Since the first exoplanet discovery in 1995, astronomers have discovered and characterized more than 4000 planets orbiting stars other than our own Sun. In this talk, I will take us on a tour of these thousands of unique and fascinating worlds discovered in the past 2 decades. I will discuss both the common and the rare, from super-Earths to disintegrating planets, hot Jupiters, and circumbinary worlds. I will describe how the trends in these populations inform us about the process of planet formation and the evolution of planetary orbits. Along the way, I will describe the three most important techniques astronomers use to detect and characterize exoplanets: radial velocities, the transit method, and direct imaging. Finally, I will touch on what comes next: upcoming missions and what we hope to learn from them.
Speaker: Lea Hirsch, UC Berkeley
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