In the last 20 years astronomers have gone from a state of total ignorance about planets around other stars (exoplanets) to finding thousands of exoplanetary systems using a range of techniques. In some cases we are now probing the atmospheres of exoplanets. I will talk about the techniques we use to look for and characterise exoplanets.
I will discuss our current understanding of exoplanetary systems and how the architecture of our own Solar System fits into this understanding. I will briefly talk about the road ahead for exoplanet science over the coming 10-20 years. Finally, I will argue that it is likely that within the next 30-50 years we will know whether life on other planets is a common or rare phenomenon.
Lecture starts at 6.30pm with coffee served from 6.00pm.