Until recently, the science and technology to detect exoplanets did not exist. However, in the past two decades, astronomers have developed new techniques and instruments that are providing growing observational evidence that our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is rich with planetary systems. Despite the wealth of data on our own solar system, there is no way to directly measure its formation history. Studying other planetary systems provides us with a major opportunity to determine if our solar system is unique or just average, and also to re-examine some of our theories on the formation of planetary systems. This session will introduce the various methods of exoplanet detection and the technology being used and developed (e.g. ground- and space-based telescopes), with a focus on the efforts of Europe's leading scientific nations. Different methods allow us not only to infer an exoplanet’s existence, but its atmospheric composition, pressure and temperature. The question of what we can learn from exoplanet systems will be explored, with separate talks focusing on planetary system formation and the search for biological markers.
Attendance numbers do not account for private attendees. Get there early!