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Are we alone in the universe? How many planets are out there? What are they made of? The space shuttle is about to take off: join us in this fascinating journey to our Solar System and beyond, among stars and exoplanets, from their cloudy skies to their surfaces of gas, lava and water!
Dr Ingo Waldmann (Lecturer in Extrasolar Planets)
For centuries we have speculated on whether we are alone in the universe. Though we have no answers yet, we have never been so close to finding out. In the last 20 years, we increased our planet count from 8 planets, namely our solar system, to nearly 4000 in our galactic neighbourhood. Today we know that so called exoplanets are ubiquitous in our galaxy and range in diversity never before imagined: from molten lava worlds to ocean planets and giant hot-Jupiters with iron clouds. In this talk I will give an overview of the last two decades of detection and the strange worlds we found.
Dr Joanna Barstow (Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellow)
Complaining about the weather is a very British pastime – but the UK is not the only permanently overcast location in the Solar System. Planetary scientist Jo will be talking about cloudy atmospheres, ranging from the Earth to some of the most weird and wonderful planets discovered orbiting other stars. Find out which planet’s clouds could eat through metal, why clouds form close to mountain ranges, and how we can determine the colour of a cloudy exoplanet that we can’t directly see.
Why Astronomers like to get high when they search for Aliens
Dr Daniel Angerhausen (CSH Fellow - Exoplanetary Astronomy)
Daniel will be talking about the reasons astronomers always build their telescopes on top of mountains, as space telescopes outside of Earth’s atmosphere or even on airplanes as flying observatories. He will explain how he “is getting high” himself to chase Alien Worlds – planets outside our solar system – and how he measures their atmospheric composition. Finally Dr. Angerhausen will show how our generation is the first in history that has a realistic chance to answer the millennia old question: “Are we alone in the Universe?”