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Exoplanet detection in the era of extreme precision radial velocities

Presentation #101.01 in the session Plenary 2.

Published onJun 20, 2022
Exoplanet detection in the era of extreme precision radial velocities

Radial velocities (RVs) brought us the first detection of a planet around a Sun-like star outside of our solar system and opened the door to the exoplanet field. For years, RVs remained the premier exoplanet detection method, enabling us to determine the Doppler reflex motion of host stars induced by their companions. It was not until the era of the Kepler satellite that space-based photometric surveys dominated exoplanet discovery space. Yet, RVs still provide the most robust mass determinations and are key to planet confirmation and characterisation. Thanks to advances in instrumentation, we are entering an era where it is technologically feasible to detect and confirm temperate, rocky worlds around Sun-like stars. Such detections will in turn open a new doorway, allowing us to explore the habitability in these alien worlds. However, one remaining stumbling block on this pathway is the host stars themselves; this is because variability on their surfaces induce RV variations that can completely swamp (and at times mimic) the signals induced by planetary companions — this includes both those signals pertaining to a planet’s orbit and its atmosphere. In this review talk, I will discuss the journey from the first exoplanet detections to the realm of extreme precision RVs (EPRVs), including key questions in the field and the connection to future flagship direct imaging missions.

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