A Study of Equilibrium Abundances of Select Elements in Extrasolar Giant Planet Atmospheres

Baker, Jordan, Astronomy, University of Virginia
Arras, Phil, AS-Astronomy, University of Virginia

Because exoplanets are extremely far away from Earth, very few of them can actually be studied directly; one of the most common methods of studying them is using absorption or emission spectra generated by compounds in a planet’s atmosphere interacting with light from its star. The spectrum from each species is unique enough to be used as a “fingerprint” that can identify whatever is releasing the spectrum, and therefore determine which species are present in an exoplanet’s atmosphere. The basic properties of the “hot Jupiter” category of exoplanets are reviewed, and plots measuring the equilibrium partial pressures of common carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen compounds against temperature and the partial pressure of hydrogen molecules are presented. Finally, an initial summary of some research on the presence and availability of sodium in exoplanet and brown dwarf atmospheres is also given.

BA (Bachelor of Arts)
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