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Recent years have seen increasing interest in the characterization of sub-Neptune-sized planets because of their prevalence in the Galaxy, contrasted with their absence in our solar system. HD 97658 is one of the brightest stars hosting a planet of this kind, and we present the transmission spectrum of this planet by combining four Hubble Space Telescope transits, 12 Spitzer/IRAC transits, and eight MOST transits of this system. Our transmission spectrum has a higher signal-to-noise ratio than those from previous works, and the result suggests that the slight increase in transit depth from wavelength 1.1–1.7 μm reported in previous works on the transmission spectrum of this planet is likely systematic. Nonetheless, our atmospheric modeling results are inconclusive, as no model provides an excellent match to our data. Nonetheless, we find that atmospheres with high C/O ratios (C/O ≳ 0.8) and metallicities of ≳100× solar metallicity are favored. We combine the mid-transit times from all of the new Spitzer and MOST observations and obtain an updated orbital period of P = 9.489295 ± 0.000005, with a best-fit transit time center at T0 = 2456361.80690 ± 0.00038 (BJD). No transit timing variations are found in this system. We also present new measurements of the stellar rotation period (34 ± 2 days) and stellar activity cycle (9.6 yr) of the host star HD 97658. Finally, we calculate and rank the Transmission Spectroscopy Metric of all confirmed planets cooler than 1000 K and with sizes between 1 R⊕ and 4 R⊕. We find that at least a third of small planets cooler than 1000 K can be well characterized using James Webb Space Telescope, and of those, HD 97658b is ranked fifth, meaning that it remains a high-priority target for atmospheric characterization.

Available for download on Saturday, January 01, 2022