Evidence for Abnormal Hα Variability during Near-transit Observations of HD 189733 b

P. Wilson Cauley, Seth Redfield, Adam G. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Changes in levels of stellar activity can mimic absorption signatures in transmission spectra from circumplanetary material. Thus, it is critical to understand the frequency and magnitude of these changes in order to attribute any particular signal to the circumplanetary environment. We present short-cadence, high-resolution out-of-transit Hα spectra for the hot Jupiter host HD 189733 in order to establish the frequency and magnitude of intrinsic stellar variations in the Hα line core. We find that changes in the line core strength similar to those observed immediately pre- and post-transit in two independent data sets are uncommon. This suggests that the observed near-transit signatures are either due to absorption of circumplanetary material or they occur preferentially in time, very near planetary transits. In either case, the evidence for abnormal Hα variability is strengthened, though the short-cadence out-of-transit data do not argue for circumplanetary absorption versus stellar activity caused by a star-planet interaction. Further out-of-transit monitoring at higher signal-to-noise would be useful to more strictly constrain the frequency of the near-transit changes in the Hα line core.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number185
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017


  • planets and satellites: atmospheres
  • planets and satellites: individual (HD 189733 b)
  • stars: activity
  • stars: individual (HD 189733)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence for Abnormal Hα Variability during Near-transit Observations of HD 189733 b'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this