Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Topics in Extrasolar Planet Characterization
Authors: Howe, Alex Ryan
Advisors: Burrows, Adam S
Contributors: Astrophysical Sciences Department
Keywords: atmospheres
information theory
mass loss
planetary structure
transit spectroscopy
Subjects: Astrophysics
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: I present four papers exploring different topics in the area of characterizing the atmospheric and bulk properties of extrasolar planets. In these papers, I present two new codes, in various forms, for modeling these objects. A code to generate theoretical models of transit spectra of exoplanets is featured in the first paper and is refined and expanded into the APOLLO code for spectral modeling and parameter retrieval in the fourth paper. Another code to model the internal structure and evolution of planets is featured in the second and third papers. The first paper presents transit spectra models of GJ 1214b and other super-Earth and mini-Neptune type planets−planets with a “solid”, terrestrial composition and relatively small planets with a thick hydrogen-helium atmosphere, respectively−and fit them to observational data to estimate the atmospheric compositions and cloud properties of these planets. The second paper presents structural models of super-Earth and mini-Neptune type planets and estimates their bulk compositions from mass and radius estimates. The third paper refines these models with evolutionary calculations of thermal contraction and ultraviolet-driven mass loss. Here, we estimate the boundaries of the parameter space in which planets lose their initial hydrogen-helium atmospheres completely, and we also present formation and evolution scenarios for the planets in the Kepler-11 system. The fourth paper uses more refined transit spectra models, this time for hot jupiter type planets, to explore the methods to design optimal observing programs for the James Webb Space Telescope to quantitatively measure the atmospheric compositions and other properties of these planets.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Astrophysical Sciences

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Howe_princeton_0181D_11906.pdf5.86 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.