Neutral Cr and v in the Atmosphere of Ultra-hot Jupiter WASP-121 b

Change log
Ben-Yami, M 
Constantinou, S 

Ultra hot jupiters (UHJs), giant exoplanets with equilibrium temperatures above 2000 K, are ideal laboratories for studying metal compositions of planetary atmospheres. At these temperatures the thermal dissociation of metal-rich molecules into their constituent elements makes these atmospheres conducive for elemental characterisation. Several elements, mostly ionized metals, have been detected in UHJs recently using high resolution transit spectroscopy. Even though a number of neutral transition metals (e.g., Fe, Ti, V, Cr) are expected to be strong sources of optical/NUV opacity and, hence, influence radiative processes in the lower atmospheres of UHJs, only Fe I has been detected to date. We conduct a systematic search for atomic species in the UHJ WASP-121 b. Using theoretical models we present a metric to predict the atomic species likely to be detectable in such planets with high resolution transmission spectroscopy. We search for the predicted species in observations of WASP-121 b and report the first detections of neutral transition metals Cr I and V I in an exoplanet at 3.6 σ and 4.5 σ, respectively. We confirm previous detections of Fe I and Fe II. Whereas Fe II was detected previously in the NUV, we detect it in the optical. We infer that the neutral elements Fe I, V I, and Cr I are present in the lower atmosphere, as predicted by thermochemical equilibrium, while Fe II is a result of photoionisation in the upper atmosphere. Our study highlights the rich chemical diversity of UHJs.

Exoplanets, Hot Jupiters, Exoplanet atmospheres, Radiative transfer, High resolution spectroscopy, Transmission spectroscopy
Journal Title
Astrophysical Journal Letters
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
American Astronomical Society
All rights reserved
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/N000927/1)