Exoplanets

Definition

Exoplanets are the celestial bodies orbiting stars other than our Sun. Their small size makes them difficult to detect from Earth, particularly as they appear much dimmer than their parent stars. So indirect methods are employed, such as observing changes in starlight as a result of the exoplanet and its motion.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    In an analysis of a large sample of microlensing events, a few suggest the existence of Earth-mass free-floating planets, but only the expected number of Jupiter-mass free-floating objects were detected.

    • Przemek Mróz
    • , Andrzej Udalski
    • , Jan Skowron
    • , Radosław Poleski
    • , Szymon Kozłowski
    • , Michał K. Szymański
    • , Igor Soszyński
    • , Łukasz Wyrzykowski
    • , Paweł Pietrukowicz
    • , Krzysztof Ulaczyk
    • , Dorota Skowron
    •  & Michał Pawlak
  • Research |

    The giant planet KELT-9b has a dayside temperature of about 4,600 K, which is sufficiently high to dissociate molecules and to evaporate its atmosphere, owing to its hot stellar host.

    • B. Scott Gaudi
    • , Keivan G. Stassun
    • , Karen A. Collins
    • , Thomas G. Beatty
    • , George Zhou
    • , David W. Latham
    • , Allyson Bieryla
    • , Jason D. Eastman
    • , Robert J. Siverd
    • , Justin R. Crepp
    • , Erica J. Gonzales
    • , Daniel J. Stevens
    • , Lars A. Buchhave
    • , Joshua Pepper
    • , Marshall C. Johnson
    • , Knicole D. Colon
    • , Eric L. N. Jensen
    • , Joseph E. Rodriguez
    • , Valerio Bozza
    • , Sebastiano Calchi Novati
    • , Giuseppe D’Ago
    • , Mary T. Dumont
    • , Tyler Ellis
    • , Clement Gaillard
    • , Hannah Jang-Condell
    • , David H. Kasper
    • , Akihiko Fukui
    • , Joao Gregorio
    • , Ayaka Ito
    • , John F. Kielkopf
    • , Mark Manner
    • , Kyle Matt
    • , Norio Narita
    • , Thomas E. Oberst
    • , Phillip A. Reed
    • , Gaetano Scarpetta
    • , Denice C. Stephens
    • , Rex R. Yeigh
    • , Roberto Zambelli
    • , B. J. Fulton
    • , Andrew W. Howard
    • , David J. James
    • , Matthew Penny
    • , Daniel Bayliss
    • , Ivan A. Curtis
    • , D. L. DePoy
    • , Gilbert A. Esquerdo
    • , Andrew Gould
    • , Michael D. Joner
    • , Rudolf B. Kuhn
    • , Jonathan Labadie-Bartz
    • , Michael B. Lund
    • , Jennifer L. Marshall
    • , Kim K. McLeod
    • , Richard W. Pogge
    • , Howard Relles
    • , Christopher Stockdale
    • , T. G. Tan
    • , Mark Trueblood
    •  & Patricia Trueblood
    Nature 546, 514–518
  • Research |

    Orbital parameters for the seventh Earth-sized transiting planet around star TRAPPIST-1 are reported, along with an investigation into the complex three-body resonances linking every member of this planetary system.

    • Rodrigo Luger
    • , Marko Sestovic
    • , Ethan Kruse
    • , Simon L. Grimm
    • , Brice-Olivier Demory
    • , Eric Agol
    • , Emeline Bolmont
    • , Daniel Fabrycky
    • , Catarina S. Fernandes
    • , Valérie Van Grootel
    • , Adam Burgasser
    • , Michaël Gillon
    • , James G. Ingalls
    • , Emmanuël Jehin
    • , Sean N. Raymond
    • , Franck Selsis
    • , Amaury H. M. J. Triaud
    • , Thomas Barclay
    • , Geert Barentsen
    • , Steve B. Howell
    • , Laetitia Delrez
    • , Julien de Wit
    • , Daniel Foreman-Mackey
    • , Daniel L. Holdsworth
    • , Jérémy Leconte
    • , Susan Lederer
    • , Martin Turbet
    • , Yaseen Almleaky
    • , Zouhair Benkhaldoun
    • , Pierre Magain
    • , Brett M. Morris
    • , Kevin Heng
    •  & Didier Queloz
  • Research |

    An Earth-sized planet is observed orbiting a nearby star within the liquid-water, habitable zone, the atmospheric composition of which could be determined from future observations.

    • Jason A. Dittmann
    • , Jonathan M. Irwin
    • , David Charbonneau
    • , Xavier Bonfils
    • , Nicola Astudillo-Defru
    • , Raphaëlle D. Haywood
    • , Zachory K. Berta-Thompson
    • , Elisabeth R. Newton
    • , Joseph E. Rodriguez
    • , Jennifer G. Winters
    • , Thiam-Guan Tan
    • , Jose-Manuel Almenara
    • , François Bouchy
    • , Xavier Delfosse
    • , Thierry Forveille
    • , Christophe Lovis
    • , Felipe Murgas
    • , Francesco Pepe
    • , Nuno C. Santos
    • , Stephane Udry
    • , Anaël Wünsche
    • , Gilbert A. Esquerdo
    • , David W. Latham
    •  & Courtney D. Dressing
    Nature 544, 333–336

News and Comment

  • Comments and Opinion |

    It's not often that an astronomical object gets its own dedicated observatory, but as the planet Beta Pictoris b moves in front of its host star, its every move will be watched by bRing, eager to discover more about the planet's Hill sphere, explains Matthew Kenworthy.

    • Matthew Kenworthy
  • Editorial |

    Twenty-five years ago, the detection of the first extrasolar planets opened up an area of research that has fascinated both researchers and the general public alike.

  • News and Views |

    Seven small planets whose surfaces could harbour liquid water have been spotted around a nearby dwarf star. If such a configuration is common in planetary systems, our Galaxy could be teeming with Earth-like planets. See Letter p.456

    • Ignas A. G. Snellen
    Nature 542, 421–423
  • Comments and Opinion |

    We have found many Earth-sized worlds but we have no way of determining if their surfaces are Earth-like. This makes it impossible to quantitatively compare habitability, and pretending we can risks damaging the field.

    • Elizabeth Tasker
    • , Joshua Tan
    • , Kevin Heng
    • , Stephen Kane
    • , David Spiegel
    • , the ELSI Origins Network Planetary Diversity Workshop
    • , Ramon Brasser
    • , Andrew Casey
    • , Steven Desch
    • , Caroline Dorn
    • , John Hernlund
    • , Christine Houser
    • , Matthieu Laneuville
    • , Marine Lasbleis
    • , Anne-Sophie Libert
    • , Lena Noack
    • , Cayman Unterborn
    •  & June Wicks