Volume 643, November 2020
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||30 October 2020|
Hot Exoplanet Atmospheres Resolved with Transit Spectroscopy (HEARTS)
VI. Non-detection of sodium with HARPS on the bloated super-Neptune WASP-127b★
Observatoire astronomique de l’Université de Genève,
chemin des Maillettes 51,
2 Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço, Universidade do Porto, CAUP, Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762 Porto, Portugal
3 Department of Physics, University of Warwick, CV4 7AL Coventry, UK
4 Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG, 38000 Grenoble, France
5 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia, 6224 Agricultural Road, Vancouver, BC, Canada
6 Departamento de Matemática y Física Aplicadas, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Alonso de Rivera 2850, Concepción, Chile
7 University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Gesellschaftsstrasse 6, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
8 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Accepted: 27 September 2020
WASP-127b is one of the puffiest exoplanets found to date, with a mass of only 3.4 Neptune masses, but a radius larger than that of Jupiter. It is located at the border of the Neptune desert, which describes the lack of highly irradiated Neptune-sized planets, and which remains poorly understood. Its large scale height and bright host star make the transiting WASP-127b a valuable target to characterise in transmission spectroscopy. We used combined EulerCam and TESS light curves to recalculate the system parameters. Additionally, we present an in-depth search for sodium in four transit observations of WASP-127b, obtained as part of the Hot Exoplanet Atmosphere Resolved with Transit Spectroscopy (HEARTS) survey with the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph. Two nights from this dataset were analysed independently by another team. The team claimed a detection of sodium that is incompatible with previous studies of data from both ground and space. We show that this strong sodium detection is due to contamination from telluric sodium emissions and the low signal-to-noise ratio in the core of the deep stellar sodium lines. When these effects are properly accounted for, the previous sodium signal is reduced to an absorption of 0.46 ± 0.20% (2.3σ), which is compatible with analyses of WASP-127b transits carried out with other instruments. We can fit a Gaussian to the D2 line, but the D1 line was not detected. This indicates an unusual line ratio if sodium exists in the atmosphere. Follow-up of WASP-127 at high resolution and with high sensitivity is required to firmly establish the presence of sodium and analyse its line shape.
Key words: planets and satellites: atmospheres / planets and satellites: individual: WASP-127 b / techniques: spectroscopic / instrumentation: spectrographs / methods: observational / techniques: photometric
© ESO 2020
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