Characterization of exoplanetary systems with the direct imaging technique: the first results of SPHERE@VLT
Alice Zurlo

After more than 20 years from the discovery of the first extrasolar planet we can count more than 3000 companions found with different techniques. The majority of them are indirect methods that infer the presence of an orbiting body by observing the parent star (radial velocity, transits, astrometry). In this presentation we explore the technique that permits to directly observe planets and retrieve their spectra, under the conditions that they are bright and far enough from their host star. Direct imaging is a new technique became possible thanks to a new generation of extreme adaptive optics instruments mounted on 8m class telescopes. On the Very Large Telescope two instruments dedicated to the research for exoplanets with direct imaging are now operative: NACO and SPHERE. The presentation describes the development and results of SPHERE and recent on sky observations.