Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 514, A23-23 (2010/5-1)
τ Booetis b: hunting for reflected starlight.
RODLER F., KUERSTER M. and HENNING T.
Abstract (from CDS):
We attempt to detect starlight reflected from the hot Jupiter orbiting the main-sequence star τ Boo, in order to determine the albedo of the planetary atmosphere, the orbital inclination of the planetary system and the exact mass of the planetary companion. We analyze high-precision, high-resolution spectra, collected over two half nights using UVES at the VLT/UT2, by way of data synthesis. We interpret our data using two different atmospheric models for hot Jupiters. Although a weak candidate signal appears near the most probable radial velocity amplitude, its statistical significance is insufficient for us to claim a detection. However, this feature agrees very well with a completely independently obtained result by another research group, which searched for reflected light from τ Boo b. As a consequence of the non-detection of reflected light, we place upper limits to the planet-to-star flux ratio at the 99.9% significance level. For the most probable orbital inclination around i=46°, we can limit the relative reflected radiation to be less than ε=5.7x10–5 for grey albedo. This implies a geometric albedo smaller than 0.40, assuming a planetary radius of 1.2RJup.
methods: data analysis - techniques: radial velocities - stars: individual: τ Boo - planetary systems