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14 May 2012
Extrasolar Planets Public Talk

CAG are delighted to announce a public talk on extrasolar planets talk by Professor Andrew Collier Cameron of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews.

The talk (details below) will start at approx 1945hrs in Castlehill Heritage Centre. Weather permitting there will be a solar observing session beforehand.

Free entry: donations welcome from non-members

Talk Title: Extrasolar planets: from hot Jupiters to waterworlds

The discovery of the first planets orbiting other stars caused a major upheaval in theories of how planetary systems form and evolve. The orderly architecture of our own system, with gas-giant planets in near-circular orbits far from the Sun and rocky planets close in, had yielded a cosmogony where giant planets formed rapidly in cold places and remained there, while terrestrial planets formed at a leisurely pace closer in. Many of the planetary systems we see orbiting other stars appear to have had more violent origins. Jupiter-like planets can plough inward as they form, scattering raw material and even other planets in their wakes. We see giant planets stranded in elongated comet-like orbits, some of them strongly tilted relative to their original orbital planes. Exotica such as super-Earths, hot Neptunes and even waterworlds are all viable end products of the new picture of planet formation, and the race to find and characterise them is just beginning.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009gxf2 for Prof Cameron’s appearance on BBC Sky at Night where he explained four ways of detecting planets orbiting stars outside of our solar system.


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