We present the first detection of atomic emission lines from the atmosphere of an exoplanet. We detect neutral iron lines from the dayside of KELT-9b (Teq ∼ 4000 K). We combined thousands of spectrally resolved lines observed during one night with the HARPS-N spectrograph (R ∼ 115,000), mounted at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo. We introduce a novel statistical approach to extract the planetary parameters from the binary mask cross-correlation analysis. We also adapt the concept of contribution function to the context of high spectral resolution observations, to identify the location in the planetary atmosphere where the detected emission originates. The average planetary line profile intersected by a stellar G2 binary mask was found in emission with a contrast of 84 ± 14 ppm relative to the planetary plus stellar continuum (40% ± 5% relative to the planetary continuum only). This result unambiguously indicates the presence of an atmospheric thermal inversion. Finally, assuming a modeled temperature profile previously published, we show that an iron abundance consistent with a few times the stellar value explains the data well. In this scenario, the iron emission originates at the 10-3-10-5 bar level.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- May 2020
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- Accepted for publication on ApJL