HELIOS: an open-source, GPU-accelerated radiative transfer code for self-consistent exoplanetary atmospheres

Malik, Matej; Grosheintz, Luc; Mendonça, João M.; Grimm, Simon; Lavie, Baptiste; Kitzmann, Daniel; Tsai, Shang-Min; Burrows, Adam; Kreidberg, Laura; Bedell, Megan; Bean, Jacob L.; Stevenson, Kevin B.; Heng, Kevin (2017). HELIOS: an open-source, GPU-accelerated radiative transfer code for self-consistent exoplanetary atmospheres. The astronomical journal, 153(2), p. 56. IOP Publishing 10.3847/1538-3881/153/2/56

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We present the open-source radiative transfer code named HELIOS, which is constructed for studying exoplanetary atmospheres. In its initial version, the model atmospheres of HELIOS are one-dimensional and planeparallel, and the equation of radiative transfer is solved in the two-stream approximation with nonisotropic scattering. A small set of the main infrared absorbers is employed, computed with the opacity calculator HELIOS-K
and combined using a correlated-k approximation. The molecular abundances originate from validated analytical formulae for equilibrium chemistry. We compare HELIOS with the work of Miller-Ricci & Fortney using a model of GJ 1214b, and perform several tests, where we find: model atmospheres with single-temperature layers struggle to converge to radiative equilibrium; k-distribution tables constructed with ≥0.01cm⁻¹ resolution in the opacityfunction (≲10³ points per wavenumber bin) may result in errors ≥1%–10% in the synthetic spectra; and a diffusivity factor of 2 approximates well the exact radiative transfer solution in the limit of pure absorption. We construct “null-hypothesis” models (chemical equilibrium, radiative equilibrium, and solar elemental abundances) for six hot Jupiters. We find that the dayside emission spectra of HD 189733b and WASP-43b are consistent with the null hypothesis, while the latter consistently underpredicts the observed fluxes of WASP-8b, WASP-12b, WASP-14b, and WASP-33b. We demonstrate that our results are somewhat insensitive to the choice of stellar models (blackbody, Kurucz, or PHOENIX) and metallicity, but are strongly affected by higher carbon-to-oxygen ratios. The code is publicly available as part of the Exoclimes Simulation Platform (exoclime.net).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Grimm, Simon; Lavie, Baptiste; Kitzmann, Daniel and Tsai, Shang-Min


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering




IOP Publishing




Simon Lukas Grimm

Date Deposited:

24 Apr 2018 08:50

Last Modified:

08 Apr 2021 22:56

Publisher DOI:






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