Hot Exoplanet Atmospheres Resolved with Transit Spectroscopy (HEARTS). VII. Detection of sodium on the long-transiting inflated sub-Saturn KELT-11 b
Context. High-resolution transmission spectroscopy has allowed for in-depth information on the composition and structure of exoplanetary atmospheres to be garnered in the last few years, especially in the visible and in the near-infrared. Many atomic and molecular species have been detected thanks to data gathered from state-of-the-art spectrographs installed on large ground-based telescopes. Nevertheless, the Earth daily cycle has been limiting observations to exoplanets with the shortest transits.
Aims: The inflated sub-Saturn KELT-11 b has a hot atmosphere and orbits a bright evolved subgiant star, making it a prime choice for atmospheric characterization. The challenge lies in its transit duration - of more than 7 h - which can only be covered partially or without enough out-of-transit baselines when observed from the ground.
Methods: To overcome this constraint, we observed KELT-11 b with the HARPS spectrograph in series of three consecutive nights, each focusing on a different phase of the planetary orbit: before, during, and after the transit. This allowed us to gather plenty of out-of-transit baseline spectra, which was critical to build a spectrum of the unocculted star with sufficient precision. Telluric absorption lines were corrected using the atmospheric transmission code MOLECFIT. Individual high-resolution transmission spectra were merged to obtain a high signal-to-noise transmission spectrum to search for sodium in KELT-11 b's atmosphere through the ~5900 Å doublet.
Results: Our results highlight the potential for independent observations of a long-transiting planet over consecutive nights. Our study reveals a sodium excess absorption of 0.28 ± 0.05% and 0.50 ± 0.06% in the Na D1 and D2 lines, respectively. This corresponds to 1.44 and 1.69 times the white-light planet radius in the line cores. Wind pattern modeling tends to prefer day-to-night side winds with no vertical winds, which is surprising considering the planet bloatedness. The modeling of the Rossiter-Mclaughlin effect yields a significantly misaligned orbit, with a projected spin-orbit angle of λ = −77.86−2.26+2.36∘.
Conclusions: Belonging to the under-studied group of inflated sub-Saturns, the characteristics of KELT-11 b - notably its extreme scale height and long transit - make it an ideal and unique target for next-generation telescopes. Our results as well as recent findings from HST, TESS, and CHEOPS observations could make KELT-11 b a benchmark exoplanet in atmospheric characterization.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- December 2022
- planets and satellites: atmospheres;
- instrumentation: spectrographs;
- techniques: spectroscopic;
- methods: observational;
- planets and satellites: individual: KELT-11 b;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- 19 pages, 18 figures, 8 tables. Accepted for publication in Astronomy &