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Big questions in exoplanetary science
Nikku Madhusudhan


This book is a compendium of key scientific questions, challenges, and opportunities across different areas of exoplanetary science. The field is currently experiencing rapid growth, and the book provides a front-row view of the advancements at the cutting-edge of the field. Each chapter contains a short exposition on the most important open questions, challenges, and opportunities in a specific area from the perspective of one or more top experts in the area. It provides a starting point for researchers, experts and non-experts alike, to obtain a quick overview of the forefront of exoplanetary science and a vision for the future of the field. Topics range from observational developments and techniques, including exoplanet detection and characterisation methods and state-of-the-art and future missions, to exoplanet theory and modelling including planet formation, planetary interiors, atmospheres, habitability and the search for life.

Key Features

  • Provides a close-up view of the frontiers of exoplanetary science research
  • Summarises key questions, challenges, and opportunities across different areas of the field
  • Written by leading experts in the field
  • Provides a valuable reference for early career researchers
  • Topics span from state-of-the-art and emerging areas to long-term future directions

About Editors

Nikku Madhusudhan is a Professor of Astrophysics and Exoplanetary Science at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge. His research interests span a wide range of areas in exoplanetary science, including exoplanetary atmospheres, interiors, formation and habitability. His work has been recognised with various awards and honours, including the 2014 Vainu Bappu Gold Medal in Astrophysics by the Astronomical Society of India, the 2016 Young Scientist Medal by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Commission on Astrophysics, the 2019 MERAC Prize in Theoretical Astrophysics by the European Astronomical Society, and the 2019 Pilkington Prize for excellence in teaching at the University of Cambridge.

Table of Contents


Part I: Introduction
1. The Exoplanetary Landscape

Part II: Exoplanetary Detection and Spectroscopy
2. The Demographics of Exoplanets
3. Transit Surveys
4. Radial Velocity Surveys
5. Direct Imaging and Spectroscopy
6. Small Star Opportunities
7. Transit Spectroscopy
8. High-resolution Spectroscopy
9. Space Missions for Exoplanet Science
10. Small Satellites for Exoplanet Science

Part III: Exoplanetary Theory and Characterisation
11. Orbital Dynamics and Architectures of Exoplanets
12. Planet Formation
13. Planetary Migration
14. Astrochemistry and Planet Formation
15. Debris Disks
16. Exoplanetary Interiors
17. Atmospheric Modeling and Retrieval
18. Atmospheric Chemistry
19. Atmospheric Dynamics
20. Clouds in Exoplanetary Atmospheres
21. Atomic and Molecular Line data

Part IV: Habitability and Biosignatures
22. Exoplanetary Habitability
23. Exoplanetary Astrobiology

Part V: New Horizons
24. The Search for Spectroscopic Signs of Life


Hardback ISBN: 9780750314701

Ebook ISBN: 9780750314725

DOI: 10.1088/2514-3433/abfa8f

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing

Series: AAS-IOP Astronomy


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