The discovery of planets orbiting stars beyond our own has deeply affected our understanding of the fundamental nature of the universe and our place in it. With the number of known extra-solar planets (or "exoplanets") exceeding 1000, statistical interpretations of the distribution of orbital parameters are becoming increasingly significant. These parameter distributions help us unlock the mysteries surrounding the planet formation.
Exoplanet discoveries have revealed remarkable exoplanet properties, such as Jupiter-mass planets in orbits of only a few days and eccentric orbits like that of a comet. They have also shown that a continuum of exoplanetary systems exist which place our own Solar System into a much broader context than we could have imagined. Further findings are pushing the sensitivity of our measurements to allow us to find planets even smaller than the Earth in the Habitable Zones of their host stars.
The research being conducted at San Francisco State University covers a wide range of exoplanetary science to address fundamental questions on exoplanet formation, frequency, and properties.