The New Worlds

Extrasolar Planets

Fabienne Casoli and Thérèse Encrenaz

The New Worlds The New Worlds provides valuable insights into extrasolar planets and the intriguing possibilities that are being opened up by their discovery. The first extrasolar planet orbiting a star similar to the Sun was found in 1995, and now – only 12 years later – over 170 others have been found.

Scientists have discovered that most of these giant extrasolar planets are very close to their parent star – 10 to 50 times closer than Jupiter is to the Sun. In addition, their orbits are elliptical, while those of the planets in the Solar System are nearly circular. Does this mean that our Solar System is an exception to the rule? Do we have to revise our ideas about how solar systems are formed?

The New Worlds There is a lot to be learned from studying extrasolar planets. However, the most tantalizing data offered by this research is the possible discovery of an Earthlike extrasolar planet, with a mass comparable to that of Earth, located at just the right distance from its star and with liquid water – in other words, a place where life might have evolved or still could evolve!

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Extent: xi + 188 pages; 215 illustrations, 180 in colour
Binding: Paperback
Publication Date: April 2007
ISBN: 978-0-387-44906-7



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