Context. Low-mass stars and extrasolar planets have ultra-cool atmospheres where a rich chemistry occurs and clouds form. The increasing amount of spectroscopic observations for extrasolar planets requires self-consistent model atmosphere simulations to consistently include the formation processes that determine cloud formation and their feedback onto the atmosphere.
Aims: Our aim is to complement the MARCS model atmosphere suit with simulations applicable to low-mass stars and exoplanets in preparation of E-ELT, JWST, PLATO and other upcoming facilities.
Methods: The MARCS code calculates stellar atmosphere models, providing self-consistent solutions of the radiative transfer and the atmospheric structure and chemistry. We combine MARCS with a kinetic model that describes cloud formation in ultra-cool atmospheres (seed formation, growth/evaporation, gravitational settling, convective mixing, element depletion).
Results: We present a small grid of self-consistently calculated atmosphere models for Teff = 2000-3000 K with solar initial abundances and log (g) = 4.5. Cloud formation in stellar and sub-stellar atmospheres appears for Teff < 2700 K and has a significant effect on the structure and the spectrum of the atmosphere for Teff < 2400 K. We have compared the synthetic spectra of our models with observed spectra and found that they fit the spectra of mid- to late-type M-dwarfs and early-type L-dwarfs well. The geometrical extension of the atmospheres (at τ = 1) changes with wavelength resulting in a flux variation of 10%. This translates into a change in geometrical extension of the atmosphere of about 50 km, which is the quantitative basis for exoplanetary transit spectroscopy. We also test DRIFT-MARCS for an example exoplanet and demonstrate that our simulations reproduce the Spitzer observations for WASP-19b rather well for Teff = 2600 K, log (g) = 3.2 and solar abundances. Our model points at an exoplanet with a deep cloud-free atmosphere with a substantial day-night energy transport and no temperature inversion.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- December 2017
- radiative transfer;
- methods: numerical;
- stars: atmospheres;
- stars: low-mass;
- brown dwarfs;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- 17 pages, 14 + 3 figures