HST hot Jupiter transmission spectral survey: detection of water in HAT-P-1b from WFC3 near-IR spatial scan observations

H. R. Wakeford, D. K. Sing, D. Deming, N. P. Gibson, J. J. Fortney, A. S. Burrows, G. Ballester, N. Nikolov, S. Aigrain, G. Henry, H. Knutson, A. Lecavelier des Etangs, F. Pont, A. P. Showman, A. Vidal-Madjar, K. Zahnle

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We present Hubble Space Telescope near-infrared transmission spectroscopy of the transiting hot-Jupiter HAT-P-1b. We observed one transit with Wide Field Camera 3 using the G141 low-resolution grism to cover the wavelength range 1.087–1.678 μm. These time series observations were taken with the newly available spatial-scan mode that increases the duty cycle by nearly a factor of 2, thus improving the resulting photometric precision of the data. We measure a planet-to-star radius ratio of Rp/R* = 0.117 09 ± 0.000 38 in the white light curve with the centre of transit occurring at 245 6114.345 ± 0.000 133 (JD). We achieve S/N levels per exposure of 1840 (0.061 per cent) at a resolution of Δλ = 19.2 nm (R ∼ 70) in the 1.1173–1.6549 μm spectral region, providing the precision necessary to probe the transmission spectrum of the planet at close to the resolution limit of the instrument. We compute the transmission spectrum using both single target and differential photometry with similar results. The resultant transmission spectrum shows a significant absorption above the 5σ level matching the 1.4 μm water absorption band. In solar composition models, the water absorption is sensitive to the ∼1 m bar pressure levels at the terminator. The detected absorption agrees with that predicted by a 1000 K isothermal model, as well as with that predicted by a planetary-averaged temperature model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3481-3493
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date16 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2013


  • techniques: spectroscopic
  • planets and satellites: atmospheres
  • planetary systems


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