Posts tagged with: astronomy

Exocast-71b: Do All Planets Orbit Stars?

In this episode, Hannah, Hugh, and Andrew ask the question: Do all planets orbit stars?  Even though the vast majority of planets found so far are bound to a star, there have been detections of planetary-mass objects floating alone through space. Are these planets? How do these objects form, and how can we detect them? Is it possible that these free-floating objects could be considered ‘habitable’? The exocast gang tackle these tricky topics and other

Exocast-70b: Dr. Max Günther talks transits, CHEOPS & chemistry in zero-g

This month the exocast team chat to exoplanetary astronomer Dr Maximillian Guenther. We talk about finding transiting exoplanets with TESS & NGTS, open-source transit modelling, flares from M-dwarf stars, the role of UV in prebiotic chemistry, chemical mixing experiments in zero-g aboard the vomit comet, connections between science and art, and his role as project scientist of the ESA CHEOPS mission. And, of course, hear which important and personally connected planetary system Max has adopted

Exocast-69b: Surviving Scientific Conferences

In this episode Andrew, Hannah, and Hugh discuss the art and science of organising, and attending, scientific conferences, with a particular focus on the recent Exoclimes VI meeting held in Exeter, UK, organised by Hannah and others in the exoplanet community. These meetings are crucial for the dissemination and communication of new results among the community and further afield, but they can be daunting to attend, and very stressful to organise. The team share their

Exocast-67b: Catching up with the Exocast team

In this episode Andrew, Hannah, and Hugh reflect on where their careers and research in exoplanet science have led over the past few years as a chance to (re)introduce ourselves to new and regular listeners alike! We hope you’ll appreciate a slightly different format for this show. Do you have a question we didn’t ask? Join in the discussion in the comments below, and find us on Twitter. You can also get your hands on Exocast merchandise

Exocast-66c: Exoplanet News

In this episode the team cover some of the latest exoplanet news stories. This month Hugh covers the first JWST’s transmission spectrum of a small planet, validating and characterising the exoplanet LHS 475b. Hannah discusses some preliminary work from JWST, including phase curves from WASP-121b and WASP-43b, that reveal the capabilities and quirks of the instruments onboard. Andrew breaks the rules by discussing three papers, 2 of which are closely connected, on the general topic

Exocast-66b: Interview with Georgina Dransfield

Back on the airwaves after a short hiatus, the Exocast team are delighted to be joined by Georgina (George) Dransfield, a PhD student at the University of Birmingham in the UK, who works on finding new exoplanets using the transit method. George uses data from ground-based surveys like SPECULOOS and space-based surveys like TESS and is also is somewhat unique in observing from Antarctica, specifically using and helping to run the ASTEP pipeline. Of course, George

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

Exocast-46b: Interview with Moiya McTier

This month Hugh, Andrew, and Hannah talk to astrophysicist, folklorist, and science communicator Moiya McTier. Moiya is an NSF graduate researcher at Columbia University in New York City and works to understand exoplanets from a galactic perspective. The Exocast team talks to Moiya about work from measuring the topography on an exoplanet by the effect that mountains and other features have in transit, all the way up to how the stars in the Milky Way

Exocast-45c: how many exoplanets are there?

In this episode, the team sits down to ponder the question how many exoplanets are there? At first, this might seem like a relatively straightforward question that can be answered by NASA’s Exoplanet Archive, but it becomes more daunting when considering, for example, the biases and limitations of our instruments that affect our ability to even detect and characterise many planets, how we define a ‘planet’, and whether or not we have surveyed enough stars

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