Title

DECIPHERING THE ATMOSPHERIC COMPOSITION OF WASP-12b: A COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS OF ITS DAYSIDE EMISSION

Authors

Authors

K. B. Stevenson; J. L. Bean; N. Madhusudhan;J. Harrington

Comments

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Abbreviated Journal Title

Astrophys. J.

Keywords

planetary systems; stars: individual (WASP-12); techniques: photometric; techniques: spectroscopic; TRANSITING EXTRASOLAR PLANET; HUBBLE-SPACE-TELESCOPE; SECONDARY ECLIPSE; THERMAL EMISSION; TRANSMISSION SPECTROSCOPY; C/O RATIO; EXOPLANET; WASP-12B; PHASE VARIATIONS; HD 189733B; MU-M; Astronomy & Astrophysics

Abstract

WASP-12b was the first planet reported to have a carbon-to-oxygen ratio (C/O) greater than one in its dayside atmosphere. However, recent work to further characterize its atmosphere and confirm its composition has led to incompatible measurements and divergent conclusions. Additionally, the recent discovery of stellar binary companions similar to 1" from WASP-12 further complicates the analyses and subsequent interpretations. We present a uniform analysis of all available Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescope secondary-eclipse data, including previously unpublished Spitzer measurements at 3.6 and 4.5 m. The primary controversy in the literature has centered on the value and interpretation of the eclipse depth at 4.5 m. Our new measurements and analyses confirm the shallow eclipse depth in this channel, as first reported by Campo and collaborators and used by Madhusudhan and collaborators to infer a carbon-rich composition. To explain WASP-12b's observed dayside emission spectrum, we implemented several recent retrieval approaches. We find that when we exclude absorption due to C2H2 and HCN, which are not universally considered in the literature, our models require implausibly large atmospheric CO2 abundances, regardless of the C/O. By including C2H2 and HCN in our models, we find that a physically plausible carbon-rich solution achieves the best fit to the available photometric and spectroscopic data. In comparison, the best-fit oxygen-rich models have abundances that are inconsistent with the chemical equilibrium expectations for hydrogen-dominated atmospheres and are 670 times less probable. Our best-fit solution is also 7.3 x106 times more probable than an isothermal blackbody model.

Journal Title

Astrophysical Journal

Volume

791

Issue/Number

1

Publication Date

1-1-2014

Document Type

Article

Language

English

First Page

8

WOS Identifier

WOS:000339657700036

ISSN

0004-637X

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