A First Detailed Spectroscopic View into the Atmospheric Composition of a Sub-Neptune Exoplanet
Friday 6 July, 09:40
The discovery of countless planets with masses and radii intermediate between Earth and Neptune was one of the biggest surprises in the brief history of exoplanet science. From the Kepler mission, we now know that these “super-Earths” or “sub-Neptunes” orbit at least 40% of stars, likely representing the most common outcome of planet formation. Despite this ubiquity, characterizations of their atmospheric gas compositions have remained elusive, until now. In this talk, we present the largest data set ever taken for an individual transiting exoplanet by combining many HST WFC3, HST STIS, and Spitzer/IRAC transit and eclipse observations of a warm sub-Neptune. We will discuss the data sets, the scientific interpretation, as well as its implications for atmospheric chemistry and the formation of the intruiging population of sub-Neptunes.