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Exoplanet atmospheres at high resolution through a modest-size telescope

Presentation #217.02 in the session Exoplanet Atmosphere Modeling and Dynamics.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Exoplanet atmospheres at high resolution through a modest-size telescope

Ground-based, high-resolution spectrographs are providing us with an unprecedented view of the dynamics and chemistry of the atmospheres of planets outside the Solar System. While there is a large number of stable and precise high-resolution spectrographs on modest-size telescopes, it is the spectrographs at observatories with apertures larger than 3.5 meters that dominate the atmospheric follow-up of exoplanets. In this work, we explore the potential of characterizing exoplanetary atmospheres with FIES, a high-resolution spectrograph at the 2.56 meter Nordic Optical Telescope. We observed two transits of MASCARA-2 b (also known as KELT-20 b) and one transit of KELT-9 b to search for atomic iron, a species that has been recently discovered in both neutral and ionised forms in the atmospheres of these ultra-hot Jupiters using large telescopes. Using a cross-correlation method, we detect a signal of Fe II at the 4.5σ and 4.0σ level in the transits of MASCARA-2 b. We also detect Fe II in the transit of KELT-9 b at the 8.5σ level. Although we do not find any significant Doppler shift in the signal of MASCARA-2 b, we do measure a moderate blueshift (3-6 km/s) of the feature in KELT-9 b, which might be a manifestation of high-velocity winds transporting Fe II from the planetary dayside to the nightside. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of investigating exoplanet atmospheres with FIES, potentially unlocking a wealth of additional atmosphere detections with this and other high-resolution spectrographs mounted on similar-size telescopes.

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