SSP: Exoplanets
 

In the last two decades, new discoveries have improved our understanding of other planetary systems. By measuring the brightnesses and motions of nearby stars, astronomers have detected more than 200 planets in 170 planetary systems. Most planets are gas giants like Jupiter or Neptune. Others are icy super-Earths. SSP scientists use ground-based and space-based instruments to detect and to characterize exoplanets.

Starting in the mid-1980's, infrared satellites revealed debris disks around nearby stars. Most debris disks are roughly the size of the Solar System and contain a few lunar masses of small dust particles. Although planets are not directly detected in debris disks, the debris is a signpost of terrestrial and gas giant planet formation. SSP scientists use numerical calculations to characterize debris disks and to develop tools to infer the masses of planets within the debris.

 

Project Links

AFOE planet detection program
Canada's MOST mission
HATNet
NASA's Kepler mission
Numerical simulations of the formation of planets and debris disks
Origins of Life Initiative
TrES

 

People

Lori Allen, Gaspar Bakos, Dave Charbonneau, Jonathan Devor, Andrea Dupree, Scott Kenyon, Sylvain Korzennik, Dimitar Sasselov, Volker Tolls

 

HAT discovers its first planet!
Learn more ...

 
 

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