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A precise blue-optical transmission spectrum from the ground: evidence for haze in the atmosphere of WASP-74b

Spyratos, Petros; Nikolov, Nikolay K; Constantinou, Savvas; Southworth, John; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Sedaghati, Elyar; Ehrenreich, David; Mancini, Luigi

A precise blue-optical transmission spectrum from the ground: evidence for haze in the atmosphere of WASP-74b Thumbnail


Petros Spyratos

Nikolay K Nikolov

Savvas Constantinou

Nikku Madhusudhan

Elyar Sedaghati

David Ehrenreich

Luigi Mancini


We report transmission spectroscopy of the bloated hot Jupiter WASP-74b in the wavelength range from 4000 to 6200 Å. We observe two transit events with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) Focal Reducer and Spectrograph and present a new method to measure the exoplanet transit depth as a function of wavelength. The new method removes the need for a reference star in correcting the spectroscopic light curves for the impact of atmospheric extinction. It also provides improved precision, compared to other techniques, reaching an average transit depth uncertainty of 211 ppm for a solar-type star of V = 9.8 mag and over wavelength bins of 80 Å. The VLT transmission spectrum is analysed both individually and in combination with published data from Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer. The spectrum is found to exhibit a mostly featureless slope and equilibrium chemistry retrievals with platon favour hazes in the upper atmosphere of the exoplanet. Free chemistry retrievals with aura further support the presence of hazes. While additional constraints are possible depending on the choice of atmospheric model, they are not robust and may be influenced by residual systematics in the data sets. Our results demonstrate the utility of new techniques in the analysis of optical, ground-based spectroscopic data and can be highly complementary to follow-up observations in the infrared with JWST.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 21, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 28, 2023
Publication Date May 14, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 30, 2023
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 521
Issue 2
Pages 2163 - 2180
Keywords methods: data analysis, techniques: spectroscopic, planets and satellites: atmospheres, planets and satellites: gaseous planets, stars: individual: WASP-74, planetary systems
Publisher URL


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