A Framework to Combine Low- and High-resolution Spectroscopy for the Atmospheres of Transiting Exoplanets

M. Brogi, Michael Line, J. Bean, J. M. Désert, H. Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Current observations of the atmospheres of close-in exoplanets are predominantly obtained with two techniques: low-resolution spectroscopy with space telescopes and high-resolution spectroscopy from the ground. Although the observables delivered by the two methods are in principle highly complementary, no attempt has ever been made to combine them, perhaps due to the different modeling approaches that are typically used in their interpretation. Here, we present the first combined analysis of previously published dayside spectra of the exoplanet HD 209458 b obtained at low resolution with HST/Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Spitzer/IRAC and at high resolution with VLT/CRIRES. By utilizing a novel retrieval algorithm capable of computing the joint probability distribution of low- and high-resolution spectra, we obtain tight constraints on the chemical composition of the planet's atmosphere. In contrast to the WFC3 data, we do not confidently detect H2O at high spectral resolution. The retrieved water abundance from the combined analysis deviates by 1.9σ from the expectations for a solar-composition atmosphere in chemical equilibrium. Measured relative molecular abundances of CO and H2O strongly favor an oxygen-rich atmosphere (C/O < 1 at ) for the planet when compared to equilibrium calculations including O rainout. From the abundances of the seven molecular species included in this study we constrain the planet metallicity to 0.1-1.0× the stellar value (1σ). This study opens the way to coordinated exoplanet surveys between the flagship ground- and space-based facilities, which ultimately will be crucial for characterizing potentially habitable planets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL2
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 10 2017


  • methods: data analysis
  • planets and satellites: atmospheres
  • techniques: spectroscopic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'A Framework to Combine Low- and High-resolution Spectroscopy for the Atmospheres of Transiting Exoplanets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this