The CSH collaborates with professional graphics designers to develop infographics as a community service
These infographics are the marriage of creative visualisation with hard statistics and scientific facts. They differ from the usual outreach graphics, because they seek to incorporate scientifically correct information while simultaneously focusing on effective communication. Scientists can then use the infographics in their professional talks and lectures. They may be used to convey the key scientific content of a discovery to the scientifically sophisticated segment of the public, or to familiarise the broader public with scientific ways of visualising information. Generally, the CSH infographics are meant to be international, community-wide resources for science communication and the promotion of science. Please feel free to download and use them, as long as you acknowledge the name of the graphics designer.
Our current collaborator is Jenny Leibundgut of Leibundgut Designs (leibundgutdesign.ch), who has designed logos for a diverse range of entities, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Swiss Heart Foundation and Carnegie Hall. She also designed coins for the Swiss mint. Below are infographics in JPG and EPS formats, as well as in both low and high resolutions.
The discovery of 7 Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting the diminutive red dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, was an important milestone for the exoplanet community. The radii of these exoplanets were obtained via transit measurements, while the masses were measured via transit timing variations (TTVs). With this infographic, the intention was to display the radii, masses and flux of starlight received by each of the 7 TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets, so as to illustrate that they potentially cover the transition from Venus to Mars in our Solar System. Unlike in popular depictions, we intentionally avoided the depiction of topography on the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets, because it is unknown what these are. High-resolution versions in JPG, PNG and EPS formats are available upon request.
Carbon Cycle on Exoplanets
The atmospheres of small, rocky exoplanets are probably secondary in nature, meaning that their chemical compositions are not a direct imprint of the primordial conditions of formation, but rather an outcome of complex geochemical cycles involving the atmosphere, rocky surface and ocean. On Earth, the long-term inventory of carbon dioxide, over hundreds of thousands of years, is moderated by the inorganic carbon cycle or the "carbonate-silicate cycle". As the exoplanet community investigates the role of geochemical cycles in exoplanets, this infographic provides a visual focus for discussion. The infographic is intentionally unlabeled, so that one may add one's own labels as one uses it for presentations, posters, etc.
Interstellar Grain Surface Chemistry
Star- and planet-forming regions are rich in many different small and large molecules, such as water and ethanol (alcohol). One of the primary locations where these molecules form, are the surfaces of minuscule interstellar ice-covered dust grains. These dust grains are smaller than a micrometer, yet are very efficient chemical factories. In the ice covering these grains, many atoms and molecules are closely packed together, allowing them to easily react and form new, more complex molecules. Through laboratory experiments, theoretical simulations, and telescope observations, astronomers now have a good general understanding of these grains. As the grains cool down, atoms and molecules adsorb (freeze-out) on their surfaces and form the icy mantles. Such an icy mantle is layered and consists of a water-dominated layer (polar) and a water-poor layer (apolar). Molecules and atoms can diffuse (move around) and in this way find partners to react with, forming more complex species. This process is aided by different kinds of energetic radiation, such as ultraviolet radiation, that impinges on the grains. Heat, for example from a star, and radiation are able to desorb (release) these molecules from the grain surfaces into the gas phase. The molecules that form on interstellar dust grains can be trapped in comets and may even end up on planets and in their atmospheres. Therefore, interstellar chemistry on dust grains may be of astrobiological significance for planets by providing their initial molecular inventory, and leaving them with all the necessary ingredients to form life.