DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 43. Extra Solar Planets III
Plenary, Organizer: G. Laughlin, Saturday, September 6, 2003, 8:30-10:00am, Steinbeck

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[43.03] All in the Family: What Brown Dwarfs Teach Us About Extrasolar Giant Planets

M. Marley (NASA Ames)

As we await the first direct image of an extrasolar giant planet, we can turn to theory and the experience gained in the campaign to detect and understand brown dwarfs for guidance on what to expect. As with any new arrival to a family, there should be a strong family resemblance (one hopes) along with notable unique features and interesting peculiarities. The 300 or so known L and T dwarfs, combined with our own giant planets, already span much of the effective temperature range within which extrasolar planets will be found. Only objects with thick, easily detectable, water clouds have yet to be seen. Thus we already know much of the family. I will describe what we have learned from studying these objects, focusing on the important roles clouds and atmospheric chemistry play in affecting their atmospheres and emergent spectra. Relying on these findings and theoretical models, I'll sketch out what we can expect from extrasolar giant planets, focusing on easily detectable features. Some wild cards, of course, are to be expected. Photochemical hazes, in particular, may obscure the family traits on the faces of Jupiter's distant cousins and may make one wonder, at least momentarily, about the milkman.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.