Thursday 20th October - Lecture
"The Gaia space telescope: mapping the Milky Way in six dimensions" - Dr Nick Rowell, Researcher and developer in the Wide Field Astronomy Unit, Royal Observatory Edinburgh
The Gaia space telescope is an ambitious mission by the European Space Agency to determine the structure, formation and evolution of the Milky Way galaxy. This is achieved by measuring the precise positions, motions, chemical compositions and other properties for around one billion individual stars in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies. In addition to stars, Gaia will discover a large number of asteroids, exoplanets, variable stars and supernovae. Following a successful launch in 2013, Gaia has been in regular science observing mode for over two years, observing roughly 50 million stars per day. This will provide an enormous quantity of rich scientific data; almost every branch of modern astronomy will be touched.
Being at the heart of the mission data processing, I will give a broad introduction to the Gaia space telescope, the basic design and observing principles, the current mission status after two years in space, and some of the highlights from the first release of data, which is planned for September 14th this year.
Professional biography: Nick Rowell completed a PhD in Astrophysics in Edinburgh in 2010, using white dwarf stars as tracers to measure the age and structure of the Milky Way in data from the last generation of photographic astronomical sky surveys. He spent four years at Dundee University designing vision-based navigation systems for planetary and asteroid landing spacecraft for various missions with the European Space Agency. In 2014 he joined the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh to work on the calibration of the optics of the Gaia space telescope and the wider data processing effort. He has research interests in white dwarf stars and the solar neighbourhood, as well as meteor triangulation, vision based navigation and image processing.
This lecture will be held in Room 6.41 Royal College, Strathclyde University. Access is via the Montrose Street entrance, take the lift to Floor 3, exit the lift and take the 2nd set of steps on your left, go through the double glass doors. Room 6.41 is on your left approximately half way along the corridor.
Public lectures for the 2016-17 session
The ASG's free public lectures for the 2016-17 session are as follows, the dates and titles are shown below. They are held in Room 6.41 Royal College, Strathclyde University. Access is via the Montrose Street entrance, take the lift to Level 3, exit the lift and take the 2nd set of steps on your left, go through the double glass doors. Room 6.41 is on your left approximately half way along the corridor. The lectures start at 7:30pm and are preceded from 6:45pm by either a presentation on the month's skywatching highlights or by a social event giving you the opportunity to meet other members.
The complete lecture programme for the 2016-17 session is as follows:
|Thursday 15th September 2016||New Views of the Sun's Hot Corona
The Eric Tomney Lecture
Dr Iain G Hannah, Astronomy and Astrophysics Group, SUPA School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow
|Thursday 20th October 2016||The Gaia Space Telescope: mapping the Milky Way in six dimensions
Dr Nick Rowell, Researcher and developer in the Wide Field Astronomy Unit, Royal Observatory Edinburgh
|Thursday 17th November 2016||What has Space Ever Done for Us?
Mr Matjaz Vidmar, Postgraduate research student. Institute for the study of Science, Technology & Innovation. University of Edinburgh
|Thursday 15th December 2016||Opening a New Window on Einstein’s Universe
Prof Martin Hendry MBE Head of School, Professor of Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology, Chair, Institute of Physics, Scotland
|Thursday 19th January 2017||An Introduction to Pulsars - Throwing some light on Gravity and Relativity
The Tannahill Lecture
Prof. Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Visiting Professor, Astrophysics, University of Oxford
This lecture will be held in Lecture Theatre 325 in the John Anderson building here
|Thursday 16th February 2017||Members' Night Talks|
|Thursday 16th March 2017||Asteroids and Space Debris, Threat or Opportunity? Major Results from the Stardust Network
Prof Max Vasile, Prof of Space Systems Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Strathclyde University
|Thursday 20th April 2017||Space Weather and the Polar Regions: Gateways to Geospace
The Leon Davies Lecture
Dr Andrew Kavanagh, Middle Atmosphere Vertical Coupling Analyst, British Antarctic Survey
|Thursday 18th May 2017||Venus: Heavenly Body or a Vision of Hell
Dr Simon Cuthbert, Lecturer in Earth Science, University of the West of Scotland
Unless otherwise advised, lectures are held in Room 6.41 Royal College, Strathclyde University. Access is via the Montrose Street entrance, take the lift to Floor 3, exit the lift and take the 2nd set of steps on your left, go through the double glass doors. Room 6.41 is on your left approximately half way along the corridor.
Tuesday 7th February 2017 - Stars over the Botanics
Our 'Stars Over the Botanics' events are a chance for the public to come and talk to members of the society and get the chance to observe some of the wonders in the night sky. We'll have a number of telescopes available for you to look through, all operated by our astronomers, professional and amateur, so you can be sure there will be something interesting to see. Whether it's the Moon, the Planets, or some deep sky objects, if it's there, we'll find it for you.
On the off chance that the weather is cloudy (or even raining), we have a programme of lectures and talks available, all in the comfort and surroundings of the Botanic Gardens' Kibble Palace. Using planetarium software, we can take you on a tour of the universe, show you the moon in fantastic detail, or show you some of the many phenomena of the sky and sun, such as noctilucent clouds, sun dogs and parhelion.
So no matter whether it's clear or cloudy, it's always a good night. Arrive early to avoid disappointment as the evenings are always well attended, and are limited to the first 40 people to arrive. Gate opens 7:15 pm for a 7:30 pm start. The cost is £4 for adults and £2 for children. A full wet weather programme will be available when observing is not possible.