Deep Imaging of Giant Planets
With the development of high contrast imaging instruments and techniques, vast efforts have been devoted during the past decade to detect and characterize lighter, cooler and closer companions to nearby stars, and ultimately image new planetary systems. Complementary to other observing techniques (radial velocity, transit, micro-lensing, pulsar-timing and astrometry), this approach has opened a new astrophysical window to study the physical properties and the formation and evolution mechanisms of giant planets at orbits larger than a few AUs. In this review, I will briefly present the main motivations to use deep imaging to search for exoplanets and review the constant progress achieved thanks to improved performances of advanced instrumentation and data analysis techniques. I will describe the main classes of stars identified and observed so far to increase the chances of detection. I will also detail the classical strategy adopted to identify false alarms and characterize true companions. I will review the current status of the different deep imaging surveys as well as the main results that recently led to the discovery of giant planets probably formed like the ones of our solar system. Finally, I will rise the questions and uncertainties related to the formation mechanisms, the physical properties and the frequency of these planetary mass companions to conclude with the exciting and attractive perspectives offered with the future generation of deep imaging instruments.