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The Discovery, Simulation and Observation of Rocky Worlds Beyond our own Solar System

18th July 2023 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

An illustration of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system compared to the Inner Solar System, where there are seven Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1, which is a colder, smaller and dimmer star than our Sun. These planets are all orbiting closer to their star than Mercury orbits the Sun. Modelling studies indicate that the planets d, e and f could be habitable, but many think planet e is likely to be the most habitable candidate. All the planets are likely tidally-locked, where they have a permanent dayside and nightside. Image credit: NASA/JPL.

Greg Cooke, University of Leeds, simulates terrestrial exoplanets and paleo climates and uses these simulations to predict possible future observations of terrestrial exoplanets.

Some planets have very different chemical compositions to Earth. For example, some may have more methane and carbon dioxide. Others may have no oxygen, which likely means no ozone and therefore little UV protection for life – although there are other types of atmospheres that could provide UV protection. There could be Titan-like (Titan is Saturn’s largest moon, and it’s larger than Mercury) exoplanets that have human-toxic gases such as hydrogen cyanide. Other planets could have crushing pressures and blistering temperatures like Venus or be ice-cold like the Saturnian moon Enceladus. Even stranger are exoplanets where they are tidally-locked to their star, such that one side of the planet experiences a permanent day and one side experiences permanent night, because the orbital period of the exoplanet is matched to its rotational period.

We know of over 4000 exoplanets now, and many of these are rocky, like Earth. There is a huge parameter space to investigate…


18th July 2023
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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Wakefield Sports Club
The Bowling Clubhouse, Eastmoor Road
Wakefield, WF1 3RR United Kingdom
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