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, 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.
The next two episodes of BBC Horizon can be described as ‘must see TV’. This is because members of the Centre for Exoplanet Science will appear in the next 2 instalments!
Tuesday's episode (16 May) features Dr Duncan Forgan (School of Physics & Astronomy) on a programme entitled 'Strange Signals from Outer Space!'. This is followed by next week's instalment featuring Dr Claire Cousins (School of Earth and Environmental Science) on a programme entitled 'Space Volcanoes'.
What does it mean for a planet to be "Earthlike"? How can we search for extraterrestrial life (or intelligent life) if we can't agree on a definition? Is it right to explore our Solar System's planets even if we risk contaminating and destroying their environment?
Lunchtime discussion series: We invite you to join us! Bring a packed lunch, and we'll provide coffee and cake.
31 May: What does Earth-like mean? (Byre Theatre, 1pm)
7 June: What is Life? (Byre Theatre, 1pm)
14 June: Why are we interested in other worlds? (Venue: TBC)
21 June: What is Intelligence? (Venue: TBC)
28 June: StA-CES Bake-off and Open Discussion (Venue: TBC)
The Inaugural Event for the St Andrews Centre for Exoplanet Science took place Monday 23 January 2017.
The inaugural event took place during the afternoon where three introductory talks were held and followed by a coffee/networking session and poster session. The day ended with a guided tour through the Observatory.
→ Inaugural Event & Poster Session Programme
→ Press Release