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STScI Webcast

2016 Fall Science Colloquia

Direct imaging of Exoplanets: Current Status and Prospects

Presented by: Anne Marie Lagrange (Observatoire de Grenoble)
Category: Science Colloquia   Duration: 1 hour   Broadcast date: November 16, 2016
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More than 3500 extrasolar planets, with masses ranging between a few Earth masses and several Jupiter masses have been found since 20 years, revealing an unexpected diversity that lead to broaden our view of planet formation and evolution processes. Yet, we do not have today a complete view of planetary systems architectures, of planets properties and formation mechanisms. While the close environments of stars have already been well explored with radial velocity and transit technics, and the 2-5 au environment will be well explored with GAIA, planets on more distant orbits (> 5 au) are still largely to be detected. Direct imaging offers in principle the opportunity to detect and characterise such planets. However, direct imaging is very demanding in terms of image quality and only the most recent instruments coupling adaptive optics (when observing from the ground), coronagraphs, and sophisticated data reduction algorithms allow separating the faint planetary signals from the bright stellar ones and detecting Jupiter mass planets. Even though few planets have been imaged so far, each of the few planets imaged has brought new insights and has triggered new questions about planet formation and dynamical evolution. I will describe the results obtained so far, in particular with the recent Extreme-Adaptive Optics instruments, and discuss the results expected in the forthcoming decade, with JWST and the future Extremely Large Telescopes.