Revisiting the Phase Curves of WASP-43b: Confronting Re-analyzed Spitzer Data with Cloudy Atmospheres

Do Carmo Fialho Mendonça, João Manuel; Malik, Matej; Demory, Brice-Olivier; Heng, Kevin (2018). Revisiting the Phase Curves of WASP-43b: Confronting Re-analyzed Spitzer Data with Cloudy Atmospheres. The astronomical journal, 155(4), p. 150. American Astronomical Society 10.3847/1538-3881/aaaebc

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Recently acquired Hubble and Spitzer phase curves of the short-period hot Jupiter WASP-43b make it an ideal target for confronting theory with data. On the observational front, we re-analyze the 3.6 and 4.5 μm Spitzer phase curves and demonstrate that our improved analysis better removes residual red noise due to intra-pixel sensitivity, which leads to greater fluxes emanating from the nightside of WASP-43b, thus reducing the tension between theory and data. On the theoretical front, we construct cloud-free and cloudy atmospheres of WASP-43b using our Global Circulation Model (GCM), THOR, which solves the non-hydrostatic Euler equations (compared to GCMs that typically solve the hydrostatic primitive equations). The cloud-free atmosphere produces a reasonable fit to the dayside emission spectrum. The multi-phase emission spectra constrain the cloud deck to be confined to the nightside and have a finite cloud-top pressure. The multi-wavelength phase curves are naturally consistent with our cloudy atmospheres, except for the 4.5 μm phase curve, which requires the presence of enhanced carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of WASP-43b. Multi-phase emission spectra at higher spectral resolution, as may be obtained using the James Webb Space Telescope, and a reflected-light phase curve at visible wavelengths would further constrain the properties of clouds in WASP-43b.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Space and Habitability (CSH)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > NCCR PlanetS

UniBE Contributor:

Do Carmo Fialho Mendonça, João Manuel, Malik, Matej, Demory, Brice-Olivier Denys, Heng, Kevin


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
500 Science > 530 Physics




American Astronomical Society




Danielle Zemp

Date Deposited:

03 Jun 2019 17:04

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:31

Publisher DOI:





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