Bright optical day-side emission from extrasolar planet CoRoT-2b

I. A.G. Snellen, E. J.W. De Mooij, A. Burrows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


We present our analysis of the red-channel CoRoT data of extrasolar planet CoRoT-2b. A deep secondary eclipse is detected at a level of 1.02 ± 0.20 × 10-4, which suggests that all of the planet-signal detected previously in white light by Alonso et al. (2009, A&A, 501, L23) originates from the red channel. CoRoT-2b is the coolest exoplanet that has been detected in the optical so far. In contrast to the other planets, its measured brightness temperature of 2170±55 K is significantly higher than its maximum hemisphere-averaged effective day-side temperature. However, it is not expected that a hot Jupiter radiates as a black body, and its thermal spectrum can deviate significantly from a Planck curve. We present models of the planet/star flux ratio as function of wavelength, which are calculated for a T/P profile in radiative and hydrostatic equilibrium, using a self-consistent atmosphere code. These are compared with the CoRoT detection, and with measurements at 4.5 and 8 μm from the Spitzer Space Telescope from Gillon et al. (2010, A&A, 511, A3). We estimate that reflected light contributes only at a 10-20% level to the total optical eclipse depth. The models allow for an "extra absorber" to be inserted at high altitude in the planet's atmosphere. This produces a thermal inversion layer, recently invoked to explain the photometric reversals and flux enhancements seen in some planets in the infrared. In the 0.5-1.5 μm wavelength range, the model-spectra of planets with an extra absorber at high altitude, are relatively suppressed in flux compared to those without such absorber. We therefore argue that, in contrast to the other exoplanets detected in the optical so far, CoRoT-2b may not exhibit a significant thermal inversion in its atmosphere, causing its optical brightness temperature to be boosted above its maximum effective day-side temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA76
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Planetary systems
  • Techniques: photometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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