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Stellar activity consequence on the retrieved transmission spectra through chromatic Rossiter-McLaughlin observations

S. Boldt, M. Oshagh, S. Dreizler, M. Mallonn, N. C. Santos, A. Claret, A. Reiners, E. Sedaghati

Mostly multiband photometric transit observations have been used so far to retrieve broadband transmission spectra of transiting exoplanets in order to study their atmosphere. An alternative method has been proposed and has only been used once to recover transmission spectra using chromatic Rossiter-McLaughlin observations. Stellar activity has been shown to potentially imitate narrow and broadband features in the transmission spectra retrieved from multiband photometric observations; however, there has been no study regarding the influence of stellar activity on the retrieved transmission spectra through chromatic Rossiter-McLaughlin. In this study with the modified SOAP3.0 tool, we consider different types of stellar activity features (spots and plages), and we generated a large number of realistic chromatic Rossiter-McLaughlin curves for different types of planets and stars. We were then able to retrieve their transmission spectra to evaluate the impact of stellar activity on them. We find that chromatic Rossiter-McLaughlin observations are also not immune to stellar activity, which can mimic broadband features, such as Rayleigh scattering slope, in their retrieved transmission spectra. We also find that the influence is independent of the planet radius, orbital orientations, orbital period, and stellar rotation rate. However, more general simulations demonstrate that the probability of mimicking strong broadband features is lower than 25% and that can be mitigated by combining several Rossiter-McLaughlin observations obtained during several transits.

stars: activity; planets and satellites: atmospheres; methods: numerical; techniques: radial velocities; Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics; Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume 635, Article Number A123, Number of pages 7
2020 March

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Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia