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Hellacious Superrotating Winds on Hot-Jupiters

18 Jul 2014, 22:00 UTC
Hellacious Superrotating Winds on Hot-Jupiters
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Hot-Jupiters are a class of exoplanets that share similar characteristics to Jupiter (i.e. they are all gas giant planets), but have extraordinarily high surface temperatures because they orbit very close to their parents stars. On a hot-Jupiter, the intense heating on the planet’s dayside drives powerful winds that tear continually around the planet, transporting heat from the dayside and dumping it on the nightside. These hellacious winds whip around the planet from west to east, generating what is known as superrotation. The winds extend from the planet’s equator to latitudes of typically 20° to 60°. Because a hot-Jupiter orbits so close to its parent star, the planet is most likely tidally-locked and presents the same hemisphere towards its parent star all the time. Superrotation on a tidally-locked hot-Jupiter tends to produce an eastward displacement of the planet’s hottest region from the substellar point by up to 10° to 60° of longitude.Figure 1: Artist’s impression of a gas giant planet.S. Faigler & T. Mazeh (2014) analysed the Kepler light-curves of four transiting hot-Jupiters - KOI-13b, HAT-P-7b, TrES-2b and Kepler-76b. The light-curves of these four planets show beaming, ellipsoidal and reflection/emission (BEER) phase modulations. As a hot-Jupiter circles its parent star, it ...

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