2D Retrieval Frameworks for Hot Jupiter Phase Curves

Y. Katherina Feng, Michael R. Line, Jonathan J. Fortney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Spectroscopic phase curves provide unique access to the three-dimensional properties of transiting exoplanet atmospheres. However, a modeling framework must be developed to deliver accurate inferences of atmospheric properties for these complex data sets. Here, we develop an approach to retrieve temperature structures and molecular abundances from phase curve spectra at any orbital phase. In the context of a representative hot Jupiter with a large day-night temperature contrast, we examine the biases in typical one-dimensional (1D) retrievals as a function of orbital phase/geometry, compared to two-dimensional (2D) models that appropriately capture the disk-integrated phase geometry. We guide our intuition by applying our new framework on a simulated Hubble Space Telescope (HST)+Spitzer phase curve data set in which the "truth"is known, followed by an application to the spectroscopic phase curve of the canonical hot Jupiter, WASP-43b. We also demonstrate the retrieval framework on simulated James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) phase curve observations. We apply our new geometric framework to a joint fit of all spectroscopic phases, assuming longitudinal molecular abundance homogeneity, resulting in an a factor of 2 improvement in abundances precision when compared to individual phase constraints. With a 1D retrieval model on simulated HST+Spitzer data, we find strongly biased molecular abundances for CH4 and CO2 at most orbital phases. With 2D, the day and night profiles retrieved from WASP-43b remain consistent throughout the orbit. JWST retrievals show that a 2D model is strongly favored at all orbital phases. Based on our new 2D retrieval implementation, we provide recommendations on when 1D models are appropriate and when more complex phase geometries involving multiple TP profiles are required to obtain an unbiased view of tidally locked planetary atmospheres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number137
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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