Lecture - Weds 20th Sept - Prof Mark Bailey, Emeritus Director of Armagh Observatory. "Ancient Stones and Comets: Developing the Giant-Comet Hypothesis"

Prof Mark Bailey
A bright comet can become the most prominent object in the sky other than the Sun and Moon and a source of wonderment and awe for those lucky enough to see one. This talk begins with an introduction to comets, their origin and proximate source in the Oort cloud; and then discusses evidence for exceptionally large, so-called "giant" comets with diameters 50km to 100km or more.  
 
Such an object can be expected to arrive in the inner solar system at intervals of the order of 50 to 100 thousand years, and debris from their evolution may produce a very much more "active" sky than that experienced today.  
 
Evidence for the arrival of the most recent giant comet some 10 to 20 thousand years ago suggests a possible explanation for mankind's early interest in the sky, a powerful motivation for the erection of monuments with astronomical associations, and the origin of religion.
 
Doors open about 7.15pm. There is free parking available on the campus in the evenings. Admission Free, including light refreshments. We are located in the Bell Theatre, Department of Mathematics and Physics, QUB - details here......
 
With thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for assistance with this event.