Monday, May 20, 2013

1305.4166 (C. M. Copperwheat et al.)

Transmission photometry of WASP-12b: simultaneous measurement of the planetary radius in three bands    [PDF]

C. M. Copperwheat, P. J. Wheatley, J. Southworth, J. Bento, T. R. Marsh, V. S. Dhillon, J. J. Fortney, S. P. Littlefair, R. Hickman
Transmission spectroscopy has been successfully used from both the ground and in space to characterise the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets. This technique is challenging from the ground because ground-based spectrographs tend not to be designed to be photometrically stable, and effects such as variable slit losses cause significant systematic uncertainties. An alternative approach is to use simultaneous photometric observations in multiple wavebands to determine wavelength dependent transit depth differences. We report an application of this technique to one of the hottest known exoplanets, WASP-12b, using the triple-beam camera ULTRACAM. We obtained simultaneous light curves in Sloan u', and two narrow band filters centered on 4169 and 6010 angstroms, with FWHMs 52 and 118 angstroms respectively. We fit these light curves with a photometric model and determine the planetary radius in the three different bands. Our data show no evidence for a difference in planetary radius over the wavelength range we study, and are consistent with an atmosphere that is dominated by Rayleigh scattering from a high altitude haze, as well as more complicated atmosphere models which include the effects of molecules such as TiO. Our planetary radius measurements have an average precision of 2.6 per cent, compared to the ~1.4 - 2.4 per cent radius differences predicted by the models over this wavelength range. We also find a consistent time of ingress and egress across our three wavebands, in contrast to the early ingress which has been reported for this system at shorter wavelengths.
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