A theory of extrasolar giant planets

D. Saumon, W. B. Hubbard, Adam S. Burrows, T. Guillot, J. I. Lunine, G. Chabrier

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We present a broad suite of models of extrasolar giant planets (EGPs), ranging in mass from 0.3 to 15 Jupiter masses. The models predict luminosity (both reflected and emitted) as a function of age, mass, deuterium abundance, and distance from parent stars of various spectral types. We also explore the effects of helium mass fraction, rotation rate, and the presence of a rock-ice core. The models incorporate the most accurate available equation of state for the interior, including a new theory for the enhancement of deuterium fusion by electron screening, which is potentially important in these low-mass objects, The results of our calculations reveal enormous sensitivity of EGPs to the presence of the parent star, particularly for G and earlier spectral types. They also show a strong sensitivity of the flux contrast in the mid-infrared, between parent star and EGP, to the mass and age of the EGPs. We interpret our results in terms of search strategies for ground- and space-based observatories in place or anticipated in the near future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-1018
Number of pages26
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART I
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Planetary systems

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    Saumon, D., Hubbard, W. B., Burrows, A. S., Guillot, T., Lunine, J. I., & Chabrier, G. (1996). A theory of extrasolar giant planets. Astrophysical Journal, 460(2 PART I), 993-1018. https://doi.org/10.1086/177027