Rationale

Understanding how unusual Earth is may help humanity to appreciate how special it is.

November 2016: More than 3300 planets are known to orbit stars far beyond the solar system, in planetary systems very different to our own. There may well be hundreds of billions of extrasolar planets in the Milky Way alone. These planets include planetary types not found among the eight planets that orbit our Sun, including mini-Neptunes, super-Earths, rogue or nomad planets and hot gas-giant planets. Are we therefore alone in the Universe? To answer this pertinent question, we seek to understand the formation and evolution of our own solar system and the reasons for this rich planetary diversity.

The Centre for Exoplanet Science brings together researchers from different disciplines to find out how planets form in different galactic environments, how their atmospheres evolve, and the relation between the evolutionary history of planets and the emergence of life. We are further interested in the moral, ethical and technical aspects of detecting existent or extinct extra-terrestrial life in distant exosystems, or within our own solar system, and the significance of such a discovery for our societies.

The Centre for Exoplanet Science builds on the rich legacy of the SUPA Astrobiology initiative.

The Centre for Exoplanet Science currently combines research from the School of Physics & Astronomy (Astronomy), the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and the Department of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews.

We are affiliated with the   Centre for Exoplanet Science   at the University of Edinburgh.

StA-CES related talks:

22 Nov 2018  Uffe Gråe Jørgensen: "Is our solar system unique? - Is that why we are here?", 1pm, Astronomy Lunchtime Talks, room 222.
22 Nov 2018  Steve Vance: "Geophysical Investigations of the Habitability of Icy Ocean Worlds", 1pm, Irvine Lecture Theatre, Earth & Environmental Sciences.
23 Nov 2018  Katherine Hawley: "Trust & ethics in science communication", 10am, Physics Colloquium.
23 Nov 2018  Steve Vance: "Exploring Icy Ocean Worlds in the Solar System and Beyond", 6pm, Booth Lecture Theatre, Medical & Biological Science Building.
26 Nov 2018  StA-CES lunchtime meeting, 1pm, Physics Staff Common Room.

U G Jørgensen

"Is our solar system unique? - Is that why we are here?"
Uffe Gråe Jørgensen
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen
 
There are 10 billion Earth-like exoplanets in our Galaxy, but very few planetary systems like ours. It is likely that the full configuration of our planetary system was required for intelligent life to develop on Earth, and if this is true then we may be very alone in the universe. In a few years we will for the first time in human history be able to observe if there is life (to be seen as a local decrease in entropy) on the nearest Earth-like exoplanets. It will require advanced planetary atmospheric modelling to understand what we will see. Are we ready for the surprises that may await us?
Lunchtime Talk: Tuesday 20 November 2018, 13:00h, Room 222 (PandA)

Steve Vance

StA-CES sponsored visit of Steve Vance

Public talk on 23 Nov 2018, 18:00h, Booth Lecture Theatre (Medical & Biological Science Building): "Exploring Icy Ocean Worlds in the Solar System and Beyond".
Steve is an astrobiologist and planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and will talk about his research into oceans on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and beyond. He will describe plans by NASA and other space agencies to explore these mysterious worlds and look for signs of life.
 
Science talk on 22 Nov 2018, 13:00h, Irvine Lecture Theatre (Earth & Environmental Sciences): "Geophysical Investigations of the Habitability of Icy Ocean Worlds".   (abstract)

Rosaly Lopes

SUPA Distinguished Visitor - Rosaly Lopes

Claire Cousins (Earth and Environmental Sciences) and Christiane Helling (Physics and Astronomy) have been awarded funding from the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) for Dr Rosaly Lopes, NASA JPL, to visit as a SUPA Distinguished Visitor in January 2019. During her week's visit, she will deliver a public lecture in Dundee on Monday 7 January, interact with graduates and academics at St Andrews and the University of Edinburgh, and also deliver a keynote talk at the Volcano and Magmatic Studies Group meeting, which is being hosted by the University of St Andrews in January 2019. We all very much look forward to her visit!

volcano with lightning

VMSG 2019

The annual Volcano and Magmatic Studies Group meeting will take place from the 8 - 10 January 2019 at the University of St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. This meeting is open to everyone working on volcanic and magmatic geoscience.
The general themes are: (1) Eruption processes. (2) Subvolcanic processes. (3) Monitoring across scales. (4) Isotope and Trace Element Geochemistry. (5) Ore deposit-formation and exploration. (6) Extraterrestrial Volcanism and Magmatism. (7) Tracking carbon and other volatiles.
The deadline for both Registration & Abstract Submission is on 16 November 2018.   ( more info )

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