Confirmation of Asymmetric Iron Absorption in WASP-76b with HARPS

February 2021 • 2021ApJ...908L..17K

Authors • Kesseli, Aurora Y. • Snellen, I. A. G.

Abstract • Hot Jupiters are predicted to have hot, clear daysides and cooler, cloudy nightsides. Recently, an asymmetric signature of iron absorption has been resolved in the transmission spectrum of WASP-76b using ESPRESSO on ESO's Very Large Telescope. This feature is interpreted as being due to condensation of iron on the nightside, resulting in a different absorption signature from the evening than from the morning limb of the planet. It represents the first time that a chemical gradient has been observed across the surface of a single exoplanet. In this work, we confirm the presence of the asymmetric iron feature using archival HARPS data of four transits. The detection shows that such features can also be resolved by observing multiple transits on smaller telescopes. By increasing the number of planets where these condensation features are detected, we can make chemical comparisons between exoplanets and map condensation across a range of parameters for the first time.


IPAC Authors


Aurora Kesseli

Assistant Scientist