A Mirage or an Oasis? Water Vapor in the Atmosphere of the Warm Neptune TOI-674 b

November 2022 • 2022AJ....164..197B

Authors • Brande, Jonathan • Crossfield, Ian J. M. • Kreidberg, Laura • Oklopčić, Antonija • Polanski, Alex S. • Barman, Travis • Benneke, Björn • Christiansen, Jessie L. • Dragomir, Diana • Foreman-Mackey, Daniel • Fortney, Jonathan J. • Greene, Thomas P. • Howard, Andrew W. • Knutson, Heather A. • Lothringer, Joshua D. • Mikal-Evans, Thomas • Morley, Caroline V.

Abstract • We report observations of the recently discovered warm Neptune TOI-674 b (5.25 R , 23.6 M ) with the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 instrument. TOI-674 b is in the Neptune desert, an observed paucity of Neptune-size exoplanets at short orbital periods. Planets in the desert are thought to have complex evolutionary histories due to photoevaporative mass loss or orbital migration, making identifying the constituents of their atmospheres critical to understanding their origins. We obtained near-infrared transmission spectroscopy of the planet's atmosphere with the G141 grism. After extracting, detrending, and fitting the spectral light curves to measure the planet's transmission spectrum, we used the petitRADTRANS atmospheric spectral synthesis code to perform retrievals on the planet's atmosphere to identify which absorbers are present. These results show moderate evidence for increased absorption at 1.4 μm due to water vapor at 2.9σ (Bayes factor = 15.8), as well as weak evidence for the presence of clouds at 2.2σ (Bayes factor = 4.0). TOI-674 b is a strong candidate for further study to refine the water abundance, which is poorly constrained by our data. We also incorporated new TESS short-cadence optical photometry, as well as Spitzer/IRAC data, and refit the transit parameters for the planet. We find the planet to have the following transit parameters: R p /R * = 0.1135 ± 0.0006, T 0 = 2458544.523792 ± 0.000452 BJD, and P = 1.977198 ± 0.00007 day. These measurements refine the planet radius estimate and improve the orbital ephemerides for future transit spectroscopy observations of this highly intriguing warm Neptune.


IPAC Authors


Jessie Christiansen

Associate Scientist