Fakultät für Physik und Astronomie

The direct detection of extrasolar planetary systems - motivation, challenges and opportunities

Sascha Quanz , ETH

Since the discovery of the first extrasolar planet orbiting a Sun-like star in 1995, exoplanet science has been evolving into a highly dynamic field of modern astrophysics. Today, almost 5000 exoplanets have been confirmed and, thanks to ongoing efforts from the ground and from space, this number keeps continuously increasing. Most of the planets have been discovered via indirect techniques, such as the radial velocity and transit techniques. However, the direct detection of exoplanets is required to significantly expand the exoplanet discovery space, provide crucial links to planet formation studies, and, ultimately, test hypotheses related to exoplanet habitability and the possible existence of atmospheric biosignatures in a statistically relevant sample of objects. I will briefly discuss the challenges that need to be overcome to take a direct image or a spectrum of an exoplanet and then describe a roadmap what we can expect to learn from the direct detection of exoplanets as we go from currently available observatories (e.g., VLT and, very soon, the James Webb Space Telescope), to future observations with the ELT and, eventually, to new flagship-class space missions.

Königstuhl Colloquium
21 Jan 2022, 15:00
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Level 3 Lecture Hall (301)

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