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Exploring the Universe
January 28, 2023 @ 11:00 am - February 25, 2023 @ 12:00 pm£4.00 - £15.00
A course of five lectures in astronomy by Dr. Adrian Jannetta, on Saturdays from 11 am to 12 noon via Zoom.
An introduction to practical and theoretical astronomy for beginners. Learn how to find stars and constellations. Each week will focus on a different constellation visible in the UK night sky and the astronomy they have inspired. We’ll also keep pace with current astronomical events such as aurora predictions, planets, comets and meteor showers.
Week 1 / The Solar System
This session will review some of the landmark space missions to the planets and beyond. From the early Mariners, Pioneers, Voyagers, Magellan, Galileo, Cassini, New Horizons, Juno and others. We’ll see the images they took and the discoveries they made. Constellation focus will be Orion, the Hunter.
Week 2 / Death from Above!
The universe is a dangerous place to live. From falling asteroids to exploding stars – there are lots of ways for the universe to get you. In this session we’ll dip into the exploration of comets and asteroids, of stellar evolution and the end of the universe itself. Constellation focus will be Canis Major, the Great Dog.
Week 3 / The Colour of Space
This session delves into great observatories – past and present – exploring the universe at different wavelengths. The visual spectrum gives a very limited view of the universe. The past 100 years have seen big telescopes capable of seeing gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet, infrared and radio waves. We’ll look at the contributions made by the most celebrated telescopes and observatories of all time including Hubble, Spitzer, SOHO and James Webb. Constellation focus on Gemini, the Twins.
Week 4 / Down the Black Hole
Black holes are one of the strangest and most mysterious objects in the universe. Einstein’s equations predicted their existence in the early 20th century but the first photographs were made in the last five years. We’ll look at the processes which create them and answer the hypothetical question of “What would happen if you travelled into a black hole?” Constellation focus is on Ursa Major, the Great Bear.
Week 5 / The NASTRO Binocular 75
This week we’ll enjoy the night sky without a telescope and I’ll introduce you to an observing challenge to take you to the end of the year! I devised the NASTRO Binocular 75 about 20 years ago to get members of my local astronomy club out observing new and interesting objects. I’ll share the list with you and talk about how to observe objects with binoculars and how to find them. Constellation focus this week is Leo, the Lion.
Lectures will be delivered via Zoom. If you haven’t used Zoom before, please go to www.zoom.us and look at the tutorials. Once you have booked, you will find the Zoom invitation in the Online Event Page on Eventbrite. You will also receive an email with the invitation 24 hours before the event. If you can’t find the invitation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.