A uniform analysis of HD 209458b Spitzer/IRAC light curves with Gaussian process models

Thomas M. Evans, Suzanne Aigrain, Neale Gibson, Joanna K. Barstow, David S. Amundsen, Pascal Tremblin, Pierre Mourier

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We present an analysis of Spitzer/Infrared Array Camera primary transit and secondary eclipse light curves measured for HD 209458b, using Gaussian process models to marginalize over the intrapixel sensitivity variations in the 3.6 and 4.5 μm channels and the ramp effect in the 5.8 and 8.0 μm channels. The main advantage of this approach is that we can account for a broad range of degeneracies between the planet signal and systematics without actually having to specify a deterministic functional form for the latter. Our results do not confirm a previous claim of water absorption in transmission. Instead, our results are more consistent with a featureless transmission spectrum, possibly due to a cloud deck obscuring molecular absorption bands. For the emission data, our values are not consistent with the thermal inversion in the dayside atmosphere that was originally inferred from these data. Instead, we agree with another re-analysis of these same data, which concluded a non-inverted atmosphere provides a better fit. We find that a solar-abundance clear-atmosphere model without a thermal inversion underpredicts the measured emission in the 4.5 μm channel, which may suggest the atmosphere is depleted in carbon monoxide. An acceptable fit to the emission data can be achieved by assuming that the planet radiates as an isothermal blackbody with a temperature of 1484 ± 18 K.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-694
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date29 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • methods: data analysis
  • planets and satellites: atmospheres
  • planets and satellites: general
  • stars: individual: HD 209458


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