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Extrasolar planets: Past, present, and future

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 October 2009

Alan P. Boss
Affiliation:
Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution, Washington, DC 20015, USA
Mario Livio
Affiliation:
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore
Kailash Sahu
Affiliation:
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore
Jeff Valenti
Affiliation:
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore
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Summary

Human beings have long thought that planetary systems similar to our own should exist around stars other than the Sun. However, the astronomical search for planets outside our Solar System has had a dismal history of decades of discoveries that were announced, but could not be confirmed. All that changed in 1995, when we entered the era of the discovery of extrasolar planetary systems orbiting main-sequence stars. To date, well over 130 planets have been found outside our Solar System, ranging from the fairly familiar to the weirdly unexpected. Nearly all of the new planets discovered to date appear to be gas giant planets similar to our Jupiter and Saturn, though with very different orbits about their host stars. In the last year, three planets with much lower masses have been found, similar to those of Uranus and Neptune, but it is not yet clear if they are also ice giant planets, or perhaps rock giant planets, i.e., super-Earths. The long-term goal is to discover and characterize nearby Earth-like, habitable planets. A visionary array of space-based telescopes has been planned that will carry out this incredible search over the next several decades.

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Chapter
Information
A Decade of Extrasolar Planets around Normal Stars
Proceedings of the Space Telescope Science Institute Symposium, held in Baltimore, Maryland May 2–5, 2005
, pp. 1 - 14
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

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  • Extrasolar planets: Past, present, and future
    • By Alan P. Boss, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution, Washington, DC 20015, USA
  • Edited by Mario Livio, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Kailash Sahu, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Jeff Valenti, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore
  • Book: A Decade of Extrasolar Planets around Normal Stars
  • Online publication: 22 October 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511536304.003
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  • Extrasolar planets: Past, present, and future
    • By Alan P. Boss, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution, Washington, DC 20015, USA
  • Edited by Mario Livio, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Kailash Sahu, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Jeff Valenti, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore
  • Book: A Decade of Extrasolar Planets around Normal Stars
  • Online publication: 22 October 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511536304.003
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Extrasolar planets: Past, present, and future
    • By Alan P. Boss, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution, Washington, DC 20015, USA
  • Edited by Mario Livio, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Kailash Sahu, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Jeff Valenti, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore
  • Book: A Decade of Extrasolar Planets around Normal Stars
  • Online publication: 22 October 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511536304.003
Available formats
×