2021 / 22 seasons talks.
8th October 2021

Catherine Heymans, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. “The Mysteries of the Multiverse”

We imagine ours is the only reality.  But some scientists and philosophers argue that there are many, perhaps an infinite number, of possible worlds that run parallel to our own.  The Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Catherine Heymans, will present the astronomical observations that lend support to this theory.  We'll then leave it to you to discuss whether this idea is a credible version of the universe, or a wild fantasy and evidence that mathematics is no guide to reality.

22nd October 2021

Giles Hammond, University of Glasgow. “Photometry of Short Period Asteroids”

There are a large number of asteroids which are reasonably bright, have rotation periods of several hours and are easily observable from UK latitudes. As asteroids rotate, their magnitude is modulated, and accurate photometry can reveal these fast rotators. This talk will describe a project which was run with 3rd/4th year undergraduates at the University of Glasgow during the COVID lockdown, using a remote telescope in Spain to take consecutive nights of data of a pair of asteroids.

12th November 2021

Hongsheng Zhao, University of St Andrews. “Testing Fundamental Physics in Astronomy”  Abstract to follow.

26th November 2021

Martin Hendry, University of Glasgow.  “Gravitational Wave Astronomy: The Story So Far”

It is now six years since LIGO made the first direct detection of gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes more than a billion lights years away – a discovery that was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics and launched a whole new field of astronomy.  Lots has been happening since then, with dozens more detections made leading to important new insights about the nature of black holes and neutron stars and their place in the universe.  Join Martin Hendry for a whistle-stop tour through the dawn, and exciting future of gravitational-wave astronomy.

10th December 2021 : Christmas Quiz. With Jeanette Noble & Graham Young. Our regular fun quiz night.

14th January 2022 : Members' Evening

Your chance to shine!!  Short talks, demonstrations, show & tell items, on any relevant subject – all contributions welcome.

28th January 2022

Kristopher Cooper, University of Glasgow.  “X-Raying the Sun: Observing Explosive Events at High Energies”

The Sun emits a wide range of light in many sections of the electromagnetic spectrum providing insights into the physical environment across the solar surface and atmosphere. I will discuss how the extreme-ultraviolet and X-ray domains help us investigate the most energetic and violent events in the solar system, solar flares, at a wide range of scales.

11th February 2022

Patrick Barth, University of St Andrews.  “What makes a planet habitable? - From life on Earth to life on extrasolar planets”

In the last 25 years we have found thousands of planets around other stars, but so far we have not been able to detect life on any other body than Earth. After a short introduction into the diversity of extrasolar planets, I will try to shed some light on the fascinating research on the origin of life and to answer some questions regarding the possibility of life on extrasolar planets.

25th February 2022

Kenneth Duncan, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh.  “The WEAVE Project”

WEAVE is a new instrument being installed on the William Herschel Telescope in Las Palma.  It will allow a comprehensive census of the universe to answer fundamental astrophysical questions, and will extend the telescope’s field of view to two degrees on the sky in order to increase the rate of measurements to up to 1,000 stars per hour.  This talk will describe the development of the instrument and hopefully explore its first observations.

11th March 2022

John Davies, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

“Missions to Near-Earth Asteroids” 

John will describe the recent Japanese Hayabusa-2 and NASA OSIRIS-Rex missions which have both sampled asteroids with a view to returning the material to Earth for analysis.

25th March 2022 : AGM.  Possibly including a brief talk or presentation.
We are pleased to announce our season of talks on a particularly exciting variety of subjects from some well known and respected speakers.

Below are dates for your calendars
Please Note - due to Covid-19 we are limited in numbers allowed in the meeting room and these are allocated by email.  Please contact the secretary HERE to check if spaces are available.  Please do not come to the observatory if you haven’t been allocated a seat.