Abstract: The thermal emission of exoplanets contains valuable information about the structures of their atmospheres. However, the current quality of observations allows for only a limited understanding of the physics at play. With this in mind we focus on infrared observables of close-in and eccentric planets, whose atmospheric responses may be characterized to leading order by the cycles of stellar forcing from their orbits and rotation. We approach modeling using a range of physical complexities. Firstly, we demonstrate in a re-assessment of Spitzer orbital phase curves that their shapes in many cases are well fit by a simple thermal model, in comparison with models of considerably more complexity. A few Hot Jupiters show phase offsets counter to the expectation of super-rotating winds on a tidally-locked planet; we detail the efficacy, feasibility, and observable consequences of high planet obliquity in reproducing these offsets. Finally, we explore the broad effects of high eccentricity and rotation rate on potentially observable phase variations from ocean-rich worlds, using the capabilities of a fully 3-dimensional climate model.
Advisor: Prof. Geg Laughlin