We hear a lot about dark matter in astronomy. Some people consider it a fudge. In this talk we'll go through the evidence for dark matter and the history of it, and answer the questions in the title. No particular prior knowledge is assumed.
The Apollo Missions To The Moon
Starting with the cold war and the Russian success story of space flight, we then learn how the USA built the infrastructure to full fill President Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely back to the Earth. Andy Green has met 9 of the 12 men who walked on the moon as well as mission controllers and engineers. He is well placed to talk about the Apollo success.
Melanie Davies, Founder and Science Director from Creative Space Science CIC and elected Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2014, will be giving us a lecture on the history, myths and science of the Pleiades, the famous and beautiful open cluster of young stars in the constellation of Taurus.
Her lecture will be drawing on scientific papers, and will inform us of the scientific community’s current knowledge of the Pleiades including their evolution, properties and their possible fate.
Colin Stuart, an active and popular astronomy speaker, author, award winning journalist and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, will be giving us a lecture on how we will live on Mars.
He has written over 150 popular science articles for publications including the Guardian, New Scientist, The Wall Street Journal and the European Space Agency, and has talked about astronomy on Sky News, BBC News and Radio 5 Live and been quoted in national newspapers including The Daily Telegraph and The Observer.
The speed of light in a vacuum, c, is one of the most important constants of nature. It even plays a fundamental role in the definition of the metre, the internationally accepted unit of length. This talk examines the reasons why the speed of light has become so important, and explains the particular role that astronomy has played in establishing its value and its significance.
Steve Broadbent will be giving us a lecture on Astronomical Spectroscopy.
He is a member of the BAA and elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.
He is retired from the University of Portsmouth. Initially a chemist, he undertook research into reaction mechanisms. He used to run a spectroscopy laboratory and lectured in computational chemistry and programming.
As an aside he is an active member of and gives regular talks to the Hampshire Astronomical Group including "Constellation of the Month" as well as talks on specific interest areas such as astronomical spectroscopy and individual astronomical observatories.
Do we really understand the northern lights? Tour operators will have us believe that we do, but there are still mysteries hidden behind the dancing curtains of light.
Interweaving the science with a background of their history, folklore and changing landscape, Aurora brings together space, place and science in magnificent style. In a journey that takes her through Scandinavia, Canada and Svalbard, culminating in a spectacular solar eclipse, Dr Melanie Windridge delves into the Northern Lights.
This beautiful and inspiring lecture will describe our connection to the Sun, the scientific processes behind the polar lights, and some of the unwanted technological effects of Space Weather – with beautiful images and adventure stories.
We’re All Going To Die!
The threat from Near-Earth Objects
It came from space! It was 10 km across and it killed nearly all life on Earth! That was 65 million years ago. When might it happen again? The Earth was actually hit by minor asteroids in 1908 and 1947, and recent studies suggest that there are more such objects than previously thought.
The threat is real – it isn't a case of "if", but "when"
On the assumption we survive for the next few days!!! Jerry Stone - Author of "One Small Step", commemorating the first men on the Moon, Founder, The Sir Arthur Clarke Awards and President, The Mars Society UK will be here to talk to us about what we can do about it.
We have a lot to thank the moon for. It has influenced culture, religion and art for as long as humans have looked up and noticed our neighbour, and that's not counting how we probably owe our very existence to it's influence.
Libby Jackson is currently the manager of Human Spaceflight and Microgravity at the UK Space Agency.
From 2007, she worked at Europe's control centre for the International Space Station (ISS) as a flight instructor and controller and in 2010 she became director for the ISS European Space Agency (ESA) Columbus Module. Libby joined the UK Space Agency in 2014 and became spokesperson for Tim Peake's mission to the ISS. She had previously met Tim Peake when working at the NASA Johnson Space Center, just after he had been selected by ESA, and subsequently went on to coordinate the UK Space Agency education and outreach programme for Peake's mission.
Humans first went into space in 1961, landed on the moon in 1969, and have been be continuously living and working on-board the International Space Station since 2000, but where will we explore next? Will the next footsteps be on the Moon or Mars, and who will they belong to? Libby Jackson looks at what the future of human space exploration might hold and the challenges that will need to be overcome by the next generation of explorers.
Libby also released her first book last year.
In regions of space where stars and planets are forming, there are a plethora of molecules. It turns out that our molecular universe plays a key role in governing the processes that lead to star and planet format. But why is chemistry in space so important? In this talk we'll go on a journey from interstellar space to early solar systems, to see how chemistry helps us to understand the astrophysics of star and planet formation, and the potential for the origins of life itself.
It is a pleasure to welcome back our Vice President Professor Robert Lambourne, who will be talking to us about his favourite topic.
Carolin Crawford is an observational astronomer with over twenty years of active research experience, carried out alongside – and later eclipsed by – a growing role in the public communication of science. Carolin is just finishing a four-year term as the Professor of Astronomy for Gresham College, a role she combines with admissions and undergraduate teaching for Emmanuel College, and running an active public outreach programme at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University. She gives many presentations each year to a wide range of audiences, and can often be heard discussing astronomical matters on both national and local radio. Carolin is a confirmed speaker at this year’s International Astronomy Show, and will be bringing us up to speed with the latest developments in ‘Dark energy and the ever expanding Universe’.
Nigel J. Mason, OBE, is Professor of Molecular Physics at The Open University. He began his scientific career at University College London and after becoming a Royal Society University Research Fellow, founded the Molecular Physics group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCL. In 2002 he was appointed Professor of Molecular Physics at The Open University where he has most recently served as Associate Dean for Research, Enterprise and Scholarship for the Faculty of Science.In 2010 he funded the Astrochemistry group at the Open University. His research covers a wide range of topics including astrochemistry, plasma physics and radiation chemistry. Current astrochemical research includes experimental studies of molecular formation on dust grains in the ISM and on planetary surfaces as well as studies of molecular spectroscopy.He is an expert in electron-induced processes both in the ISM and planetary atmospheres. Nigel serves on several national and international committees and review boards, and since 2013 is chair of Europlanet, Europe’s largest planetary science forum. He is also strongly committed to widening participation in science. In 2007 he was awarded the OBE for his services to science. This talk is sure to be very thought provoking and interesting, and you guessed it, one not to be missed!
Pete Lawrence has been a presenter on the long running BBC Sky at Night television programme since 2005. He has been an astronomical consultant for the popular BBC Stargazing Live television series since it began, and appeared on the programme in 2014 as an aurora expert. Pete also writes many of the guides used by the BBC to support the programme. He compiles and writes the monthly Star Guide for the Sky at Night Magazine as well as carrying out equipment reviews on their behalf and acting as their resident imaging expert. He has held this position since the magazine started in 2005.
Pete is highly regarded in the world of astrophotography specialising in capturing time specific events. Many of his images have been published in books, magazines and online across the world. As well as having several decades of experience as an astronomical observer, he also holds an honours degree in Physics with Astrophysics from the University of Leicester. As part of his astronomical duties, Pete also acts as an expert guide on specialist trips including those in search of the elusive Northern Lights and solar eclipses. He was awarded the Davies Medal by the Royal Photographic Society in 2014, for his significant contribution in the field of imaging science.
Will Gater is an astronomy journalist, author and presenter. His work has appeared in New Scientist, BBC Sky at Night Magazine, Focus and Astronomy Now, among others. He is the author of several popular astronomy books – including “The Cosmic Keyhole” and “The Night Sky Month by Month” – and is the co-author of Dorling Kindersley’s “The Practical Astronomer and Nature Guide: Stars and Planets”.Will is passionate about communicating the wonders of the Universe to all. He has made numerous appearances on television and radio to talk about astronomy and space, including on Channel 5’s The Gadget Show, The Sky at Night and BBC One’s The One Show as well as Sky News, BBC News and the BBC World Service. He has also worked behind the camera as the astronomy researcher on the BBC’s long-running stargazing series The Sky at Night and hosted live astronomy shows for Slooh.com featuring real-time broadcasts of major space events and interviews with prominent astronomers & scientists. Will has a particular passion for the science and spectacle of the Northern Lights and delivers an enthusiastic and informative talk on the subject. As with all our talks this year, another one not to be missed!
Paul is an elected fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, co-presenter and writer of the popular Awesome Astronomy podcast, ESERO space ambassador for ESA and has appeared on BBC News and Radio to discuss a range of astronomy and space issues as well as being interviewed on the BBC’s flagship astronomy program, “The Sky At Night”. He is also part of the team that runs the bi-annual, family friendly AstroCamp in the Brecon Beacons. Paul’s enthusiasm and knowledge for all things astronomy is infectious. This talk will centre on an update of Tim Peake’s activities aboard the ISS, something close to Paul’s heart in his role as an ambassador for the European Space Agency.
Bob Lambourne is head of The Open University Physics and Astronomy Department. His research interests include astronomy and physics education, and he teaches across many fields including astronomy, particle physics, relativity and cosmology. Bob’s lectures are always popular and we are delighted that he is able to speak for us this time about the lifespan of stars.