Discovering other Earths while sustaining our unique home in the Cosmos

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 Time:  Thursday, May 27, 2021, 04:00pm
 Title:  Discovering other Earths while sustaining our unique home in the Cosmos
 Speaker:  Dr. Raphaëlle Haywood (Exeter)

S727 & Online via Zoom


Observations show that exoplanets are ubiquitous. For the first time, we have the technological capability to discover planets with similar bulk properties to Earth by monitoring the radial-velocity of host stars. The main obstacle to finding and characterising Neptune- to Earth-mass exoplanets is the intrinsic variability of the host stars. I will show radial-velocity observations of the Sun as though it were a distant star, and discuss what we are learning from the study of our own Sun about the variability of Sun-like stars. I will introduce Terra Hunting, a unique experiment that will monitor 40 Sun-like stars nightly for 10 years to discover Earth-like planets. Lastly, I will place Earth in its astronomical context to show that Earth is our only home.

Dr Raphaëlle D. Haywood is an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow and Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Exeter. Her research focuses on understanding the natural variability of stars in order to better characterise the planets around them. She currently advises NASA and the US National Science Foundation on designing a roadmap to discover Earth-like planets over the next decade. Dr Haywood is passionate about addressing social and environmental issues and is using astronomical observations to inspire people to action. Before joining Exeter, Dr Haywood was a NASA Sagan Fellow at Harvard University. Dr Haywood holds a Masters in Physics from Imperial College London, a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of St Andrews, and a Certificate in Sustainability from the Harvard Extension School.

Host: Sharon Xuesong Wang