Atmospheric Circulation and Cloud Evolution on the Highly Eccentric Extrasolar Planet HD 80606b
Lewis et al
Observations of the highly-eccentric (e~0.9) hot-Jupiter HD 80606b with Spitzer have provided some of best probes of the physics at work in exoplanet atmospheres. By observing HD 80606b during its periapse passage, atmospheric radiative, advective, and chemical timescales can be directly measured and used to constrain fundamental planetary properties such as rotation period, tidal dissipation rate, and atmospheric composition (including aerosols). Here we present three-dimensional general circulation models for HD 80606b that aim to further explore the atmospheric physics shaping HD 80606b's observed Spitzer phase curves. We find that our models that assume a planetary rotation period twice that of the pseudo-synchronous rotation period best reproduce the phase variations observed for HD~80606b near periapse passage with Spitzer. Additionally, we find that the rapid formation/dissipation and vertical transport of clouds in HD 80606b's atmosphere near periapse passage likely shapes its observed phase variations. We predict that observations near periapse passage at visible wavelengths could constrain the composition and formation/advection timescales of the dominant cloud species in HD 80606b's atmosphere. The time-variable forcing experienced by exoplanets on eccentric orbits provides a unique and important window on radiative, dynamical, and chemical processes in planetary atmospheres and an important link between exoplanet observations and theory.