Probing Reflection from Aerosols with the Near-infrared Dayside Spectrum of WASP-80b

Bob Jacobs, Jean Michel Désert, Peter Gao, Caroline V. Morley, Jacob Arcangeli, Saugata Barat, Mark S. Marley, Julianne I. Moses, Jonathan J. Fortney, Jacob L. Bean, Kevin B. Stevenson, Vatsal Panwar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The presence of aerosols is intimately linked to the global energy budget and the composition of a planet’s atmosphere. Their ability to reflect incoming light prevents energy from being deposited into the atmosphere, and they shape the spectra of exoplanets. We observed five near-infrared secondary eclipses of WASP-80b with the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope to provide constraints on the presence and properties of atmospheric aerosols. We detect a broadband eclipse depth of 34 ± 10 ppm for WASP-80b. We detect a higher planetary flux than expected from thermal emission alone at 1.6σ, which hints toward the presence of reflecting aerosols on this planet’s dayside, indicating a geometric albedo of A g < 0.33 at 3σ. We paired the WFC3 data with Spitzer data and explored multiple atmospheric models with and without aerosols to interpret this spectrum. Albeit consistent with a clear dayside atmosphere, we found a slight preference for near-solar metallicities and for dayside clouds over hazes. We exclude soot haze formation rates higher than 10−10.7 g cm−2s−1 and tholin formation rates higher than 10−12.0 g cm−2s−1 at 3σ. We applied the same atmospheric models to a previously published WFC3/Spitzer transmission spectrum for this planet and found weak haze formation. A single soot haze formation rate best fits both the dayside and the transmission spectra simultaneously. However, we emphasize that no models provide satisfactory fits in terms of the chi-square of both spectra simultaneously, indicating longitudinal dissimilarity in the atmosphere’s aerosol composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL43
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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