Ground-based K-band detection of thermal emission from the exoplanet TrES-3b

E. J.W. De Mooij, I. A.G. Snellen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Context. Secondary eclipse measurements of transiting extrasolar planets with the Spitzer Space Telescope have yielded several direct detections of thermal exoplanet light. Since Spitzer operates at wavelengths longward of 3.6 μm, arguably one of the most interesting parts of the planet spectrum (from 1 to 3 μm) is inaccessible with this satellite. This region is at the peak of the planet's spectral energy distribution and is also the regime where molecular absorption bands can significantly influence the measured emission. Aims. So far, 2.2 μm K-band secondary eclipse measurements, which are possible from the ground, have not yet lead to secure detections. The aim of this paper is to measure the secondary eclipse of the very hot Jupiter TrES-3b in K-band, and in addition to observe its transit, to obtain an accurate planet radius in the near infrared. Methods. We have used the william herschell telescope (WHT) to observe the secondary eclipse, and the united kingdom infrared telescope (UKIRT) to observe the transit of TrES-3b. Both observations involved significant defocusing of the telescope, aimed to produce high-cadence time series of several thousand frames at high efficiency, with the starlight spread out over many pixels. Results. We detect the secondary eclipse of TrES-3b with a depth of -0.241 ± 0.043% (∼6σ). This corresponds to a day-side brightness temperature of TB(2.2 μm) = 2040 ± 185 K, which is consistent with current models of the physical properties of this planet's upper atmosphere. The centre of the eclipse seems slightly offset from phase φ = 0.5 by Δφ = -0.0042 ± 0.0027, which could indicate that the orbit of TrES-3b is non-circular. Analysis of the transit data shows that TrES-3b has a near-infrared radius of 1.338 ± 0.016 RJup, showing no significant deviation from optical measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L35-L38
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Planetary systems
  • Stars: individual: TrES-3
  • Techniques: photometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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