Glass rain : modelling the formation, dynamics and radiative-transport of cloud particles in hot Jupiter exoplanet atmospheres
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The atmospheres of exoplanets are being characterised in increasing detail by observational facilities and will be examined with even greater clarity with upcoming space based missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope (WFIRST). A major component of exoplanet atmospheres is the presence of cloud particles which produce characteristic observational signatures in transit spectra and influence the geometric albedo of exoplanets. Despite a decade of observational evidence, the formation, dynamics and radiative-transport of exoplanet atmospheric cloud particles remains an open question in the exoplanet community. In this thesis, we investigate the kinetic chemistry of cloud formation in hot Jupiter exoplanets, their effect on the atmospheric dynamics and observable properties. We use a static 1D cloud formation code to investigate the cloud formation properties of the hot Jupiter HD 189733b. We couple a time-dependent kinetic cloud formation to a 3D radiative-hydrodynamic simulation of the atmosphere of HD 189733b and investigate the dynamical properties of cloud particles in the atmosphere. We develop a 3D multiple-scattering Monte Carlo radiative-transfer code to post-process the results of the cloudy HD 189733b RHD simulation and compare the results to observational results. We find that the cloud structures of the hot Jupiter HD 189733b are likely to be highly inhomogeneous, with differences in cloud particle sizes, number density and composition with longitude, latitude and depth. Cloud structures are most divergent between the dayside and nightside faces of the planet due to the instability of silicate materials on the hotter dayside. We find that the HD 189733b simulation in post-processing is consistent with geometric albedo observations of the planet. Due to the scattering properties of the cloud particles we predict that HD 189733b will be brighter in the upcoming space missions CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) bandpass compared to the Transiting Exoplanet Space Survey (TESS) bandpass.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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