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Journal Articles Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A Year : 2017

Signs of strong Na and K absorption in the transmission spectrum of WASP-103b

M. Lendl
  • Function : Author
P. E. Cubillos
  • Function : Author
A. Müller
  • Function : Author
I. Juvan
  • Function : Author
L. Fossati
  • Function : Author


Context. Transmission spectroscopy has become a prominent tool for characterizing the atmospheric properties on close-in transiting planets. Recent observations have revealed a remarkable diversity in exoplanet spectra, which show absorption signatures of Na, K and H2O, in some cases partially or fully attenuated by atmospheric aerosols. Aerosols (clouds and hazes) themselves have been detected in the transmission spectra of several planets thanks to wavelength-dependent slopes caused by the particles' scattering properties.
Aims: We present an optical 550-960 nm transmission spectrum of the extremely irradiated hot Jupiter WASP-103b, one of the hottest (2500 K) and most massive (1.5 MJ) planets yet to be studied with this technique. WASP-103b orbits its star at a separation of less than 1.2 times the Roche limit and is predicted to be strongly tidally distorted.
Methods: We have used Gemini/GMOS to obtain multi-object spectroscopy throughout three transits of WASP-103b. We used relative spectrophotometry and bin sizes between 20 and 2 nm to infer the planet's transmission spectrum.
Results: We find that WASP-103b shows increased absorption in the cores of the alkali (Na, K) line features. We do not confirm the presence of any strong scattering slope as previously suggested, pointing towards a clear atmosphere for the highly irradiated, massive exoplanet WASP-103b. We constrain the upper boundary of any potential cloud deck to reside at pressure levels above 0.01 bar. This finding is in line with previous studies on cloud occurrence on exoplanets which find that clouds dominate the transmission spectra of cool, low surface gravity planets while hot, high surface gravity planets are either cloud-free, or possess clouds located below the altitudes probed by transmission spectra.

The spectrophotometric time series data are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to ( or via

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Dates and versions

insu-03692483 , version 1 (10-06-2022)



M. Lendl, P. E. Cubillos, J. Hagelberg, A. Müller, I. Juvan, et al.. Signs of strong Na and K absorption in the transmission spectrum of WASP-103b. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, 2017, 606, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201731242⟩. ⟨insu-03692483⟩
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