The Hubble PanCET program: The near-ultraviolet transmission spectrum of WASP-79b

Gressier, A.; Lecavelier des Etangs, A.; Sing, D. K.; López-Morales, M.; Alam, M. K.; Barstow, J. K.; Bourrier, V.; Dos Santos, L. A.; García Muñoz, A.; Lothringer, J. D.; Nikolov, N. K.; Sotzen, K. S.; Henry, G. W. and Mikal-Evans, T. (2023). The Hubble PanCET program: The near-ultraviolet transmission spectrum of WASP-79b. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 672, article no. A34.



We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) transit observations of the Hot-Jupiter WASP-79 b acquired with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) in the near ultraviolet (NUV). Two transit observations, part of the PanCET program, are used to obtain the transmission spectra of the planet between 2280 and 3070 Å. We correct for systematic effects in the raw data using the jitter engineering parameters and polynomial modelling to fit the white light curves of the two transits. We observe an increase in the planet-to-star radius ratio at short wavelengths, but no spectrally resolved absorption lines. The difference between the radius ratios at 2400 Å and 3000 Å reaches 0.0191 ± 0.0042 (~4.5−σ). Although the NUV transmission spectrum does not show evidence of hydrodynamical escape, the strong atmospheric features are likely due to species at very high altitudes. We performed a 1D simulation of the temperature and composition of WASP-79 b using Exo-REM. The temperature pressure profile crosses condensation curves of radiatively active clouds, particularly MnS, Mg2SiO4, Fe, and Al2O3. Still, none of these species produces the level of observed absorption at short wavelengths and can explain the observed increase in the planet’s radius. WASP-79 b’s transit depth reaches 23 scale height, making it one of the largest spectral features observed in an exoplanet at this temperature (~1700 K). The comparison of WASP-79 b’s transmission spectrum with three warmer hot Jupiters shows a similar level of absorption to WASP-178 b and WASP-121 b between 0.2 and 0.3 µm, while HAT-P-41 b’s spectrum is flat. The features could be explained by SiO absorption.

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