ARE WE alone in the Universe?

Is there life on other planets?

Do the conditions exist for life to flourish on any of the planets discovered outside of our solar system?

These questions will be the topic of discussion at the next meeting of Newtown Astronomy Society.

Maire Gorman, of Aberystwyth University, will be giving members a talk on the subject.

Since 1995 more than 3,700 planets orbiting stars outside our solar system (known as exoplanets) have been detected using various methods.

All of these have inherent biases that have made scientists question the structure of our very own solar system.

The study of exoplanets is now progressing from a focus on mere detection to actual characterisation of their atmospheres.

Maire grew up in Catterline near Aberdeen and Kilmarnock and studied at Oxford University, where she specialised in Astrophysics and Atmospheric

Since completing her PhD, in which she generated line lists for the diatomic molecules of Chromium Hydride (CrH) and Manganese Hydride (MnH), Maire has been (literally!) working through the periodic table studying other diatomic molecules with the help of enthusiastic students at Aberystwyth University where she is an associate lecturer.

Newtown Astronomy Society extends a warm welcome to all those interested in astronomy.

Full membership fees are £20 per annum (10 meetings per year), with visitor fees at £3.50 per meeting.

Light refreshments will be available during the meeting, with raffle prizes up for grabs during the main break.

There will be the regular monthly “sky update” feature by Tony Cook, of Aberystwyth University, to bring the meeting to an end.

The next meeting takes place at the Scout Hall on Park Lane on Saturday, April 14, starting at 7pm.

n For any further information or astronomical updates, check out the Newtown Astronomy Society on facebook or contact the society direct at