7.2 The Internal Structure of Terrestrial-Type Exoplanets and Ocean Planets
For a start, the methods by which exoplanets are detected (by velocimetry and transits), for reasons of sensitivity, favour the discovery of massive and large planets. With advances in techniques, the limit of detectability for exoplanets has decreased below 10 Earth masses, and new discoveries are expected in the coming years, notably with the COROT mission. These results and these prospects have given rise to new theoretical studies aimed at modelling the interior of terrestrial-type exoplanets and ocean planets.
As examples of these studies, we describe below two sets of synthetic models (Valencia et al., 2006; Sotin et al., 2007). By analogy with the Earth, these models assume convection within each layer and conduction at the surface and across the boundary zones.
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