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Title: The Hubble Space Telescope's Near-UV and Optical Transmission Spectrum of Earth as an Exoplanet

Abstract

We observed the 2019 January total lunar eclipse with the Hubble Space Telescope’s STIS spectrograph to obtain the first near-UV (1700–3200 Å) observation of Earth as a transiting exoplanet. The observatories and instruments that will be able to perform transmission spectroscopy of exo-Earths are beginning to be planned, and characterizing the transmission spectrum of Earth is vital to ensuring that key spectral features (e.g., ozone, or O{sub 3}) are appropriately captured in mission concept studies. O{sub 3} is photochemically produced from O{sub 2}, a product of the dominant metabolism on Earth today, and it will be sought in future observations as critical evidence for life on exoplanets. Ground-based observations of lunar eclipses have provided the Earth’s transmission spectrum at optical and near-IR wavelengths, but the strongest O{sub 3} signatures are in the near-UV. We describe the observations and methods used to extract a transmission spectrum from Hubble lunar eclipse spectra, and identify spectral features of O{sub 3} and Rayleigh scattering in the 3000–5500 Å region in Earth’s transmission spectrum by comparing to Earth models that include refraction effects in the terrestrial atmosphere during a lunar eclipse. Our near-UV spectra are featureless, a consequence of missing the narrow time span during themore » eclipse when near-UV sunlight is not completely attenuated through Earth’s atmosphere due to extremely strong O{sub 3} absorption and when sunlight is transmitted to the lunar surface at altitudes where it passes through the O{sub 3} layer rather than above it.« less

Authors:
;  [1]; ;  [2];  [3]
  1. Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, 1234 Innovation Drive, Boulder, CO 80303 (United States)
  2. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
  3. Zentrum für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Technische Universität Berlin, Hardenbergstrasse 36, D-10623, Berlin (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
23013321
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Astronomical Journal (New York, N.Y. Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 160; Journal Issue: 3; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 1538-3881
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABSORPTION; ALTITUDE; ECLIPSE; NEAR ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION; OZONE; PHOTOCHEMISTRY; PLANETARY ATMOSPHERES; RAYLEIGH SCATTERING; SPACE; TELESCOPES; TRANSMISSION; WAVELENGTHS

Citation Formats

Youngblood, Allison, France, Kevin, Arney, Giada N., Roberge, Aki, García Muñoz, Antonio, and Stocke, John T., E-mail: allison.youngblood@lasp.colorado.edu. The Hubble Space Telescope's Near-UV and Optical Transmission Spectrum of Earth as an Exoplanet. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/ABA0B4.
Youngblood, Allison, France, Kevin, Arney, Giada N., Roberge, Aki, García Muñoz, Antonio, & Stocke, John T., E-mail: allison.youngblood@lasp.colorado.edu. The Hubble Space Telescope's Near-UV and Optical Transmission Spectrum of Earth as an Exoplanet. United States. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-3881/ABA0B4
Youngblood, Allison, France, Kevin, Arney, Giada N., Roberge, Aki, García Muñoz, Antonio, and Stocke, John T., E-mail: allison.youngblood@lasp.colorado.edu. 2020. "The Hubble Space Telescope's Near-UV and Optical Transmission Spectrum of Earth as an Exoplanet". United States. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-3881/ABA0B4.
@article{osti_23013321,
title = {The Hubble Space Telescope's Near-UV and Optical Transmission Spectrum of Earth as an Exoplanet},
author = {Youngblood, Allison and France, Kevin and Arney, Giada N. and Roberge, Aki and García Muñoz, Antonio and Stocke, John T., E-mail: allison.youngblood@lasp.colorado.edu},
abstractNote = {We observed the 2019 January total lunar eclipse with the Hubble Space Telescope’s STIS spectrograph to obtain the first near-UV (1700–3200 Å) observation of Earth as a transiting exoplanet. The observatories and instruments that will be able to perform transmission spectroscopy of exo-Earths are beginning to be planned, and characterizing the transmission spectrum of Earth is vital to ensuring that key spectral features (e.g., ozone, or O{sub 3}) are appropriately captured in mission concept studies. O{sub 3} is photochemically produced from O{sub 2}, a product of the dominant metabolism on Earth today, and it will be sought in future observations as critical evidence for life on exoplanets. Ground-based observations of lunar eclipses have provided the Earth’s transmission spectrum at optical and near-IR wavelengths, but the strongest O{sub 3} signatures are in the near-UV. We describe the observations and methods used to extract a transmission spectrum from Hubble lunar eclipse spectra, and identify spectral features of O{sub 3} and Rayleigh scattering in the 3000–5500 Å region in Earth’s transmission spectrum by comparing to Earth models that include refraction effects in the terrestrial atmosphere during a lunar eclipse. Our near-UV spectra are featureless, a consequence of missing the narrow time span during the eclipse when near-UV sunlight is not completely attenuated through Earth’s atmosphere due to extremely strong O{sub 3} absorption and when sunlight is transmitted to the lunar surface at altitudes where it passes through the O{sub 3} layer rather than above it.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-3881/ABA0B4},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/23013321}, journal = {Astronomical Journal (New York, N.Y. Online)},
issn = {1538-3881},
number = 3,
volume = 160,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {9}
}