Astronomy Colloquia

The Mystery of the Broken Field Line

Speaker: 
Eric Donovan (University of Calgary)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2012-01-30 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
The solar wind interacts with Earth’s magnetic field, creating our magnetosphere. Magnetospheric processes are interesting as exemplars of fundamental phenomena and because they affect our environment.

Herschel Observations of the Earliest Phases of Star Formation

Speaker: 
James Di Francesco (Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2012-01-23 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
The Herschel Space Observatory is revolutionising our understanding of star formation. Its access to far-infrared and submillimetre continuum emission over wide fields has revealed structures related to star formation in nearby molecular clouds like no other telescope has before. In this talk, I will summarise the current results of one ongoing Herschel Key Projects, the Gould Belt Survey (GBS) that is studying the early phases of star formation across the entireties of molecular clouds through the continuum emission of filaments, clumps and cores.

Characterising exoplanets

Speaker: 
Ray Jayawardhana
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2012-01-16 16:00 - 17:15
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
On-going searches for extrasolar planets, despite certain limitations in sensitivity, have already revealed a remarkable diversity of worlds, from close-in super-Earths to far out super-Jupiters, and challenged our preconceptions many times over. Meanwhile, comparative studies of exoplanet physical properties have begun in earnest: planets caught in transit and those imaged directly are best suited for detailed characterization, especially of their atmospheres. I will discuss recent results and future prospects,including the possibility of extending these techniques to lower-mass planets.

New Views of Mercury from Messenger

Speaker: 
Catherine Johnson (UBC Earth and ocean Sciences
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2012-01-09 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
On March 18, 2011 MESSENGER became the first spacecraft ever to orbit our Solar System’s innermost planet. The MESSENGER orbit is highly elliptical with a minimum (periapse) altitude of 200km at a latitude of about 60°N, an orbital period of 12 hours and an apoapse altitude of 15,300 km. Since orbit insertion, MESSENGER has collected data comprising more than 3 Mercury years, 1.5 solar days, and 4 coverages in body-fixed geographical coordinates.

Probing fundamental physics by measuring the cosmic microwave background from 5200 meters

Speaker: 
Michael Niemack (National Institute of Standards & Technology, Boulder)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2011-11-21 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews and Mark Halpern
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
Recent measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) have played a major role in the development of the "standard model" of cosmology: a universe dominated by dark energy and dark matter. However, fundamental aspects of the cosmos remain elusive, such as the nature of dark energy and dark matter and whether an inflationary epoch occurred in the first 10^(-30) seconds after the big bang.

Gamma-ray bursts as tools for extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology

Speaker: 
Rosalba Perna (JILA, University of Colorado, Boulder)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2011-11-14 16:00
Location: 
Hennings 318
Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) are the brightest light sources in the Universe, as well as the most distant sources known. These characteristics, combined with their power-law spectra, make them ideal cosmological probes. In this talk I will discuss how GRBs are impacting several areas of extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology. In particular, I will show how they can be used to trace the evolution of the mean density and clumpiness of the interstellar medium with redshift, and the properties of dust in high-z galaxies.

First evidence of solar-like oscillations in delta Scuti stars

Speaker: 
Vichi Antoci
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2011-11-07 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
Helioseismology is a mature field that has led to remarkably accurate knowledge of the solar interior. With the success of the MOST, CoRoT and Kepler space missions, asteroseismology of solar-like oscillators has begun to make similar contributions to our knowledge of the interiors of stars cooler than about 6500 K. This has been achieved through the study of high-overtone acoustic oscillations stochastically excited in the outer convection zones of these stars.

Multimessenger astronomy and cosmology with the Einstein Telescope

Speaker: 
Martin Hendry (University of Glasgow)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2011-10-31 16:00 - 17:15
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
The nascent field of gravitational wave astronomy is entering an exciting phase, with construction of the Advanced LIGO laser interferometers in the US currently well under way. Within the next few years these instruments will begin operation, forming part of a global "2nd generation" detector network which is expected to make the first direct detections of gravitational waves from astrophysical sources. Moreover, plans are already developing for what will lie beyond the advanced detectors.
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