Keywords

Exoplanet, photometry, planetary sciences, atmospheres

Abstract

Multi-wavelength transit and secondary-eclipse light-curve observations are some of the most powerful techniques to probe the thermo-chemical properties of exoplanets. Although the large planet-to-star brightness contrast and few available spectral bands produce data with low signal-to-noise ratios, a Bayesian approach can robustly reveal what constraints we can set, without over-interpreting the data. Here I performed an end-to-end analysis of transiting exoplanet data. I analyzed space-telescope data for three planets to characterize their atmospheres and refine their orbits, investigated correlated noise estimators, and contributed to the development of the respective data-analysis pipelines. Chapters 2 and 3 describe the Photometry for Orbits, Eclipses and Transits (POET) pipeline to model Spitzer Space Telescope light curves. I analyzed secondary-eclipse observations of the Jupiter-sized planets WASP-8b and TrES-1, determining their day-side thermal emission in the infrared spectrum. The emission data of WASP-8b indicated no thermal inversion, and an anomalously high 3.6 micron brightness. Standard solar-abundance models, with or without a thermal inversion, can fit the thermal emission from TrES-1 well. Chapter 4 describes the most commonly used correlated-noise estimators for exoplanet light-curve modeling, and assesses their applicability and limitations to estimate parameters uncertainties. I show that the residual-permutation method is unsound for estimating parameter uncertainties. The time-averaging and the wavelet-based likelihood methods improve the uncertainty estimations, being within 20 - 50% of the expected value. Chapter 5 describes the open-source Bayesian Atmospheric Radiative Transfer (BART) code to characterize exoplanet atmospheres. BART combines a thermochemical-equilibrium code, a one-dimensional line-by-line radiative-transfer code, and the Multi-core Markov-chain Monte Carlo statistical module to constrains the atmospheric temperature and chemical-abundance profiles of exoplanets. I applied the BART code to the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescope transit observations of the Neptune-sized planet HAT-P-11b. BART finds an atmosphere enhanced in heavy elements, constraining the water abundance to ~100 times that of the solar abundance.

Notes

If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at STARS@ucf.edu

Graduation Date

2015

Semester

Fall

Advisor

Harrington, Joseph

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Physics

Degree Program

Physics; Planetary Sciences

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0005935

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0005935

Language

English

Release Date

December 2015

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

Restricted to the UCF community until December 2015; it will then be open access.

Share

COinS