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

August 2019: More than 4100 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, the Department of Philosophy, the School of Biology and the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews.

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


StA-CES Journal Club / Reading Group

StA-CES members present research papers from their research areas.
contact: Oliver Herbort, Dominic Samra, Elliott Fogg

Monday 28 Oct 2019,  13:00h, room 222, Physics & Astronomy.
Oliver Herbort will talk about atmospheric escape, looking at two different approaches; firstly hydrogen, helium escape, as summarised by Owen in 'Atmospheric Escape and the Evolution of Close-In Exoplanets'.
Then also one model by Johnstone that includes more elements and molecular diffusion above the homopause in the paper 'Upper atmospheres of terrestrial planets: Carbon dioxide cooling and the Earth's thermospheric evolution'.

StA-CES logo

The St Andrews Centre for Exoplanet Science celebrates the Nobel Prize in Physics 2019

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2019 was awarded, to one half, to research in exoplanet discovery. Given that we have three planet hunters of the first hours amongst us (Andrew C. Cameron, Martin Dominik, Keith Horne), we would like to invite you to celebrate with us this success and recognition for exoplanet research on the
30 October 2019   (Wednesday week 7), 17–19:00h, Theatre C in Physics.
We will have a talk on the Nobel prize theme (Andrew C. Cameron, Astronomy, 30 min), on the Origin of life (Eva Stueecken, Geoscience, 15 min) and a talk on SciFi in Modern Languages (Emily Finer, Modern Languages, 15 min).
The Astrosoc and PhySoc are enthusiastically supporting us in this. Please come along and join us for some insight, a beer + nibbles and maybe even a bit of celebratory cake.

Autumn lunch time meetings

The following dates are suggested for the Autumn lunch time meetings for our Centre for Exoplanet Science in 2019:
14 October 2019, 13-14:00h, Gateway Boardroom
4 November 2019, 13-14:00, Gateway Boardroom
25 November 2019, 13-14:00h, room (TBA)

The present idea is to have the 14 Oct as welcome meeting for everybody and for new faces in particular, including a couple of updates. The second meeting was thought to be an introduction for an idea of publishing review-like (TBD!) overview articles as a Centre effort on 'Elements'. This idea is an idea and up for discussion amongst all of us.
Please feed back your own ideas of what our lunch time meetings should / could address.

Les Houches School of Physics

Cloud Academy II

Dates:   8 - 13 March 2020
Venue:   Les Houches School for Physics
Cloud Academy II   will focus on physical models for cloud and haze formation in planetary atmospheres in different radiation environments, and include reviews on exoplanet observations and laboratory studies.
The previous session (e.g. Cloud Academy I ) focused on atmosphere circulation and the general concept of cloud formation in exoplanet and solar system planets. The present session forges a closer link to observations through detailed atmosphere models as exoplanet research is now developing into the characterization of exoplanets. We therefore aim to establish an ongoing effort to help the community keep up to date and exchange ideas on this rapidly developing field.
Registration will open in 2019.     ( more info )