Wednesday 27 Apr 2016Seminar: **11:30** Cloudy with a chance of rain

Dr Hannah Wakeford - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Physics, 4th floor 11:30-12:30

Deciphering the role of clouds is central to our understanding of exoplanet atmospheres, as they have a direct impact on the temperature and pressure structure, and observability of the planet. It is expected that, like all the planetary bodies in our solar system, exoplanet atmospheres will also have substantial cloud coverage, and evidence is mounting for clouds in a number of hot Jupiters. Examining the condensation chemistry across vast temperature ranges reveals the probable cloud species responsible for masking and obscuring transmission spectral features. We use these species, and two key exoplanet examples, to determine the observable properties of clouds for exoplanets to determine if atmospheric information key to observations and models can be retained. For condensate clouds vibrational mode features are shown to be prominent when the clouds are composed of small sub-micron sized particles and can be associated with an accompanying optical scattering slope. These infrared features have potential implications for future exoplanetary atmosphere studies conducted with JWST, where such vibrational modes distinguishing condensate species can be probed at longer wavelengths.

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