Schedule Mar 16, 2004
Debra Fischer (UC Berkeley)

Since the mid-1990's more than 100 extrasolar planets have been detected with high precision radial velocity surveys. These planets have been discovered around single, main sequence stars components of binary star systems, and evolved stars. The ensemble of extrasolar planets exhibit the following characteristics: 1) the planet mass distribution rises toward the low-mass detection threshold and is truncated at about 10 M_jup 2) the host stars are more metal-rich than average field stars 3) low-mass M dwarf stars have a statistically significant paucity of gas giant planets 4) multiple planet systems are common 5) eccentric orbits are common 6) secular resonances are important in multi-planet systems These statistical characteristics carry information about properties of protoplanetary disks, timescales for formation, and dynamical evolution. However, these characteristics also contain observational selection effects; we have only discovered the tip of the exoplanet iceberg. This talk will provide an overview of current discoveries and a preview of what observers expect to accomplish in the coming decade.

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