Photochemical hazes in sub-neptunian atmospheres with a focus on gj 1214b

Panayotis Lavvas, Tommi Koskinen, Maria E. Steinrueck, Antonio Garcia Munoz, Adam P. Showman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We study the properties of photochemical hazes in super-Earth/mini-Neptune atmospheres with particular focus on GJ 1214b. We evaluate photochemical haze properties at different metallicities between solar and 10,000 solar. Within the four-order-of-magnitude change in metallicity, we find that the haze precursor mass fluxes change only by a factor of ∼3. This small diversity occurs with a nonmonotonic manner among the different metallicity cases, reflecting the interaction of the main atmospheric gases with the radiation field. Comparison with relative haze yields at different metallicities from laboratory experiments reveals a qualitative similarity to our theoretical calculations and highlights the contributions of different gas precursors. Our haze simulations demonstrate that higher metallicity results in smaller average particle sizes. Metallicities at and above 100 solar with haze formation yields of ∼10% provide enough haze opacity to satisfy transit observations at visible wavelengths and obscure sufficiently the H2O molecular absorption features between 1.1 and 1.7 μm. However, only the highest-metallicity case considered (10,000 solar) brings the simulated spectra into closer agreement with transit depths at 3.6 and 4.5 μm, indicating a high contribution of CO/CO2 in GJ 1214b's atmosphere. We also evaluate the impact of aggregate growth in our simulations, in contrast to spherical growth, and find that the two growth modes provide similar transit signatures (for D f = 2), but with different particle size distributions. Finally, we conclude that the simulated haze particles should have major implications for the atmospheric thermal structure and for the properties of condensation clouds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 20 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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