RASC Regular Meeting January 14, 2019, History of the Hubble Space Telescope

RASC Regular Meeting
TELUS World of Science – Zeidler Dome
FREE and open to the public.

Note: The regular meeting will begin after the annual general meeting concludes.

8:30 PM Guest Speaker

Dr. Chris Gainor

History of the Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched 28 years ago in 1990. After overcoming problems caused by a defective main mirror, Hubble has made discoveries that have revolutionized our view of the universe we live in. This talk will cover the history of HST based on a history book the speaker is writing for NASA.


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RASC Regular Meeting December 10, 2018, Unravelling Star Formation

RASC Regular Meeting
TELUS World of Science – Zeidler Dome
FREE and open to the public.

7:00 PM Meet and Greet

7:30 PM Guest Speaker

Eric Koch

Unravelling Star Formation

Orion in Infrared. Imaged by the Herschel Space Observatory

Stars form in the coldest, densest collections of interstellar gas, called molecular clouds.  Observations in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies show that molecular cloud mass is strongly related to the rate stars form. This relationship is rather surprising since it continues over a range of galaxy types and environments, suggesting that stars form through a common process. What controls that process, however, remains elusive. I will present recent observations of molecular clouds taken by new, state-of-the-art radio telescopes that are beginning to unravel the process of star formation. The quality of these observations is an enormous improvement from previous observations and has lead to an on-going revolution in our understanding of star formation.

 

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RASC Regular Meeting October 15, 2018, The Whole of the Moon

RASC Regular Meeting
TELUS World of Science – Zeidler Dome
FREE and open to the public.

7:00 PM Meet and Greet

7:30 PM Guest Speaker

Dr. Mathieu Dumberry

The whole of the Moon: a journey to the center of our closest neighbor

The Lunar Interior

We know many things about our closest neighbor, the Moon.  Yet, its deepest part, close to the center, remains not well known.  In this presentation, I will give a brief overview of what we know about the Moon and its interior and how this information is obtained.  I will also show examples of the work that we do in my research group, where we use observations on the rotation of the Moon as a way to gather information about its deep interior.

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RASC Regular Meeting September 10, 2018, Black Holes Don’t Suck

RASC Regular Meeting
TELUS World of Science – Zeidler Dome
FREE and open to the public.

7:00 PM Meet and Greet

7:30 PM Guest Speaker

Dr. Aarran Shaw
Black Holes Don’t Suck!

Colour composite image of Centaurus A.
Credit: ESO/NASA

Often portrayed as cosmic vacuum cleaners that ensnare everything that dares come close, black holes represent the ultimate end, in both science fact and science fiction. First theorized in the early 20th century, black holes have fascinated astronomers for the last 100 years. I will discuss the history of these systems, from the accidental discovery of Sagittarius A* at the centre of our Galaxy by Karl Jansky in the 1930s, to the violent accretion events occurring in X-ray binary systems and active galactic nuclei. I will show you that, contrary to popular belief, black holes don’t suck!

 

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RASC Regular Meeting June 11, 2018, Winds of Change Around Black Holes

RASC Regular Meeting
TELUS World of Science – IMAX Theatre
FREE and open to the public.

6:00 PM Astro Art Show & Sale

6:30 PM Special Showing of IMAX film: In Saturn’s Rings narrated by LeVar Burton (film will start at 6:45pm)

7:30 PM Guest Speaker

Gregory Sivakoff
Winds of Change Around Black Holes

Illustration of an X-ray Binary
Image Credit: NASA/Swift/A. Simonnet, Sonoma State University

Accretion disks, where matter with angular momentum spirals down through a disk, occur around objects ranging from the youngest stars to supermassive black holes. But not all of this material reaches the center of the disk. Instead some material is accelerated away from the disk. These outflows can be ejected in a narrow opening angle (what astronomers call “jets”) or can be relatively unfocused (what astronomers call “winds”).  While we do not know the precise processes that accelerate and collimate winds and jets, magnetic fields almost certainly play a key role. My team and I study black hole X-ray binaries, stellar-mass black holes accreting from a nearby star. We combine observations across the electromagnetic spectrum to learn about the physics of accretion and jets. In this talk, I will discuss how we have revealed two new windows onto the physics of inflows and outflows in X-ray binaries: fast variability measured across the electromagnetic spectrum (which provides the potential to accurately identify the accretion physics that launch relativistic jets) and the modelling of changes in the X-ray brightness of black hole X-ray binaries (which implies that strong winds from the accretion disk are universal). With the advent of new and upcoming facilities, we have a huge potential to take advantage of these winds of change in the next decade.

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