The Other Worlds Laboratory (OWL) is a research initiative at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) that builds on the university’s historic successes in the study of planets inside and outside the solar system.  UCSC research in planets crosses several departments, and we have had great success in crossing traditional boundaries between departments and fields.

Within OWL, we seek to understand Earth’s place in the diversity of our solar system, use state-of-the-art techniques to find planets around other stars (“exoplanets”), understand how planets form, characterize their atmospheres, and understand if they are possible homes for life.

Focus areas include:

  • The discovery of exoplanets via transits, radial velocity, and direct imaging
  • Characterizing exoplanetary atmospheres with space-based and large ground-based telescopes
  • Modeling atmospheric chemistry, spectra, circulation, and loss processes
  • Planet formation
  • Planetary system dynamical evolution
  • Planetary interior structure and thermal evolution
  • Planetary magnetic field structure and evolution
  • Developing novel telescope instrumentation for exoplanetary characterization
  • Laboratory experiments to understand solar system and planetary physical and chemical processes
  • Solar system space missions