii comment that the criterion of Haugstad and Eshleman is incorrect and show that there is a large wave optical domain where the results are independent of wavelength.

  15. Solar cycle influence on troposphere and middle atmosphere via ozone layer in the presence of planetary waves: Simulation with ARM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krivolutsky, A. A.; Cherepanova, L. A.; Dement'eva, A. V.

    2015-10-01

    Global circulation model of the Troposphere-Middle Atmosphere-Lower Thermosphere ARM (Atmospheric Research Model) is used to simulate the thermal and wind response to solar cycle-induced UV variations. ARM covers altitudes from 1 to 135 km and has corresponding spatial resolution: 1 km in altitude; 11.25° in longitude; 5° in latitude. Internal Gravity Waves parameterization and planetary waves (PWs) structure on the basis of observations are determined at the lower boundary of the model. Changes in UV radiation, which is absorbed by ozone and molecular oxygen, are introduced into the model to find the corresponding global wind and temperature response. Stationary PWs with zonal wave numbers 1-3 are included at lower boundary in model runs. The simulations show that atmospheric response to solar cycle has a visible nonzonal character with the amplitude of about 5 K in the troposphere for the winter season. The effect is rather smaller for summer due to the trapping PWs at lower altitudes. So, in accordance with the results of simulations, the link between the solar UV variability and the middle and low atmosphere strongly depends on the ozone and PWs activity.

  16. Origin of planetary atmospheres and their role in the evolution of life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bauer, Siegfried J.

    2002-11-01

    The successful synthesis of amino acids in a reducing gas mixture presumably resembling the primary Earth atmosphere, by the Miller-Urey experiment, had a long lasting influence on the general perception of such an early atmosphere. Based on atmospheric escape, such a reducing atmosphere, however, has a lifetime of only millions of years. According to present view the early atmosphere of Earth may have resulted from mantle degassing of volatiles (H2O, CO2, N2), followed by later accumulation of O2 as product of life (photosynthesis). For Mars, with similar degassing products, evolution of life could have been possible in its early history. Non-reducing atmospheres (with liquid water) although not conductive for local synthesis of prebiotic molecules, may provide a benign environment for the evolution of life via ubiquitous supply of "building blocks" from external sources.

  17. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, P. G.

    1985-01-01

    Radio absorptivity data for the Venus middle atmosphere (1 to 6 atm, temperatures from 500 to 575K) obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments (at 3.6 to 13.4 cm wavelengths) and earth-based radio astronomical observations (1 to 3 cm wavelength range) are compared to laboratory observations at the latter wavelength range under simulated Venus conditions to infer abundances of microwave-absorbing atmospheric constituents, i.e. H2SO4 in a CO2 atmosphere.

  18. Laboratory evaluation of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, P. G.

    1984-01-01

    The microwave absorbing properties of gaseous sulfuric acid (H2SO4) under Venus atmospheric conditions are investigated. The results are applied to measurements from Mariner 5, Mariner 10, and Pioneer/Venus Radio Occultation experiments, to determine abundancies of gaseous sulfuric acid in the Venus atmosphere. The microwave properties of the vapors accompanying liquid H2SO4 are studied to estimate the vapor pressure in an atmospheric model.

  19. Extrasolar planet detection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Korechoff, R. P.; Diner, D. J.; Tubbs, E. F.; Gaiser, S. L.

    1994-01-01

    This paper discusses the concept of extrasolar planet detection using a large-aperture infared imaging telescope. Coronagraphic stellar apodization techniques are less efficient at infrared wavelengths compared to the visible, as a result of practical limitations on aperture dimensions, thus necessitating additional starlight suppression to make planet detection feasible in this spectral domain. We have been investigating the use of rotational shearing interferometry to provide up to three orders of magnitude of starlight suppression over broad spectral bandwidths. We present a theoretical analysis of the system performance requirements needed to make this a viable instrument for planet detection, including specifications on the interferometer design and telescope aperture characteristics. The concept of using rotational shearing interferometry as a wavefront error detector, thus providing a signal that can be used to adaptively correct the wavefront, will be discussed. We also present the status of laboratory studies of on-axis source suppression using a recently constructed rotational shearing interferometer that currently operates in the visible.

  20. The final fate of planetary systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gaensicke, Boris

    2015-12-01

    The discovery of the first extra-solar planet around a main-sequence star in 1995 has changed the way we think about the Universe: our solar system is not unique. Twenty years later, we know that planetary systems are ubiquitous, orbit stars spanning a wide range in mass, and form in an astonishing variety of architectures. Yet, one fascinating aspect of planetary systems has received relatively little attention so far: their ultimate fate.Most planet hosts will eventually evolve into white dwarfs, Earth-sized stellar embers, and the outer parts of their planetary systems (in the solar system, Mars and beyond) can survive largely intact for billions of years. While scattered and tidally disrupted planetesimals are directly detected at a small number of white dwarfs in the form infrared excess, the most powerful probe for detecting evolved planetary systems is metal pollution of the otherwise pristine H/He atmospheres.I will present the results of a multi-cycle HST survey that has obtained COS observations of 136 white dwarfs. These ultraviolet spectra are exquisitely sensitive to the presence of metals contaminating the white atmosphere. Our sophisticated model atmosphere analysis demonstrates that at least 27% of all targets are currently accreting planetary debris, and an additional 29% have very likely done so in the past. These numbers suggest that planet formation around A-stars (the dominant progenitors of today's white dwarf population) is similarly efficient as around FGK stars.In addition to post-main sequence planetary system demographics, spectroscopy of the debris-polluted white dwarf atmospheres provides a direct window into the bulk composition of exo-planetesimals, analogous to the way we use of meteorites to determine solar-system abundances. Our ultraviolet spectroscopy is particularly sensitive to the detection of Si, a dominant rock-forming species, and we identify up to ten additional volatile and refractory elements in the most strongly contaminated white dwarfs. The derived bulk abundances unambiguously demonstrate the predominantly rocky nature of the accreted material, with two exceptions where we detect volatile-rich debris. The relative abundance ratios suggest a wide range of parent bodies, including both primitive asteroids and fragments from differentiated planetesimals. The growing number of detailed debris abundances can provide important observational constraints on planet formation models.

  1. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres. Annual Status report, 1 February-31 October 1989

    SciTech Connect

    Steffes, P.G.

    1989-10-01

    Radio absorptivity data for planetary atmospheres obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments and earth-based radio astronomical observations can be used to infer abundances of microwave absorbing atmospheric constituents in those atmospheres, as long as reliable information regarding the microwave absorbing properties of potential constituents is available. Work performed has shown that laboratory measurements of the millimeter-wave opacity of ammonia between 7.5 mm and 9.3 mm and also at the 3.2 mm wavelength require a different lineshape to be used in the theoretical prediction for millimeter-wave ammonia opacity than was previously used. The recognition of the need to make such laboratory measurements of simulated planetary atmospheres over a range of temperatures and pressures which correspond to the altitudes probed by both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, and over a range of frequencies which correspond to those used in both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, has led to the development of a facility at Georgia Tech which is capable of making such measurements. It has been the goal of this investigation to conduct such measurements and to apply the results to a wide range of planetary observations, both spacecraft and earth-based, in order to determine the identity and abundance profiles of constituents in those planetary atmospheres.

  2. Earth as an Exoplanet: Lessons in Recognizing Planetary Habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meadows, Victoria; Robinson, Tyler; Misra, Amit; Ennico, Kimberly; Sparks, William B.; Claire, Mark; Crisp, David; Schwieterman, Edward; Bussey, D. Ben J.; Breiner, Jonathan

    2015-01-01

    Earth will always be our best-studied example of a habitable world. While extrasolar planets are unlikely to look exactly like Earth, they may share key characteristics, such as oceans, clouds and surface inhomogeneity. Earth's globally-averaged characteristics can therefore help us to recognize planetary habitability in data-limited exoplanet observations. One of the most straightforward ways to detect habitability will be via detection of 'glint', specular reflectance from an ocean (Robinson et al., 2010). Other methods include undertaking a census of atmospheric greenhouse gases, or attempting to measure planetary surface temperature and pressure, to determine if liquid water would be feasible on the planetary surface. Here we present recent research on detecting planetary habitability, led by the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory Team. This work includes a collaboration with the NASA Lunar Science Institute on the detection of ocean glint and ozone absorption using Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) Earth observations (Robinson et al., 2014). This data/model comparison provides the first observational test of a technique that could be used to determine exoplanet habitability from disk-integrated observations at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. We find that the VPL spectral Earth model is in excellent agreement with the LCROSS Earth data, and can be used to reliably predict Earth's appearance at a range of phases relevant to exoplanet observations. Determining atmospheric surface pressure and temperature directly for a potentially habitable planet will be challenging due to the lack of spatial-resolution, presence of clouds, and difficulty in spectrally detecting many bulk constituents of terrestrial atmospheres. Additionally, Rayleigh scattering can be masked by absorbing gases and absorption from the underlying surface. However, new techniques using molecular dimers of oxygen (Misra et al., 2014) and nitrogen (Schwieterman et al., 2014) may provide an alternative means to determine terrestrial atmospheric pressure for both transit transmission and direct imaging observations.

  3. Toward a Model for Detecting Life on Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rye, R.; Storrie-Lombardi, M.

    2001-12-01

    The search for life extraterrestrial life has rapidly expanded during the past several years. In addition to missions to Mars and Europa, NASA now envisions launching an orbiting telescope, Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF), capable of resolving Earth-sized planets around stars as far away as 50 parsecs within the next 10-15 years. By that time we need to develop our understanding of the effects of life on such planets in order to confidently distinguish inhabited planets from barren ones. Our group is in the process of developing a fully coupled generalized 1-D radiative transfer-atmospheric chemistry model. Around this core we are building the Virtual Planetary Laboratory (VPL) to generate synthetic spectra of hypothetical extrasolar terrestrial planets. Computational modules mimicking the influence of life on atmospheric chemistry/climate are of central importance for analyzing data from TPF and related missions. Here we describe our rationale and initial efforts to parameterize the effects of life using a Virtual Microbial Community (VMC). At first glance, the task of modeling hypothetical inhabited planets appears intractable. However, we may assume that most planets settle into a fairly small number of stable climate/chemistry regimes during their history. These regimes are maintained by negative feedback loops. Transitions from one stable solution to another are singularities, times during which the system is unregulated and may vary wildly. In this context, life is one of several processes modifying the chemical composition of a planetary atmosphere, potentially modifying climate. We seek to elucidate those processes and signatures unique to life and visible from space. The VMC is a first attempt at quantifying the possible range of effects of life on the atmosphere of a planet. We start from the presumption that kinetics and thermodynamics are the same throughout the universe. Given the remarkable metabolic diversity of life on Earth, we assume that all available energy sources may be used by biology on detectably colonized planets. Simple feedback loops such as those governing Lovelock?s famous Daisyworld or the Walker CO2 feedback, offer starting points for thinking about global scale feedbacks. Feedbacks in microbial communities, e.g. those postulated in anaerobic methane oxidation communities, involving the use of one or more organisms? waste products as nutrients by another, hint at the local complexity from which we need to scale up. Our first attempt at bridging this gap involves describing the processes that may have helped stabilize the Archean climate. Archean biogenic methane production could have been rapid enough to provide 100s ppm atmospheric CH4. At such CH4 levels Earth would have remained ice free. Sudden increases in CH4 production might have led to runaway greenhouse conditions. However, if CH4/CO2 > 1 a UV absorbing aerosol haze should form. UV-labile ammonia could have accumulated in the atmosphere under the haze, quickly making rain pH > 7, dramatically slowing chemical weathering on the continents and interrupting vital phosphate delivery to the oceans. The residence time of P is ca.10,000 years. Thus, over a time scale of ca.10,000 years primary productivity dropped sharply. Biogenic methane production, near the base of the trophic ladder, suffered disproportionately. With little CH4 production CH4/CO2 fell to < 1. The UV screen and atmospheric NH3 disappeared in a few years. Rain pH dropped. Weathering restarted. Biological productivity recovered. The above testable scenario serves as an example of a plausible feedback involving interplay between biological, geochemical, atmospheric and stellar processes. Feedback loops of this sort will be central features of the fully realized VMC module for the VPL.

  4. CARBON-RICH MOLECULAR CHAINS IN PROTOPLANETARY AND PLANETARY ATMOSPHERES: QUANTUM MECHANISMS AND ELECTRON ATTACHMENT RATES FOR ANION FORMATION

    SciTech Connect

    Carelli, F.; Grassi, T.; Gianturco, F. A.; Satta, M.

    2013-09-10

    The elementary mechanisms through which molecular polyynes could form stable negative ions after interacting with free electrons in planetary atmospheres (e.g., Titan's) are analyzed using quantum scattering calculations and quantum structure methods. The case of radical species and of nonpolar partners are analyzed via specific examples for both the C{sub n}H and HC{sub n}H series, with n values from 4 to 12. We show that attachment processes to polar radicals are dominating the anionic production and that the mediating role of dipolar scattering states is crucial to their formation. The corresponding attachment rates are presented as calculated upper limits to their likely values and are obtained down to the low temperatures of interest. The effects of the computed rates, when used in simple evolutionary models, are also investigated and presented in detail.

  5. Tm:germanate Fiber Laser for Planetary Water Vapor Atmospheric Profiling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barnes, Norman P.; De Young, Russell

    2009-01-01

    The atmospheric profiling of water vapor is necessary for finding life on Mars and weather on Earth. The design and performance of a water vapor lidar based on a Tm:germanate fiber laser is presented.

  6. Refraction in planetary atmospheres: improved analytical expressions and comparison with a new ray-tracing algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bétrémieux, Yan; Kaltenegger, Lisa

    2015-08-01

    Atmospheric refraction affects to various degrees exoplanet transit, lunar eclipse, as well as stellar occultation observations. Exoplanet retrieval algorithms often use analytical expressions for the column abundance along a ray traversing the atmosphere as well as for the deflection of that ray, which are first-order approximations valid for low densities in a spherically symmetric homogeneous isothermal atmosphere. We derive new analytical formulae for both of these quantities, which are valid for higher densities, and use them to refine and validate a new ray-tracing algorithm which can be used for arbitrary atmospheric temperature-pressure profiles. We illustrate with simple isothermal atmospheric profiles the consequences of our model for different planets: temperate Earth-like and Jovian-like planets, as well as HD 189733b, and GJ1214b. We find that, for both hot exoplanets, our treatment of refraction does not make much of a difference to pressures as high as 10 atm, but that it is important to consider the variation of gravity with altitude for GJ1214b. However, we find that the temperate atmospheres have an apparent scaleheight significantly smaller than their actual density scaleheight at densities larger than 1 amagat, thus increasing the difficulty of detecting spectral features originating in these regions. These denser atmospheric regions form a refractive boundary layer where column abundances and ray deflection increases dramatically with decreasing impact parameter. This refractive boundary layer mimics a surface, and none of the techniques mentioned above can probe atmospheric regions denser than about 4 amagat on these temperate planets.

  7. A Grant from NASA's Office of Space Station Science, Planetary Atmosphere's Program to Boston University

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yelle, Roger V.

    2000-01-01

    In the past three years of this program we have made contributions to a variety of subjects in research on Jupiter's Atmosphere, the Ultraviolet Spectroscopy of Jupiter, the abundance of CH4 in Pluto's atmosphere, and the emissivity of Pluto's Surface. We also performed work on two projects related to Titan, and an analysis of the visible spectrum of a brown dwarf. The highpoints are briefly summarized and a list of papers supported partly or wholly by this program is also provided.

  8. Earth as an extrasolar planet: Earth model validation using EPOXI earth observations.

    PubMed

    Robinson, Tyler D; Meadows, Victoria S; Crisp, David; Deming, Drake; A'hearn, Michael F; Charbonneau, David; Livengood, Timothy A; Seager, Sara; Barry, Richard K; Hearty, Thomas; Hewagama, Tilak; Lisse, Carey M; McFadden, Lucy A; Wellnitz, Dennis D

    2011-06-01

    The EPOXI Discovery Mission of Opportunity reused the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft to obtain spatially and temporally resolved visible photometric and moderate resolution near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic observations of Earth. These remote observations provide a rigorous validation of whole-disk Earth model simulations used to better understand remotely detectable extrasolar planet characteristics. We have used these data to upgrade, correct, and validate the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory three-dimensional line-by-line, multiple-scattering spectral Earth model. This comprehensive model now includes specular reflectance from the ocean and explicitly includes atmospheric effects such as Rayleigh scattering, gas absorption, and temperature structure. We have used this model to generate spatially and temporally resolved synthetic spectra and images of Earth for the dates of EPOXI observation. Model parameters were varied to yield an optimum fit to the data. We found that a minimum spatial resolution of ∼100 pixels on the visible disk, and four categories of water clouds, which were defined by using observed cloud positions and optical thicknesses, were needed to yield acceptable fits. The validated model provides a simultaneous fit to Earth's lightcurve, absolute brightness, and spectral data, with a root-mean-square (RMS) error of typically less than 3% for the multiwavelength lightcurves and residuals of ∼10% for the absolute brightness throughout the visible and NIR spectral range. We have extended our validation into the mid-infrared by comparing the model to high spectral resolution observations of Earth from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, obtaining a fit with residuals of ∼7% and brightness temperature errors of less than 1 K in the atmospheric window. For the purpose of understanding the observable characteristics of the distant Earth at arbitrary viewing geometry and observing cadence, our validated forward model can be used to simulate Earth's time-dependent brightness and spectral properties for wavelengths from the far ultraviolet to the far infrared. Key Words: Astrobiology-Extrasolar terrestrial planets-Habitability-Planetary science-Radiative transfer. Astrobiology 11, 393-408. PMID:21631250

  9. 3D climate modeling of Earth-like extrasolar planets orbiting different types of host stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Godolt, M.; Grenfell, J. L.; Hamann-Reinus, A.; Kitzmann, D.; Kunze, M.; Langematz, U.; von Paris, P.; Patzer, A. B. C.; Rauer, H.; Stracke, B.

    2015-06-01

    The potential habitability of a terrestrial planet is usually defined by the possible existence of liquid water on its surface, since life as we know it needs liquid water at least during a part of its life cycle. The potential presence of liquid water on a planetary surface depends on many factors such as, most importantly, surface temperatures. The properties of the planetary atmosphere and its interaction with the radiative energy provided by the planet's host star are thereby of decisive importance. In this study we investigate the influence of different main-sequence stars (F, G, and K-type stars) upon the climate of Earth-like extrasolar planets and their potential habitability by applying a state-of-the-art three-dimensional (3D) Earth climate model accounting for local and dynamical processes. The calculations have been performed for planets with Earth-like atmospheres at orbital distances (and corresponding orbital periods) where the total amount of energy received from the various host stars equals the solar constant. In contrast to previous 3D modeling studies, we include the effect of ozone radiative heating upon the vertical temperature structure of the atmospheres. The global orbital mean results obtained have been compared to those of a one-dimensional (1D) radiative convective climate model to investigate the approximation of global mean 3D results by those of 1D models. The different stellar spectral energy distributions lead to different surface temperatures and due to ozone heating to very different vertical temperature structures. As previous 1D studies we find higher surface temperatures for the Earth-like planet around the K-type star, and lower temperatures for the planet around the F-type star compared to an Earth-like planet around the Sun. However, this effect is more pronounced in the 3D model results than in the 1D model because the 3D model accounts for feedback processes such as the ice-albedo and the water vapor feedback. Whether the 1D model may approximate the global mean of the 3D model results strongly depends on the choice of the relative humidity profile in the 1D model, which is used to determine the water vapor profile. Hence, possible changes in the hydrological cycle need to be accounted for when estimating the potential habitability of an extrasolar planet.

  10. Earth as an Extrasolar Planet: Earth Model Validation Using EPOXI Earth Observations

    PubMed Central

    Meadows, Victoria S.; Crisp, David; Deming, Drake; A'Hearn, Michael F.; Charbonneau, David; Livengood, Timothy A.; Seager, Sara; Barry, Richard K.; Hearty, Thomas; Hewagama, Tilak; Lisse, Carey M.; McFadden, Lucy A.; Wellnitz, Dennis D.

    2011-01-01

    Abstract The EPOXI Discovery Mission of Opportunity reused the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft to obtain spatially and temporally resolved visible photometric and moderate resolution near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic observations of Earth. These remote observations provide a rigorous validation of whole-disk Earth model simulations used to better understand remotely detectable extrasolar planet characteristics. We have used these data to upgrade, correct, and validate the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory three-dimensional line-by-line, multiple-scattering spectral Earth model. This comprehensive model now includes specular reflectance from the ocean and explicitly includes atmospheric effects such as Rayleigh scattering, gas absorption, and temperature structure. We have used this model to generate spatially and temporally resolved synthetic spectra and images of Earth for the dates of EPOXI observation. Model parameters were varied to yield an optimum fit to the data. We found that a minimum spatial resolution of ∼100 pixels on the visible disk, and four categories of water clouds, which were defined by using observed cloud positions and optical thicknesses, were needed to yield acceptable fits. The validated model provides a simultaneous fit to Earth's lightcurve, absolute brightness, and spectral data, with a root-mean-square (RMS) error of typically less than 3% for the multiwavelength lightcurves and residuals of ∼10% for the absolute brightness throughout the visible and NIR spectral range. We have extended our validation into the mid-infrared by comparing the model to high spectral resolution observations of Earth from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, obtaining a fit with residuals of ∼7% and brightness temperature errors of less than 1 K in the atmospheric window. For the purpose of understanding the observable characteristics of the distant Earth at arbitrary viewing geometry and observing cadence, our validated forward model can be used to simulate Earth's time-dependent brightness and spectral properties for wavelengths from the far ultraviolet to the far infrared. Key Words: Astrobiology—Extrasolar terrestrial planets—Habitability—Planetary science—Radiative transfer. Astrobiology 11, 393–408. PMID:21631250

  11. Spectral properties of condensed phases of disulfur monoxide, polysulfur oxide, and irradiated sulfur. [in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hapke, Bruce; Graham, Francis

    1989-01-01

    The spectral reflectances of S2O, as well as the polysulfur oxide (PSO) condensate dissociation products of SO2 and condensates of elemental sulfur irradiated with UV light and X-rays, have been ascertained in the 200-1700 nm range with a view to the relevance of these compounds to the interpretation of planetary data. While S2O is a dark red solid, PSO is a pale yellow one that absorbs strongly in the UV but exhibits no bands in either the visible or near IR. Elemental S produces strong bands in the UV, and while it is normally white at room temperature, UV irradiation causes it to turn yellow. X-ray irradiation of S turns it orange.

  12. Radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres: Submillimeter-wave spectroscopy of comets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schloerb, F. Peter

    1991-01-01

    During 1990, a significant step was made in asertaining the molecular composition of comets by our Planetary Astronomy group at the University of Massachusetts. We obtained several exciting new detections of submillimeter wave spectral lines from molecules in the coma of Comet Levy (1990c) using the 10m telescope of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, located on Mauna Kea. The molecules HCN, formaldahyde, and methanol were all detected in abundances that make them important minor constituents of the nucleus. Moreover, the emission was so strong that, for the first time, it was possible to map the distribution of these species in the coma and study their behavior as they flow outwards from the nucleus.

  13. Experimental setups used to characterize gases at typical planetary atmospheric conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stefani, S.; Piccioni, G.; Snels, M.; Adriani, A.

    2014-04-01

    Here we present three experimental setup used to study the optical properties of gases, in particular CO2 and H2, at typical planetary conditions. Two dedicated gas cells have been integrated with a Fourier Transform InfraRed (FT-IR) spectrometer. The first, High Pressure High Temperature (HP-HT) gas cell, is designed to support pressures up to 200 bar, temperatures up to 570 K and characterized by an optical path of 2 cm. The second one, Multi Pass (MP), is a cell with a variable optical path from 2.5 to 30 m, able to work with pressure up to 10 bar and temperature up to 600 K. The last experimental apparatus is a cell projected to support pressures up to 100 bar and uses the Cavity Ring Down (CRD) technique to record the loss rate of different gases.

  14. Outer satellite atmospheres: Their extended nature and planetary interactions. [sodium cloud of Io, hydrogen torus of Titan, and comet atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smyth, W. H.

    1980-01-01

    Highly developed numerical models are applied to interpret extended-atmosphere data for the sodium cloud of Io and the hydrogen torus of Titan. Solar radiation pressure was identified and verified by model calculations as the mechanism to explain two different east-west asymmetries observed in the sodium cloud. Analysis of sodium line profile data, suggesting that a Jupiter magnetospheric wind may be responsible for high speed sodium atoms emitted from Io, and preliminary modeling of the interaction of the Io plasma torus and Io's sodium cloud are also reported. Models presented for Titan's hydrogen torus are consistent both with the recent Pioneer 11 measurements and earlier Earth-orbiting observations by the Copernicus satellite. Progress is reported on developing models for extended gas and dust atmospheres of comets.

  15. Outer satellite atmospheres: Their nature and planetary interactions. [atmospheric models for Amalthea, Ganymede, Callisto, and Titan are presented

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smyth, W. H.

    1978-01-01

    Results show that Amalthea is likely to form a tightly-bound partial toroidal-shaped hydrogen cloud about its planet, while Ganymede, Callisto and Titan may have rather large, complete and nearly symmetric toroidal-shaped clouds. The toroidal cloud for Amalthea compares favorably with spacecraft data of Pioneer 10 for a satellite escape flux of order 10 to the 11th power atoms/sq cm/sec. Model results for Ganymede, Callisto and Titan suggest that these extended hydrogen atmospheres are likely to be detected by the Voyager spacecrafts and that Titan's cloud might also be detected by the Pioneer 11 spacecraft. Ions created because of atoms lost through ionization processes from these four extended hydrogen atmospheres and from the sodium cloud of Io are discussed.

  16. Numerical Modelling of Planetary Dynamos

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stanley, Sabine

    2011-10-01

    Magnetic field observations by spacecraft missions have provided vital information on planetary dynamos. The four giant planets as well as Earth, Mercury and Ganymede have observable magnetic fields generated by active dynamos. In contrast, Moon and Mars only have remanent crustal fields from dynamo action in their early histories. The study of planetary dynamos has recently expanded to include new bodies. First, paleomagnetic records of meteorites hint that early solar system planetesimals had dynamo generated fields. Second, the diversity of recently discovered extrasolar planets has initiated a study of new planetary interior conditions and what these mean for the feasibility and morphology of dynamos in these bodies. Here we review numerical dynamo simulations of planetary bodies. We focus on planets other than Earth, however will appeal to Earth in a comparative sense. We will concentrate on models that have been tailored for specific planets or have addressed non-Earth-like magnetic field characteristics of planetary bodies.

  17. Numerical Modelling of Planetary Dynamos

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stanley, Sabine

    2011-11-01

    Magnetic field observations by spacecraft missions have provided vital information on planetary dynamos. The four giant planets as well as Earth, Mercury and Ganymede have observable magnetic fields generated by active dynamos. In contrast, Moon and Mars only have remanent crustal fields from dynamo action in their early histories. The study of planetary dynamos has recently expanded to include new bodies. First, paleomagnetic records of meteorites hint that early solar system planetesimals had dynamo generated fields. Second, the diversity of recently discovered extrasolar planets has initiated a study of new planetary interior conditions and what these mean for the feasibility and morphology of dynamos in these bodies. Here we review numerical dynamo simulations of planetary bodies. We focus on planets other than Earth, however will appeal to Earth in a comparative sense. We will concentrate on models that have been tailored for specific planets or have addressed non-Earth-like magnetic field characteristics of planetary bodies.

  18. Atmosphere/mantle coupling on Venus and long term planetary evolution.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gillmann, Cedric; Tackley, Paul

    2013-04-01

    We propose to investigate the evolution of the atmosphere and surface conditions on Venus and how they are linked with mantle dynamics. The key point of the study is the interaction between mantle and atmosphere. Coupling occurs on one hand due to mantle degassing, releasing volatiles into the atmosphere, and on the other hand through surface conditions and surface temperature that provide a boundary condition for convection processes. Thus, we focus on mechanisms that deplete or replenish the atmosphere: volcanic degassing and atmospheric escape. These processes are linked together to obtain a coupled model, using retroaction of the atmosphere on the mantle. Two aspects of the atmospheric escape are taken into account. During early evolution, hydrodynamic escape is dominant. We use a model developed to take into account the linked escape of Hydrogen and Oxygen (Gillmann et al., 2009). A significant portion of the early atmosphere can be removed this way. For later evolution, we focus on non-thermal escape, as observed by the ASPERA instrument and modeled in various recent numerical studies. Post 4 Ga escape is low. Water escapes moderately, while we are not able to detect the present-day escape of CO2. The atmosphere is replenished by volcanic degassing. We use the advanced StagYY code (Armann and Tackley, 2012) for mantle dynamics to compute the evolution of the interior of Venus and corresponding volcanic output. Volatile fluxes are estimated for different mantle compositions and partitioning ratios. We use a gray radiative-convective model for the atmosphere of Venus. By tracking the evolution of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere (water and CO2) we follow surface conditions and temperature over time. Our mantle convection code then uses this temperature as a boundary condition, which in turn affects mantle dynamics. Our results show that we are able to obtain a Venus-like behavior for the solid planet, with resurfacing events constituting an efficient way of losing Venus' internal heat. We are also able to create evolutions leading to present-day conditions. CO2 pressure seems unlikely to vary much over the history of the planet, only slightly increasing due to degassing. A late build-up of the atmosphere with several resurfacing events seems unlikely. On the other hand, water pressure is strongly sensitive to volcanic activity and varies rapidly leading to variations in surface temperatures of up to 200K. We observe a clear negative feedback of the atmosphere on volcanic activity, as higher surface temperatures lead to a stagnant or episodic lid convection and less melt production. On the other hand, a lower surface temperature seems to favor mobile lid convection. Mobilization of the upper layers occurs, which imply that our coupling is not complete without taking into account rehydratation of the mantle.

  19. High resolution infrared spectroscopy: Some new approaches and applications to planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mumma, M. J.

    1978-01-01

    The principles of spectral line formation and of techniques for retrieval of atmospheric temperature and constituent profiles are discussed. Applications to the atmospheres of Earth, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter are illustrated by results obtained with Fourier transform and infrared heterodyne spectrometers at resolving powers (lambda/delta hyperon lambda of approximately 10,000 and approximately 10 to the seventh power), respectively, showing the high complementarity of spectroscopy at these two widely different resolving powers. The principles of heterodyne spectroscopy are presented and its applications to atmospheric probing and to laboratory spectroscopy are discussed. Direct absorption spectroscopy with tuneable semiconductor lasers is discussed in terms of precision frequency-and line strength-measurements, showing substantial advances in laboratory infrared spectroscopy.

  20. Studies of the chemistry of vibrationally and electronically excited species in planetary upper atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fox, J. L.

    1984-01-01

    The vibrational distribution of O2(+) in the atmospheres of Venus and Mars was investigated to compare with analogous values in the Earth's atmosphere. The dipole moment of the Z(2) Pi sub u - X(2) Pi sub g transition of O2(+) is calculated as a function of internuclear distance. The band absorption oscillator strengths and band transition probabilities of the second negative system are derived. The vibrational distribution of O2(+) in the ionosphere of Venus is calculated for a model based on data from the Pioneer Venus neutral mass spectrometer.

  1. To Cool is to Accrete: Analytic Scalings for Nebular Accretion of Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Eve J.; Chiang, Eugene

    2015-09-01

    Planets acquire atmospheres from their parent circumstellar disks. We derive a general analytic expression for how the atmospheric mass grows with time t as a function of the underlying core mass {M}{core} and nebular conditions, including the gas metallicity Z. Planets accrete as much gas as can cool: an atmosphere's doubling time is given by its Kelvin-Helmholtz time. Dusty atmospheres behave differently from atmospheres made dust-free by grain growth and sedimentation. The gas-to-core mass ratio (GCR) of a dusty atmosphere scales as GCR \\propto {t}0.4{M}{core}1.7{Z}-0.4{μ }{rcb}3.4, where {μ }{rcb}\\propto 1/(1-Z) (for Z not too close to 1) is the mean molecular weight at the innermost radiative-convective boundary. This scaling applies across all orbital distances and nebular conditions for dusty atmospheres; their radiative-convective boundaries, which regulate cooling, are not set by the external environment, but rather by the internal microphysics of dust sublimation, H2 dissociation, and the formation of H-. By contrast, dust-free atmospheres have their radiative boundaries at temperatures {T}{rcb} close to nebular temperatures {T}{out}, and grow faster at larger orbital distances where cooler temperatures, and by extension lower opacities, prevail. At 0.1 AU in a gas-poor nebula, GCR \\propto {t}0.4{T}{rcb}-1.9{M}{core}1.6{Z}-0.4{μ }{rcb}3.3, while beyond 1 AU in a gas-rich nebula, GCR \\propto {t}0.4{T}{rcb}-1.5{M}{core}1{Z}-0.4{μ }{rcb}2.2. We confirm our analytic scalings against detailed numerical models for objects ranging in mass from Mars (0.1{M}\\oplus ) to the most extreme super-Earths (10-20{M}\\oplus ), and explain why heating from planetesimal accretion cannot prevent the latter from undergoing runaway gas accretion.

  2. Zeppelin NT - Measurement Platform for the Exploration of Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics in the Planetary Boundary Layer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofzumahaus, Andreas; Holland, Frank; Oebel, Andreas; Rohrer, Franz; Mentel, Thomas; Kiendler-Scharr, Astrid; Wahner, Andreas; Brauchle, Artur; Steinlein, Klaus; Gritzbach, Robert

    2014-05-01

    The planetary boundary layer (PBL) is the chemically most active and complex part of the atmosphere where freshly emitted reactive trace gases, tropospheric radicals, atmospheric oxidation products and aerosols exhibit a large variability and spatial gradients. In order to investigate the chemical degradation of trace gases and the formation of secondary pollutants in the PBL, a commercial Zeppelin NT was modified to be used as an airborne measurement platform for chemical and physical observations with high spatial resolution. The Zeppelin NT was developed by Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik (ZLT) and is operated by Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei (DZR) in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The modification was performed in cooperation between Forschungszentrum Jülich and ZLT. The airship has a length of 75 m, can lift about 1 ton of scientific payload and can be manoeuvered with high precision by propeller engines. The modified Zeppelin can carry measurement instruments mounted on a platform on top of the Zeppelin, or inside the gondola beneath the airship. Three different instrument packages were developed to investigate a. gas-phase oxidation processes involving free radicals (OH, HO2) b. formation of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) c. new particle formation (nucleation) The presentation will describe the modified airship and provide an overview of its technical performance. Examples of its application during the recent PEGASOS flight campaigns in Europe will be given.

  3. Low-temperature Kinetic Studies of OH Radical Reactions Relevant to Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Townsend, T. M.; Antiñolo, M.; Ballesteros, B.; Jimenez, E.; Canosa, A.

    2011-05-01

    In the solar system, the temperature (T) of the atmosphere of giant planets or their satellites is only several tens of Kelvin (K). The temperature of the tropopause of Titan (satellite of Saturn) and the surface of Mars is 70 K and 210 K, respectively. In the Earth's atmosphere, T decreases from 298 K (surface) to 210 K close to the T-inversion region (tropopause). The principal oxidants in the Earth's lower atmosphere are ozone, the hydroxyl (OH) radical and hydrogen peroxide. A number of critical atmospheric chemical problems depend on the Earth's oxidising capacity, which is essentially the global burden of these oxidants. In the interstellar clouds and circumstellar envelopes, OH radicals have also been detected. As the chemistry of atmospheres is highly influenced by temperature, the knowledge of the T-dependence of the rate coefficients for OH-reactions (k) is the key to understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms. In general, these reactions take place on a short temporal scale. Therefore, a detection technique with high temporal resolution is required. Measurements of k at low temperatures can be achieved by maintaining a thermalised environment using either cryogenic cooling (T>200 K) or supersonic gas expansion with a Laval nozzle (several tens of K). The pulsed laser photolysis technique coupled with laser induced fluorescence detection has been widely used in our laboratory to determine the rate coefficients of OH-reactions with different volatile organic compounds, such as alcohols (1), saturated and unsaturated aliphatic aldehydes (2), linear ketones (3), as a function of temperature (260 350 K). An experimental system based on the CRESU (Cinetique de Reaction en Ecoulement Supersonique Uniforme or Reaction Kinetics in a Uniform Supersonic Flow) technique is currently under construction. This technique will allow the performance of kinetic studies of OH-reactions of astrophysical interest at temperatures lower than 200 K.

  4. Evaporation of ice in planetary atmospheres - Ice-covered rivers on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wallace, D.; Sagan, C.

    1979-01-01

    The existence of ice covered rivers on Mars is considered. It is noted that the evaporation rate of water ice on the surface of a planet with an atmosphere involves an equilibrium between solar heating and radiative and evaporative cooling of the ice layer. It is determined that even with a mean Martian insolation rate above the ice of approximately 10 to the -8th g per sq cm/sec, a flowing channel of liquid water will be covered by ice which evaporates sufficiently slowly that the water below can flow for hundreds of kilometers even with modest discharges. Evaporation rates are calculated for a range of frictional velocities, atmospheric pressures, and insolations and it is suggested that some subset of observed Martian channels may have formed as ice-choked rivers. Finally, the exobiological implications of ice covered channels or lakes on Mars are discussed.

  5. Calculation of polarization and anisotropy of resonant and fluorescent scattering. [in planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chamberlain, Joseph W.

    1990-01-01

    Formulas are derived for the swift calculation of the angular intensity distribution and the degree of polarization associated with the resonant and fluorescent scattering of radiation by atoms which occurs in the rarefied upper atmospheres of planets during sunlit airglow phenomena. Attention is given to spectral lines with hyperfine structure, which are indicative of nuclear spin processes. The method employed involves summations over Zeeman components, allowing an evaluation of polarization through the addition of underlying simple resonant and fluorescent scattering channels.

  6. Electronic excitation and isentropic coefficients of high temperature planetary atmosphere plasmas

    SciTech Connect

    Colonna, Gianpiero; Capitelli, Mario

    2012-07-15

    In this paper, we have discussed the effects of electronically excited states of atomic species in affecting the isentropic coefficients of plasmas, focusing on mixtures representing the atmospheres of Jupiter, Mars, and Earth. General behaviors have been rationalized on the basis of simplified approaches. The contribution of the electronically excited states has been evidenced by comparing results obtained considering only the ground state and those obtained using either Fermi or Griem cutoff criteria.

  7. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, Paul G.

    1991-01-01

    Laboratory measurements of microwave and millimeter wave properties of the simulated atmosphere of the outer planets and their satellites has continued. One of the focuses is on the development of a radiative transfer model of the Jovian atmosphere at wavelengths from 1 mm to 10 cm. This modeling effort led to laboratory measurements of the millimeter wave opacity of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) under simulated Jovian conditions. Descriptions of the modeling effort, the Laboratory experiment, and the observations are presented. Correlative studies of measurements with Pioneer-Venus radio occultation measurements with longer wavelength emission measurements have provided new ways for characterizing temporal and spatial variations in the abundance of both gases H2SO4 and SO2, and for modeling their roles in the subcloud atmosphere. Laboratory measurements were conducted on 1.35 cm (and 13 cm) opacity of gaseous SO2 and absorptivity of gaseous SO2 at the 3.2 mm wavelength under simulated Venus conditions. Laboratory measurements were completed on millimeter wave dielectric properties of liquid H2SO4, in order to model the effects of the opacity of the clouds of Venus onto millimeter wave emission spectrum.

  8. On the hydrodynamic model of thermal escape from planetary atmospheres and its comparison with kinetic simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Volkov, A. N.

    2016-06-01

    Parkers' model of thermal escape implies the search of solutions of one-dimensional hydrodynamic equations for an inviscid but thermally conducting gas with a critical point and vanishing temperature far from the source. The properties of solutions of this model are studied for neutral mon- and diatomic gases with the viscosity index varying from 1/2 to 1. The domains of existence and uniqueness of solutions in terms of the source Jeans escape parameter and Knudsen number are established. The solutions are found to exist only in a narrow range of the critical point Jeans parameter. The lower and upper limits of this range correspond to solutions that are dominated by either heat conduction or adiabatic expansion. Thermal escape described by Parker's model occurs in two asymptotic regimes: the low-density (LD) regime, when escape is dominated by heat conduction, and the high-density (HD) regime, when escape is dominated by adiabatic expansion. Expressions for the mass and energy escape rates in these regimes are found theoretically. The comparison of results of hydrodynamic and kinetic simulations performed in identical conditions shows that Parker's model is capable of describing thermal escape only in the HD regime, providing decent agreement with the kinetic model in terms of the atmospheric structure below the exobase and the mass and energy escape rates. In the LD regime, Parker's model predicts a much faster drop in atmospheric temperature and less extended atmospheres, and can both over- and underestimate the escape rates in orders of magnitude.

  9. Evaporation of ice in planetary atmospheres: Ice-covered rivers on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wallace, D.; Sagan, C.

    1978-01-01

    The evaporation rate of water ice on the surface of a planet with an atmosphere involves an equilibrium between solar heating and radiative and evaporative cooling of the ice layer. The thickness of the ice is governed principally by the solar flux which penetrates the ice layer and then is conducted back to the surface. Evaporation from the surface is governed by wind and free convection. In the absence of wind, eddy diffusion is caused by the lower density of water vapor in comparison to the density of the Martian atmosphere. For mean martian insolations, the evaporation rate above the ice is approximately 10 to the minus 8th power gm/sq cm/s. Evaporation rates are calculated for a wide range of frictional velocities, atmospheric pressures, and insolations and it seems clear that at least some subset of observed Martian channels may have formed as ice-chocked rivers. Typical equilibrium thicknesses of such ice covers are approximately 10m to 30 m; typical surface temperatures are 210 to 235 K.

  10. On the hydrodynamic model of thermal escape from planetary atmospheres and its comparison with kinetic simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Volkov, A. N.

    2016-03-01

    Parkers' model of thermal escape implies the search of solutions of one-dimensional hydrodynamic equations for an inviscid but thermally conducting gas with a critical point and vanishing temperature far from the source. The properties of solutions of this model are studied for neutral mon- and diatomic gases with the viscosity index varying from 1/2 to 1. The domains of existence and uniqueness of solutions in terms of the source Jeans escape parameter and Knudsen number are established. The solutions are found to exist only in a narrow range of the critical point Jeans parameter. The lower and upper limits of this range correspond to solutions that are dominated by either heat conduction or adiabatic expansion. Thermal escape described by Parker's model occurs in two asymptotic regimes: The low-density (LD) regime, when escape is dominated by heat conduction, and the high-density (HD) regime, when escape is dominated by adiabatic expansion. Expressions for the mass and energy escape rates in these regimes are found theoretically. The comparison of results of hydrodynamic and kinetic simulations performed in identical conditions shows that Parker's model is capable of describing thermal escape only in the HD regime, providing decent agreement with the kinetic model in terms of the atmospheric structure below the exobase and the mass and energy escape rates. In the LD regime, Parker's model predicts a much faster drop in atmospheric temperature and less extended atmospheres, and can both over- and underestimate the escape rates in orders of magnitude.

  11. New planetary atmosphere simulations: application to the organic aerosols of Titan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coll, Patrice; Cosia, David; Gazeau, Marie-Claire; Raulin, François

    1997-05-01

    The atmosphere of Titan partly consists of hazes and aerosol particles. Experimental simulation is one of the powerful approaches to study the processes which yield these particles, and their chemical composition. It provides laboratory analogues, sometimes called tholins. Development and optimization of experiemental tools were undertaken in order to perform chemical and physical analyses of analogues under conditions free from contamination. A ``Titan aerosol generator'' was developed in the frame of the Cassini-Huygens mission, in order to produce Titan's aerosol analogues within conditions closer to those of the titanian atmosphere : cold plasma simulation system, low pressure and low temperature. The direct current (DC) glow discharge is produced by applying a DC voltage between two conductive electrodes inserted into the gas mixture -model of the studied atmosphere- at low pressure. A high-impedance power supply is used to provide the electrical field. All the system is installed in a glove box, which protect samples from any contamination. Finally the research program expected with this new material is presented.

  12. THIS -- next-generation mid-infrared remote sensing of planetary atmospheres using a tuneable heterodyne infrared spectrometer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sonnabend, G.; Wirtz, D.; Vetterle, V.; Schieder, R.

    2003-12-01

    The Cologne spectrometer THIS (Tuneable Heterodyne Infrared Spectrometer) opens the mid-infrared wavelength region from 8 to 17 microns to ultra-high-resolution spectroscopy. The main scientific goal of THIS is to analyze highly resolved lineshape data of molecules (e.g. O3, NH3, CH4, N2O, HxCy etc.) to deduce physical parameters like wind velocities or height profiles of gases in either the Earth's or other planetary atmospheres. Also astronomical observations of non-solar-system IR-sources like IRC+10216 as well as the measurement of pure rotational transitions of H2 in the interstellar-medium from ground based telescopes are planned in the near future. THIS is a proposed second-generation instrument for the stratospheric observatory SOFIA. With a system noise temperature of less than three times the quantum limit THIS is the first widely tuneable and transportable infrared heterodyne receiver having a sensitivity equivalent to CO2-laser based heterodyne systems. A quantum-cascade-laser is used as local oscillator. Its radiation is superimposed to that from the signal by use of a Fabry-Perot ring-resonator to provide optimum efficiency. The frequency mixing is done by a Mercury-Cadmium-Telluride photomixer and spectral analysis with a resolution of up to 3x107 is performed by means of an Acousto-Optical spectrometer. We report on THIS' successful first observing run performed at the west auxiliary telescope at McMath-Pierce solar observatory on Kitt Peak/Arizona in 11/2002. Very weak non-LTE CO2 emission from the atmosphere of Venus have been observed as well as trace gases in Earth's atmosphere and molecular features in sunspots.

  13. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres. Annual status report, 1 February 1985-31 January 1986

    SciTech Connect

    Steffes, P.G.

    1985-01-01

    Radio absorptivity data for planetary atmospheres obtained from spacecraft radio occultation experiments and Earth-based radio astronomical observations can be used to infer abundances of microwave absorbing atmospheric constituents in those atmospheres, as long as reliable information regarding the microwave absorbing properties of potential constituents is available. The use of theoretically-derived microwave absorption properties for such atmospheric constituents, or laboratory measurements of such properties under environmental conditions which are significantly different than those of the planetary atmosphere being studied, often lead to significant misinterpretation of available opacity data. Steffes and Eshleman showed that under environmental conditions corresponding to the middle atmosphere of Venus, the microwave absorption due to atmospheric SO/sub 2/ was 50 percent greater than that calculated from Van Vleck-Weiskopff theory. Similarly, the opacity from gaseous H/sub 2/SO/sub 4/ was found to be a factor of 7 greater than theoretically predicted for conditions of the Venus middle atmosphere. The recognition of the need to make such measurements over a range of temperatures and pressures which correspond to the periapsis altitudes of radio occultation experiments, and over a range of frequencies which correspond to both radio occultation experiments and radio astronomical observations, has led to the development of a facility at Georgia Tech which is capable of making such measurements.

  14. Multiplex gas chromatography: an alternative concept for gas chromatographic analysis of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Valentin, J. R.

    1989-01-01

    Gas chromatography (GC) is a powerful technique for analyzing gaseous mixtures. Applied to the earth's atmosphere, GC can be used to determine the permanent gases--such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen--and to analyze organic pollutants in air. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has used GC in spacecraft missions to Mars (the Viking Biology Gas Exchange Experiment [GEX] and the Viking Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer [GC-MS]) and to Venus (the Pioneer Venus Gas Chromatograph [PVGC] on board the Pioneer Venus sounder probe) for determining the atmospheric constituents of these two planets. Even though conventional GC was very useful in the Viking and Pioneer missions, spacecraft constraints and limitations intrinsic to the technique prevented the collection of more samples. With the Venus probe, for instance, each measurement took a relatively long time to complete (10 min), and successive samples could not be introduced until the previous samples had left the column. Therefore, while the probe descended through the Venusian atmosphere, only three samples were acquired at widely separated altitudes. With the Viking mission, the sampling rate was not a serious problem because samples were acquired over a period of one year. However, the detection limit was a major disadvantage. The GC-MS could not detect simple hydrocarbons and simple alcohols below 0.1 ppm, and the GEX could not detect them below 1 ppm. For more complex molecules, the detection limits were at the parts-per-billion level for both instruments. Finally, in both the Viking and Pioneer missions, the relatively slow rate of data acquisition limited the number of analyses, and consequently, the amount of information returned. Similar constraints are expected in future NASA missions. For instance, gas chromatographic instrumentation is being developed to collect and analyze organic gases and aerosols in the atmosphere of Titan (one of Saturn's satellites). The Titan-Cassini entry probe, which is being jointly planned by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), might be launched as early as 1994. As in the Pioneer mission, limited time--perhaps only 3-4 h--will be available for the completion of all analyses while the probe descends through the atmosphere. A conventional GC or GC-MS system would be able to analyze no more than two aerosol and two gas samples during the probe's descent. Conventional GC also is limited by the sensitivity of the detector and by the sample volume. For the Titan mission, the sensitivity problems will be worse because the atmospheric pressure at the time of instrument deployment is expected to be < 3 torr. Consequently, the sample volume might not be large enough to satisfy the detector sensitivity requirements. Because of such limitations, alternative GC analysis techniques have been investigated for future NASA missions. Multiplex gas chromatography has been investigated as a possible candidate for chemical analysis within a spacecraft or other restricted environment, and chemical modulators have been developed and used when needed with this technique to reduce the size and weight of the instrumentation. Also, several new multiplex techniques have been developed for use in specific applications.

  15. Collaborative project. Ocean-atmosphere interaction from meso- to planetary-scale. Mechanics, parameterization, and variability

    SciTech Connect

    Saravanan, Ramalingam; Small, Justin

    2015-12-01

    Most climate models are currently run with grid spacings of around 100km, which, with today’s computing power, allows for long (up to 1000 year) simulations, or ensembles of simulations to explore climate change and variability. However this grid spacing does not resolve important components of the weather/climate system such as atmospheric fronts and mesoscale systems, and ocean boundary currents and eddies. The overall aim of this project has been to look at the effect of these small-scale features on the weather/climate system using a suite of high and low resolution climate models, idealized models and observations. High-resolution global coupled integrations using CAM/CESM were carried out at NCAR by the lead PI. At TAMU, we have complemented the work at NCAR by analyzing datasets from the high-resolution (28km) CESM integrations (Small et al., 2014) as well as very high resolution (9km, 3km) runs using a coupled regional climate (CRCM) carried out locally. The main tasks carried out were: 1. Analysis of surface wind in observations and high-resolution CAM/CCSM simulations 2. Development of a feature-tracking algorithm for studying midlatitude air-sea interaction by following oceanic mesoscale eddies and creating composites of the atmospheric response overlying the eddies. 3. Applying the Lagrangian analysis technique in the Gulf Stream region to compare data from observational reanalyses, global CESM coupled simulations, 9km regional coupled simulations and 3km convection-resolving regional coupled simulations. Our main findings are that oceanic mesoscale eddies influence not just the atmospheric boundary layer above them, but also the lower portions of the free troposphere above the boundary layer. Such a vertical response could have implications for a remote influence of Gulf Stream oceanic eddies on North Atlantic weather patterns through modulation of the storm track, similar to what has been noted in the North Pacific. The coarse resolution observational reanalyses perhaps underestimate the atmospheric response, but the 28km global model resolution appears to be adequate to capture some, but not all, aspects of the boundary response. The higher resolution regional models show a stronger response in certain fields such as the latent heat flux.

  16. Atomic carbon emission from photodissociation of CO2. [planetary atmospheric chemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wu, C. Y. R.; Phillips, E.; Lee, L. C.; Judge, D. L.

    1978-01-01

    Atomic carbon fluorescence, C I 1561, 1657, and 1931 A, has been observed from photodissociation of CO2, and the production cross sections have been measured. A line emission source provided the primary photons at wavelengths from threshold to 420 A. The present results suggest that the excited carbon atoms are produced by total dissociation of CO2 into three atoms. The cross sections for producing the O I 1304-A fluorescence through photodissociation of CO2 are found to be less than 0.01 Mb in the wavelength region from 420 to 835 A. The present data have implications with respect to photochemical processes in the atmospheres of Mars and Venus.

  17. Laboratory evaluation and application of microwave absorption properties under simulated conditions for planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steffes, Paul G.

    1987-01-01

    Laboratory measurements were conducted to evaluate properties of atmospheric gases under simulated conditions for the outer planets. A significant addition to this effort was the capability to make such measurements at millimeter wavelengths. Measurements should soon be completed on the millimeter wave absorption from ammonia under Jovian conditions. Also studied will be the feasibility of measuring the microwave and millimeter wave properties of phosphine (PH3) under simulated Jovian conditions. Further analysis and application of the laboratory results to microwave and millimeter wave absorption data for the outer planet, such as Voyager Radio Occultation experiments, will be pursued.

  18. Clustering of nitrogen ions in weakly ionized gas mixtures Physical chemistry of planetary atmospheres (Titan, earth)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Speller, C. V.

    The formation of N2 clusters in N2/CH4, N2/C2H2, and N2/O2 mixtures is investigated experimentally, and the implications of the results for the chemistry of the Titan and earth atmospheres are considered. The ions produced in a reaction chamber at pressure 1-700 torr and temperature 100-300 K by alpha irradiation (40 microcurie/sq cm from Am-241) are bled through a 50-micron-diameter hole, focused and accelerated by three plane electrostatic lenses to an injection energy of about 3 eV, and analyzed in a 4-pole mass spectrometer operating at pressures between 1 ntorr and 100 microtorr. The thermochemical constants of the association reactions are computed, and the results are presented in graphs, diagrams, and tables. The results are shown to support the hypothesis of Capone et al. (1981), that H2CN(+)N2 may play an intermediary role in the formation of the Titan atmosphere, and a similar role for H2CN(+)(N2)2 is suggested. The contribution of O4(+)N2 to the formation of hydrated ions in the earth stratosphere is estimated as negligible.

  19. Influence of the radiation pressure on the planetary exospheres: density profiles, escape flux and atmospheric stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beth, A.; Garnier, P.; Toublanc, D.; Dandouras, I.; Mazelle, C.

    2015-10-01

    The uppermost layer of the atmosphere, the exosphere,is not well-known in its global structure since the densities are very low compared to instrument detection capabilities. Because of rare collisions and high Knudsen numbers, the motion of light species (H,H2, ...)in the corona is essentially determined by the external forces : the gravitation from the planet, the radiation pressure, as well the stellar gravity. In this work, we calculate rigorously and analytically,based on the Hamiltonian mechanics and Liouville theorem, the impact of the radiation pressure and gravitation from the planet on the structure of the exosphere. This approach was partially used by Bishop and Chamberlain (1989) but only in the 2D case : we extend it to the 3D case. Assuming a collisionless exosphere and a constant radiation pressure near the planet, we determine the density profiles for ballistic particles (the main contribution for densities in the lower exosphere) for light species as a function of the angle with respect to the Sun direction. We also obtain an analytical formula for the escape flux at the subsolar point, which can be compared with the Jeans' escape flux. Finally, we study the effect of the radiation pressure on the zero velocity curves, position of the Roche lobe and Hill's region for the well-known Three-Body problem especially for Hot Jupiters and discuss about the validity of our model. The goal is to bring some constraints on modelling of exoplanet atmospheres.

  20. From Sub-Neptunes to Earth-like Exoplanets: Modeling Optically Thick and Thin Planetary Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Howard; Rogers, Leslie; Kasting, James

    2016-01-01

    Exoplanet surveys have revealed a wide diversity of planet properties in the Milky Way. Here, we present the results from two projects modeling planet atmospheres; one considering the hydrogen/helium envelopes of sub-Neptune-mass planets, and the other, the climate of Earth-like planets.First, we modify the state-of-the-art stellar evolution code Modules for Experimental Astrophysics (MESA) to model the thermal evolution of gaseous Sub-Neptune sized planets. Including photo-evaporation, we find a resulting convergent evolution trend that could potentially imprint itself on the close-in planet population as a preferred H/He mass fraction of 0.5-3%.We also use an updated version of a radiative-convective climate model to calculate the upper atmospheric conditions of planets warmer than the present Earth. In our simulations, cold, dry stratospheres are predicted at lower surface temperatures. However, onset of moist greenhouse water-loss limit to habitability emerges when the surface temperature reaches above 350 K. This result places constraint on a more accurate calculation of the inner edge of the habitable zone around Sun-like stars.

  1. Homogeneous studies of transiting extrasolar planets - II. Physical properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Southworth, John

    2009-03-01

    I present an homogeneous determination of the physical properties of 14 transiting extrasolar planetary systems for which good photometric and spectroscopic data are available. The input quantities for each system are the results of the light-curve analyses presented in PaperI, and published measurements of the stellar velocity amplitude, effective temperature and metal abundance. The physical properties are determined by interpolating within tabulated predictions from stellar theory to find the optimal match to these input data. Statistical uncertainties are found using a perturbation algorithm, which gives a detailed error budget for every output quantity. Systematic uncertainties are assessed for each quantity by comparing the values found using several independent sets of stellar models. As a theory-free alternative, physical properties are also calculated using an empirical mass-radius relation constructed from high-precision studies of low-mass eclipsing binary stars. I find that the properties of the planets depend mostly on parameters measured from the light and radial velocity curves, and have a relatively minor sensitivity to theoretical predictions. In contrast, the orbital semimajor axes and stellar masses have a strong dependence on theoretical predictions, and their systematic uncertainties can be substantially larger than the statistical ones. Using the empirical mass-radius relation instead, the semimajor axes and stellar masses are smaller by up to 15 per cent. Thus, our understanding of extrasolar planets is currently limited by our lack of understanding of low-mass stars. Using the properties of all known transiting extrasolar planets, I find that correlations between their orbital periods, masses and surface gravities are significant at the 2σ-3σ level. However, the separation of the known planets into two classes according to their Safronov number is weaker than previously found, and may not be statistically significant. Three systems, HAT-P-2, WASP-14 and XO-3, form their own little group of outliers, with eccentric orbits, massive planets and stars with masses ~1.3Msolar. The detailed error budgets calculated for each system show where further observations are needed. XO-1 and WASP-1 could do with new transit light curves. TrES-2 and WASP-2 would benefit from more precise stellar temperature and abundance measurements. Velocity measurements of the parent stars are vital for determining the planetary masses: TrES-1, XO-1, WASP-1, WASP-2 and the OGLEs need additional data. The homogeneous analysis presented here is a step towards large-scale statistical studies of transiting extrasolar planetary systems, in preparation for the expected deluge of new detections from CoRoT and Kepler.

  2. Earth, Jupiter and Saturn as guides for extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs: a lightning climatology study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hodosán, Gabriella; Asensio Torres, Rubén; Helling, Christiane; Vorgul, Irena

    2015-04-01

    Large-scale electrostatic discharges (i.e. lightning) have been observed in the Solar System. Apart from Earth there are direct detections from Jupiter and Saturn and indirect (only radio) detection from Uranus and Neptune. Recent observations made by the Venus Explorer revealed radio signals that may be related to lightning. Observations indicate that clouds form on extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs. The conditions in these clouds may be good for lightning to occur, which can be a main ionization process in these atmospheres (lightning in mineral clouds e.g.: Bailey et al. 2014, ApJ, 784, 43; Helling at al. 2013, ApJ, 767, 136; Helling et al. 2013, P&SS, 77, 152). In this study our aim is to compare lightning climatology from Earth, Jupiter and Saturn and use these statistics as a guide to study potential lightning on extrasolar planetary objects. Earth is a fair analogy for rocky or ocean planets while Jupiter and Saturn resemble giant planets and brown dwarfs. To give an estimate on the total lightning energy (or power) that can reach us from a particular extrasolar body, we need to know how much lightning can occur on the object globally. We will show the possibilities in the number and quality of the giant planet data sets, which may give a fine comparison of future observations of extrasolar giant gas planets and even brown dwarfs. Data were obtained from Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS)/Optical Transient Detector (OTD) (e.g.: Cecil et al. 2014, Atmospheric Research, 135, 404), Sferics Timing and Ranging Network (STARNET) (e.g.: Morales Rodrigues et al. 2011, 2014, XIV and XV International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity) and World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) (e.g.: Hutchins et al. 2012, Radio Science, 47, RS6005), four major lightning detecting networks, which monitor lightning occurrence in the optical or radio range on Earth. We compare flash/stroke rates in space and time and use the data to refer to Earth as a transiting exoplanet. We analyze flash rates from a certain celestial direction (as if looked at Earth from outside the Solar System from a fixed location) to see how they vary as the planet orbits the star. The same comparison studies are conducted for Jupiter and Saturn from Galileo, Cassini and New Horizons data. The comparison of Earth-data shows the importance of the networks' detection efficiency (detected lightning over the total amount of lightning in percentages) and the location of the individual instruments of the networks. Characterizing exoplanets is a difficult task, however, there are planets in our Solar System, which are better studied. Here we show how using the knowledge we have on these planets is a key aspect of exoplanetary sciences. Acknowledgement: We thank Daniel J. Cecil from LIS/OTD, Carlos Augusto Morales Rodrigues from STARNET and Robert H. Holzworth from WWLLN who kindly helped us obtaining data from the lightning detecting networks. The authors wish to thank the World Wide Lightning Location Network (http://wwlln.net), a collaboration among over 50 universities and institutions, for providing the lightning location data used in this work.

  3. The Evryscope and extrasolar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fors, Octavi; Law, Nicholas Michael; Ratzloff, Jeffrey; del Ser, Daniel; Wulfken, Philip J.; Kavanaugh, Dustin

    2015-08-01

    The Evryscope (Law et al. 2015) is a 24-camera hemispherical all-sky gigapixel telescope (8,000 sq.deg. FoV) with rapid cadence (2mins exposure, 4sec readout) installed at CTIO. Ground-based single-station transiting surveys typically suffer from light curve sparsity and suboptimal efficiency because of their limited field of view (FoV), resulting in incomplete and biased detections. In contrast, the Evryscope offers 97% survey efficiency and one of the single-station most continuous and simultaneous monitoring of millions of stars (only limited by the day-night window).This unique facility is capable of addressing new and more extensive planetary populations, including: 1) for the first time, continuously monitor every 2mins a set of ~1000 bright white dwarfs (WDs). This will allow us to put constraints on the habitable planet fraction of Ceres-size planetesimals at the level of 30%, only in a survey timescales of a few weeks, as well as first-time testing planetary evolution models beyond the AGB phase. 2) search for rocky planets in the habitable zone around ~5,000 bright, nearby M-dwarfs. 3) synergies between Evryscope and upcoming exoplanets missions (e.g. TESS, PLATO) are also promising for target pre-imaging characterization, and increasing the giant planet yield by recovering multiple transits from planets seen as single transit events from space. 4) all-sky 2-min cadence of rare microlensing events of nearby stars. 5) all-sky continuous survey of microlensing events of nearby stars at 2mins cadence. 6) increase the census of giant planets around ~70,000 nearby, bright (g<10) solar-type stars, whose atmospheres can be characterized by follow-up observations. We are developing new data analysis algorithms to address the above scientific goals: from detecting the extremely short and faint transits around WDs, to disentangle planetary signals from very bright stars, and to combine space-based light curves with the Evryscope's ones. We will present the first results from the Evryscope, which achieved first light in 2015.

  4. Error Evaluation of Planetary Atmospheric Motion Vectors by Statistical Presumption Technique.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MURACHI, T.; IMAMURA, T.; HIGUCHI, T.; NAKAMURA, M.

    2002-05-01

    In the Solar System there are the planets (e.g. Venus etc.) whose surface environment and general atmospheric circulation differs from Earth_fs one. If we can understand the meteorology of these planets, we get the information of meteorological mechanism which completely differs from the Earth_f one. By returning this information to the Earth's meteorology we more deeply understand the meteorological phenomenon of the Earth than now. Therefore, it is important to research the meteorology of these planets. In past meteorological researches of the atmospheric planets they had not reached to detailed understanding. This reason is that in many cases target physical phenomenon is covered with the error because of data shortage. For solving this problem we must obtain the many data. However, examining the past research, I notice that the possibility of overestimate of error. Concretely, it is like below. In past meteorological researches of the atmospheric planets except the Earth, in which the Atmospheric Motion Vectors (AMVs) are derived from their cloud images, the AMVs' accuracy is evaluated from the spatial and time adjustment. The AMVs which depart the permissible range are deleted, which is decided in view of the spatial and time scale of the target physical phenomenon and the possibility of miss-matching. The error of AMVs is defined as the standard deviation of neighboring AMVs. In this definition, however, the error of AMVs depends on the permissible range and is anticipated to be as large as the target physical phenomenon. In fact, there were some researches that they couldn't prove whether the target physical phenomenon existed because of the large error of itself. The proper error evaluation as well as the observation method is important for proving the existence of the target physical phenomenon. The purpose of this study is to establish the error evaluation of AMVs, which reflects influence of the image spatial resolution and the change of cloud shape upon AMVs. I think that the error of AMVs depends on the image spatial resolution and the change of cloud shape largely not on the spatial and time fluctuation of AMVs. By the change of cloud shape we can_ft track the cloud motion precisely. By the image spatial resolution the error of 1 pixel is attached to the AMVs. In this study, by statistical presumption technique I evaluate the error of AMVs, which reflects influence of the image spatial resolution and the change of cloud shape upon AMVs. In order to verify this method, I make test patterns, and calculate the AMVs and the error with error evaluation by statistical presumption technique using these patterns. This result is that the error of AMVs by this method is almost equivalent to the expected error of the change of cloud shape, and relies on the change rate of cloud shape. In addition, using Venus' cloud images I calculate the AMVs and the error with error evaluation by statistical presumption technique and the error with past error evaluation, which calculate the standard deviation of neighboring AMVs. The result is that the error by statistical presumption technique is smaller than the error of past. In this study, by statistical presumption technique the error evaluation of AMVs that reflects influence of the image spatial resolution and the change of cloud shape upon AMVs is established.

  5. Shock-induced CO2 loss from CaCO3: Implications for early planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lange, M. A.; Ahrens, T. J.

    1984-01-01

    Recovered samples from shock recovery experiments on single crystal calcite were subjected to thermogravimetric analysis to determine the amount of post-shock CO2, the decarbonization interval and the activation energy, for the removal of remaining CO2 in shock-loaded calcite. Comparison of post-shock CO2 with that initially present determines shock-induced CO2 loss as a function of shock pressure. Incipient to complete CO2 loss occurs over a pressure range of approximately 10 to approximately 70 GPa. Optical and scanning electron microscopy reveal structural changes, which are related to the shock-loading. The occurrence of dark, diffuse areas, which can be resolved as highly vesicular areas as observed with a scanning electron microscope are interpreted as representing quenched partial melts, into which shock-released CO2 was injected. The experimental results are used to constrain models of shock-produced, primary CO2 atmospheres on the accreting terrestrial planets.

  6. Effects of turbulence on average refraction angles in occultations by planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eshleman, V. R.; Haugstad, B. S.

    1978-01-01

    Four separable effects of atmospheric turbulence on average refraction angles in occultation experiments are derived from a simplified analysis, and related to more general formulations by B. S. Haugstad. The major contributors are shown to be due to gradients in height of the strength of the turbulence, and the sense of the resulting changes in refraction angles is explained in terms of Fermat's principle. Because the results of analyses of such gradient effects by W. B. Hubbard and J. R. Jokipii are expressed in other ways, a special effort is made to compare all of the predictions on a common basis. We conclude that there are fundamental differences, and use arguments based on energy conservation and Fermat's principle to help characterize the discrepancies.

  7. Impact induced dehydration of serpentine and the evolution of planetary atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lange, M. A.; Ahrens, T. J.

    1982-01-01

    Results of shock recovery experiments carried out on antigorite serpentine Mg3Si2O5(OH)4 are reported. The main objective of the present study is the determination of critical shock pressures for partial and complete dehydration of serpentine under shock loading. It is pointed out that serpentine and serpentine-like layer silicates are the major water-bearing phases in carbonaceous chondrites. It appears that these minerals, and a poorly defined cometary contribution, were the most likely water-bearing phases in accreting planetesimals which led to the formation of the terrestrial planets. The obtained results imply that the process of impact induced devolatilization of volatile bearing minerals during accretion is likely to have occurred on earth. The findings lend support to the model of a terrestrial atmosphere/hydrosphere forming during the later stages of accretion of the earth.

  8. CALIBRATION OF EQUILIBRIUM TIDE THEORY FOR EXTRASOLAR PLANET SYSTEMS

    SciTech Connect

    Hansen, Brad M. S.

    2010-11-01

    We provide an 'effective theory' of tidal dissipation in extrasolar planet systems by empirically calibrating a model for the equilibrium tide. The model is valid to high order in eccentricity and parameterized by two constants of bulk dissipation-one for dissipation in the planet and one for dissipation in the host star. We are able to consistently describe the distribution of extrasolar planetary systems in terms of period, eccentricity, and mass (with a lower limit of a Saturn mass) with this simple model. Our model is consistent with the survival of short-period exoplanet systems, but not with the circularization period of equal mass stellar binaries, suggesting that the latter systems experience a higher level of dissipation than exoplanet host stars. Our model is also not consistent with the explanation of inflated planetary radii as resulting from tidal dissipation. The paucity of short-period planets around evolved A stars is explained as the result of enhanced tidal inspiral resulting from the increase in stellar radius with evolution.

  9. Planetary quarantine

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1977-01-01

    Those areas of future missions which will be impacted by planetary quarantine (PQ) constraints were identified. The specific objectives for this reporting period were (1) to perform an analysis of the effects of PQ on an outer planet atmospheric probe, and (2) to prepare a quantitative illustration of spacecraft microbial reduction resulting from exposure to space environments. The Jupiter Orbiter Probe mission was used as a model for both of these efforts.

  10. Characteristics of mid-latitude planetary waves in the lower atmosphere derived from radiosonde data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, R.; Zhang, S. D.; Yang, H. G.; Huang, K. M.

    2012-10-01

    The activities of mid-latitude planetary waves (PWs) in the troposphere and lower stratosphere (TLS) are presented by using the radiosonde data from 2000 to 2004 over four American stations (Miramar Nas, 32.9° N, 117.2° W; Santa Teresa, 31.9° N, 106.7° W; Fort Worth, 32.8° N, 97.3° W; and Birmingham, 33.1° N, 86.7° W) and one Chinese station (Wuhan, 30.5° N, 114.4° E). Statistically, strong PWs mainly appear around subtropical jet stream in the troposphere and lower stratosphere. In the troposphere, the activities of the mid-latitude PWs are strong around the centre of the subtropical jet stream in winter and become small near the tropopause, which indicates that the subtropical jet stream may strengthen the propagation of PWs or even be one of the PW excitation sources. Among the three disturbance components of temperature, zonal and meridional winds, PWs at Wuhan are stronger in the temperature component, but weaker in the zonal wind component than at the other four American stations. While in the meridional wind component, the strengths of PW spectral amplitudes at the four American stations decrease from west to east, and their amplitudes are all larger than that of Wuhan. However, the PWs are much weaker in the stratosphere and only the lower frequency parts remain. The amplitudes of the PWs in the stratosphere increase with height and are strong in winter with the zonal wind component being the strongest. Using the refractive index, we found that whether the PWs could propagate upward to the stratosphere depends on the thickness of the tropopause reflection layer. In the case study of the 2000/2001 winter, it is observed that the quasi 16-day wave in the troposphere is a quasi standing wave in the vertical direction and propagates upward slowly with vertical wavelength greater than 24 km in the meridional component. It propagates eastward with the zonal numbers between 5 and 8, and the quasi 16-day wave at Wuhan is probably the same quasi 16-day wave at the three American stations (Miramar Nas, Santa Teresa and Fort Worth), which propagates steadily along the latitude. The quasi 16-day wave in the stratosphere is also a standing wave with vertical wavelength larger than 10 km in the zonal wind component, and it is westward with the zonal number 1-2. However, the quasi 16-day wave in the stratosphere may not come from the troposphere because of the different concurrent times, propagation directions and velocities. By using the global dataset of NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data, the zonal propagation parameters of 16-day waves in the troposphere and stratosphere are calculated. It is found that the tropospheric 16-day wave propagates eastward with the zonal number 6, while the stratospheric 16-day wave propagates westward with the zonal number 2, which matches well with the results of radiosonde data.

  11. Vibrational Spectroscopy of Ions and Radicals Present in the Interstellar Medium and in Planetary Atmospheres: A Theoretical Study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chaban, Galina M.

    2004-01-01

    Anharmonic vibrational frequencies and intensities are calculated for OH(H2O)n and H(H2O)n radicals (that form on icy particles of the interstellar medium), HCO radical (the main intermediate in the synthesis of organic molecules in space), NH2(-) and C2H(-) anions, H5(+) cation, and other systems relevant to interstellar chemistry. In addition to pure ions and radicals, their complexes with water are studied to assess the effects of water environment on infrared spectra. The calculations are performed using the correlation-corrected vibrational self-consistent field (CC-VSCF) method with ab initio potential surfaces at the MP2 and CCSD(T) levels. Fundamental, overtone, and combination excitations are computed. The results are in good agreement with available experimental data and provide reliable predictions for vibrational excitations not yet measured in laboratory experiments. The data should be useful for interpretation of astronomically observed spectra and identification of ions and radicals present in the interstellar medium and in planetary atmospheres.

  12. Secular Resonances In Planetary Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Malhotra, Renu

    2006-06-01

    Secular effects introduce very low frequencies in planetary systems. The consequences are quite varied. They include mundane effects on the planetary ephemerides and on Earthly seasons, but also more esoteric effects such as apsidal alignment or anti-alignment, fine-splitting of mean motion resonances, broadening of chaotic zones, and dramatic orbital instabilities. Secular effects may shape the overall architecture of mature planetary systems by determining the long term stability of major and minor planetary bodies. This talk will be partly tutorial and partly a review of secular resonance phenomena here in the solar system and elsewhere in extra-solar systems. I acknowledge research support from NASA-Origins of Solar Systems and NASA-Outer Planets research programs.

  13. Planetcam: A Visible And Near Infrared Lucky-imaging Camera To Study Planetary Atmospheres And Solar System Objects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanchez-Lavega, Agustin; Rojas, J.; Hueso, R.; Perez-Hoyos, S.; de Bilbao, L.; Murga, G.; Ariño, J.; Mendikoa, I.

    2012-10-01

    PlanetCam is a two-channel fast-acquisition and low-noise camera designed for a multispectral study of the atmospheres of the planets (Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) and the satellite Titan at