By Wes Traub
The Extreme Solar Systems II meeting was held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in mid-September, with about 328 participants. There were 117 oral papers delivered over the course of a week, plus 173 posters; there is no better gauge of the vibrancy of the exoplanet field than having this many people gathering to talk about so many aspects of exoplanets. The HARPS team announced 41 new exoplanets, and the WASP team announced 23 new planets, both using radial velocity. The Kepler team announced 500-plus new transiting exoplanets (see below), and in addition announced the discovery of a planet orbiting a close binary star. See the program and people at http://ciera.northwestern.edu/Jackson2011/ and news coverage at http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110919/full/477383a.html among others.
The Kepler mission plans released its third batch of data on 23 September, adding one new quarter to the February release, and bringing the total to 1781 exoplanets and candidates. Details are at http://archive.stsci.edu/kepler/
The Sagan Exoplanet Summer Workshop "Exploring Exoplanets with Microlensing" was held in late July at Caltech. The week-long event had 64 participants ranging from students to more senior scientists. See pictures and the agenda at http://nexsci.caltech.edu/workshop/2011/ .
The SPIE met in San Diego in August, with 4950 attendees. Session 8151 was devoted to "Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V", with 51 papers and posters on coronagraphs and external occulters. Abstracts are listed at http://spie.org/Documents/ConferencesExhibitions/OP11O%20Abstracts.pdf
The Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) sponsored a week-long workshop at Caltech in late August, on the topic "Next Generation UV Instrument Technologies Enabling Missions in Astrophysics, Cosmology, and Planetary Sciences", which is relevant to the exoplanet community because of its interest in joining with the UV community in a single mission in the 2020s. This intended collaboration was discussed in this section of the ExEP July newsletter. Both the Exoplanet Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG) and the Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group (COPAG) are in support of such a joint mission. Workshop pictures, agenda, and presentations are at http://www.kiss.caltech.edu/workshops/uv2011/index.html