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, the Department of Social Anthropology and the School of Modern Languages (Russian) at the University of St Andrews.

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


StA-CES Journal Club

StA-CES members present research papers from their research areas.
Contact: Patrick Barth, Oliver Herbort, Dominic Samra

Monday 29 June 2020:  13:00h,  on MS teams
Peter Woitke present a paper by Rab et al. (2020):
'Interpreting high spatial resolution line observations of planet-forming disks with gaps and rings – The case of HD 163296'


The StA-CES Summer 2020 mini conference

  • 6 July 2020, 15-17:00h on MS Teams
    Eva Stüeken: "Demystifying the role of redox reactions in planetary science" (15:00h)
    Jianxun Shen: "Nitrogen cycling and biosignatures in a hyperarid Mars analogue environment" (15:30h)
    Christiane Helling: "What we know about exoplanets and their atmospheres" (16:00h)
    Martin Dominik: "UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science" (16:30h)
    •   Pint of Science & Art   6 July 2020, 18-19h:
    David Lewis: "Differences in cloud formation on giant-gas planets and ultra-hot Jupiters"
    Mark Claire: "Discussion about classification of exoplanets"

CHAMELEON   'Virtual Laboratories for Exoplanets and Planet-Forming Disks'   (Marie Curie Innovative Training Network)

The Centre for Exoplanet Science invites applications for 15 PhD places as part of the Marie Curie Innovative Training Network project CHAMELEON 'Virtual Laboratories for Exoplanets and Planet-Forming Disks'  for double-degrees involving the universities of St Andrews, Antwerp, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Groningen and Leuven, as well as SRON/Utrecht and MPIA/Heidelberg.
‣  ESR7:  "Grain charges and lightning in disks"
‣  ESR8:  "The warm chemistry in the inner disk"
Details about the projects and the required application material can be found on the CHAMELEON webpage.

Handbook for time travellers

Handbook for Time Travellers

A book co-authored by Aleks Scholz appeared on the German market. The 'Handbook for Time Travellers' is subtitled: 'From the dinosaurs to the fall of the Berlin wall' and was written with German writer Kathrin Passig and published by Rowohlt Berlin.
Handbook for Time Travellers is a travel guide for the past, assuming that time travel is not only possible, but as easy as travelling by train or aeroplane, although it may involve parallel universes, wormholes, and technology that hasn't yet been invented.
The book discusses a variety of potential travel destinations, ranging from the beginning of the Universe through the Pleistocene over medieval Iceland to East Germany. It is a crossover between history, natural history and science. As fictional travel advice, it might be a useful book for this very unusual stay-at-home year.

CHEOPS Mission Update

CHEOPS Mission Update

Following its launch in mid-December 2019 and subsequent orbital manoeuvers, the Swiss-led ESA exoplanetary transit-photometry space mission CHEOPS has undertaken an extensive commissioning phase. The spacecraft recently passed its in-orbit commissioning review. Throughout its lifetime so far St Andrews's and Sta-CES's very own Tom Wilson has conducted the lion's share of the data analysis that led to validation of the mission's prime science performance requirements and paved the way from commissioning to imminent science observations!
Cheops observes its first exoplanets and is ready for science.

Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

StA-CES SciFi Reading Club

To help StA-CES members stay connected during remote working, we now have a sci-fi book club. All members are welcome to join at any time!
Updates can be found on the #scifi StACES Slack channel.
The first book we are reading is 'Aurora' by Kim Stanley Robinson (2015).
No pressure to read quickly. Any questions contact Claire Cousins.