Atmospheric temperature and planetary gravity are thought to be the main parameters affecting cloud formation in giant exoplanet atmospheres. Recent attempts to understand cloud formation have explored wide regions of the equilibrium temperature-gravity parameter space. In this study, we instead compare the case of two giant planets with nearly identical equilibrium temperature (T eq ∼ 1050 K) and gravity (g ∼ 10 m s-1). During HST Cycle 23, we collected WFC3/G141 observations of the two planets, WASP-67 b and HAT-P-38 b. HAT-P-38 b, with mass 0.42 M J and radius 1.4 R J, exhibits a relatively clear atmosphere with a clear detection of water. We refine the orbital period of this planet with new observations, obtaining P = 4.6403294 ±0.0000055 days. WASP-67 b, with mass 0.27 M J and radius 0.83 R J, shows a more muted water absorption feature than that of HAT-P-38 b, indicating either a higher cloud deck in the atmosphere or a more metal-rich composition. The difference in the spectra supports the hypothesis that giant exoplanet atmospheres carry traces of their formation history. Future observations in the visible and mid-infrared are needed to probe the aerosol properties and constrain the evolutionary scenario of these planets.
- planets and satellites: atmospheres
- planets and satellites: gaseous planets
- planets and satellites: individual (WASP-67 b, HAT-P-38 b)
- techniques: spectroscopic
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science