Exoplanets: The Road to Earth Twins
Recent HARPS discoveries have demonstrated that very quiet stars exist, with intrinsic radial-velocity variations below 1 m s−1. These results allow us in particular to characterize an emerging new population of very light planets down to a few Earth masses, as for example the components of a new 3-planet system, with masses between 3.6 and 8 M ⊕ . Neptune-mass planets seem to be numerous. Their properties are especially important to constrain planet-formation models. Our HARPS experience also allows us to discuss the limitations of the radial-velocity method and the associated optimistic perspectives for the future detection of Earth-like planets in the Habitable Zone of solar-type stars, especially in the context of the foreseen development of ultra-stable spectrographs for the VLT (ESPRESSO) or the E-ELT (CODEX).
KeywordsGiant Planet Habitable Zone Planet Formation Orbital Solution Earth Twin
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