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ARES I: WASP-76 b, A tale of two HST spectra

Edwards, Billy, Changeat, Quentin, Baeyens, Robin, Tsiaras, Angelos, Al-Refaie, Ahmed, Taylor, Jake, Yip, Kai Hou, Bieger, Michelle Fabienne, Blain, Doriann, Gressier, Amélie, Guilluy, Gloria, Jaziri, Adam Yassin, Kiefer, Flavien, Modirrousta-Galian, Darius, Morvan, Mario, Mugnai, Lorenzo V. ORCID:, Pluriel, William, Poveda, Mathilde, Skaf, Nour, Whiteford, Niall, Wright, Sam, Zingales, Tiziano, Charnay, Benjamin, Drossart, Pierre, Leconte, Jérémy, Venot, Olivia, Waldmann, Ingo and Beaulieu, Jean-Philippe 2020. ARES I: WASP-76 b, A tale of two HST spectra. Astronomical Journal 160 (1) 10.3847/1538-3881/ab9225

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We analyze the transmission and emission spectra of the ultra-hot Jupiter WASP-76 b, observed with the G141 grism of the Hubble Space Telescope's (HST) Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). We reduce and fit the raw data for each observation using the open-source software Iraclis before performing a fully Bayesian retrieval using the publicly available analysis suite TauREx 3. Previous studies of the WFC3 transmission spectra of WASP-76 b found hints of titanium oxide (TiO) and vanadium oxide (VO) or non-gray clouds. Accounting for a fainter stellar companion to WASP-76, we reanalyze this data and show that removing the effects of this background star changes the slope of the spectrum, resulting in these visible absorbers no longer being detected, eliminating the need for a non-gray cloud model to adequately fit the data but maintaining the strong water feature previously seen. However, our analysis of the emission spectrum suggests the presence of TiO and an atmospheric thermal inversion, along with a significant amount of water. Given the brightness of the host star and the size of the atmospheric features, WASP-76 b is an excellent target for further characterization with HST, or with future facilities, to better understand the nature of its atmosphere, to confirm the presence of TiO and to search for other optical absorbers.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: IOP Publishing
ISSN: 1538-3881
Date of Acceptance: 8 May 2020
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2023 11:30

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