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December 2018

Dynamic Skies – The Story of Our Changing Cosmos & A New Revolution in Astronomy by Will Gater

December 10, 2018 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
National Maritime Museum, SE10 9NF
Greenwich, London SE10 9NF United Kingdom
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Will Gater

Across our human lifetimes, the night sky can often feel like something of a constant. Familiar stars come and go with the seasons, but their arrangement within the vast tableau of the firmament never varies. Nebulae appear today just as they were decades ago and the galaxies that we marvel at through our telescopes seem frozen within a static, obsidian, void. Yet the heavens are anything but still. We live in a whirl of celestial activity alive with the movement…

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January 2019

Tuning in to the Radio Universe from Birr Castle by Professor Peter Gallagher

January 14 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
National Maritime Museum, SE10 9NF
Greenwich, London SE10 9NF United Kingdom
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Professor Peter Gallagher

Astronomical objects emit light across the electromagnetic spectrum, which has led astronomers to build instruments to observe the Universe from gamma-rays to radio waves. For over 70 years from the mid-1800s, the largest optical telescope in the world was at Birr Castle in Ireland, which enabled the 3rd Earl of Rosse to see the spiral arms of galaxies for the first time. Recently, a new telescope has been built at Birr to explore the Universe at radio wavelengths. In this…

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February 2019

Ancient Egyptians and their Astronomy by Dr Pauline Norris

February 11 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
National Maritime Museum, SE10 9NF
Greenwich, London SE10 9NF United Kingdom
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Dr Pauline Norris

The Mesopotamians and Greeks are frequently credited with developing astronomy. Indeed, Babylonian cuneiform texts show that a sophisticated form of astronomy was already being practised in Mesopotamia by c. 3000 BC. Using archaeological evidence, this talk first examines why the Egyptians became the forgotten ones in the history of astronomy and what they achieved by naked eye astronomy from c. 6500 BC at Nabta Playa to the orientation of temples by the Nile built by Macedonian and Ptolemaic rulers prior…

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March 2019

Hunting for Exoplanets by Professor Chris Lintott

March 11 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
National Maritime Museum, SE10 9NF
Greenwich, London SE10 9NF United Kingdom
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Professor Chris Lintott

The hunt for planets that orbit stars other than the Sun is a booming astronomical industry. Results from facilities all over the world, particularly from NASA’s Kepler satellite, have shown that exoplanets are common, and have given new insight into the formation of our own Solar System. The latest planet-hunting satellite, TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite), provides a chance to find planets around brighter stars. In this talk, Chris Lintott will talk about what we know – and don’t know…

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April 2019

Mercury and the BepiColombo Mission by Professor David Rothery

April 8 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
National Maritime Museum, SE10 9NF
Greenwich, London SE10 9NF United Kingdom
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Professor David Rothery

We now have a joint European-Japanese mission on its way to Mercury. This is BepiColombo, launched 20th October 2018, which will start doing science from Mercury orbit in spring 2026. There is one UK-led instrument on board, the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer designed at Leicester University and funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the UK Space Agency. This will map the surface distribution of at least a dozen chemical elements at reasonable resolution across the entire…

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May 2019

21st Century Telescopes by Professor Michael Merrifield

May 13 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
National Maritime Museum, SE10 9NF
Greenwich, London SE10 9NF United Kingdom
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Professor Michael Merrifield

Astronomical discoveries and the development of technology have always gone hand in hand. Only a few years after its invention, Galileo was using the telescope to revolutionise our view of the universe. The story is the same in the 21st century, with some truly amazing developments in technology promising some massive leaps forward in our understanding of the universe. This talk will discuss how telescopes and other instrumentation have developed to-date, and what is on the drawing boards for the…

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June 2019

The Secret Rulers of the World – the Apollo Moon Landings, Conspiracy Theories and Critical Thinking Skills in a “Post-truth” World by Professor Anu Ojha

June 10 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
National Maritime Museum, SE10 9NF
Greenwich, London SE10 9NF United Kingdom
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Professor Anu Ojha OBE

In our technologically-driven society, the number of people who believe that the Moon landings took place in the Nevada Desert and that the 9-11 attacks either never happened or were controlled demolitions, is ever increasing, even though many of these views have little acceptance within the academic community. Why is this the case? Are scientists part of the global conspiracy or are things not quite as they appear? Who cares what people choose to believe? What are the ramifications for…

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September 2019

A Planet Not Our Own: The Strange Worlds of Exoplanets by Dr Elizabeth Tasker and Flamsteed AGM

September 16 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
National Maritime Museum, SE10 9NF
Greenwich, London SE10 9NF United Kingdom
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Dr Elizabeth Tasker

We thought we understood the planets of our Solar System until we discovered new worlds beyond our own Sun. Planets the size of Jupiter with orbits completed in Earth days, planets with two suns in the sky and others with seas of tar or endless oceans. How did these worlds form, how did we find them and could any of these discoveries be at all like our own Earth? Elizabeth Tasker is an astrophysicist and science communicator at Japan’s space…

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October 2019

Catching Gravitational Waves and Light from Colliding Stars by Professor Ofer Lahav

October 7 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
National Maritime Museum, SE10 9NF
Greenwich, London SE10 9NF United Kingdom
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Prof Ofer Lahav

Einstein’s gravitational waves and light produced by the same event – a pair of neutron stars – were detected for the first time in August 2017, an extraordinary moment in the history of physics. The lecture will explain what gravitational waves are, and how they were discovered by the LIGO collaboration, initially for systems of binary black holes. We will then describe how optical flashes were detected in the case of the binary neutron star merger by the Dark Energy…

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November 2019

Gaia – Mapping the Milky Way from Space, by Prof. Gerry Gilmore

November 11 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
National Maritime Museum, SE10 9NF
Greenwich, London SE10 9NF United Kingdom
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Astrometry from space has unique advantages over ground-based observations: it offers all-sky coverage, while the relatively stable and temperature- and gravity-invariant operating environment delivers precision, accuracy and sample volume several orders of magnitude greater than ground-based results. Even more importantly, absolute astrometry is possible. The European Space Agency Cornerstone mission Gaia is delivering that promise. Gaia provides 5-D phase space measurements – 3 spatial coordinates and two space motions in the plane of the sky, for a representative sample of…

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