In this 8th session of the internet-based live lectures between Universities and Institutes, Dr Heike Rauer gives an overview on the current status of exoplanet detections with focus on terrestrial planets in and near the habitable zone, detected by different techniques from ground- and space-based observations. The mean composition and internal structure of planets shows a much larger diversity then expected from the planets in our Solar System. In view of this diversity we then discuss what factors affect the habitability of planets and how we can detect whether a planet is habitable, or not. Examples of model simulations of terrestrial planets are shown and methods how to detect atmospheres are explained.
Featured image: Artist’s impression of a possible exoplanet. (Image Courtesy of PPARC)
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