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


StA-CES Summer meetings:   24 July and 23 August 2019

We aim to provide time space for knowledge exchange during these two meetings. The aim is furthermore to allow us to progress beyond the conversational level of understanding. Coffee & lunch breaks will serve as discussion base. A summary of meeting one (24 July) will be provided at the beginning of meeting two (23 August), and conversations shall be picked up during our StA-CES lunch time meetings in autumn.

24 July 2019   Wednesday, 9-15:00h, room 301, Physics  (speakers)

23 August 2019   Friday, 9-15:00h, room 233, Physics   (speakers)


StA-CES Journal Club / Reading Group

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

Monday 19 Aug 2019,  13:00h, room 222, Physics & Astronomy.
Christiane Helling will be presenting the ESA Voyage 2050 white paper 'Detecting life outside our solar system with a large high-contrast-imaging mission'.
Here is a link to the article.

Future Events

  • 25-27 August 2020, St Andrews   Meeting of the Network of Researchers Chemical Evolution to Life (NoR CEL) (chaired by Martin Dominik and Sohan Jheeta).
  • 21-30 August 2020, Isle of Skye at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig   SUPA/SUSSP Summer School 'Exoplanets and Solar System Dynamics'
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 )