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Sensitive probing of exoplanetary oxygen via mid-infrared collisional absorption
Nature Astronomy ( IF 10.500 ) Pub Date : 2020-01-06 , DOI: 10.1038/s41550-019-0977-7
Thomas J. Fauchez; Geronimo L. Villanueva; Edward W. Schwieterman; Martin Turbet; Giada Arney; Daria Pidhorodetska; Ravi K. Kopparapu; Avi Mandell; Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman

The collision-induced fundamental vibration–rotation band at 6.4 μm is the strongest absorption feature from O2 in the infrared1,2,3, yet it has not been previously incorporated into exoplanet spectral analyses for several reasons. Either collision-induced absorptions (CIAs) were not included or incomplete/obsolete CIA databases were used. Also, the current version of HITRAN does not include CIAs at 6.4 μm with other collision partners (O2–X). We include O2–X CIA features in our transmission spectroscopy simulations by parameterizing the 6.4-μm O2–N2 CIA based on ref. 3 and the O2–CO2 CIA based on ref. 4. Here we report that the O2–X CIA may be the most detectable O2 feature for transit observations. For a potential TRAPPIST-1 e analogue system within 5 pc of the Sun, it could be the only O2 signature detectable with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) (using MIRI LRS (Mid-Infrared Instrument low-resolution spectrometer)) for a modern Earth-like cloudy atmosphere with biological quantities of O2. Also, we show that the 6.4-μm O2–X CIA would be prominent for O2-rich desiccated atmospheres5 and could be detectable with JWST in just a few transits. For systems beyond 5 pc, this feature could therefore be a powerful discriminator of uninhabited planets with non-biological ‘false-positive’ O2 in their atmospheres, as they would only be detectable at these higher O2 pressures.
更新日期:2020-01-06

 

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