The Roasting Marshmallows Program with IGRINS on Gemini South I: Composition and Climate of the Ultrahot Jupiter WASP-18 b

Matteo Brogi, Vanessa Emeka-Okafor, Michael R. Line, Siddharth Gandhi, Lorenzo Pino, Eliza M.R. Kempton, Emily Rauscher, Vivien Parmentier, Jacob L. Bean, Gregory N. Mace, Nicolas B. Cowan, Evgenya Shkolnik, Joost P. Wardenier, Megan Mansfield, Luis Welbanks, Peter Smith, Jonathan J. Fortney, Jayne L. Birkby, Joseph A. Zalesky, Lisa DangJennifer Patience, Jean Michel Désert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present high-resolution dayside thermal emission observations of the exoplanet WASP-18 b using IGRINS on Gemini South. We remove stellar and telluric signatures using standard algorithms, and we extract the planet signal via cross-correlation with model spectra. We detect the atmosphere of WASP-18 b at a signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of 5.9 using a full chemistry model, measure H2O (S/N = 3.3), CO (S/N = 4.0), and OH (S/N = 4.8) individually, and confirm previous claims of a thermal inversion layer. The three species are confidently detected (>4σ) with a Bayesian inference framework, which we also use to retrieve abundance, temperature, and velocity information. For this ultrahot Jupiter (UHJ), thermal dissociation processes likely play an important role. Retrieving abundances constant with altitude and allowing the temperature-pressure profile to adjust freely results in a moderately super-stellar carbon-to-oxygen ratio (C/O = 0.75 − 0.17 + 0.14 ) and metallicity ([M/H] = 1.03 − 1.01 + 0.65 ). Accounting for undetectable oxygen produced by thermal dissociation leads to C/O = 0.45 − 0.10 + 0.08 and [M/H] = 1.17 − 1.01 + 0.66 . A retrieval that assumes radiative-convective-thermochemical equilibrium and naturally accounts for thermal dissociation constrains C/O < 0.34 (2σ) and [M/H] = 0.48 − 0.29 + 0.33 , in line with the chemistry of the parent star. Looking at the velocity information, we see a tantalizing signature of different Doppler shifts at the level of a few kilometers per second for different molecules, which might probe dynamics as a function of altitude and/or location on the planet disk. Our results demonstrate that ground-based, high-resolution spectroscopy at infrared wavelengths can provide meaningful constraints on the compositions and climate of highly irradiated planets. This work also elucidates potential pitfalls with commonly employed retrieval assumptions when applied to the spectra of UHJs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number91
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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