The Centre for Planetary Sciences

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The Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL/Birkbeck is one of the United Kingdom's leading centres for planetary and exoplanetary science. It houses expertise in understanding planets from their deep interiors, through their surfaces and atmospheres, to their space environment.  This expertise is complemented by world leaders in astronomy, terrestrial and solar science, life and chemical sciences.  Read more...

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CPS News

TGO liftoff

Liftoff to Mars!

On 14 March, the first mission of the ESA-Russia ExoMars programme began its journey to Mars from the Baikonur cosmodrome. Soaring over the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Proton rocket and Briz upper stage both performed flawlessly, putting the first of the two ExoMars missions on course for Mars with arrival in October 2016. This opens a new era of European-Russian Mars exploration – with UCL-MSSL and UCL's Centre for Planetary Sciences (CPS) playing key roles.

Published: Apr 6, 2016 2:26:13 PM

Artistic rendering of Jupiter's magnetosphere (credit: JAXA)

Solar storms trigger Jupiter's 'Northern Light'

Solar storms trigger Jupiter’s intense ‘Northern Lights’ by generating a new X-ray aurora that is eight times brighter than normal and hundreds of times more energetic than Earth’s aurora borealis, finds new UCL-led research using NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

Published: Mar 31, 2016 1:24:28 PM

Artist's Impression of Giotto and Comet Halley (source: ESA)

Giotto at Halley: 30 years ago!

It was the year of the tragic Challenger disaster – but UCL-MSSL was making good news in space and making history too. The Giotto spacecraft carried 10 instruments, including one led by UCL-MSSL just 596 km (MSSL to ESOC distance!) from comet Halley on the night of 13th/14th March, with some spectacular results.

Published: Mar 14, 2016 9:27:10 PM

55 Cancri e

First detection of gases in super-Earth atmosphere

CPS members led by UCL PhD student Angelos Tsiaras have made the first successful detection of gases in the atmosphere of a super-Earth,  revealing the presence of hydrogen and helium, but no water vapour. More...

Published: Feb 17, 2016 12:50:51 PM

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CPS Events

Lake Como School

Brave New Worlds: Understanding the planets of other stars

Next year the Lake Como School of Advanced Studies will focus on exoplanet science. The school is directed to PhD students and young postdocs who are interested in widening their knowledge in the field of exoplanets. Lecturers will report on theoretical, observational and experimental aspects of the research, reviewing the latest achievements in the field. The program includes: More...

Starts: May 29, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Cometary science after Rosetta

Results from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission to Comet  67P/Churyumov Gerasimenko are leading to a revolution in our understanding of these ancient bodies, and hence the conditions prevalent in the early Solar System. This meeting will report on all  aspects of the mission's ground-breaking discoveries, placing them in the context of cometary science as a whole. More...

Starts: Jun 14, 2016 9:00:00 AM

An Evening with the Planets 2016

Free CPS outreach evening: An Evening with the Planets 2016!


Starts: Jun 20, 2016 6:00:00 PM

Page last modified on 23 mar 16 16:34 by Joanna N Fabbri