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      A grid of polarization models for Rayleigh scattering planetary atmospheres

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          Abstract

          We investigate the intensity and polarization of reflected light from planetary atmospheres. We present a large grid of Monte Carlo simulations for planets with Rayleigh scattering atmospheres. We discuss the disk-integrated polarization for phase angles typical of extrasolar planet observations and for the limb polarization effect observable for solar system objects near opposition. The main parameters investigated are single scattering albedo, optical depth of the scattering layer, and albedo of an underlying Lambert surface for a homogeneous Rayleigh scattering atmosphere. We also investigate atmospheres with isotropic scattering and forward scattering aerosol particles, as well as models with two scattering layers. The model grid provides a tool for extracting quantitative results from polarimetric measurements of planetary atmospheres from solar system planets and extrasolar planets, in particular on the scattering properties and stratification of particles in the highest atmosphere layers. Spectropolarimetry of solar system planets offers complementary information to spectroscopy and polarization flux colors can be used for a first characterization of exoplanet atmospheres. From limb polarization measurements, one can set constraints on the polarization at large phase angles.

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          Polarimetry and photometry of Saturn from Pioneer 11: Observations and constraints on the distribution and properties of cloud and aerosol particles

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            10 July 2009
            2009-09-16
            Article
            10.1051/0004-6361/200911760
            0907.1862

            http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

            Custom metadata
            Astron.Astrophys. 504, 259-276 (2009)
            19 pages, 21 figures. Minor changes. Published in Astronomy and Astrophysics
            astro-ph.EP astro-ph.IM

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