We report Gemini-South Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph observations of the exoplanet system WASP-29 during primary transit as a test case for differential spectrophotometry. We use the multi-object spectrograph to observe the target star and a comparison star simultaneously to produce multiple light curves at varying wavelengths. The ‘white’ light curve and 15 ‘spectral’ light curves are analysed to refine the system parameters and produce a transmission spectrum from ∼515 to 720 nm. All light curves exhibit time-correlated noise, which we model using a variety of techniques. These include a simple noise rescaling, a Gaussian process model and a wavelet-based method. These methods all produce consistent results, although with different uncertainties. The precision of the transmission spectrum is improved by subtracting a common signal from all the spectral light curves, reaching a typical precision of ∼1 × 10−4 in transit depth. The transmission spectrum is free of spectral features, and given the non-detection of a pressure broadened Na feature, we can rule out the presence of a Na-rich atmosphere free of clouds or hazes, although we cannot rule out a narrow Na core. This indicates that Na is not present in the atmosphere, and/or that clouds/hazes play a significant role in the atmosphere and mask the broad wings of the Na feature, although the former is a more likely explanation given WASP-29b’s equilibrium temperature of ∼970 K, at which Na can form various compounds. We also briefly discuss the use of Gaussian process and wavelet methods to account for time-correlated noise in transit light curves.
- methods: data analysis
- techniques: spectroscopic
- stars: individual: WASP-29
- planetary systems
Gibson, N. P., Aigrain, S., Barstow, J. K., Evans, T. M., Fletcher, L. N., & Irwin, P. G. J. (2013). A Gemini ground-based transmission spectrum of WASP-29b: a featureless spectrum from 515 to 720 nm. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 428(4), 3680-3692. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/sts307