TESS Revisits WASP-12: Updated Orbital Decay Rate and Constraints on Atmospheric Variability

Ian Wong, Avi Shporer, Shreyas Vissapragada, Michael Greklek-Mckeon, Heather A. Knutson, Joshua N. Winn, Björn Benneke

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27 Scopus citations


After observing WASP-12 in the second year of the primary mission, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) revisited the system in late 2021 during its extended mission. In this paper, we incorporate the new TESS photometry into a reanalysis of the transits, secondary eclipses, and phase curve. We also present a new K s -band occultation observation of WASP-12b obtained with the Palomar/Wide-field Infrared Camera instrument. The latest TESS photometry spans three consecutive months, quadrupling the total length of the TESS WASP-12 light curve and extending the overall time baseline by almost two years. Based on the full set of available transit and occultation timings, we find that the orbital period is shrinking at a rate of-29.81 ± 0.94 ms yr-1. The additional data also increase the measurement precision of the transit depth, orbital parameters, and phase-curve amplitudes. We obtain a secondary eclipse depth of 466 ± 35 ppm, a 2σ upper limit on the nightside brightness of 70 ppm, and a marginal 6.°2 ± 2.°8 eastward offset between the dayside hotspot and the substellar point. The voluminous TESS data set allows us to assess the level of atmospheric variability on timescales of days, months, and years. We do not detect any statistically significant modulations in the secondary eclipse depth or day-night brightness contrast. Likewise, our measured K s -band occultation depth of 2810 ± 390 ppm is consistent with most ∼2.2 μm observations in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number175
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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