AN INFORMATION-THEORETIC APPROACH to OPTIMIZE JWST OBSERVATIONS and RETRIEVALS of TRANSITING EXOPLANET ATMOSPHERES

Alex R. Howe, Adam Burrows, Drake Deming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

We provide an example of an analysis to explore the optimization of observations of transiting hot Jupiters with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to characterize their atmospheres based on a simple three-parameter forward model. We construct expansive forward model sets for 11 hot Jupiters, 10 of which are relatively well characterized, exploring a range of parameters such as equilibrium temperature and metallicity, as well as considering host stars over a wide range in brightness. We compute posterior distributions of our model parameters for each planet with all of the available JWST spectroscopic modes and several programs of combined observations and compute their effectiveness using the metric of estimated mutual information per degree of freedom. From these simulations, clear trends emerge that provide guidelines for designing a JWST observing program. We demonstrate that these guidelines apply over a wide range of planet parameters and target brightnesses for our simple forward model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number96
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume835
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 20 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • methods: statistical
  • planets and satellites: atmospheres
  • planets and satellites: composition
  • planets and satellites: gaseous planets
  • techniques: spectroscopic

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