How did the elements come into existence, and how we can use them to count the number of stars in the early Universe? This talk will reveal the dark ages of the Universe.
Through a visual journey, you will travel with an astronomer, Dr. Lee Spitler, on an observing trip to the remote 6.5-metre Baade Magellan Telescope. In the still Chilean night, you will collect astronomy data to hunt for galaxies billions of light years away from Earth. Learn about the trials and tribulations of a professional astronomer.
Advancements in modern astronomy are increasingly dependent on access to powerful computing facilities. This talk introduces the exciting new world of CPU-powered astronomy, which is taking us from computer games to galaxies.
Just over a century ago the fixed stars we see in the night sky were the limit of the entire Universe. The Universe was assumed to be static. Now we have discovered that our Universe is not only expanding but is also accelerating. Galaxies play an important role here. In this talk I will describe how our knowledge about the Universe as a whole is evolving over time with emerging techniques and technologies.
Over the last few decades astronomers have made enormous leaps in charting the Universe around us. Now, with accurate positions for millions of galaxies, we are finally able to trace the Cosmic Web in which we live. But these cosmic maps do far more than simply catalogue the contents of our Universe – they can help us to understand its origin and evolution as well as its ultimate fate. Cosmologist Dr Rita Tojeiro takes us on a voyage to the furthest reaches of space and explains how astronomers are unlocking some of the fundamental secrets of the Universe.
Solar System bodies such as planets, meteorites and comets are all created from small grains during the protoplanetary disk phase. The chemical composition of all these objects is intrinsically related to the chemistry of gas and grains in the parent disk. In the first part of the lecture we will explore the evidence we have to understand grain growth in discs. In the second part of the lecture we will go through the chemistry of discs and how thermodynamics can help us to understand the formation of our Solar System and the bulk composition of exoplanets orbiting stars different from our Sun.
Stars don't shine forever - and especially very massive stars don't live very long before ending their lives as neutron stars or black holes. In this lecture we will focus on the endpoints of the evolution of such massive stars and how a black hole can be formed during a stellar explosion called supernova. We will discuss how black holes of different sizes can be detected under certain circumstances, and implications for theories that stellar-mass black holes could be the seeds of supermassive black holes we find at the centres of galaxies like our Milky Way.
Pulsars are the compact cores of dead stars that periodically flash radio beams at Earth. The regularity of their flashing makes them somewhat like highly accurate clocks--however not all pulsars are very well behaved. This lecture will give a background to pulsar astronomy and detail the extreme behaviours that some of these enigmatic stars exhibit. New, bizarre classes of pulsars are regularly being discovered, and we will present hot-off-the-press discoveries that have been made by an international team of astronomers that includes members of the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing.
Using exceptional data from Hubble Space Telescope astronomers have discovered supermassive black holes, with masses ranging from millions to billions times the mass of the Sun, at the very centre of massive galaxies. Intriguingly the mass of this central black hole scales with many of the properties of the host galaxy, for example the total mass of the galaxy is about five hundred times the mass of the black hole. However the direct gravitational influence of the black hole extends to only a minute fraction of the volume of the galaxy (about one billionth of the total volume). So, how are these connections established? I will explore this question and reveal an unexpected twist in the story of galaxy evolution. Presented by Prof. Roger Davies on 4 September 2015.
The clockwork-like motion of the planets around the Sun is well understood thanks to Newton's universal law of gravitation. Using Newtonian physics and some simple mathematical equations, we can describe (and predict) the motion of a planet around the Sun. The solution to this "2-body problem" allows us to determine the location of an orbiting body at any time in the future. But when we add just one more body, the situation becomes a lot more complex. Our Solar System hosts a rich variety of dynamics, including the Kirkwood gaps in the asteroid belt, intricate structures in Saturn's rings, and the resonant orbits of Jupiter's Galilean satellites. In this talk we will discuss some of these interesting phenomena and how gravity shapes the Solar System.