Next Meeting

Monday 11 December 2023

A Tour of our Solar System: creating the conditions for life
Katharine Johnston

Mercury as seen from MESSENGER: wikimedia

Outline: In this talk I will take you on a whistle-stop tour of the planets and bodies in our Solar System, to uncover what they can tell us about how likely it is for life to occur outside Earth. The evidence from our Solar System, containing many “failed” Earths (including it seems even Mercury), suggests we don’t only need to build a planet by collecting planetesimals together with the right chemical composition: a whole host of other factors need to be just right to make the conditions perfect for life.

Katharine Johnston is a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds. She obtained her PhD at the University of St Andrews, during which she spent time at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico and Harvard University. Before coming to Leeds, she spent time as a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg and as one of the ALMA telescope commissioning team. Katharine’s research uses observations taken with radio telescopes such as ALMA in Chile and e-MERLIN based in the UK to understand massive star formation, specifically how massive stars form from material fed to them by their surrounding accretion discs, and also has a keen interest in planetology.

Venue: The New Headingley Club, 56 St Michaels Road, LS6 3BG
Room opens 7:30, talk begins promptly at 7:45pm
Entry: Donation please for room hire and expenses: £4 at the door

Café Scientifique Headingley is a programme run under the auspices of the Headingley Development Trust – see

Our next online meeting will be:Our next online meeting will be:Monday 25th January at 7.30
“The Promise of Gravitational Waves” by Sue Bowle