Masses, radii, and cloud properties of the HR8799 planets

Mark S. Marley, Didier Saumon, Michael Cushing, Andrew S. Ackerman, Jonathan J. Fortney, Richard Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


The near-infrared colors of the planets directly imaged around the A star HR8799 are much redder than most field brown dwarfs of the same effective temperature. Previous theoretical studies of these objects have concluded that the atmospheres of planets b, c, and d are unusually cloudy or have unusual cloud properties. Some studies have also found that the inferred radii of some or all of the planets disagree with expectations of standard giant planet evolution models. Here, we compare the available data to the predictions of our own set of atmospheric and evolution models that have been extensively tested against observations of field L and Tdwarfs, including the reddest Ldwarfs. Unlike some previous studies, we require mutually consistent choices for effective temperature, gravity, cloud properties, and planetary radius. This procedure thus yields plausible values for the masses, effective temperatures, and cloud properties of all three planets. We find that the cloud properties of the HR8799 planets are not unusual but rather follow previously recognized trends, including a gravity dependence on the temperature of the L to T spectral transition - some reasons for which we discuss. We find that the inferred mass of planet b is highly sensitive to whether or not we include the H- and the K-band spectrum in our analysis. Solutions for planets c and d are consistent with the generally accepted constraints on the age of the primary star and orbital dynamics. We also confirm that, like in L and Tdwarfs and solar system giant planets, non-equilibrium chemistry driven by atmospheric mixing is also important for these objects. Given the preponderance of data suggesting that the L to T spectral type transition is gravity dependent, we present an exploratory evolution calculation that accounts for this effect. Finally we recompute the bolometric luminosity of all three planets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number135
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • brown dwarfs
  • planetary systems
  • stars: atmospheres
  • stars: individual (HR 8799)
  • stars: low-mass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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