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Carone, L., Molliere, P., Zhou, Y. F., Bouwman, J., Yan, F., Baeyens, R., et al. (2021). Indications for very high metallicity and absence of methane in the eccentric exo-Saturn WASP-117b. Astron. Astrophys., 646, A168.
Abstract: Aims. We investigate the atmospheric composition of the long-period (P-orb = 10 days) eccentric exo-Saturn WASP-117b. WASP-117b could be similar in atmospheric temperature and chemistry to WASP-107b. In mass and radius, WASP-117b is similar to WASP-39b, which allows a comparative study of these planets.Methods. We analyzed a near-infrared transmission spectrum of WASP-117b taken with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) WFC3 G141, which was reduced with two independent pipelines. High-resolution measurements were taken with VLT/ESPRESSO in the optical.Results. We report the robust (3 sigma) detection of a water spectral feature. In a 1D atmosphere model with isothermal temperature, uniform cloud deck, and equilibrium chemistry, the Bayesian evidence of a retrieval analysis of the transmission spectrum indicates a preference for a high atmospheric metallicity
[Fe/H] = 2.58(-0.37)(+0.26)
[Fe/H]=2.58-0.37+0.26 and clear skies. The data are also consistent with a lower metallicity composition [Fe/H] < 1.75 and a cloud deck between 10(-2.2) and 10(-5.1) bar, but with weaker Bayesian preference. We retrieve a low CH4 abundance of <10(-4) volume fraction within 1 sigma and <2 x 10(-1) volume fraction within 3<sigma>. We cannot constrain the equilibrium temperature between theoretically imposed limits of 700 and 1000 K. Further observations are needed to confirm quenching of CH4 with K-zz >= 10(8) cm(2) s(-1). We report indications of Na and K in the VLT/ESPRESSO high-resolution spectrum with substantial Bayesian evidence in combination with HST data.
Leleu, A., Alibert, Y., Hara, N. C., Hooton, M. J., Wilson, T. G., Robutel, P., et al. (2021). Six transiting planets and a chain of Laplace resonances in TOI-178. Astron. Astrophys., 649, A26.
Abstract: Determining the architecture of multi-planetary systems is one of the cornerstones of understanding planet formation and evolution. Resonant systems are especially important as the fragility of their orbital configuration ensures that no significant scattering or collisional event has taken place since the earliest formation phase when the parent protoplanetary disc was still present. In this context, TOI-178 has been the subject of particular attention since the first TESS observations hinted at the possible presence of a near 2:3:3 resonant chain. Here we report the results of observations from CHEOPS, ESPRESSO, NGTS, and SPECULOOS with the aim of deciphering the peculiar orbital architecture of the system. We show that TOI-178 harbours at least six planets in the super-Earth to mini-Neptune regimes, with radii ranging from
2.87(-0.13)(+0.14)</textual-form> 2.87-0.13+0.14 Earth radii and periods of 1.91, 3.24, 6.56, 9.96, 15.23, and 20.71 days. All planets but the innermost one form a 2:4:6:9:12 chain of Laplace resonances, and the planetary densities show important variations from planet to planet, jumping from
1.02(-0.23)(+0.28)</textual-form> 1.02-0.23+0.28 to
0.177(-0.061)(+0.055)</textual-form> 0.177-0.061+0.055 times the Earth's density between planets c and d. Using Bayesian interior structure retrieval models, we show that the amount of gas in the planets does not vary in a monotonous way, contrary to what one would expect from simple formation and evolution models and unlike other known systems in a chain of Laplace resonances. The brightness of TOI-178 (H = 8.76 mag, J = 9.37 mag, V = 11.95 mag) allows for a precise characterisation of its orbital architecture as well as of the physical nature of the six presently known transiting planets it harbours. The peculiar orbital configuration and the diversity in average density among the planets in the system will enable the study of interior planetary structures and atmospheric evolution, providing important clues on the formation of super-Earths and mini-Neptunes.