Special Issue "Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Mahmoudreza Oshagh

Institute for Astrophysics, University of Göttingen, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: extrasolar planets; stellar magnetic activity; planetary atmosphere; eclipsing binaries; architecture of exoplanet systems
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jesus Martinez-Frias

Instituto de Geociencias, IGEO (CSIC-UCM), C/ Del Doctor Severo Ochoa 7, Facultad de Medicina (Edificio Entrepabellones 7 y 8), 28040 Madrid, Spain
E-Mail
Phone: +34 91 3944829
Fax: +34 91 3944798

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Geosciences is dedicated to Exoplantary Science. Exoplanetary science is a vigorous and exciting new area of astrophysics and planetary sciences. Since the revolutionary discovery of a planet orbiting a solar-like star 51 Peg (Mayor and Queloz 1995) about 3600 exoplanets have been discovered in around 2700 planetary systems, which place our unique Solar System into context through the new field of comparative planetology. The radial velocity technique, which is based on detecting changes in the color of a star due to wobble of the host star in response to an exoplanet's gravity, and the photometric transit technique, which is based on measuring the dim in stellar light due to transits of an exoplanet in front of its disk, are the two main techniques that have been used to detect and characterize most known exoplanets. Other techniques, namely, gravitational microlensing, astrometry, and direct imaging, also have been used to detect several exoplanets. Recent and upcoming ground and space-based telescopes and facilities, which provide high-precision photometric and spectroscopic observations, allow us to accurately detect and characterize exoplanetary systems, including their atmosphere and architectures. Thus, we are living in an exciting time, in which we have been detecting Earth-sized exoplanets in the habitable zone of their host stars, and we are getting closer to the detection of Earth twins. The comprehensive information about exoplanetary systems and their host stars combined with our knowledge of solar system’s content will lead us toward a complete understanding about the exoplanetary atmospheres, their potential geodynamics, formation, evolution, and habitability conditions.

Therefore, the main goal of this Special Issue of Geosciences is to collect papers on original research, inspiring reviews, and an outlook of open and challenging problems in the near future.

It is recommended that authors approach the Guest Editor at an early stage about possible submissions in order to verify the appropriateness of their potential contributions. If appropriate, an abstract will be requested, and the corresponding author will be required to submit the full manuscript online by the deadline of 30 June 2018.

Dr. Mahmoudreza Oshagh
Prof. Dr. Jesus Martinez-Frias
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Geosciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • exoplanet detection
  • exoplanet characterization
  • stellar activity induced noise
  • future instrumentation
  • exoplanets’ atmosphere
  • architecture of exoplanet systems

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Imaging and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets with the Next Generation of Space Telescopes
Geosciences 2018, 8(12), 442; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8120442
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 21 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
The study and characterization of the exoplanets’ atmospheres and composition is in its infancy. The large facilities that will make feasible to image an exo-Earth are currently under study. This contribution to the special issue on “detection and characterization of extrasolar planets” is [...] Read more.
The study and characterization of the exoplanets’ atmospheres and composition is in its infancy. The large facilities that will make feasible to image an exo-Earth are currently under study. This contribution to the special issue on “detection and characterization of extrasolar planets” is a summary on the current status of the design studies to build large space-based facilities working in the 100–3000 nm range for this purpose. The three basic designs: Fresnel imagers, starshades, and coronagraphs on large space telescopes are described. An outline of the pros and cons for each design is provided. The relevance of transmission spectroscopy to characterize exoplanets atmospheres is pointed out. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets)
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Open AccessArticle A Quantitative Comparison of Exoplanet Catalogs
Geosciences 2018, 8(9), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8090325
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 23 August 2018 / Accepted: 25 August 2018 / Published: 29 August 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (8863 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, we investigated the differences between four commonly-used exoplanet catalogs (exoplanet.eu; exoplanetarchive.ipac.caltech.edu; openexoplanetcatalogue.com; exoplanets.org) using a Kolmogorov–Smirnov (KS) test. We found a relatively good agreement in terms of the planetary parameters (mass, radius, period) and stellar properties (mass, temperature, metallicity), although [...] Read more.
In this study, we investigated the differences between four commonly-used exoplanet catalogs (exoplanet.eu; exoplanetarchive.ipac.caltech.edu; openexoplanetcatalogue.com; exoplanets.org) using a Kolmogorov–Smirnov (KS) test. We found a relatively good agreement in terms of the planetary parameters (mass, radius, period) and stellar properties (mass, temperature, metallicity), although a more careful analysis of the overlap and unique parts of each catalog revealed some differences. We quantified the statistical impact of these differences and their potential cause. We concluded that although statistical studies are unlikely to be significantly affected by the choice of catalog, it would be desirable to have one consistent catalog accepted by the general exoplanet community as a base for exoplanet statistics and comparison with theoretical predictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets)
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Open AccessArticle Selective Aggregation Experiments on Planetesimal Formation and Mercury-Like Planets
Geosciences 2018, 8(9), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8090310
Received: 21 June 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 18 August 2018 / Published: 21 August 2018
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Abstract
Much of a planet’s composition could be determined right at the onset of formation. Laboratory experiments can constrain these early steps. This includes static tensile strength measurements or collisions carried out under Earth’s gravity and on various microgravity platforms. Among the variety of [...] Read more.
Much of a planet’s composition could be determined right at the onset of formation. Laboratory experiments can constrain these early steps. This includes static tensile strength measurements or collisions carried out under Earth’s gravity and on various microgravity platforms. Among the variety of extrasolar planets which eventually form are (Exo)-Mercury, terrestrial planets with high density. If they form in inner protoplanetary disks, high temperature experiments are mandatory but they are still rare. Beyond the initial process of hit-and-stick collisions, some additional selective processing might be needed to explain Mercury. In analogy to icy worlds, such planets might, e.g., form in environments which are enriched in iron. This requires methods to separate iron and silicate at early stages. Photophoresis might be one viable way. Mercury and Mercury-like planets might also form due to the ferromagnetic properties of iron and mechanisms like magnetic aggregation in disk magnetic fields might become important. This review highlights some of the mechanisms with the potential to trigger Mercury formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview The Impact of Stellar Surface Magnetoconvection and Oscillations on the Detection of Temperate, Earth-Mass Planets Around Sun-Like Stars
Geosciences 2019, 9(3), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9030114
Received: 17 December 2018 / Revised: 16 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 4 March 2019
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Abstract
Detecting and confirming terrestrial planets is incredibly difficult due to their tiny size and mass relative to Sun-like host stars. However, recent instrumental advancements are making the detection of Earth-like exoplanets technologically feasible. For example, Kepler and TESS photometric precision means we can [...] Read more.
Detecting and confirming terrestrial planets is incredibly difficult due to their tiny size and mass relative to Sun-like host stars. However, recent instrumental advancements are making the detection of Earth-like exoplanets technologically feasible. For example, Kepler and TESS photometric precision means we can identify Earth-sized candidates (and PLATO in the future will add many long-period candidates to the list), while spectrographs such as ESPRESSO and EXPRES (with an aimed radial velocity precision [RV] near 10 cm s 1 ) mean we will soon reach the instrumental precision required to confirm Earth-mass planets in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars. However, many astrophysical phenomena on the surfaces of these host stars can imprint signatures on the stellar absorption lines used to detect the Doppler wobble induced by planetary companions. The result is stellar-induced spurious RV shifts that can mask or mimic planet signals. This review provides a brief overview of how stellar surface magnetoconvection and oscillations can impact low-mass planet confirmation and the best-tested strategies to overcome this astrophysical noise. These noise reduction strategies originate from a combination of empirical motivation and a theoretical understanding of the underlying physics. The most recent predications indicate that stellar oscillations for Sun-like stars may be averaged out with tailored exposure times, while granulation may need to be disentangled by inspecting its imprint on the stellar line profile shapes. Overall, the literature suggests that Earth-analog detection should be possible, with the correct observing strategy and sufficient data collection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets)
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Open AccessReview Heavy Metal Rules. I. Exoplanet Incidence and Metallicity
Geosciences 2019, 9(3), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9030105
Received: 28 December 2018 / Revised: 14 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 27 February 2019
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1522 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The discovery of only a handful of exoplanets required establishing a correlation between giant planet occurrence and metallicity of their host stars. More than 20 years have already passed from that discovery, however, many questions are still under lively debate: (1) What is [...] Read more.
The discovery of only a handful of exoplanets required establishing a correlation between giant planet occurrence and metallicity of their host stars. More than 20 years have already passed from that discovery, however, many questions are still under lively debate: (1) What is the origin of that relation?; (2) What is the exact functional form of the giant planet–metallicity relation (in the metal-poor regime)?; and (3) Does such a relation exist for terrestrial planets? All of these questions are very important for our understanding of the formation and evolution of (exo)planets of different types around different types of stars and are the subject of the present manuscript. Besides making a comprehensive literature review about the role of metallicity on the formation of exoplanets, I also revisited most of the planet–metallicity related correlations reported in the literature using a large and homogeneous data provided by the SWEET-Cat catalog. This study led to several new results and conclusions, two of which I believe deserve to be highlighted in the abstract: (i) the hosts of sub-Jupiter mass planets (∼0.6–0.9 M) are systematically less metallic than the hosts of Jupiter-mass planets. This result might be related to the longer disk lifetime and the higher amount of planet building materials available at high metallicities, which allow a formation of more massive Jupiter-like planets; (ii) contrary to the previous claims, our data and results do not support the existence of a breakpoint planetary mass at 4 M above and below which planet formation channels are different. However, the results also suggest that planets of the same (high) mass can be formed through different channels depending on the (disk) stellar mass i.e., environmental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets)
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Open AccessReview Microlensing Searches for Exoplanets
Geosciences 2018, 8(10), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8100365
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 18 September 2018 / Accepted: 26 September 2018 / Published: 29 September 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1293 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Gravitational microlensing finds planets through their gravitational influence on the light coming from a more distant background star. The presence of the planet is then inferred from the tell-tale brightness variations of the background star during the lensing event, even if no light [...] Read more.
Gravitational microlensing finds planets through their gravitational influence on the light coming from a more distant background star. The presence of the planet is then inferred from the tell-tale brightness variations of the background star during the lensing event, even if no light is detectable from the planet or the host foreground star. This review covers fundamental theoretical concepts in microlensing, addresses how observations are performed in practice, the challenges of obtaining accurate measurements, and explains how planets reveal themselves in the data. It concludes with a presentation of the most important findings to-date, a description of the method’s strengths and weaknesses, and a discussion of the future prospects of microlensing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets)
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Open AccessReview A Review on Substellar Objects below the Deuterium Burning Mass Limit: Planets, Brown Dwarfs or What?
Geosciences 2018, 8(10), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8100362
Received: 23 August 2018 / Revised: 4 September 2018 / Accepted: 10 September 2018 / Published: 28 September 2018
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (5102 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
“Free-floating, non-deuterium-burning, substellar objects” are isolated bodies of a few Jupiter masses found in very young open clusters and associations, nearby young moving groups, and in the immediate vicinity of the Sun. They are neither brown dwarfs nor planets. In this paper, their [...] Read more.
“Free-floating, non-deuterium-burning, substellar objects” are isolated bodies of a few Jupiter masses found in very young open clusters and associations, nearby young moving groups, and in the immediate vicinity of the Sun. They are neither brown dwarfs nor planets. In this paper, their nomenclature, history of discovery, sites of detection, formation mechanisms, and future directions of research are reviewed. Most free-floating, non-deuterium-burning, substellar objects share the same formation mechanism as low-mass stars and brown dwarfs, but there are still a few caveats, such as the value of the opacity mass limit, the minimum mass at which an isolated body can form via turbulent fragmentation from a cloud. The least massive free-floating substellar objects found to date have masses of about 0.004 Msol, but current and future surveys should aim at breaking this record. For that, we may need LSST, Euclid and WFIRST. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets)
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Open AccessReview Multi-Wavelength High-Resolution Spectroscopy for Exoplanet Detection: Motivation, Instrumentation and First Results
Geosciences 2018, 8(8), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8080289
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
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Abstract
Exoplanet research has shown an incessant growth since the first claim of a hot giant planet around a solar-like star in the mid-1990s. Today, the new facilities are working to spot the first habitable rocky planets around low-mass stars as a forerunner for [...] Read more.
Exoplanet research has shown an incessant growth since the first claim of a hot giant planet around a solar-like star in the mid-1990s. Today, the new facilities are working to spot the first habitable rocky planets around low-mass stars as a forerunner for the detection of the long-awaited Sun-Earth analog system. All the achievements in this field would not have been possible without the constant development of the technology and of new methods to detect more and more challenging planets. After the consolidation of a top-level instrumentation for high-resolution spectroscopy in the visible wavelength range, a huge effort is now dedicated to reaching the same precision and accuracy in the near-infrared. Actually, observations in this range present several advantages in the search for exoplanets around M dwarfs, known to be the most favorable targets to detect possible habitable planets. They are also characterized by intense stellar activity, which hampers planet detection, but its impact on the radial velocity modulation is mitigated in the infrared. Simultaneous observations in the visible and near-infrared ranges appear to be an even more powerful technique since they provide combined and complementary information, also useful for many other exoplanetary science cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets)
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