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Over the past ten years, the discovery of extrasolar planets has opened a new field of astronomy, and this field of research is rapidly growing, from both the observational and theoretical point of view. The presence of many giant exoplanets in the close vicinity of their star shows that these newly discovered planetary systems are very different from the solar system. New theoretical models are being developed in order to understand their formation scenarios, and new observational methods are being implemented to increase the sensitivity of exoplanet detections.
In the present book, the authors address the question of planetary systems from all aspects. Starting from the facts (the detection of more than 130 extraterrestrial planets), they first describe the various methods used for these discoveries, and propose a synthetic analysis of their global properties. They then consider the observations of young stars and circumstellar disks and address the case of the solar system as a specific example, different from the newly discovered systems. Then the study of planetary systems and of exoplanets is presented from a more theoretical point of view. The book ends with an outlook to future astronomical projects, and a description of the search for life on exoplanets. This book is intended to be a reference book for students and researchers who wish to better understand this newly expanding field of research.
1. Introduction.- 2. Detection methods.- 3. Extrasolar planets, 12 years after the first discovery.- 4. What we learn from the Solar System.- 5. Stellar formation and protoplanetary disks.- 6. The dynamics of planetary systems.- 7. Structure and evolution of an exoplanet.- 8. Present and future instrumental projects.- 9. The search for life in planetary systems.- 10. Appendices.- 11. Bibliography.
From the reviews: "This volume has a very informative subtitle. The main sections really do deal with detection, properties, formation processes, dynamics, and the search for life (habitability) of what, within the text, are generally called exoplanets ! . There are lots of images, graphs, and tables, and a moderate number of equations ! . So far I have 'fair used' one table and one drawing for instructional purposes and think it likely that you, too, will find useful items in this book." (Virginia Trimble, The Observatory, Vol. 129 (1210), June, 2009) "The authors have set out to provide a detailed snapshot of this rapidly developing research field at a particularly exciting moment in its evolution. !The book is well written and translated ! . The text is illuminated by numerous figures and graphs. ! provides an excellent account of the enormous progress that has been made in recent years, together with a discussion of the prospects for the years to come. It is a fascinating book that can be read with interest by any physicist." (Peter V. E. McClintock, Contemporary Physics, Vol. 51 (6), 2010)