Introduction

Exploitation of major scientific discoveries tends to follow a familiar pattern. Immediately following the initial discovery, the main focus is on verification—testing the initial analysis against alternative explanations for the same phenomena. The second phase centers on consolidation—acquiring additional observations and/or improved theoretical data on particular phenomena. The third phase is reached with the discovery of sufficient observational examples to map out a substantial fraction of the phase space occupied by key parameters.

After only a decade, investigations of extrasolar planets have clearly entered the third stage. More than 145 planetary-mass companions are known around more than 125 main sequence dwarfs and red giants. The overall properties of these planets are discussed elsewhere in this volume (see the review by Mayor). It is now well established that the frequency of (currently detectable) planetary systems increases with increasing metallicity of the parent star. Here, we concentrate on analyzing other salient properties of the extrasolar planetary (ESP) host stars, looking for evidence of additional potential correlations.

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