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Instrumentation for the detection and characterization of exoplanets

Abstract

In no other field of astrophysics has the impact of new instrumentation been as substantial as in the domain of exoplanets. Before 1995 our knowledge of exoplanets was mainly based on philosophical and theoretical considerations. The years that followed have been marked, instead, by surprising discoveries made possible by high-precision instruments. Over the past decade, the availability of new techniques has moved the focus of research from the detection to the characterization of exoplanets. Next-generation facilities will produce even more complementary data that will lead to a comprehensive view of exoplanet characteristics and, by comparison with theoretical models, to a better understanding of planet formation.

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Figure 1: Radial-velocity semi-amplitude of planetary-mass companions.
Figure 2: Detectability of planetary atmospheres.
Figure 3: Mass and semi-major axis of known planets.

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Acknowledgements

D.E. would like to dedicate this article to the memory of STIS Principal Investigator Bruce Woodgate who passed away in April 2014. This work has been carried out within the frame of the National Centre for Competence in Research 'PlanetS' supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The authors acknowledge the financial support of the SNSF.

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Pepe, F., Ehrenreich, D. & Meyer, M. Instrumentation for the detection and characterization of exoplanets. Nature 513, 358–366 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13784

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