The Ultimate Spitzer Phase Curve Survey
Lisa Dang ( Université de Montréal )
Although exoplanetary sciences were not projected to be a substantial part of its original mission, the investigation of exoplanets with Spitzer has set the stage for future exploration with the JWST. Spitzer pioneered a powerful technique consisting of observations spanning the full orbit of an exoplanet to reveal the longitudinal temperature structure of the planet. Embedded in thermal phase curves of exoplanets are constraints on the atmospheric structure and dynamics that continue to propel future investigations in the era of JWST. With over 30 Spitzer phase curves of hot Jupiters spanning a wide range of equilibrium temperatures and orbital configurations, the complete data set provides an unprecedented opportunity to identify trends in the properties of hot Jupiter atmospheres. We present a uniform reduction and analysis of all 4.5 μm phase curves to minimize variations caused by using different approaches. We test theoretical and empirical trends with a large uniform sample of phase curves not likely to be superseded until the Ariel mission at the end of this decade.