CPS News

ERC Starting Grant awarded to Dr Ingo Waldmann

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Dr Ingo Waldmann

Many congratulations to Dr Ingo Waldmann (Physics & Astronomy, UCL) who has recently been awarded a €1.5M European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant for a project entitled: ExoAI - Deciphering super-Earths using artificial intelligence. The project will run for 5 years, starting in January 2018.

Jupiter's X-Ray auroras pulse independently

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Jupiter’s south pole, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft from an altitude of 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers) (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles)

Jupiter’s intense northern and southern lights pulse independently of each other according to new UCL-led research using ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatories.

Probing the Cusps of Saturn's Magnetic Field

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This illustration of the Cassini spacecraft at Saturn depicts the planet’s enormous magnetic field and the bow shock created as the solar wind runs into it. The cusps can be seen as the funnel-shaped regions that reach down to the planet’s poles. Credit: ESA

Data from the Cassini spacecraft show that the cusp regions of Saturn’s magnetic field—where it connects to the Sun’s magnetic field—have similarities to Earth’s and also intriguing differences.

Size matters in the detection of exoplanet atmospheres

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Hot Jupiter exoplanets

A group-analysis of 30 exoplanets orbiting distant stars suggests that size, not mass, is a key factor in whether a planet’s atmosphere can be detected according to a UCL-led team of European researchers.

Cassini’s legacy and a final farewell

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Artist’s impression of Cassini in orbit at Saturn

Many researchers at the UCL/Birkbeck Centre for Planetary Sciences said a fond farewell to the Cassini spacecraft when it was plunged into Saturn on 15 September 2017, after 13 years of exploring the giant planet and its moons, leaving an enormous legacy of data.

Guest crater on the Moon

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John Guest

A crater on the Moon has been named after the late John Guest (1938-2012), a pioneer in volcanology and planetary science, who inspired generations of colleagues and students at UCL for over half a century. During his time at UCL, John established the emerging disciplines of planetary geology and physical volcanology and, in 1980, he founded the first NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility outside the USA. 

The intellectual and social benefits of astrobiology

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The International Journal of Astrobiology

In a new article soon to be published by the International Journal of Astrobiology, Professor Ian Crawford aims to explain the broader aims of astrobiology: 

Professor Ian Crawford elected Vice President of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Professor Ian Crawford

Congratulations to CPS member Professor Ian Crawford on his recent election to the role of Vice President (Geophysics) of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).   A full report can be found in the Birkbeck news article linked below.

World’s oldest fossils unearthed

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ANCIENT HOLDFAST This filament and clump of iron ore (lower right) may have once been a strand of microbial cells attached to rocks around hydrothermal vent openings. Credit: M. Dodd

Remains of microorganisms at least 3,770 million years old have been discovered by an international team led by UCL scientists and CPS members PhD student Matthew Dodd and Dr Dominic Papineau, providing direct evidence of one of the oldest life forms on Earth.

Strong 'electric wind' strips planets of oceans and atmospheres

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Venus' electric wind (credit: Dr Glyn Collinson)

Venus has an ‘electric wind’ strong enough to remove the components of water from its upper atmosphere, which may have played a significant role in stripping the planet of its oceans, according to a new study by NASA and UCL researchers.

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