Learning about other planetary systems from space

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


We only began to detect other planetary systems with the discovery of debris disks in 1983 with IRAS, followed by the great success of gravitational recoil measurements starting in 1995. We now know of many hundreds of them. Despite the phenomenal growth of this new field of study, our knowledge of each system is meager, strongly conditioned by observational limitations. In addition, our grasp of the ensemble properties is weak because of strong selection effects in the known samples. A series of new capabilities - Herschel, Kepler, WISE, SIM Planetquest, and JWST - will provide a systematic understanding by 2018, marking the 35th anniversary of the first IRAS detections. Specifically, we should have a good census of solar-type stars in habitable zones, a far better understanding of the evolution of terrestrial planets, and direct detections of a number of gas giants as well as new insights to their frequent migration into orbits very close to their stars and the consequences of this process for planetary systems in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation I
Subtitle of host publicationOptical, Infrared, and Millimeter
StatePublished - 2006
EventSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: May 24 2006May 31 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume6265 I
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL


  • Debris disk
  • Doppler recoil
  • Planet transit
  • Planets
  • Space missions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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