Photochemical hazes have been suggested as candidate for the high-altitude aerosols observed in the transmission spectra of many hot Jupiters. We present 3D simulations of the hot Jupiter HD 189733b to study how photochemical hazes are transported by atmospheric circulation. The model includes spherical, constant-size haze particles that gravitationally settle and are transported by the winds as passive tracers, with particle radii ranging from 1 nm to 1 $\mu$m. We identify two general types of haze distribution based on particle size: In the small-particle regime (<30 nm), gravitational settling is unimportant, and hazes accumulate in two large mid-latitude vortices centred on the nightside that extend across the morning terminator. Therefore, small hazes are more concentrated at the morning terminator than at the evening terminator. In the large-particle regime (>30 nm), hazes settle out quickly on the nightside, resulting in more hazes at the evening terminator. For small particles, terminator differences in haze mass mixing ratio and temperature considered individually can result in significant differences in the transit spectra of the terminators. When combining both effects for HD 189733b, however, they largely cancel out each other, resulting in very small terminator differences in the spectra. Transit spectra based on the GCM-derived haze distribution fail to reproduce the steep spectral slope at short wavelengths in the current transit observations of HD 189733b. Enhanced sub-grid scale mixing and/or optical properties of hazes differing from soot can explain the mismatch between the model and observations, although uncertainties in temperature and star spots may also contribute to the spectral slope.
- methods: numerical
- planets and satellites: atmospheres
- planets and satellites: gaseous planets
- planets and satellites: individual: HD 189733b
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science