Lecture - Weds 15th March - Dr. Cosimo Inserra "Building bridges to the mysteries of our Universe with the brightest cosmic explosions"

Dr Cosimo Inserra
We know only the 4 per cent of the Universe, the other 96 per cent is made of things that astronomers cannot detect or even comprehend. Supernovae are stellar explosions capable to outshine the luminosity of an entire galaxy. It means that a single star explosion can irradiate more energy than 100 billions stars altogether. It is thanks to such explosions that we can have heavy elements like iron on our planet, as well as the Earth itself. Furthermore, it is exciting how Supernovae can also help us to understand the aforementioned missing and mysterious 96 per cent of our Universe, something that astronomers call dark energy and dark matter. 

Lecture - Weds 1st March - Dr Katja Poppenhaeger (QUB) - "Exotic worlds: planets in other solar systems and what they might look like"

Dr Katja Poppenhaeger

Dr Poppenhaeger will talk about how astronomers discover planets in other solar systems, and show a few of the most breathtaking scenarios for what those planets may look like. What would life be like on a habitable world around a tiny red sun? Could a moon around a giant planet be habitable? What would happen if an Earth-like planet were just a tiny bit closer to its sun than we are to ours? She will give a glimpse into the science behind these questions, and show which stars out there actually have possibly habitable worlds around them. There will be ample opportunity for asking questions after the talk.

Weds 22nd Feb 6:30pm - "Exploring the Red Planet - Adventures of the Curiosity Rover" by Professor Sanjeev Gupta, Imperial College, London.

Prof Sanjeev Gupta
"Since the first flyby in 1965 Mars has been extensively explored by orbiters, landers and rovers and today we know a great deal about the planet's surface, atmosphere and geological history.  This lecture will focus on the results from the most recent NASA Mars Science Laboratory mission - the 'Curiosity' Rover Mission.  It will also look forward to the upcoming European mission."    

Lecture Weds 15th Feb - Dr Michele Bannister, QUB "Icy Wonders of the Outer Solar System"

Dr Michele Bannister
Recent discoveries are revealing intricate structure in the populations of tiny icy worlds that orbit far beyond Neptune. Surveys with some of the world’s largest telescopes are mapping the depths of this vast region. With the >800 discoveries from the Outer Solar System Origins Survey, we are writing the history of how our Solar System was sculpted into shape by the migration of Neptune and the other giant planets. I’ll also discuss the few known extreme orbits in this region, and whether they hint at the elusive presence of a distant giant Planet Nine.

ISS Lunar Transit Photographed from Sprucefield

IAA President Paul Evans has successfully imaged a transit of the International Space Station (ISS) from Northern Ireland. Using information provided by the website Calsky.org, Paul determined that Sprucefield near Lisburn would be on the centreline of the transit which would take place after the ISS had passed Venus and Mars and moved into Earth's shadow. It so happened that the sky was clear if slightly hazy so an attempt was made. Paul used his Celestron ED 80 telescope with Lumix G7 camera at prime focus in 4K video mode, taking 25 8 megapixel images every second.