Humans have long thought that planetary systems similar to our own should exist around stars other than the Sun, yet the search for planets outside our Solar System has had a dismal history of discoveries that could not be confirmed. However, this ...
all changed in 1995, after which astonishing progress can be seen in this field; we now know of more than 200 extrasolar planets. These findings mark crucial milestones in the search for extraterrestrial life - arguably one of the most intriguing endeavors of modern science. These proceedings from the 2005 Space Telescope Science Institute Symposium on Extrasolar Planets explore one of the hottest topics in astronomy. Discussions include the Kepler mission, observational constraints on dust disk lifetimes and the implications for planet formation, and gravitational instabilities in protoplanetary disks. With review papers written by world experts in their fields, this is an important resource on extrasolar planets.