The return of the mummy: Evidence for starlight reflected from the massive hot Jupiter τ Boo b?

Authors

  • F. Rodler,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut de Ciències de l'Espai (CSIC-IEEC), Campus UAB, Facultat de Ci`encies, Torre C5 parell, 2a planta, 08193, Bellaterra, Spain
    • Institut de Ciències de l'Espai (CSIC-IEEC), Campus UAB, Facultat de Ciències, Torre C5 parell, 2a planta, 08193, Bellaterra, Spain
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  • M. Kürster,

    1. Max-Planck Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany
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  • M. López-Morales,

    1. Institut de Ciències de l'Espai (CSIC-IEEC), Campus UAB, Facultat de Ci`encies, Torre C5 parell, 2a planta, 08193, Bellaterra, Spain
    2. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA
    3. Visiting Investigator. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, 5241 Broad Branch Road NW, Washington, DC 20015-1305, USA
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  • I. Ribas

    1. Institut de Ciències de l'Espai (CSIC-IEEC), Campus UAB, Facultat de Ci`encies, Torre C5 parell, 2a planta, 08193, Bellaterra, Spain
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Abstract

Very recently, we were able to measure CO absorption features in the atmosphere of the non-transiting planet τ Boo b for the very first time. This allowed us to unravel a long-term mystery in planet atmosphere studies, the determination of the orbital inclination of a non-transiting planet and the exact planetary mass, respectively being 46° and 5.7 MJup. In light of these new results, we reanalyzed a UVES/VLT data set taken by us with the goal to detect starlight reflected from this hot Jupiter. In the previous analysis of these data, we found a candidate signal of low confidence (2σ), indicating a geometric albedo of the planetary atmosphere lower than 0.4 and an orbital inclination of 41°, which is close to the recently measured value. We reanalyzed these data by adopting updated orbital parameters and find as result that the candidate signal of marginal significance now appears at an orbital inclination of 43°. (© 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)

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