Réne Liseau

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We have used VLT/UVES to spatially resolve the gas disk of β Pictoris. 88 extended emission lines are observed, with the brightest coming from Fe I, Na I and Ca II. The extent of the gas disk is much larger than previously anticipated; we trace Na I radially from 13 AU out to 323 AU and Ca II to heights of 77 AU above the disk plane, both to the limits of(More)
We discuss how to read a planet's spectrum to assess its habitability and search for the signatures of a biosphere. After a decade rich in giant exoplanet detections, observation techniques have advanced to a level where we now have the capability to find planets of less than 10 Earth masses (M(Earth)) (so-called "super Earths"), which may be habitable. How(More)
  • C S Cockell, A Léger, +47 authors G J White
  • 2009
The discovery of extrasolar planets is one of the greatest achievements of modern astronomy. The detection of planets that vary widely in mass demonstrates that extrasolar planets of low mass exist. In this paper, we describe a mission, called Darwin, whose primary goal is the search for, and characterization of, terrestrial extrasolar planets and the(More)
The ultimate goal of terrestrial planet-finding missions is not only to discover terrestrial exoplanets inside the habitable zone (HZ) of their host stars but also to address the major question as to whether life may have evolved on a habitable Earth-like exoplanet outside our Solar System. We note that the chemical evolution that finally led to the origin(More)
We describe future steps in the direct characterization of habitable exoplanets subsequent to medium and large mission projects currently underway and investigate the benefits of spectroscopic and direct imaging approaches. We show that, after third- and fourth-generation missions have been conducted over the course of the next 100 years, a significant(More)
After Earth's origin, our host star, the Sun, was shining 20-25% less brightly than today. Without greenhouse-like conditions to warm the atmosphere, our early planet would have been an ice ball, and life may never have evolved. But life did evolve, which indicates that greenhouse gases must have been present on early Earth to warm the planet. Evidence from(More)
Context. Molecular oxygen, O 2 , has been expected historically to be an abundant component of the chemical species in molecular clouds and, as such, an important coolant of the dense interstellar medium. However, a number of attempts from both ground and from space have failed to detect O 2 emission. Aims. The work described here uses heterodyne(More)
Context. According to traditional gas-phase chemical models, O 2 should be abundant in molecular clouds, but until recently, attempts to detect interstellar O 2 line emission with ground-and space-based observatories have failed. Aims. Following the multi-line detections of O 2 with low abundances in the Orion and ρ Oph A molecular clouds with Herschel, it(More)
  • Thijs de Graauw, Nick Whyborn, +72 authors Peer Zaal
  • 2008
This paper describes the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared (HIFI), to be launched onboard of ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, by 2008. It includes the first results from the instrument level tests. The instrument is designed to be electronically tuneable over a wide and continuous frequency range in the Far Infrared, with velocity resolutions(More)