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Published January 10, 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

Warm Spitzer Photometry of the Transiting Exoplanets CoRoT-1 and CoRoT-2 at Secondary Eclipse


We measure secondary eclipses of the hot giant exoplanets CoRoT-1 at 3.6 and 4.5 μm, and CoRoT-2 at 3.6 μm, both using Warm Spitzer. We find that the Warm Spitzer mission is working very well for exoplanet science. For consistency of our analysis we also re-analyze archival cryogenic Spitzer data for secondary eclipses of CoRoT-2 at 4.5 and 8 μm. We compare the total data for both planets, including optical eclipse measurements by the CoRoT mission, and ground-based eclipse measurements at 2 μm, to existing models. Both planets exhibit stronger eclipses at 4.5 than at 3.6 μm, which is often indicative of an atmospheric temperature inversion. The spectrum of CoRoT-1 is best reproduced by a 2460 K blackbody, due either to a high altitude layer that strongly absorbs stellar irradiance, or an isothermal region in the planetary atmosphere. The spectrum of CoRoT-2 is unusual because the 8 μm contrast is anomalously low. Non-inverted atmospheres could potentially produce the CoRoT-2 spectrum if the planet exhibits line emission from CO at 4.5 μm, caused by tidal-induced mass loss. However, the viability of that hypothesis is questionable because the emitting region cannot be more than about 30% larger than the planet's transit radius, based on the ingress and egress times at eclipse. An alternative possibility to account for the spectrum of CoRoT-2 is an additional opacity source that acts strongly at wavelengths less than 5 μm, heating the upper atmosphere while allowing the deeper atmosphere seen at 8 μm to remain cooler. We obtain a similar result as Gillon et al. for the phase of the secondary eclipse of CoRoT-2, implying an eccentric orbit with e cos(ω) = –0.0030 ± 0.0004.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 May 4; accepted 2010 November 2; published 2010 December 20. This work is based on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. Support for this work was provided by NASA. H.K. is supported by a fellowship from the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science. E.A. acknowledges support under NSF CAREER grant no. 0645416. A.B. was supported by NASA grant NNX07AG80G and under JPL/Spitzer Agreements 1328092, 1348668, and 1312647. He is also pleased to note that part of this work was performed while in residence at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, funded by the NSF through grant no. PHY05-51164. We thank Dr. Rory Barnes for informative conversations regarding the tidal evolution of CoRoT-2, and an anonymous referee for a very thorough review that improved this paper significantly. Facilities: Spitzer

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