17th June Lecture: How Telescopes are made

For over 400 years now astronomy prospers by the use of it’s most important tool, the telescope.

In this lecture  Dr Jurgen Schmoll will show how these wonderful instruments were once made and how they are made today, focusing on research telescopes as well as on amateur equipment where examples of mass production are shown as well as ways to make your own telescope at home.

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15th July Lecture: TRAPPIST-1 System of Exoplanets

In Natalie Heron’s talk she outlines that we’ve possibly found a new solar system, and it threatens to put our own to shame.

The star Trappist-1, a mere 39 light years away, has been found to host seven Earth-sized, rocky planets.

The discovery has astronomers, alien-hunters, and space enthusiasts abuzz for a good few reasons. Among new solar systems discovered so far, none have had more than seven planets (our system has eight). And none have had all seven that were rocky and also Earth-sized.

What’s more, because the star type is among the most common in our galaxy, such solar systems are likely to be quite common. That makes the Trappist-1 system a prime target to accelerate the search for life beyond our own solar system.

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Perseus - Grubb-Parsons Telescope 1985

Back from the brink: Refurbishing the ‘Perseus’ Grubb-Parsons Telescope

For most astronomical societies, refurbishing an historic scope would be a dream come true. David Ettie of Sunderland Astronomical Society reveals how he and his fellow stargazers did just that.

While the north east of England is well known for mining and heavy industry, until 1985 it also had a hand in producing quality telescopes, courtesy of a company called Sir Howard Grubb, Parsons and Co. Ltd.

The roots of this enterprise go back to the famous Victorian telescope maker Howard Grubb, who established the Grubb Telescope Company in Dublin in 1833 before the business was moved across the Irish Sea to Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1925.

Acquired by the British engineer Charles Parsons, the company was renamed and became known colloquially as Grubb Parsons. 

For the Full article – please see the Sky at Night Magazine.

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Pint Of Science Event

14 May – Pint of Science Event. Gazing at galaxies: what we know about the Universe

Pint of Science is a global science festival that takes place in pubs across the world between the 14th and 16th of May.

This year, they are having an ‘Atoms to Galaxies’ event at the Boat Club in Durham city centre; our members will likely be most interested in the talks on Gazing at galaxies: what we know about the Universe

that are being given by some fantastic astronomers from the Durham Physics department.

Pint of Science is a non-profit organisation that brings some of the most brilliant scientists to your local pub to discuss their latest research and findings with you.

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Coronal Mass Ejection NASA/org

18th March Lecture: The Sun’s Active Atmosphere

The Sun may appear placid at first glance, but a closer look reveals an incredibly active atmosphere. Some of the most spectacular eruptions in our solar system occur there every day.

Some of these eruptions are relatively small, whilst others occur on a truly colossal scale.

In this talk, Dr Peter Wyper  and will explain a bit about these eruptions and show how researchers such as myself use numerical models to understand them better.

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18th February Lecture: Exoplanets – Worlds Around Other Stars

“Exoplanets” or “extrasolar” planets are worlds that orbit stars outside the Solar System.

There are myriad types ranging from the so-called “Hot-Jupiters” to Earth and Super Earth sized planets.

This talk aims to give a brief introduction to exoplanetary science, an exciting field at the cutting-edge of astronomy; describing how we find these worlds and what we can know about them.

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26th January: Beamish Stargazing Event

One of the North Easts largest Museums and largest Astronomical Societies have teamed up give the public a truly unique astronomical event, to Inspire, Educate and Inform the public on the amazing show going on above our heads.

Date: Friday 26th January 2018.

Times: from 6:30 pm – 9:30pm.

Price: £5 Ticket Entry (tickets can be booked and purchased via the Beamish website, Beamish Events Bookings).

Event size: 350, so get your tickets asap!

Join local astronomers from across the North East for a fun night of assorted astronomical treats at the several sites at Beamish.

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21st January Lecture: Viewing the Universe in light of Gravitational Lensing (CANCELLED)

UPDATE: The SAS Lecture tonight has been cancelled at short notice due to severe weather and transport difficulties of lecturer getting to wetlands.

It will be re-schedule for later date.

The SAS are still opening up as normal from 7 pm. It strongly suggested to use the main car park due to the weather conditions. 

Einstein’s theory of general relativity famously unified gravity with the geometry of the Universe, making two remarkable predictions, that light-rays take a straight path through space and that mass bends the space surrounding it.

Together, this means that where there is mass, light appears bent, a phenomenon known today as gravitational lensing and a tool used by astrophysicists to study almost everything in the Universe; from planets on stars neighbouring the Sun to weighing the entire observable Universe.

Durham University’s Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy James Nightingale will give a run-through of the exciting and innovative ways that astronomers are using gravitational lensing to obtain a new and unique view of the Universe and speculate how it may hold our best hope of one day disproving Einstein’s famous theory.

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