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 Winton Exoplanet Fellowship Programme is a new initiative to provide an opportunity for
exceptional recent doctoral scientists to conduct novel theoretical and observational research into planetary astronomy. The fellowship programme supports postdoctoral fellows working on the detection and characterisation of exoplanets, with the goal of advancing our fundamental understanding of their formation, structure, and potential habitability.
For more information please visit the Astronomy Group webpage.
Further information about the Winton Philanthropies initiative in exoplanets can be found at www.winton.com/philanthropies/the-winton-exoplanet-fellowship
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? (School of Mathematics and Statistics, 1pm)
21 June: What is Intelligence? (School of Mathematics and Statistics, 1pm)
28 June: StA-CES Bake-off and Open Discussion (School of Mathematics and Statistics, 1pm, Room 1A) → download the flyer
The St Andrews Centre for Exoplanet Science featured in Issue 2 of the new quarterly magazine Space & Scotland.
The magazine has been set up "to find out what is going on in Scotland with Space research, Space technology, Space tourism, Space education, and other aspects of the subject including Astronomy and Earth Sciences, to inform one another and disseminate the information, to highlight future possibilities for the benefit of the public and policy makers".
View an electronic version of the first issue of Space & Scotland magazine (Winter 2016/17).