ON THE EXISTENCE OF SHOCKS IN IRRADIATED EXOPLANETARY ATMOSPHERES

Heng, Kevin (2012). ON THE EXISTENCE OF SHOCKS IN IRRADIATED EXOPLANETARY ATMOSPHERES. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 761(1), L1. Institute of Physics Publishing IOP 10.1088/2041-8205/761/1/L1

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Supersonic flows are expected to exist in the atmospheres of irradiated exoplanets, but the question of whether shocks develop lingers. Specifically, it reduces to whether continuous flow in a closed loop may become supersonic and if some portions of the supersonic flow steepen into shocks. We first demonstrate that continuous, supersonic flow may exist in two flavors: isentropic and non-isentropic, with shocks being included in the latter class of solutions. Supersonic flow is a necessary but insufficient condition for shocks to develop. The development of a shock requires the characteristics of neighboring points in a flow to intersect. We demonstrate that the intersection of characteristics may be quantified via the knowledge of the Mach number. Finally, we examine three-dimensional simulations of hot Jovian atmospheres and demonstrate that shock formation is expected to occur mostly on the dayside hemisphere, upstream of the substellar point, because the enhanced temperatures near the substellar point provide a natural pressure barrier for the returning flow. Understanding the role of shocks in irradiated exoplanetary atmospheres is relevant to correctly modeling observables such as the peak offsets of infrared phase curves.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Space and Habitability (CSH)

UniBE Contributor:

Heng, Kevin

Subjects:

500 Science > 520 Astronomy
500 Science > 530 Physics

ISSN:

2041-8205

Publisher:

Institute of Physics Publishing IOP

Language:

English

Submitter:

Danielle Zemp

Date Deposited:

14 Oct 2014 14:42

Last Modified:

06 Jul 2016 15:27

Publisher DOI:

10.1088/2041-8205/761/1/L1

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.59298

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/59298

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