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Heat Redistribution on WASP-18b

29 Oct 2013, 10:00 UTC
Heat Redistribution on WASP-18b NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)
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WASP-18b is a massive extrasolar planet with a mass equal to 10 Jupiter masses and it is in a close-in 0.94-day orbit around an F6V parent star - a star that is somewhat hotter and larger than the Sun. The planet is believed to be tidally-locked with the same side permanently facing its parent star. As a result, temperatures on the day-side of WASP-18b can get as high as ~3000 K. Like Jupiter, WASP-18b is a gas giant planet comprised primarily of hydrogen and helium.Figure 1: Artist’s impression of HAT-P-7b. Like WASP-18b, HAT-P-7b is gas giant planet in a close-in orbit around its parent star. Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI).Observations of WASP-18b together with atmospheric models show nearly no day-side to night-side redistribution of heat. Any winds transporting heat away from the planet’s day-side is expected to be very weak. In an atmospheric model of WASP-18b that is consistent with almost no heat redistribution, the planet’s day-to-night temperature difference is around 2000 K to 3000 K (Figure 2). In another atmospheric model of WASP-18b, this time with 6.5 km/s superrotating winds racing around the planet from day-side to night-side, the day-to-night temperature difference drops to ~800 K (Figure ...

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