Extrasolar Planets: February 2016

The planned launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018 will herald a new era of exoplanet spectroscopy. JWST will be the first telescope sensitive enough to potentially characterize terrestrial planets from their transmission spectra.

O2 and O3 have been long considered the most robust individual biosignature gases in a planetary atmosphere, yet multiple mechanisms that may produce them in the absence of life have been described.

Terrestrial planets at the inner edge of the habitable zone of late-K and M-dwarf stars are expected to be in synchronous rotation, as a consequence of strong tidal interactions with their host stars.

The pre-transitional disk around the Herbig Ae star HD 169142 shows a complex structure of possible ongoing planet formation in dust thermal emission from the near infrared (IR) to millimeter wavelength range.

Tentative evidence that the properties of evolved stars with planets may be different from what we know for MS hosts has been recently reported.

The study of cosmology, galaxy formation and exoplanetary systems has now advanced to a stage where a cosmic inventory of terrestrial planets may be attempted.

Terrestrial planets formed within gaseous protoplanetary disks can accumulate significant hydrogen envelopes.

Chemical abundance studies of the Sun and solar twins have demonstrated that the solar composition of refractory elements is depleted when compared to volatile elements, which could be due to the formation of terrestrial planets.