Exoplanets: past, present, and future


Our understanding of extra-solar planet systems is highly driven by advances in observations in the past decade. Thanks to high precision spectrograph, we are able to reveal unseen companions to stars with the radial velocity method. High precision photometry from the space, especially with the Kepler mission, enables us to detect planets when they transit their stars and dim the stellar light by merely one percent or smaller. Ultra wide-field, high cadence, continuous monitoring of the Galactic bulge from different sites around the southern hemisphere provides us the opportunity to observe microlensing effects caused by planetary systems from the solar neighborhood, all the way to the Milky Way center. The exquisite AO imaging from ground-based large telescopes, coupled with high-contrast coronagraph, captured the photons directly emitted by planets around other stars. In this article, I present a concise review of the extra-solar planet discoveries, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the major planetary detection methods, providing an overview of our current understanding of planetary formation and evolution given the tremendous observations delivered by various methods, as well as on-going and planned observation endeavors to provide a clear picture of extra-solar planetary systems.Comment: 11 pages, 1 figure, Galaxies accepte

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