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The Astronomy and Astrophysics Review

, 21:63

First Online: 26 October 2013Received: 05 September 2012

Abstract

About 20 years after the discovery of the first extrasolar planet, the number of planets known has grown by three orders of magnitude, and continues to increase at neck breaking pace. For most of these planets we have little information, except for the fact that they exist and possess an address in our Galaxy. For about one third of them, we know how much they weigh, their size and their orbital parameters. For less than 20, we start to have some clues about their atmospheric temperature and composition. How do we make progress from here?

We are still far from the completion of a hypothetical Hertzsprung–Russell diagram for planets comparable to what we have for stars, and today we do not even know whether such classification will ever be possible or even meaningful for planetary objects. But one thing is clear: planetary parameters such as mass, radius and temperature alone do not explain the diversity revealed by current observations. The chemical composition of these planets is needed to trace back their formation history and evolution, as happened for the planets in our Solar System. As in situ measurements are and will remain off-limits for exoplanets, to study their chemical composition we will have to rely on remote sensing spectroscopic observations of their gaseous envelopes.

In this paper, we critically review the key achievements accomplished in the study of exoplanet atmospheres in the past ten years. We discuss possible hurdles and the way to overcome those. Finally, we review the prospects for the future. The knowledge and the experience gained with the planets in our solar system will guide our journey among those faraway worlds.

KeywordsExtrasolar planets Spectroscopy Radiative transfer  Download fulltext PDF



Autor: Giovanna Tinetti - Thérèse Encrenaz - Athena Coustenis

Fuente: https://link.springer.com/







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