Directly Imaged Planet Resources in the Exoplanet Archive

This page describes the resources available in the NASA Exoplanet Archive for planets discovered by direct imaging.

Technique Overview

The brightness contrast between a star and an orbiting exoplanet is typically so high that any light from the exoplanet is completely swamped by the starlight. However some exoplanets (typically very young, very large, and very far from their host star) are bright enough in thermal emission, or potentially in reflected light with future telescopes, that they can be observed directly, usually after careful removal of the starlight. A more in-depth description is available here.

Direct Imaging Table

Planets discovered via direct imaging that meet the archive's exoplanet criteria are included in the Direct Imaging Table. The available parameters in the table are determined by what is published in the discovery and follow-up papers.

This table can also be accessed with queries to the archive's application programming interface (API). See the API User Guide for instructions on using the service and the full list of available parameters available through the archive in the Direct Imaging Data Column Definitions document.

To compare and review imaged planets against other confirmed planets, use the Planetary Systems Table (see below).

Planetary Systems Table

Planets discovered via direct imaging that meet the archive's exoplanet criteria are included in the Planetary Systems Table. This table displays all solutions for planet and host star solutions. To view only the imaged planet data, enter Imaging in the filter box in the Discovery Method column.

Some planets may be directly imaged after being discovered by alternate methods. To see all planets with imaging data:

  1. Click the Select Columns button in the upper-left corner and scroll to Detections.
  2. Check Detected by Imaging.
  3. Click Update and close the pop-up box.
  4. Scroll to the Detected by Imaging column and enter 1 in the filter box.

The imaging planet count is also available on the Exoplanet and Candidate Statistics page. Note that clicking on Imaging in the Confirmed Exoplanets Statistics table takes you to the Planetary Systems Table with that filter already applied.

Contributed Data

We invite the exoplanet community to contribute their final planet discovery images to the NASA Exoplanet Archive in a suitable format, as well as images and accompanying contrast curves for null detections. Please contact us if you are interested in contributing.

Additional Links

Last updated 15 April 2021