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Lecture by Dr Jo Barstow

Lecture by Dr Jo Barstow

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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.