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 14 September 2020,   13:00h   on MS Teams:
Christiane Helling presents a paper by Seager et al. (2020):
'The Venusian Lower Atmosphere Haze as a Depot for Desiccated Microbial Life: A Proposed Life Cycle for Persistence of the Venusian Aerial Biosphere'


Autumn 2020 Lunchtime Meetings

This semester each lunchtime meeting will feature a different theme, and with each meeting being headed up by a member of a different School, the series promises to be a real mind-expanding experience for all of us! The schedule is as follows:
21 September 2020, School of International Relations: Adam Bower, "Power, norms, and law in space security governance"
12 October 2020, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences: Eva Stüecken, "Limits of knowledge in Earth Sciences and beyond"
9 November 2020, School of Physics and Astronomy: Martin Dominik, "Natural resource in a finite universe"
14 December 2020, School of Biology & School of Philosophical, Anthropological, and Film Studies: V. Anne Smith and Ben Sachs, "The Value of Exoplanet Life"
All meetings are from 1-2pm and will be held on MS Teams.

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.

A message from afar

What are they up to now?

'A message from afar' – Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition (2019)

Ever wonder what researchers do once the Summer Science Exhibition is finished? Summer Science Online caught up with some of the previous exhibitors to find out what's new with their research since their time at the Exhibition.
The video is focusing on the work by several of our students which participated in the exhibition 'A message from afar'. It has been prepared by Summer Science Online and is available on YouTube.