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Challenges 2014, 5(2), 296-323; doi:10.3390/challe5020296

The Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets

Institute for Astronomy, The University of Edinburgh, Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh EH9 3HJ, UK
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 3 September 2014 / Accepted: 3 September 2014 / Published: 19 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Astrobiology)
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Abstract

We have now confirmed the existence of > 1800 planets orbiting stars other thanthe Sun; known as extrasolar planets or exoplanets. The different methods for detectingsuch planets are sensitive to different regions of parameter space, and so, we are discoveringa wide diversity of exoplanets and exoplanetary systems. Characterizing such planets isdifficult, but we are starting to be able to determine something of their internal compositionand are beginning to be able to probe their atmospheres, the first step towards the detectionof bio-signatures and, hence, determining if a planet could be habitable or not. Here, Iwill review how we detect exoplanets, how we characterize exoplanetary systems and theexoplanets themselves, where we stand with respect to potentially habitable planets and howwe are progressing towards being able to actually determine if a planet could host life or not. View Full-Text
Keywords: planet formation; planetary systems; extrasolar planets; exoplanets; exoplanetdetection; exoplanet characterization; planetary atmospheres; habitability planet formation; planetary systems; extrasolar planets; exoplanets; exoplanetdetection; exoplanet characterization; planetary atmospheres; habitability
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Rice, K. The Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets. Challenges 2014, 5, 296-323.

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