Atmospheric Physics of Exoplanets

We are in the midst of a revolution in the study of extrasolar planets. Thousands of recent discoveries have revealed that planets are common — most stars host at least one — and they show much greater diversity in size and orbital architecture than is present in the Solar System.

Oblique view of Earth from the International Space Station; June 3, 2016.

This wealth of discovery raises many questions. How does the diversity of planetary systems arise? What are the planets like today, and how have they changed over time? And finally, do any other planets host life?  These questions are the focus of the APEx Department (Atmospheric Physics of Exoplanets) at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy.

Headed by director Laura Kreidberg, the APEx Department was founded in 2020. In coming years the department will grow to encompass observational atmosphere characterization, theoretical modeling, and the development of new instrumentation.
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