Astronomy Colloquia

A superexotic super-Earth orbiting a naked-eye star

Speaker: 
Jaymie Matthews (UBC Physics & Astronomy)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2011-09-12 16:00 - 17:15
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

Super-Earths are solid planets more massive than Earth but less massive than ice giants like Neptune. There are no analogues for this type of planet in our own Solar System but ground- and spacebased exoplanet searches started turning up super-Earths a few years ago.

A Hubble Adventure: Repairing the Telescope and Its Exciting New Discoveries

Speaker: 
Dr. John Grunsfeld, Deputy Director, Space Telescope Science Institute and Former NASA Astronaut
Event Date and Time: 
Sat, 2012-02-11 20:15 - 21:30
Location: 
Lecture Hall No. 2 in the Woodward Instructional Resources Centre, UBC
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews and Harvey Richer
Intended Audience: 
Public

Dr. Grunsfeld’s research has covered x-ray and gamma-ray astronomy, high-energy cosmic ray studies, and development of new detectors and instrumentation. He studied binary pulsars and energetic x-ray and gamma ray sources using the NASA Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, x-ray astronomy satellites, radio telescopes, and optical telescopes including the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Dr. Grunsfeld has logged over 58 days in space, including 58 hours in 8 space walks.

Cool Stars, Cool Planets, and Extremely Cold Astronomy

Speaker: 
Nicholas Law (Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, U. Toronto)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2012-04-02 16:00 - 17:15
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews and Kris Sigurdson
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
Cool stars are superb places to look for planets: their low masses and small radii enhance planetary signatures, and planets in their habitable zones have short periods. Even so, with current instrumentation, it is challenging to search for transiting planets around these very dim stars. I will present the first results from the PTF/M-dwarfs survey, which is searching for short-period transiting giant planets around 100,000 cool stars and rocky planets around 5,000 M-dwarfs. Once that survey is complete, the next step is to search for potentially habitable systems.

Planetary rings: An evolving view from Cassini

Speaker: 
Joseph Burns (Cornell University)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2012-02-27 16:00 - 17:15
Location: 
Hennings 201 - DIFFERENT ROOM THAN USUAL
Local Contact: 
Brett Gladman and Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
The Cassini mission has been observing Saturn, its satellites and rings since July 2004. I will mention some of its unexpected discoveries about the moons Enceladus and Titan, two bodies of interest to astrobiologists: the tiny moon Enceladus spews hot water into the E ring from polar geysers; and precipitation from Titan’s dense atmosphere leads to methane-filled lakes and river valleys.

Cosmology on large and small cosmic scales

Speaker: 
Yin-Zhe Ma (UBC Physics & Astronomy)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2012-02-13 16:00 - 17:15
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
In this talk, I will test concordance cosmology on three different cosmic scales. (1) On the super-horizon scale, Copi et al. (2009) argued that the lack of large angular correlations of the CMB temperature field provides strong evidence against the standard, statistically isotropic, LCDM (Lambda Cold Dark Matter) cosmology. I will argue that the ad-hoc discrepancy is due to the sub-optimal estimator of the low-l multipoles, and 'a posteriori' statistics, which exaggerate the statistical significance.

Applications for the Precise Timing of Exoplanetary Orbits

Speaker: 
Stephen Kane (NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Caltech)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2012-03-12 16:00 - 17:15
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews and Diana Dragomir
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
The field of exoplanets has rapidly expanded from the exclusivity of exoplanet detection to include exoplanet characterisation. Even so, studies of internal structure and atmospheres have been largely restricted to the low-periastron distance regime due to the bias inherent in the geometric transit probability. Monitoring known radial velocity planets at predicted transit times is a proven method of detecting transits, and presents an avenue through which to explore the mass-radius relationship of exoplanets at long periods around bright host stars.

How to publish a paper in Nature

Speaker: 
Leslie Sage (University of Maryland and the journal Nature)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2012-03-05 16:00 - 17:15
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews and Harvey Richer
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
Nature is one of the world's leading scientific journals, publishing many papers that receive wide attention by the general public. But, Nature is very selective - less than 7% of submitted papers are published. In order to maximize your chances of getting published, papers should present fundamental new physical insights, or startling observations/results. Theory papers pose additional problems, as we want only those papers that are likely to be the correct explanation, and not simply exploring parameter space.

Discarded Worlds: Astronomical ideas that were almost correct...

Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2012-02-27 19:00 - 20:00
Location: 
Hebb Theatre
Astronomy is more than just observing; it's making sense of those observations. A good theorist needs a good imagination... and no fear of being wrong. Aryabaha in ancient India and Ptolemy in ancient Rome, the medieval bishops Oresme and Cusa, the 19th century astronomers Schiaparelli and Pickering, all rose to the challenge; and they were all almost correct. Which is to say, they were wrong... sometimes hilariously, sometimes heartbreakingly so. What lessons can 21st century astronomers take from these discarded images?

Feedback and Galaxy Formation

Speaker: 
Norm Murray (Canadian Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2012-03-26 16:00 - 17:15
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews and Mark Halpern
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
Feedback from young stars plays a critical role in shaping the galaxy mass function, particularly at the low mass end, while feedback from supermassive black holes appears to shape the high mass end, statements supported by both numerical and semi-analytic models of galaxy formation. However, the exact form of the feedback is not certain. I will describe recent work shedding light on this problem.

Synthesis of Complex Organics in the Late Stages of Stellar Evolution

Speaker: 
Sun Kwok (The University of Hong Kong)
Event Date and Time: 
Fri, 2012-02-17 15:00 - 16:15
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
The last phase of stellar evolution from the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) to proto-planetary nebulae, to planetary nebulae represents the most active period of synthesis of organic compounds in a star’s life. Both inorganic and organic molecules and solids are found to form in the circumstellar envelopes created by stellar winds.
Syndicate content
Website development by Checkmark Media. Designed by Armada.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Faculty of Science
Department of Physics and Astronomy
6224 Agricultural Road
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Tel 604.822.3853
Fax 604.822.5324

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia