Thursday, August 24, 2017

A population study of hot Jupiter atmospheres

A population study of hot Jupiter atmospheres


Tsiaras et al

We present here the analysis of 30 gaseous extrasolar planets, with temperatures between 600 and 2400 K and radii between 0.35 and 1.9 RJup. The quality of the HST/WFC3 spatially-scanned data combined with our specialised analysis tools, allows us to create the largest and most self-consistent sample of exoplanetary transmission spectra to date and study the collective behaviour of warm and hot gaseous planets rather than isolated case-studies. We define a new metric, the Atmospheric Detectability Index (ADI) to evaluate the statistical significance of an atmospheric detection and find statistically significant atmospheres around 16 planets. For most of the Jupiters in our sample we find the detectability of their atmospheres to be dependent on the planetary radius but not on the planetary mass. This indicates that planetary gravity is a secondary factor in the evolution of planetary atmospheres. We detect the presence of water vapour in all the statistically detectable atmospheres and we cannot rule out its presence in the atmospheres of the others. In addition, TiO and/or VO signatures are detected with 4σ confidence in WASP-76 b, and they are most likely present on WASP-121 b. We find no correlation between expected signal-to-noise and atmospheric detectability for most targets. This has important implications for future large-scale surveys.

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