MOPSS. II. Extreme optical scattering slope for the inflated super-Neptune HATS-8b.
MAY E.M., GARDNER T., RAUSCHER E. and MONNIER J.D.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present results for the inflated super-Neptune HATS-8b from the Michigan Optical Planetary Spectra Survey (MOPSS). This program is aimed at creating a database of optical planetary transmission spectra all observed, reduced, and analyzed with a uniform method for the benefit of enabling comparative exoplanet studies. HATS-8b orbits a G dwarf and is a low-density super-Neptune with a radius of 0.873 RJup, a mass of 0.138 MJup, and a density of 0.259 g cm–3. Two transits of HATS-8b were observed in 2017 July and August with the Inamori-Magellan Areal Camera and Spectrograph (IMACS) instrument on the Magellan Baade 6.5 m telescope. We find an enhanced scattering slope on each night that agree within 2.3σ. This slope is stronger than one due only to Rayleigh scattering and cannot be fully explained by unocculted starspots. We explore the impact of condensates on the scattering slope and determine that MnS particulates smaller than 10–2 µm can explain up to 80% of our measured slope if the planet is warmer than equilibrium, or 50% of the slope at the equilibrium temperature of the planet for a low mean molecular weight atmosphere. The scattering slope that we observe is thus beyond even the most extreme haze case we consider. We suggest further follow up on this target and host star to determine if the temporal variation of the slope is primarily due to stellar or planetary effects, and to better understand what these effects may be.