Revisiting the Energy Budget of WASP-43b: Enhanced day-night heat transport [EPA]

The large day–night temperature contrast of WASP-43b has so far eluded explanation. We revisit the energy budget of this planet by considering the impact of reflected light on dayside measurements, and the physicality of implied nightside temperatures. Previous analyses of the infrared eclipses of WASP-43b have assumed reflected light from the planet is negligible and can be ignored. We develop a phenomenological eclipse model including reflected light, thermal emission, and water absorption, and use it to fit published Hubble and Spitzer eclipse data. We infer a near-infrared geometric albedo of 27$\pm1\%$ and a cooler dayside temperature of $1527 \pm 10~$K. Additionally, we perform lightcurve inversion on the three published orbital phase curves of WASP-43b and find that each requires unphysical, negative flux on the nightside. By requiring non-negative brightnesses at all longitudes, we correct the unphysical parts of the maps and obtain a much hotter nightside effective temperature of $1076 \pm 11~$K. The cooler dayside and hotter nightside suggests a heat recirculation efficiency of $47\%$ for WASP-43b, essentially the same as for HD 209458b, another hot Jupiter with nearly the same temperature. Our analysis therefore reaffirms the trend that planets with lower irradiation temperatures have more efficient day--night heat transport. Moreover, we note that 1) reflected light may be significant for many near-IR eclipse measurements of hot Jupiters, and 2) phase curves should be fit with physically possible longitudinal brightness profiles — it is insufficient to only require that the disk-integrated lightcurve be non-negative.

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D. Keating and N. Cowan
Wed, 13 Sep 17

Comments: Accepted for publication in ApJL. 7 pages, 4 figures