The Centre for Exoplanets and Habitability convenes a Postgraduate module, "Habitability in the Universe", which is run by the Institute for Advance Teaching and Learning. This module is open to all postgraduates, from all disciplines, and covers the subject of habitability from myriad perspectives. More details can be found on the module's home page.
Welcome to the website of the Centre for Exoplanets and Habitability (CEH) at the University of Warwick. The CEH is a cross-disciplinary research centre that draws upon expertise from departments across the university. It is a collaborative project which works with both the sciences and arts in order to consider life beyond, and on, this planet. We are a newly formed University Research Centre looking for funding to develop our research goals. Please explore our webpages, and feel free to contact us if you would like to get involved.
It is our pleasure to welcome Dr Raphaëlle Haywood from the University of Exeter to the Centre for Exoplanets and Habitability seminar series. Dr Haywood will be giving a talk titled 'There’s No Place Like Home: Placing Earth in its Astronomical and Geological Contexts'.
Recent revolutionary discoveries in astronomy are showing that Earth is one of billions of planets, and that terrestrial, temperate planets are commonplace in our galaxy. Geological records indicate that Earth has been many different worlds over time, and life has shown extraordinary resilience through these planetary changes. If we could go to the stars and point our telescopes back at Earth, what would we see? How does life alter Earth's astronomical character? We will look at one of Earth's defining ecosystems: the Amazon rainforest, which is observable from cosmic distances. We will reflect on the impact of various human civilisations. Ultimately, we will draw on these astronomical and geological perspectives to demonstrate that humanity's flourishing is profoundly tied to maintaining this world, here, that we co-evolved with.
On 14 September 2020, a team of astronomers led by Dr Jane Greaves of Cardiff University announced the detection of phosphine, a potential biomarker, in the atmosphere of Venus. On Earth, phosphine can result from natural processes such as lightning and volcanic activity, but only in small amounts; by comparison, the amount of phosphine detected in Venus' atmosphere is relatively large. The only known processes that produce phosphine on Earth in similar quantities are biological in origin.
It must be stressed that this does not mean that there is life on Venus. What has been announced is a signal that is a possible sign of life, with a strength for which there are no plausible known abiotic explanations. There may, of course, be currently unknown methods of producing it in the amounts required. But this is still an exciting signal that warrants more investigation.
We are familiar with the idea that the twinkling pinpricks of light in the sky are stars, like our own Sun, but not all those stars are the same. There are many types of stars, and we can see most of these in the night sky, explains Dr Elizabeth Stanway.