Ground-based near-UV observations of 15 transiting exoplanets: Constraints on their atmospheres and no evidence for asymmetrical transits

Jake D. Turner, Kyle A. Pearson, Lauren I. Biddle, Brianna M. Smart, Robert T. Zellem, Johanna K. Teske, Kevin K. Hardegree-Ullman, Caitlin C. Griffith, Robin M. Leiter, Ian T. Cates, Megan N. Nieberding, Carter Thaxton W. Smith, Robert M. Thompson, Ryan Hofmann, Michael P. Berube, Chi H. Nguyen, Lindsay C. Small, Blythe C. Guvenen, Logan Richardson, Allison McGrawBrandon Raphael, Benjamin E. Crawford, Amy N. Robertson, Ryan Tombleson, Timothy M. Carleton, Allison P.M. Towner, Amanda M. Walker-LaFollette, Jeffrey R. Hume, Zachary T. Watson, Christen K. Jones, Matthew J. Lichtenberger, Shelby R. Hoglund, Kendall L. Cook, Cory A. Crossen, Curtis R. Jorgensen, James M. Romine, Alejandro R. Thompson, Christian F. Villegas, Ashley A. Wilson, Brent Sanford, Joanna M. Taylor, Triana N. Henz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Transits of exoplanets observed in the near-UV have been used to study the scattering properties of their atmospheres and possible star-planet interactions. We observed the primary transits of 15 exoplanets (CoRoT-1b, GJ436b, HAT-P-1b, HAT-P-13b, HAT-P-16b, HAT-P-22b, TrES-2b, TrES-4b, WASP-1b, WASP-12b, WASP-33b, WASP-36b, WASP-44b, WASP-48b, and WASP-77Ab) in the near-UV and several optical photometric bands to update their planetary parameters, ephemerides, search for a wavelength dependence in their transit depths to constrain their atmospheres, and determine if asymmetries are visible in their light curves. Here, we present the first ground-based near-UV light curves for 12 of the targets (CoRoT-1b, GJ436b, HAT-P-1b, HAT-P-13b, HAT-P-22b, TrES-2b, TrES-4b, WASP-1b, WASP-33b, WASP-36b, WASP-48b, and WASP-77Ab). We find that none of the near-UV transits exhibit any non-spherical asymmetries, this result is consistent with recent theoretical predictions by Ben-Jaffel et al. and Turner et al. The multiwavelength photometry indicates a constant transit depth from near-UV to optical wavelengths in 10 targets (suggestive of clouds), and a varying transit depth with wavelength in 5 targets (hinting at Rayleigh or aerosol scattering in their atmospheres). We also present the first detection of a smaller near-UV transit depth than that measured in the optical in WASP-1b and a possible opacity source that can cause such radius variations is currently unknown. WASP-36b also exhibits a smaller near-UV transit depth at 2.6σ. Further observations are encouraged to confirm the transit depth variations seen in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)789-819
Number of pages31
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume459
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 11 2016

Keywords

  • Planet-star interactions
  • Planets and satellites: atmospheres
  • Techniques: photometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Turner, J. D., Pearson, K. A., Biddle, L. I., Smart, B. M., Zellem, R. T., Teske, J. K., Hardegree-Ullman, K. K., Griffith, C. C., Leiter, R. M., Cates, I. T., Nieberding, M. N., Smith, C. T. W., Thompson, R. M., Hofmann, R., Berube, M. P., Nguyen, C. H., Small, L. C., Guvenen, B. C., Richardson, L., ... Henz, T. N. (2016). Ground-based near-UV observations of 15 transiting exoplanets: Constraints on their atmospheres and no evidence for asymmetrical transits. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 459(1), 789-819. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stw574