A Caltech Library Service

Detectability of planetesimal impacts on giant exoplanets

Flagg, Laura and Weinberger, Alycia J. and Matthews, Keith (2016) Detectability of planetesimal impacts on giant exoplanets. Icarus, 264 . pp. 1-8. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.08.024.

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The detectability of planetesimal impacts on imaged exoplanets can be measured using Jupiter during the 1994 comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 events as a proxy. By integrating the whole planet flux with and without impact spots, the effect of the impacts at wavelengths from 2 to 4 μμm is revealed. Jupiter’s reflected light spectrum in the near-infrared is dominated by its methane opacity including a deep band at 2.3 μμm. After the impact, sunlight that would have normally been absorbed by the large amount of methane in Jupiter’s atmosphere was instead reflected by the cometary material from the impacts. As a result, at 2.3 μμm, where the planet would normally have low reflectivity, it brightened substantially and stayed brighter for at least a month.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Weinberger, Alycia J.0000-0001-6654-7859
Additional Information:© 2015 Elsevier Inc. Received 30 January 2015, Revised 14 August 2015, Accepted 19 August 2015, Available online 24 August 2015. The Palomar data were taken in collaboration with Phil Nicholson and Gerry Neugebauer, both of whom were essential to their quality and utility even after 20 years. Gerry Neugebauer died as this paper was being prepared for publication, but his long commitment to infrared astronomy generally and to this work specifically is gratefully acknowledged. This effort was supported in part by the NASA Astrobiology Institute under cooperative agreement NNA09DA81A. We would also like to thank the anonymous referees for their helpful comments.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Comets; Debris disks; Extra-solar planets; Jupiter
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160104-091226656
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Laura Flagg, Alycia J. Weinberger, Keith Matthews, Detectability of planetesimal impacts on giant exoplanets, Icarus, Volume 264, 15 January 2016, Pages 1-8, ISSN 0019-1035, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:63318
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:04 Jan 2016 17:29
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:14

Repository Staff Only: item control page