Confirmation of Water Absorption in the Thermal Emission Spectrum of the Hot Jupiter WASP-77Ab with HST/WFC3

Megan Mansfield, Lindsey Wiser, Kevin B. Stevenson, Peter Smith, Michael R. Line, Jacob L. Bean, Jonathan J. Fortney, Vivien Parmentier, Eliza M.R. Kempton, Jacob Arcangeli, Jean Michel Désert, Brian Kilpatrick, Laura Kreidberg, Matej Malik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Secondary eclipse observations of hot Jupiters can reveal both their compositions and thermal structures. Previous observations have shown a diversity of hot Jupiter eclipse spectra, including absorption features, emission features, and featureless blackbody-like spectra. We present a secondary eclipse spectrum of the hot Jupiter WASP-77Ab observed between 1 and 5 μm with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the Spitzer Space Telescope. The HST observations show signs of water absorption indicative of a noninverted thermal structure. We fit the data with both a one-dimensional free retrieval and a grid of one-dimensional self-consistent forward models to confirm this noninverted structure. The free retrieval places a 3σ lower limit on the atmospheric water abundance of log(nH2O)>-4.78 and cannot constrain the CO abundance. The grid fit produces a slightly superstellar metallicity and constrains the carbon-to-oxygen ratio to less than or equal to the solar value. We also compare our data to recent high-resolution observations of WASP-77Ab taken with the IGRINS/IGRINS spectrograph. We find that the best-fit model to the IGRINS data gives a reduced chi squared of χ2ν = 1.32 when compared to the WFC3 data. However, the metallicity derived from the IGRINS data is significantly lower than that derived from our self-consistent model fit. We find that this difference may be due to disequilibrium chemistry, and the varying results between the models applied here demonstrate the model dependence of derived metallicities when comparing to low-resolution, low-wavelength coverage data alone. Future work to combine observations from IGRINS, HST, and the James Webb Space Telescope will improve our estimate of the atmospheric composition of WASP-77Ab.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number261
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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