Modelling reflected polarized light from close-in giant exoplanet WASP-96b using PolHEx (Polarisation of hot exoplanets)

Katy L Chubb*, Daphne M Stam, Christiane Helling*, Dominic Samra, Ludmila Carone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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We present the Polarisation of Hot Exoplanets (PolHEx) code for modelling the total flux (F) and degree of linear polarisation (P) of light spectra reflected by close-in, tidally locked exoplanets. We use the output from a global climate model (GCM) combined with a kinetic cloud model of hot Jupiter WASP-96b as a base to investigate effects of atmospheric longitudinal-latitudinal inhomogeneities on these spectra. We model F and P-spectra as functions of wavelength and planet orbital phase for various model atmospheres. We find different materials and sizes of cloud particles to impact the reflected flux F, and particularly the linear polarisation state P. A range of materials are used to form inhomogeneous mixed-material cloud particles (Al2O3, Fe2O3, Fe2SiO4, FeO, Fe, Mg2SiO4, MgO, MgSiO3, SiO2, SiO, TiO2), with Fe2O3, Fe, and FeO the most strongly absorbing species. The cloud particles near the relatively cool morning terminator are expected to have smaller average sizes and a narrower size distribution than those near the warmer evening terminator, which leads to different reflected spectra at the respective orbital phases. We also find differences in the spectra of F and P as functions of orbital phase for irregularly or spherically shaped cloud particles. This work highlights the importance of including polarisation in models and future observations of the reflection spectra of exoplanets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4955–4982
Number of pages28
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date3 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • Scattering
  • Polarization
  • Planets and satellites: atmospheres


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