Astronomy & Telescopes

Using Near IR Spectroscopy For Characterization of Transiting Exoplanets

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
April 28, 2015
Filed under
Using Near IR Spectroscopy For Characterization of Transiting Exoplanets
Transiting extrasolar planet

We propose a method for observing transiting exoplanets with near-infrared high-resolution spectrometers. We aim to create a robust data analysis method for recovering atmospheric transmission spectra from transiting exoplanets over a wide wavelength range in the near infrared.

By using an inverse method approach, combined with stellar models and telluric transmission spectra, the method recovers the transiting exoplanet’s atmospheric transmittance at high precision over a wide wavelength range. We describe our method and have tested it by simulating observations. This method is capable of recovering transmission spectra of high enough accuracy to identify absorption features from molecules such as O2, CH4, CO2, and H2O.

This accuracy is achievable for Jupiter-size exoplanetsat S/N that can be reached for 8m class telescopes using high-resolution spectrometers (R>20 000) during a single transit, and for Earth-size planets and super-Earths transiting late K or M dwarf stars at S/N reachable during observations of less than 10 transits. We also analyse potential error sources to show the robustness of the method. Detection and characterization of atmospheres of both Jupiter-size planets and smaller rocky planets looks promising using this set-up.

Erik Aronson, Pierre Waldén, Nikolai Piskunov
(Submitted on 20 Apr 2015)
Comments: 14 pages, 14 figures, accepted to A&A
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1504.05223 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:1504.05223v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Erik Aronson
[v1] Mon, 20 Apr 2015 20:38:49 GMT (2900kb)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻