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Ground-Based Transmission Spectroscopy with VLT FORS2: Faculae and clouds explain the optical spectrum of the warm Saturn WASP-110b

Presentation #108.08 in the session “Extrasolar Planets I”.

Published onJun 18, 2021
Ground-Based Transmission Spectroscopy with VLT FORS2: Faculae and clouds explain the optical spectrum of the warm Saturn WASP-110b

We present a ground-based optical transmission spectrum for the warm Saturn-mass exoplanet WASP-110b from two transit observations made with the FOcal Reducer and Spectrograph (FORS2) on the Very Large Telescope (VLT). The spectrum covers the wavelength range from 400 to 833nm, which is binned in 46 transit depths measured to an averaged precision of 220 parts per million (ppm) over an averaged 8nm bin for a Vmag = 12.8 star. The measured transit depths are unaffected by a dilution from a close A-type field dwarf, which was fully resolved. The overall main characteristic of the transmission spectrum is an increasing radius with wavelength and a lack of the theoretically predicted pressure-broadened sodium and potassium absorption features for a cloud-free atmosphere. We analyze archival high-resolution optical spectroscopy and find evidence for low to moderate activity of the host star, which we take into account in a retrieval analysis. Using the AURA retrieval code, we find that the measured transmission spectrum can best be explained by a combination of unocculted stellar faculae and a cloud deck. Transmission spectra of cloud-free and hazy atmospheres are rejected at a high confidence. With a cloud deck at its terminator, WASP-110b joins the increasing population of irradiated hot-Jupiter exoplanets with cloudy atmospheres observed in transmission.


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