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The role of space telescopes in the characterization of transiting exoplanets

Abstract

Characterization studies now have a dominant role in the field of exoplanets. Such studies include the measurement of an exoplanet's bulk density, its brightness temperature and the chemical composition of its atmosphere. The use of space telescopes has played a key part in the characterization of transiting exoplanets. These facilities offer astronomers data of exquisite precision and temporal sampling as well as access to wavelength regions of the electromagnetic spectrum that are inaccessible from the ground. Space missions such as the Hubble Space Telescope, Microvariability and Oscillations of Stars (MOST), Spitzer Space Telescope, Convection, Rotation and Planetary Transits (CoRoT), and Kepler have rapidly advanced our knowledge of the physical properties of exoplanets and have blazed a trail for a series of future space missions that will help us to understand the observed diversity of exoplanets.

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Figure 1: Mass–density diagram for the CoRoT giant planets.
Figure 2: Spitzer light curve for HD 189733.

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Acknowledgements

The author would like to warmly thank H. Rauer, J. Cabrera and S. Csizmadia for their valuable comments.

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Correspondence to Artie P. Hatzes.

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Hatzes, A. The role of space telescopes in the characterization of transiting exoplanets. Nature 513, 353–357 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13783

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