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Characterising Exoplanet Atmospheres

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Hannah Sanderson.

Astronomers have now discovered over 3,800 planets orbiting other stars. Ranging from inferno gas giants with temperatures as hot as stars to rocky terrestrial worlds residing in the habitable zone, the diversity of planets in our galaxy continues to offer surprises. Exoplanet science is now going through a paradigm shift, as we move from the era of discovery to the era of characterisation. By peering into the atmosphere of an exoplanet, one can infer the conditions on these distant worlds. Over the last decade, astronomers have developed new techniques to measure the atmospheres of exoplanets in remarkable detail. In the near future, these very techniques may ultimately allow detections of biosignatures in the atmospheres of distant worlds. Ryan MacDonald is an exoplanet astronomer at the University of Cambridge. By creating theoretical models of exoplanet atmospheres, he seeks to explain spectroscopic observations taken with space and ground-based telescopes. In this talk, he will explain the main techniques used to characterise exoplanet atmospheres, highlight recent cutting-edge discoveries, and look ahead to the prospect of detecting life elsewhere in our galaxy.

The talk will be followed by refreshments outside the lecture theatre. The talk will be at 7:30pm at the usual location of Wolfson lecture theatre in the Department of Chemistry. The entrance is the opposite side of the building to Bristol-Myers-Squibb Lecture theatre and is opposite the car park- shown by the red arrow on the map. https://map.cam.ac.uk/Department+of+Chemistry#52.197964,0.125242,18 Tickets are £2 (free for members) and annual membership (£7) and life membership (£12) can also be purchased at the event – please bring cash.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Astronomical Society (CUAS) series.

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