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A tour of the dynamic universe

Fri 4 February, 2022
7:30 pm
- 9:00 pm GMT

Hybrid Hybrid Event
Hybrid Hybrid Event
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The speaker will be speaking live from California, and the talk can be watched on a large screen at 16 Queen Square, or online – please select the right ticket when booking.

Casual observation of the night sky leads one to view the Universe as well-ordered and stable, changing only in minor ways and regularly, smoothly and predictably at that. Even intensive study with telescopes – starting with Galileo, and including William Herschel, Edwin Hubble and many others – only reinforced this vision of a Clockwork Universe.

Space-based missions (including the Herschel and Hubble Observatories, named after the mentioned pioneers) opening up new wavelengths, as well as advances in technology enabling better ways of discovery, have led to a quite opposite view: the Dynamic Universe.

This talk is essentially a guided tour of some remarkable events in this ever-changing, highly active universe. We start nearby with the Earth and our Sun, transit the Solar System, pass by exploding stars, active galaxies, gamma-ray bursts, ending with perhaps the most dramatic events of all: merging black holes, accessible through a completely new mode of observation in the form of gravitational radiation, “ripples in space-time.”

Dr Jeffrey Scargle, NASA Ames Research Center, retired