LBT transmission spectroscopy of HAT-P-12b: Confirmation of a cloudy atmosphere with no significant alkali features

F. Yan, N. Espinoza, K. Molaverdikhani, Th Henning, L. Mancini, M. Mallonn, B. V. Rackham, D. Apai, A. Jordán, P. Mollière, G. Chen, L. Carone, A. Reiners

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The hot sub-Saturn-mass exoplanet HAT-P-12b is an ideal target for transmission spectroscopy because of its inflated radius. We observed one transit of the planet with the multi-object double spectrograph (MODS) on the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) with the binocular mode and obtained an atmosphere transmission spectrum with a wavelength coverage of ∼0.4-0.9 μm. The spectrum is relatively flat and does not show any significant sodium or potassium absorption features. Our result is consistent with the revised Hubble Space Telescope (HST) transmission spectrum of a previous work, except that the HST result indicates a tentative detection of potassium. The potassium discrepancy could be the result of statistical fluctuation of the HST dataset. We fit the planetary transmission spectrum with an extensive grid of cloudy models and confirm the presence of high-altitude clouds in the planetary atmosphere. The fit was performed on the combined LBT and HST spectrum, which has an overall wavelength range of 0.4-1.6 μm. The LBT/MODS spectrograph has unique advantages in transmission spectroscopy observations because it can cover a wide wavelength range with a single exposure and acquire two sets of independent spectra simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA98
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Planets and satellites: atmospheres
  • Planets and satellites: individual: HAT-P-12b
  • Stars: atmospheres
  • Techniques: spectroscopic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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