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February 2020

Finding Life in the Universe by Dr Sarah Rugheimer

February 10 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
National Maritime Museum, SE10 9NF
Greenwich, London SE10 9NF United Kingdom
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Dr Sarah Rugheimer This planet we call home is teeming with life from the very depths of the ocean where no light penetrates, to small brine layers between ice crystals and near-boiling iridescent waters of Yellowstone. As we discover the vast diversity of extremophile life on Earth, our minds can only begin to imagine the possibilities for life to exist on other planets in the Universe. In this talk, Dr Sarah Rugheimer will present how we are going to characterize…

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March 2020

The Physics of Supernovae by Prof Ian Howarth

March 9 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
National Maritime Museum, SE10 9NF
Greenwich, London SE10 9NF United Kingdom
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Professor Ian Howarth This talk will be a gentle introduction to the physics of 'core collapse' supernovae (think pictures, not equations!). Working from a largely historical perspective, Professor Ian Howarth will outline how we know that these are the end-points of the evolution of the most massive stars, and their role in generating most of the heavy elements that exist in the nearby universe. Biography Having concluded that choosing an interesting subject was more important to him than a ‘marketable’…

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April 2020

Chasing Interstellar Visitors by Dr Colin Snodgrass – ONLINE

April 6 @ 7:15 pm - 9:00 pm

Dr Colin Snodgrass In 2017 a strange object was discovered by near-Earth asteroid surveys, with the appearance of a small asteroid, but an orbit that showed it to have come from another star. Dr Snodgrass will describe what we learned about this object, called ‘Oumuamua, and what we are now learning about the second interstellar object, comet Borisov, which was discovered in September last year and is currently being observed with large telescopes as it departs from the Sun. In…

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May 2020

Ad Astra: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet – A talk by Dallas Campbell – ONLINE

May 11 @ 7:15 pm
Dallas Campbell

Dallas Campbell Fifty years ago, 'we chose to go to the moon'. Project Apollo was the culmination of some 400,000 people working to meet John F Kennedy’s impossible deadline, with technology that didn’t yet exist, to explore a place that we knew nothing about. It has become one of human history’s defining moments. Join TV science presenter and author Dallas Campbell for a grand tour of the science and history of human space flight. From forgotten stories of the early…

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June 2020

Space Debris: Risks to Space Sustainability by Prof Hugh Lewis – ONLINE

June 8 @ 7:15 pm
Prof Hugh Lewis

Professor Hugh Lewis The DAMAGE computer model predicts the space debris population will grow exponentially despite widespread implementation of mitigation measures, with a high concentration of space debris developing near an altitude of 1,400km. These findings indicate that our space activity is unsustainable and that new management policies are needed. Hugh Lewis is a Professor of Astronautics in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton. Space Debris He has been active in the space debris…

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July 2020

Decoding the Heavens: The Mystery of the Antikythera Mechanism by Jo Marchant – ONLINE

July 6 @ 7:15 pm
Jo Marchant

Jo Marchant In 1901, sponge divers in the Mediterranean recovered several corroded pieces of bronze from an ancient shipwreck near the Greek island of Antikythera. Scholars soon noticed inscriptions on their surfaces, as well as traces of gearwheels, dials and pointers. These fragments were the remains of a mysterious and sophisticated device, dubbed the “Antikythera mechanism”. It turns out to be a mechanical model of the cosmos: one of the most impressive items that survives from the ancient world. In…

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August 2020

Bursts, bangs and things that go bump in the night – transient astronomy, by Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell – ONLINE

August 3 @ 7:15 pm
Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Jocelyn Bell Burnell We are honoured that Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell is finding time in her very busy diary to deliver a talk to Members, online via our usual Zoom platform. With improved technology astronomers are now able to observe things that rapidly change their brightness. Opening up this 'transient' domain has revealed a wealth of amazing phenomena which will be introduced here. Jocelyn Bell Burnell inadvertently discovered pulsars as a graduate student in radio astronomy in Cambridge, opening up a…

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Black Holes: The Small, the Medium and the XXL, by Dr Greg Brown – ONLINE

August 17 @ 7:15 pm
Dr Greg Brown

Dr Greg Brown Black holes are weird. Their nature is remarkably simple, yet the science surrounding them is unbelievably complicated and their effects on the Universe around them range from the bizarre to the devastating. They have been studied extensively since their discovery, and yet much remains that we simply don't know about them. In this talk, we will discuss the different types of black holes we have found, and those we are yet to discover, and see how astronomers…

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September 2020

Who Owns the Moon, by Professor Christopher Newman – ONLINE

September 14 @ 7:15 pm
Prof Christopher Newman

Prof Christopher Newman Do you fancy prospecting for rare and precious minerals on the moon one day? Assuming you could get there and actually start prospecting, would it be legal. In this discussion entitled “Who owns the Moon”, Prof Christopher Newman from Northumbria University in Newcastle will look at the legal position in outer space as private companies are seeking investment to mine asteroids and develop a permanent human presence on the Moon.  Despite the formidable technical and engineering challenges…

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October 2020

Solar flares – the most powerful explosions in the Solar System, by Professor Philippa Browning – ONLINE

October 19 @ 7:15 pm
Professor Philippa Browning

Professor Philippa Browning Solar flares are powerful “explosions” in the Sun’s atmosphere, the corona. They are caused by a rapid release of the energy stored in the strong magnetic field of the corona – the magnetic field lines break in a process known as magnetic reconnection. This heats the gas to temperatures of tens of millions of degrees and creates beams of very high-energy charged particles. The particles and electromagnetic radiation from flares can have significant effects on the Earth…

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