EXOPLINES: Molecular Absorption Cross-section Database for Brown Dwarf and Giant Exoplanet Atmospheres

Ehsan Gharib-Nezhad, Aishwarya R. Iyer, Michael R. Line, Richard S. Freedman, Mark S. Marley, Natasha E. Batalha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Stellar, substellar, and planetary atmosphere models are all highly sensitive to the input opacities. Generational differences between various state-of-the-art stellar/planetary models arise primarily because of incomplete and outdated atomic/molecular line lists. Here we present a database of precomputed absorption cross sections for all isotopologues of key atmospheric molecules relevant to late-type stellar, brown dwarf, and planetary atmospheres: MgH, AlH, CaH, TiH, CrH, FeH, SiO, TiO, VO, and H2O. The pressure and temperature ranges of the computed opacities are 10-6-3000 bar and 75-4000 K, and their spectral ranges are 0.25-330 μm for many cases where possible. For cases with no pressure-broadening data, we use collision theory to bridge the gap. We also probe the effect of absorption cross sections calculated from different line lists in the context of ultrahot Jupiter and M-dwarf atmospheres. Using 1D self-consistent radiative-convective thermochemical equilibrium models, we report significant variations in the theoretical spectra and thermal profiles of substellar atmospheres. With a 2000 K representative ultrahot Jupiter, we report variations of up to 320 and 80 ppm in transmission and thermal emission spectra, respectively. For a 3000 K M-dwarf, we find differences of up to 125% in the spectra. We find that the most significant differences arise as a result of the choice of TiO line lists, primarily below 1 μm. In summary, (1) we present a database of precomputed molecular absorption cross sections, and (2) we quantify biases that arise when characterizing substellar/exoplanet atmospheres as a result of differences in the line lists, therefore highlighting the importance of correct and complete opacities for eventual applications to high-precision spectroscopy and photometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number34
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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