The GTC exoplanet transit spectroscopy survey. VI. A spectrally-resolved Rayleigh scattering slope in GJ 3470b [EPA]

Aims. As a sub-Uranus-mass low-density planet, GJ 3470b has been found to show a flat featureless transmission spectrum in the infrared and a tentative Rayleigh scattering slope in the optical. We conducted an optical transmission spectroscopy project to assess the impacts of stellar activity and to determine whether or not GJ 3470b hosts a hydrogen-rich gas envelop. Methods. We observed three transits with the low-resolution OSIRIS spectrograph at the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias, and one transit with the high-resolution UVES spectrograph at the 8.2 m Very Large Telescope. Results. From the high-resolution data, we find that the difference of the Ca II H+K lines in- and out-of-transit is only 0.67 +/- 0.22%, and determine a magnetic filling factor of about 10-15%. From the low-resolution data, we present the first optical transmission spectrum in the 435-755 nm band, which shows a slope consistent with Rayleigh scattering. Conclusions. After exploring the potential impacts of stellar activity in our observations, we confirm that Rayleigh scattering in an extended hydrogen/helium atmosphere is currently the best explanation. Further high-precision observations that simultaneously cover optical and infrared bands are required to answer whether or not clouds and hazes exist at high-altitude.

Read this paper on arXiv…

G. Chen, E. Guenther, E. Palle, et. al.
Tue, 7 Mar 17

Comments: 12 pages, 11 figures, accepted for publication in A&A