Past Astronomy Colloquia

Mon, 2018-10-15 15:00 - 16:00
Toby Brown (McMaster)
Every star in our Milky Way, and in all other galaxies, was born from the collapse of a cloud of hydrogen gas. The importance of cold gas in galaxy evolution is therefore well established, as is its role as a probe of recent environmental effects on galaxies. However, sensitivity limitations mean the extent to which internal and external processes drive variations in the gas-star formation cycle of galaxies remains unclear.
Mon, 2018-10-08 15:00 - 16:00
Mon, 2018-10-01 15:00 - 16:00
Holger Baumgardt (University of Queensland)

Supermassive black holes are thought to exist in the centres of most massive galaxies and their masses have been found to correlate strongly with the properties of their host galaxies like overall luminosity or central velocity dispersion. Yet it is unknown what processes have established these correlations and if and how they continue towards lower mass systems. In my talk I will present results from our search for massive black holes in ultra-compact dwarf galaxies in nearby galaxies and in massive globular clusters of the Milky Way.

Mon, 2018-09-24 15:00 - 16:00
Andrea Bellini (Space Telescope Science Institute)

With the advent of the Gaia mission, astrometry is experiencing a renaissance. Although Gaia will make important breakthroughs in many different areas, stars in the crowded central fields of globular clusters and at the faint end of the color-magnitude diagram are out of Gaia's reach. However, the stable environment of space makes the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) an excellent astrometric tool.  Its diffraction-limited resolution allows it to distinguish and measure positions and brightnesses for faint stars all the way to the center of most globular clusters.

Mon, 2018-09-17 15:00 - 16:00
Jean-Luc Margot (Dept. Earth, Planetary & Space Sciences Dept. Physics & Astronomy, UCLA)

Profound developments in our understanding of the Earth, Moon, and other planetary bodies have been enabled by rotation studies.  I will describe the application of a new Earth-based radar technique that enables high-precision measurements of planetary spin states and provides powerful probes of planetary interior structure and processes.

Mon, 2018-09-10 15:00 - 16:00
Francois Bouchet (Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris)

Cosmology enjoyed a remarkable development over the last century. Astronomical observations revealed that galaxies like our own are not distributed at random throughout space, but rather delineate a quite remarkable structure, reminiscent of the skeletal framework of a sponge. How could that be? We now have developed a compelling picture of how these galaxies and their distribution developed over time, under the influence of gravity. We trace their origin to the earliest moment of the Universe.

Mon, 2018-04-02 15:30 - 16:45
Mon, 2018-03-26 15:00 - 16:15
Siamak Ravanbakhs (UBC Computer Science)
A primary goal of modern cosmology is to map complex large-scale observations to simple theories. This contrast of scale between theory and data inevitably necessitates a computational approach. This computation may involve a compressive analysis of observational data, massive simulations, active exploration, or a search for rare events. In this talk, I will argue that recent advances in machine learning, and in particular deep learning can significantly impact the current practice in all of these fronts.
Mon, 2018-03-19 15:00 - 16:15
Henry Ngo (Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics)
Discoveries of exoplanetary systems in the last two decades have revealed the diversity of planetary systems in our Galaxy. Due to their large masses and radii, giant planets are often the first planets discovered with each new planet-finding technique. Two giant planet classes on extreme orbits have raised new challenges for planet formation and migration models: the hot Jupiters found on close-in orbits and the directly imaged giant planets detected on wide orbits.
Mon, 2018-03-12 15:00 - 16:15
Tessa Vernstrom (Dunlap Institute, University of Toronto)
This exciting time of big data from new telescopes and surveys provides unprecedented opportunities for discovery. Cosmic magnetism is a vigorous and rapidly developing area. This surge of interest has been driven in large part by the prospect of dramatic new views of polarization and Faraday rotation offered by new wide-field technological developments. The combination of new deep extragalactic radio surveys, statistical methods, and data-mining techniques allow us to probe to new depths and examine questions such as: was there a primordial magnetic field and what was its strength?
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