The study of extrasolar planets is one of the most exciting research endeavors of modern astrophysics. While the list of known planets continues to grow, no direct image of any extrasolar planet has been obtained to date. Ground-breaking radial velocity measurements have identified many potential targets but other measurements are needed to obtain physical parameters of the extrasolar planets. For example, for most extrasolar giant planets we only know their minimum projected mass (M sin i). Even a single image of one extrasolar planet will fully determine its orbital parameters and thus its true mass. A single image would also provide albedo information which would begin to constrain their atmospheric properties. This is the objective of PICTURE, a low-cost space mission specifically designed to obtain the first direct image of extrasolar giant planets.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #204
- Pub Date:
- May 2004