Playing tracks by
Dr Jo Barstow.
Dr Jo Barstow (University of Oxford) gives her Lecture on Atmospheres on other worlds at Sussex University. Thank you to the Institute of Physics for sharing this wonderful lecture.
In the last 20 years, over 800 planets have been discovered orbiting some of the millions of stars that we see in the night sky. The easiest to find are the hot Jupiters — massive, gaseous planets being cooked by their parent stars – but, as telescopes and techniques improve, we are becoming capable of finding smaller, cooler planets.
Eventually, we will be able to detect planets like the Earth — small enough to be made of rock, and far enough from their stars to be habitable — but the only way of finding out whether these habitable planets actually do support life is to study their atmospheres, and look for the gaseous fingerprints of biological activity.