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Title:
A search for methane in the atmosphere of GJ 1214b via GTC narrow-band transmission spectrophotometry
Authors:
Wilson, P. A.; Colón, K. D.; Sing, D. K.; Ballester, G. E.; Désert, J.-M.; Ehrenreich, D.; Ford, E. B.; Fortney, J. J.; Lecavelier des Etangs, A.; López-Morales, M.; Morley, C. V.; Pettitt, A. R.; Pont, F.; Vidal-Madjar, A.
Affiliation:
AA(Astrophysics Group, School of Physics, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QL, UK; ), AB(Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA; Department of Astronomy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA), AC(Astrophysics Group, School of Physics, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QL, UK), AD(Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Sonett Space Sciences Building, Tucson, AZ 85721-0063, USA), AE(Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA), AF(Observatoire astronomique de l'Université de Genève, 51 chemin des Maillettes, CH-1290 Sauverny, Switzerland), AG(Department of Astronomy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA), AH(Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA), AI(Observatoire astronomique de l'Université de Genève, 51 chemin des Maillettes, CH-1290 Sauverny, Switzerland), AJ(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA), AK(Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA), AL(Astrophysics Group, School of Physics, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QL, UK), AM(Astrophysics Group, School of Physics, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QL, UK), AN(Institut d'astrophysique de Paris, CNRS; Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 98 bis boulevard Arago, F-75014 Paris, France)
Publication:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 438, Issue 3, p.2395-2405 (MNRAS Homepage)
Publication Date:
03/2014
Origin:
OUP
Astronomy Keywords:
techniques: photometric, stars: individual: GJ 1214, planetary systems
Abstract Copyright:
2014 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
DOI:
10.1093/mnras/stt2356
Bibliographic Code:
2014MNRAS.438.2395W

Abstract

We present narrow-band photometric measurements of the exoplanet GJ 1214b using the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias and the Optical System for Imaging and low Resolution Integrated Spectroscopy instrument. Using tuneable filters, we observed a total of five transits, three of which were observed at two wavelengths nearly simultaneously, producing a total of eight individual light curves, six of these probed the possible existence of a methane absorption feature in the 8770-8850 Å region at high resolution. We detect no increase in the planet-to-star radius ratio across the methane feature with a change in radius ratio of Delta overline{R} = -0.0007 ± 0.0017 corresponding to a scaleheight (H) change of -0.5 ± 1.2H across the methane feature, assuming a hydrogen-dominated atmosphere. We find that a variety of water and cloudy atmospheric models fit the data well, but find that cloud-free models provide poor fits. These observations support a flat transmission spectrum resulting from the presence of a high-altitude haze or a water-rich atmosphere, in agreement with previous studies. In this study, the observations are pre-dominantly limited by the photometric quality and the limited number of data points (resulting from a long observing cadence), which make the determination of the systematic noise challenging. With tuneable filters capable of high-resolution measurements (R ≈ 600-750) of narrow absorption features, the interpretation of our results are also limited by the absence of high-resolution methane models below 1 mum.
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