Exoplanet Atmospheres: Physical Processes

Exoplanet Atmospheres: Physical Processes

by Sara Seager
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691146454

ISBN-13: 9780691146454

Pub. Date: 09/04/2010

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Over the past twenty years, astronomers have identified hundreds of extrasolar planets-planets orbiting stars other than the sun. Recent research in this burgeoning field has made it possible to observe and measure the atmospheres of these exoplanets. This is the first textbook to describe the basic physical processes-including radiative transfer, molecular

Overview

Over the past twenty years, astronomers have identified hundreds of extrasolar planets-planets orbiting stars other than the sun. Recent research in this burgeoning field has made it possible to observe and measure the atmospheres of these exoplanets. This is the first textbook to describe the basic physical processes-including radiative transfer, molecular absorption, and chemical processes-common to all planetary atmospheres, as well as the transit, eclipse, and thermal phase variation observations that are unique to exoplanets.

In each chapter, Sara Seager offers a conceptual introduction, examples that combine the relevant physics equations with real data, and exercises. Topics range from foundational knowledge, such as the origin of atmospheric composition and planetary spectra, to more advanced concepts, such as solutions to the radiative transfer equation, polarization, and molecular and condensate opacities. Since planets vary widely in their atmospheric properties, Seager emphasizes the major physical processes that govern all planetary atmospheres.

Moving from first principles to cutting-edge research, Exoplanet Atmospheres is an ideal resource for students and researchers in astronomy and earth sciences, one that will help prepare them for the next generation of planetary science.

The first textbook to describe exoplanet atmospheres

Illustrates concepts using examples grounded in real data

Provides a step-by-step guide to understanding the structure and emergent spectrum of a planetary atmosphere

Includes exercises for students

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691146454
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/04/2010
Series:
Princeton Series in Astrophysics Series
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
1,014,214
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi

1 Introduction 1

1.1 Exoplanets from Afar 1

1.2 Two Paths to Observing Exoplanet Atmospheres 2

1.3 Types of Planets 4

2 Intensity and Flux 9

2.1 Introduction 9

2.2 Intensity 9

2.3 Flux and Other Intensity Moments 10

2.4 Surface Flux 11

2.5 Observed Flux 14

2.6 Luminosity and Outgoing Energy 16

2.7 Incident Flux and Incident Energy 17

2.8 Black Body Intensity and Black Body Flux 19

2.9 Lambert Surface 20

2.10 Summary 22

3 Temperature, Albedos, and Flux Ratios 25

3.1 Introduction 25

3.2 Energy Balance 25

3.3 Planetary Temperatures 27

3.4 Planetary Albedos 32

3.5 Planet-Star Flux Ratios 40

3.6 Planetary Phase Curves 45

3.7 Summary 47

4 Composition of a Planetary Atmosphere 51

4.1 Introduction 51

4.2 Composition of Earth's and Jupiter's Atmospheres 51

4.3 Chemical Composition 56

4.4 Basic Cloud Physics 66

4.5 Atmospheric Escape 72

4.6 Atmospheric Evolution 81

4.7 Summary 83

5 Radiative Transfer I: Fundamentals 87

5.1 Introduction 87

5.2 Opacity 87

5.3 Optical Depth 91

5.4 Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium 93

5.5 The Source Function 96

5.6 The Equation of Radiative Transfer 96

5.7 Summary 100

6 Radiative Transfer II: Solutions 103

6.1 Introduction 103

6.2 A Conceptual Description of the Emergent Spectrum 103

6.3 An Introduction to Line Formation 108

6.4 Approximate Solutions to the Plane-Parallel Radiative Transfer Equation 113

6.5 Monte Carlo Radiative Transfer 125

6.6 Summary 127

7 Polarization 133

7.1 Introduction 133

7.2 Description of Polarized Radiation 134

7.3 Polarization Calculations 138

7.4 Polarization from Planets 140

7.5 Summary 143

8 Opacities 145

8.1 Introduction 145

8.2 Energy Levels in Atoms and Molecules 146

8.3 Molecular Absorption Cross Sections 161

8.4 Rayleigh Scattering 166

8.5 Condensate Opacities 167

8.6 Summary 176

9 Vertical Thermal Structure of a Planetary Atmosphere 181

9.1 Introduction 181

9.2 Earth's Vertical Atmospheric Structure 181

9.3 Hydrostatic Equilibrium and the Pressure Scale Height 183

9.4 Surface Temperature for a Simplified Atmosphere 186

9.5 Convection versus Radiation 190

9.6 The Radiative Equilibrium Temperature Profile 192

9.7 The Adiabatic Temperature Profile 200

9.8 The One-Dimensional Temperature-Pressure Profile 202

9.9 Temperature Retrieval 205

9.10 Summary 207

10 Atmospheric Circulation 211

10.1 Introduction 211

10.2 Radiative and Advective Timescales 213

10.3 Large-Scale Flow and Patterns 215

10.4 Atmospheric Dynamics Equations 218

10.5 Connection to Observations 223

10.6 Summary 225

11 Atmospheric Biosignatures 229

11.1 Introduction 229

11.2 Earth's Biosignatures 229

11.3 The Ideal Biosignatures Gas 230

11.4 Prospects 231

11.5 Summary 234

A Planetary Data 237

Index 241

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