Mapping the cloudy skies of brown dwarfs
Theodora Karalidi (U Arizona)
Clouds play an important role in planetary climates. Characterizing the cloud coverage of a planet is crucial for assessing the planet's habitability. Observations of exoplanets and brown dwarfs indicate the presence of complex 3D cloud structures and dynamics in these atmospheres. However, no telescope is able to resolve the disk of these objects and provide us with spatial information on their cloud coverage. A way to study the structure and evolution of clouds in these exo-atmospheres is to create maps via forward modeling of the observed spectra and phase curves. In this talk I will present how we map the cloud structure of brown dwarf atmospheres using "Aeolus," and how we study the evolution of these maps over time to get an insight in the brown dwarf atmosphere dynamics. I will also discuss how we will be able to apply Aeolus to map the variable cloud structures of imaged giant exoplanets currently, and terrestrial exoplanets in the future.
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