exocast

The exoplanet podcast

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Recent Episodes

September 8, 2022

Exocast-63b: How do planets form?

Hugh, Hannah & Andrew turn their attention to a simple question with a very complicated answer: our favourite! This month we are pondering how planets form. What do we know about planet formation from the Earth, observations from our Solar System, and of distant exoplanetary systems? Where are the gaps in our understanding of the processes involved? Do the theories and models of planet formation hold up to observational scrutiny? We might not be able

August 26, 2022

Exocast-62c: Exoplanet News

The latest news hot off the Exocast news desk for July/August 2022, another exciting month for exoplanet science: Andrew takes some time to discuss the life and influence of Dr James Lovelock, the co-originator the Gaia Hypothesis, who died recently. His news this month takes the form of two independent but neatly connected papers on the topic of ‘chirality’: ‘The Chiral Puzzle of Life’ by Globus and Blandford, and ‘Directional Aspects of Vegetation Linear and

August 11, 2022

Exocast-62 b: Interview with Dr. Knicole Colón

This month Hannah, Andrew & Hugh are joined by NASA Goddard’s space telescope expert, Dr. Knicole Colón. Fresh from her NASA TV appearance unveiling JWST’s first exoplanet spectrum to the world, the JWST Deputy Project Scientist for Exoplanet Science gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the big day, as well as how the team got JWST ready for science. She also discusses the ongoing TESS mission searching for new planets, as well as the Pandora

July 20, 2022

Exocast-61c: Exoplanet News

The latest news hot off the Exocast news desk for June/July 2022, a very exciting month for exoplanet science: Hannah gives us a run-down of some of the long-awaited first images from JWST, including a spectrum from the atmosphere of WASP-96b from the NIRISS instrument showing clear water features. The team try (and fail) to contain their giddiness at the prospect of entering a new era of exoplanet astrophysics. Andrew takes to the theory literature

Venus Cloud Patterns (Colorized and Filtered)
June 21, 2022

Exocast-60c: Exoplanet News

The latest exoplanet news hot off the Exocast news desk: Hannah gives us a run-down of the Exoplanets IV conference held recently in Las Vegas, at which both her and Hugh were in attendence, including summaries of interesting sessions and presentations. Hugh presents a great new paper from Panahi et al. 2022 entitled “The Detection of Transiting Exoplanets by Gaia” that demonstates the Gaia spacecraft’s ability to contribute to exoplanet detection. Andrew keeps things in

June 7, 2022

Exocast-60b: Interview with Dr Jennifer Burt

In this episode of Exocast the team are fortunate to be joined in the virtual studio by Dr Jennifer Burt, NASA/JPL’s Extreme Precision Radial Velocity Investigation Scientist, for an extreme discussion of the radial velocity technique for finding and characterising exoplanets. Jenn gives us a comprehensive and enthusiastic rundown of the method, US and European RV surveys, supporting current and future photometric missions with RV follow-up, and an update on new technology and instruments that

May 24, 2022

Exocast-59c: Exoplanet News

Join us for this months news episode where the Exocast team delve into new discoveries, characterisation, and astrobiology investigations to learn all about the latest research being published in exoplanets. Andrew takes us through some new astrobiology work “Metabolically diverse primordial microbial communities in Earth’s oldest seafloor-hydrothermal jasper“ from Papineau et al. 2022 Hannah covers the latest in characterisation with “A New Analysis of 8 Spitzer Phase Curves and Hot Jupiter Population Trends: Qatar-1b, Qatar-2b,

Sun Peeking Through Earth’s Atmosphere
May 6, 2022

Exocast-59b: What are planetary atmospheres made of?

This month Hugh, Hannah, and Andrew go back to basics to discuss the diversity and complexity inherent in the study of planetary atmospheres. Exocast-59b touches on how we define an atmosphere and takes a sojourn through the varied and beautiful atmospheres of the Solar System, as well as a journey back through time to consider the long evolution of the atmosphere of our planet. How does an atmosphere form and change over time, cling to

April 22, 2022

Exocast-58c: Exoplanet News

In this months News episode Hugh, Hannah, and Andrew each discuss a paper from the past month of the latest exoplanet research including, JWST test data analysis, Oxidative Earth, and multi-star systems.

April 12, 2022

Exocast-58b: Interview with Dr Megan Schwamb

In this episode the Exocast team talk with Dr Megan (Meg) Schwamb about her work from the solar system to distant exoplanets and citizen science. The show is jam packed with exciting science and enough ice cream analogies to build an Exocast Parlour. We discuss in detail the process of going from a strange looking light curve posted in PlanetHunters Kepler to publication and bonafide planet, how you can track ice formation at Mars’ poles, and take a look to the farthest reaches of our solar system to ask what is out there and what does that mean for our planets formation history. Meg also inducts PH-1b into the Exocast Adopted Planets family.

March 15, 2022

Exocast-57c: Exoplanet News

In this episode the Exocast team take us through three of the latests studies in exoplanet research touching on biosignatures, planet formation and disruption, and the effects of space weather on close-in exoplanets. Join them to learn the latest in exoplanet science!

March 3, 2022

Exocast-57b: How big can an exoplanet be?

This month Hugh, Hannah and Andrew discuss a deceptively simple question about the limits of planetary size… Exocast-57b takes you from measurements of exoplanet radius and mass, the difficulty with the IAU definition of planets, to the formation of brown dwarfs and stars. They even dive into the importance of size on habitability, the size limits of a rocky world compared to a gaseous world, some of the stand out candidates for the “biggest” exoplanet,

JWST
February 3, 2022

Exocast-56b: Interview with Mark McCaughrean about JWST

In this episode the Exocast gang chat with Dr Mark McCaughrean, who is a Senior Advisor for Science & Exploration at the European Space Agency (ESA), as well as a James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Science Working Group Interdisciplinary Scientist, about the recent launch, deployment and commissioning of JWST. Mark shares scientific and personal highlights of his long involvement with the telescope, his experience of JWST’s launch from French Guiana on Christmas Day 2021, and

October 27, 2021

Exocast-55b: ExoCup2021

That’s right it is that time of year again where the Exocast team pit planet against planet in the Twitter poll show-down: ExoCup! In this episode Andrew, Hugh, and Hannah look at the rundown of exoplanets that were mentioned the most in the past year of research publications and the top 23 join last years ExoCup2020 winner WD-1856b to fill out the first 24 exoplanets in Pots 1, 2, and 3. They then take a

October 8, 2021

Exocast-54c – Exoplanet News

The exocast team covers the latest news in Exoplanets including a critical look at the so called “Hycean” worlds recently proposed to be the best places to look for life, a detailed run-down of the Elements magazine issue on “Geoscience beyond the solar system”, and some new and refined exoplanet measurements and discoveries.

September 29, 2021

Exocast-54b: Observing Exoplanets from the Ground

In this episode the exocast team discuss how we observe exoplanets from the ground, how different it is from space, where we put the telescopes and why. The team start by sharing their journeys to telescopes around the world to make observations, and discuss the different bands in the atmosphere that we observe in. The main difference between ground- and space-based observatories is their size, the instruments on some of the ground-based observatories are room

August 5, 2021

Exocast-53 c – Exoplanet News

As always, the exocast team covers a few extraordinary recent exoplanetary results in Exocast-53 c: First off, Hannah briefly describes the problem with (and solution to) NASA Hubble’s elderly on-board computer Andrew details a few interesting results that emerged from the 2021 Goldschmidt conference, including updates on the bombardment of the early Earth, ancient methanogenic fossils, gasses trapped in diamonds, and new constraints on snowball earth. Hugh describes the ESA CHEOPS mission, and its serendipitous

July 29, 2021

Exocast-53b: Interview with Elizabeth Tasker

In this episode the Exocast crew are excited to talk with expert science communicator, JAXA space scientist, and master of computer simulations, Professor Elizabeth Tasker. During the hour long discussion we talk about how Elizabeth transitioned into planetary research from a degree and PhD in galactic simulations, the journey from the UK to the US, Canada and now in Japan. Where the idea for her popular science book The Planet Factory came from and why

June 28, 2021

Exocast-52c: Exoplanet Paper News & Reviews

In Exocast-52c Hugh, Andrew, and Hannah take us through three reviews of papers that have been recently published in the planetary/exoplanet literature.

June 21, 2021

Exocast-52b: Why is Venus important for exoplanets?

In this episode the Exocast team discuss Earth’s twin planet, Venus, and its link to exoplanetary science. We start with an overview of the past, present and future of Venusian exploration, from the first Soviet probes to the three newly-selected missions (DAVINCI+, VERITAS and EnVision) which will explore the atmosphere and surface of Venus more thoroughly than ever before. Then we turn to the open questions about Venus – its potential ancient habitability, the lack

May 4, 2021

Exocast-51b: Interview with Mark Marley

In this episode the Exocast gang are joined by veteran exoplaneteer Dr Mark Marley from NASA Ames. During a nearly hour-long discussion, we probe Mark’s experience of early exoplanet discovery and characterisation efforts in the 1990s, his work on clouds and atmospheric circulation models, ‘ice’ giants, brown dwarfs, his leadership role with the LUVOIR space telescope concept, as well as his cheerleading efforts during the Exocup.

April 18, 2021

Exocast-50c: Monthly Exoplanet News

In this month’s news rundown Hugh, Hannah, and Andrew provide a summary of three interesting papers that appeared on their radar during February/March 2021: Hugh takes a look at The Chemical link between stars and their rocky planets by Vardan Adibekyan and others. Andrew summarises Lithologic Controls on Silicate Weathering Regimes of Temperate Planets by Kaustubh Hakim and team. Hannah dons a thermal raincoat to cover Water on hot rocky exoplanets by Edwin Kite and Laura

April 5, 2021

Exocast-50b: Why do we study exoplanets?

In this months discussion Hugh, Hannah, and Andrew discuss the question: Why do we study exoplanets? The team take a look at their own personal motivation and how they each came study exoplanets, as well as diving into the technological applications of astronomy, and the philosophy behind the big questions in astronomy. Astronomy has been at the root of huge technological advances, from the X-ray machines at the airport, to the development of computer languages,

March 8, 2021

Exocast-49c: Monthly Exoplanet News

For the second exocast news for 2021 Hannah talks about the physics of raindrops in planetary atmospheres, Hugh explores the color possibilities of the Kepler Photometric data, and Andrew discusses the role of chance in the habitability of the Earth as an exoplanet

March 5, 2021

Exocast-49b: Interview with Diana Powell

The exocast team interview cloud and dust expert Diana Powell (UC:Santa Cruz) about her work on protoplanetary disks and clouds in exoplanet atmospheres. The team also welcome CI Tau b to their adopted planets.

January 25, 2021

Exocast-48b: What is the point of the Habitable Zone!?

In this months episode Exocasters Hugh Osborn, Hannah Wakeford, and Andrew Rushby attempt to answer the question they posed last year: What is the point of the Habitable Zone?

Did you predict this if so we could use your help!
December 13, 2020

Exocast-47c: #ExoCup2020 the Summary

The Exocast team tackle the goings on of the #ExoCup2020 twitter competition to crown the exoplanet champion of 2020.

September 23, 2022

Exocast-63 c: Exoplanet news

We cover this month’s most exciting exoplanetary (and solar system) news: Andrew tells us about details of the proposed “Venus Life Finder” mission which would go beyond ESA & NASA’s selected Venus missions to directly sample for organic molecules in the temperate regions of Venus’ atmosphere using an interplanetary balloon! Hugh talks about how analysis of the multi-planet systems found by Kepler is still revealing new insights, in this case how chains of planets appear

July 13, 2022

Exocast-61 b: Observation vs Theory, which is more important?

Hugh, Hannah & Andrew pick sides to debate astronomy’s deepest divide. Are you with Hugh on the side of the observers, who insist that it is only with new telescopes, instruments and data that we can reveal physical properties of exoplanets and develop our understanding of the universe. Or are you, like Andrew, on the side of the theorists, who ensure that we can deeply understand the physical properties of exoplanets by doing experiments and

The exocasters

Meet the three podcasting exoplanet astronomers
Andrew Rushby
Andrew Rushby
Hannah Wakeford
Hannah Wakeford
Hugh Osborn
Hugh Osborn
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