Volume 596, December 2016
|Number of page(s)||14|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||28 November 2016|
Potassium detection in the clear atmosphere of a hot-Jupiter
FORS2 transmission spectroscopy of WASP-17b⋆
1 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Córdova 3107, Casilla 19001, Santiago, Chile
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com]
2 Institut für Planetenforschung, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Rutherfordstr. 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany
3 Zentrum für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Technische Universität Berlin, Hardenbergstraβe 36, 10623 Berlin, Germany
4 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
5 Astronomical Institute, Charles University in Prague, Vholešovičkách 2, 180 00 Praha 8, Czech Republic
6 Astronomical Institute ASCR, Fričova 298, 251 65 Ondřejov, Czech Republic
7 Department of Physics & Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
Received: 10 June 2016
Accepted: 14 September 2016
We present FORS2 (attached to ESO’s Very Large Telescope) observations of the exoplanet WASP-17b during its primary transit, for the purpose of differential spectrophotometry analysis. We use the instrument in its Mask eXchange Unit (MXU) mode to simultaneously obtain low resolution spectra of the planet hosting star, as well as several reference stars in the field of view. The integration of these spectra within broadband and smaller 100 Å bins provides us with “white” and spectrophotometric light curves, from 5700 to 8000 Å. Through modelling the white light curve, we obtain refined bulk and transit parameters of the planet, as well as wavelength-dependent variations of the planetary radius from smaller spectral bins through which the transmission spectrum is obtained. The inference of transit parameters, as well as the noise statistics, is performed using a Gaussian Process model. We achieve a typical precision in the transit depth of a few hundred parts per million from various transit light curves. From the transmission spectra we rule out a flat spectrum at >3σ and detect marginal presence of the pressure-broadened sodium wings. Furthermore, we detect the wing of the potassium absorption line in the upper atmosphere of the planet with 3σ confidence, both facts pointing to a relatively shallow temperature gradient in the atmosphere. These conclusions are mostly consistent with previous studies of this exo–atmosphere, although previous potassium measurements have been inconclusive.
Key words: planets and satellites: atmospheres / planets and satellites: individual: WASP-17b / techniques: spectroscopic / instrumentation: spectrographs / stars: individual: WASP-17 / methods: data analysis
The data of the light curves are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (188.8.131.52) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/596/A47
© ESO, 2016
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