The atmospheres of extrasolar planets

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


The characteristics of irradiated solar system planetary atmospheres have been studied for decades. Modern planetary science benefits from an exhaustive body of ground- and space-based data. The study of extrasolar planetary atmospheres, by contrast, is in its infancy and currently rests on a few score of datapoints, mostly of the transiting planets. As the study of exoplanetary atmospheres blossoms, it is well worth remembering lessons learned from the solar system. In this contribution, based on my Les Houches lecture on exoplanet atmospheres, I briefly review a few of the key concepts relevant to understanding planetary atmospheres and point to examples both in our own solar system and among the exoplanets. This short survey aims not to review the field but rather stresses the importance of understanding the structure, dynamics, cloud processes and photochemistry of planetary atmospheres and points the reader towards useful reference works. Here I particularly explain the importance of cloud and photochemical processes in controlling the spectra and albedos of extrasolar planets and urge that care be taken in the interpretation of exoplanet colors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhysics and Astrophysics of Planetary Systems
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventPhysics and Astrophysics of Planetary Systems - Chamonix, France
Duration: Feb 18 2008Feb 29 2008

Publication series

NameEAS Publications Series
ISSN (Print)1633-4760
ISSN (Electronic)1638-1963


OtherPhysics and Astrophysics of Planetary Systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • General Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The atmospheres of extrasolar planets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this