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Publication Detail
Detectable Abundance of Cyanoacetylene (HC3N) Predicted on Reduced Nitrogen-Rich Super-Earth Atmospheres
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Rimmer PB, Majumdar L, Priyadarshi A, Wright S, Yurchenko SN
  • Publication date:
    13/10/2021
  • Journal:
    Astrophysical Journal Letters
  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Keywords:
    astro-ph.EP, astro-ph.EP, physics.chem-ph
  • Notes:
    11 pages, 5 figures, accepted for publication in ApJL, comments welcome
Abstract
We predict that cyanoacetylene (HC$_3$N) is produced photochemically in the atmosphere of GJ 1132 b in abundances detectable by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), assuming that the atmosphere is hydrogen dominated and rich in molecular nitrogen (N$_2$), methane (CH$_4$) and hydrogen cyanide (HCN), as described by Swain et al. (2021). First, we construct line list and cross-sections for HC$_3$N. Then we apply these cross-sections and the model atmosphere of Swain et al. (2021) to a radiative transfer model in order to simulate the transmission spectrum of GJ 1132 b as it would be seen by JWST, accounting for the uncertainty in the retrieved abundances. We predict that cyanoacetylene features at various wavelengths, with a clear lone feature at 4.5 $\mu$m, observable by JWST after one transit. This feature persists within the $1-\sigma$ uncertainty of the retrieved abundances of HCN and CH$_4$. The signal is detectable for stratospheric temperatures $\lesssim 600$ K and moderate stratospheric mixing ($10^6 \, {\rm cm^2 \, s^{-1}} \lesssim K_{zz} \lesssim 10^8 \, {\rm cm^2 \, s^{-1}}$). Our results also indicate that HC$_3$N is an important source of opacity that future retrieval models should consider.
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