Lecture - Weds 4th December 7:30pm - Dr Matt Redman, NUIG. “The shaping of planetary nebulae”

Dr Matt Redman

Synopsis: Planetary nebulae often exhibit stunning shapes and intricate features, but it is a long-standing puzzle as to how such a wide range of shapes can arise because the stars from which they form are spherical. Binary companions offer one way to break the symmetry, but there are not enough of them in close orbits to account for the numbers of non-spherical planetary nebulae. Instead, we examine whether exoplanets, engulfed at the end of the stars life, can be responsible for the shaping. The talk will be illustrated with many examples of planetary nebulae, including the intriguing Boomerang Nebula, which is currently the coldest object ever observed in space.  

Lecture Weds 20th Nov 7:30pm - Dr Meg Schwamb (QUB) “New Perspectives Big and Small of the Trans-Neptunian Region”

Dr Meg Schwamb

Pluto resides beyond Neptune orbiting in a sea of small icy bodies in the Trans-Neptunian Region. These distant objects are truly the fossils relics left over after our Solar System’s formation. Digging into the orbits, dynamics, and physical properties of these bodies provide new insights and windows into the origins and past history of the outer Solar System. This includes hints of a possibly unseen planet or an event long-since erased from the rest of the Solar System. In this talk, I’ll explore the changing views of the outer Solar System from the discoveries of ground-based surveys to the New Horizons fly-bys of the Pluto system and Arrokoth.

Lecture Weds 6th Nov 7:30pm - Mike Foylan (Cherryvalley Observatory) - "Backyard Science for the Amateur Astronomer - Research isn’t Just for the Professionals!"

Mike Foylan

Amateur astronomer Mike Foylan became interested in Astronomy at the age of 5, receiving his first telescope as a gift from his father at the age of ten. Since then he has become a keen amateur astronomer establishing in 2010, Cherryvalley Observatory based in the small village of Rathmolyon in rural Co Meath, Ireland. 

Lecture, Wednesday 23rd October, 7.30 p.m.Dr Ernst de Mooij (QUB) “Looking for rings and gas around exoplanets"

Dr Ernst de Mooij

There are now over 4,000 exoplanets known, with over 3,000 positively confirmed. They have an amazing range of sizes, masses, temperatures and orbital periods, and orbit a variety of different types of stars, including some similar to the Sun, and some quite close to Earth. We’re now approaching the point where it may be possible to detect life in some cases, if it exists.