Volume 452, Number 2, June III 2006
|Page(s)||669 - 683|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||22 May 2006|
Integrating polarized light over a planetary disk applied to starlight reflected by extrasolar planets
Astronomical Institute “Anton Pannekoek”, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands e-mail: D.M.Stam@sron.nl
2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Accepted: 19 January 2006
We present an efficient numerical method for integrating planetary radiation over a planetary disk, which is especially interesting for simulating signals of extrasolar planets. Our integration method is applicable to calculating the full flux vector of the disk-integrated planetary radiation, i.e. not only its observed flux (irradiance), but also its state of polarization (linear and circular). Including polarization is important for simulations of the light reflected by a planet, in particular, because this will generally be polarized. Our integration method is based on the expansion of the radiation field of a spherical, horizontally homogeneous planet into generalized spherical functions. With the expansion coefficients, the flux vector of the disk-integrated, reflected starlight can be obtained rapidly for arbitrary planetary phase angles. We describe the theory behind the disk-integration algorithm and results of accuracy tests. In addition, we give some illustrative examples of the application of the algorithm to extrasolar planets.
Key words: methods: numerical / polarization / radiative transfer / stars: planetary systems
© ESO, 2006
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