Hubble Space Telescope transmission spectroscopy of the exoplanet HD189733b: High-altitude atmospheric haze in the optical and near-ultraviolet with STIS

D. K. Sing, F. Pont, S. Aigrain, D. Charbonneau, J. M. Désert, N. Gibson, R. Gilliland, W. Hayek, G. Henry, H. Knutson, A. Lecavelier des Etangs, T. Mazeh, A. Shporer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

246 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) optical and near-ultraviolet transmission spectra of the transiting hot Jupiter HD189733b, taken with the repaired Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) instrument. The resulting spectra cover the range 2900-5700Å and reach per exposure signal-to-noise ratio levels greater than 11000 within a 500-Å bandwidth. We used time series spectra obtained during two transit events to determine the wavelength dependence of the planetary radius and measure the exoplanet's atmospheric transmission spectrum for the first time over this wavelength range. Our measurements, in conjunction with existing HST spectra, now provide a broad-band transmission spectrum covering the full optical regime. The STIS data also show unambiguous evidence of a large occulted stellar spot during one of our transit events, which we use to place constraints on the characteristics of the K dwarf's stellar spots, estimating spot temperatures around Teff~ 4250K. With contemporaneous ground-based photometric monitoring of the stellar variability, we also measure the correlation between the stellar activity level and transit-measured planet-to-star radius contrast, which is in good agreement with predictions. We find a planetary transmission spectrum in good agreement with that of Rayleigh scattering from a high-altitude atmospheric haze as previously found from HST Advanced Camera for Surveys. The high-altitude haze is now found to cover the entire optical regime and is well characterized by Rayleigh scattering. These findings suggest that haze may be a globally dominant atmospheric feature of the planet which would result in a high optical albedo at shorter optical wavelengths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1443-1455
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume416
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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