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New Worlds in Our Galaxy - the 2019 Bolton Lecture in Astrophysics

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Willow Terrace Road

Leeds

LS2 9DA

United Kingdom

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The Earth is special to us – it’s our home - but is it really special as a planet?

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The Earth is special to us – it’s our home - but is it really special as a planet? Every star we can see in the night sky is likely to be orbited by planets. There are probably a thousand billion planets in our galaxy alone.

In about twenty years, over 4000 ‘exoplanets’ have been discovered in distant solar systems. There are planets completing a revolution around their mother star in less than one day, as well as planets orbiting two or even three stars or moving on trajectories so eccentric as to resemble comets. Some of them are freezing cold, some are so hot that their surface is molten. But beyond that our knowledge falters:

What are they made of? How did they form? What’s the weather like there? Are they habitable?

A suite of space missions will be launched within the next decade to discover more and more exciting planets and unveil their nature. Finding out why these new worlds are as they are, and what the Earth’s place in our galaxy is and –ultimately– in the universe, is one of the key challenges of modern astrophysics.

Giovanna Tinetti is a world-leading specialist in

exo-planetary studies and leads ESA’s next medium science mission, ARIEL, which is aimed at studying what exo-planets are made of and how they evolve.

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Conference Auditorium

Willow Terrace Road

Leeds

LS2 9DA

United Kingdom

View Map

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