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Hot Exoplanet Atmospheres Resolved with Transit Spectroscopy (HEARTS). V. Detection of sodium on the bloated super-Neptune WASP-166b

Abstract : Planet formation processes or evolution mechanisms are surmised to be at the origin of the hot Neptune desert. Studying exoplanets currently living within or at the edge of this desert could allow disentangling the respective roles of formation and evolution. We present the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) transmission spectrum of the bloated super-Neptune WASP-166b, located at the outer rim of the Neptune desert. Neutral sodium is detected at the 3.4σ level (0.455 ± 0.135%), with a tentative indication of line broadening, which could be caused by winds blowing sodium farther into space, a possible manifestation of the bloated character of these highly irradiated worlds. We put this detection into context with previous work claiming a non-detection of sodium in the same observations and show that the high noise in the trace of the discarded stellar sodium lines was responsible for the non-detection. We highlight the impact of this low signal-to-noise ratio remnant on detections for exoplanets similar to WASP-166b.

Based on observations made at ESO 3.6 m telescope (La Silla, Chile) under ESO programme 098.C-0305 (PI Ehrenreich).

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Submitted on : Monday, June 27, 2022 - 3:42:11 PM
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J. V. Seidel, D. Ehrenreich, V. Bourrier, R. Allart, O. Attia, et al.. Hot Exoplanet Atmospheres Resolved with Transit Spectroscopy (HEARTS). V. Detection of sodium on the bloated super-Neptune WASP-166b. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2020, 641, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202038497⟩. ⟨insu-03705183⟩

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