Monday, May 27, 2013

1305.5544 (Ernst J. W. de Mooij et al.)

Search for Rayleigh scattering in the atmosphere of GJ1214b    [PDF]

Ernst J. W. de Mooij, Matteo Brogi, Remco J. de Kok, Ignas A. G Snellen, Bryce Croll, Ray Jayawardhana, Henk Hoekstra, Gilles P. P. L. Otten, David H. Bekkers, Sebastiaan Y. Haffert, Josha. J. van Houdt
We investigate the atmosphere of GJ1214b, a transiting super-Earth planet with a low mean density, by measuring its transit depth as a function of wavelength in the blue optical portion of the spectrum. It is thought that this planet is either a mini-Neptune, consisting of a rocky core with a thick, hydrogen-rich atmosphere, or a planet with a composition dominated by water. Most observations favor a water-dominated atmosphere with a small scale-height, however, some observations indicate that GJ1214b could have an extended atmosphere with a cloud layer muting the molecular features. In an atmosphere with a large scale-height, Rayleigh scattering at blue wavelengths is likely to cause a measurable increase in the apparent size of the planet towards the blue. We observed the transit of GJ1214b in the B-band with the FOcal Reducing Spectrograph (FORS) at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and in the g-band with both ACAM on the William Hershel Telescope (WHT) and the Wide Field Camera (WFC) at the Isaac Newton Telescope (INT). We find a planet-to-star radius ratio in the B-band of 0.1162+/-0.0017, and in the g-band 0.1180+/-0.0009 and 0.1174+/-0.0017 for the WHT & INT observations respectively. These optical data do not show significant deviations from previous measurements at longer wavelengths. In fact, a flat transmission spectrum across all wavelengths best describes the combined observations. When atmospheric models are considered a small scale-height water-dominated model fits the data best.
View original:

No comments:

Post a Comment