We present the open-source radiative transfer code named HELIOS, which is constructed for studying exoplanetary atmospheres. In its initial version, the model atmospheres of HELIOS are one-dimensional and plane-parallel, and the equation of radiative transfer is solved in the two-stream approximation with nonisotropic scattering. A small set of the main infrared absorbers is employed, computed with the opacity calculator HELIOS-K and combined using a correlated-k approximation. The molecular abundances originate from validated analytical formulae for equilibrium chemistry. We compare HELIOS with the work of Miller-Ricci & Fortney using a model of GJ 1214b, and perform several tests, where we find: model atmospheres with single-temperature layers struggle to converge to radiative equilibrium; k-distribution tables constructed with cm-1 resolution in the opacity function ( points per wavenumber bin) may result in errors %-10% in the synthetic spectra; and a diffusivity factor of 2 approximates well the exact radiative transfer solution in the limit of pure absorption. We construct "null-hypothesis" models (chemical equilibrium, radiative equilibrium, and solar elemental abundances) for six hot Jupiters. We find that the dayside emission spectra of HD 189733b and WASP-43b are consistent with the null hypothesis, while the latter consistently underpredicts the observed fluxes of WASP-8b, WASP-12b, WASP-14b, and WASP-33b. We demonstrate that our results are somewhat insensitive to the choice of stellar models (blackbody, Kurucz, or PHOENIX) and metallicity, but are strongly affected by higher carbon-to-oxygen ratios. The code is publicly available as part of the Exoclimes Simulation Platform (exoclime.net).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- methods: numerical
- planets and satellites: atmospheres
- radiative transfer