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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RASC Regular Meeting May 14, 2018 Members’ Night

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

7:00 PM Pre-meeting mix and mingle.
7:30 PM Member Presentations

Mark Zalcik – Of Julian, Ian, and Franklin: Noctilucent Clouds in the 1950s and the People Who Saw Them (or Didn’t)
Joanne Osborne-Paulson – Poetry
Warren Finlay – The Southern Sky Bimarathon
Ian Doktor – Hidden in Plain Light – Decoding Star Brightness
Jay Lavender – Pro-Am Collaborations
Break
 Mark Zalcik – Book of the Month
Alister Ling – AstroImaging Corner
Dave Roles – All Things Astronomical
Special IMAX presentation – In Saturn’s Rings

Warren Finlay participating in the Australian Messier/Running BiMarathon. Photo Credit: Warren Finlay

 

RASC Regular Meeting April 9, 2018, Galaxy mergers in the nearby Universe

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

7:00 PM Meet and Greet
7:30 PM Guest Speaker

Sara Ellison
Galaxy mergers in the nearby Universe

The Antennae Galaxies/NGC 4038-4039
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration;
Acknowledgment: B. Whitmore (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Despite the emptiness of space, mergers between galaxies are surprisingly common.  Around 1% of galaxies in the nearby Universe are currently experiencing an interaction of some kind.  I will describe research that uses both observations and computer simulations to trace the dramatic effect of these interactions on a galaxy’s history: how the interaction can lead to massive bursts of star formation, alter the interstellar chemistry and even provide fuel for the central supermassive black hole.

 

 

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RASC Regular Meeting March 12, 2018, 25 Years of Supernovae

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

7:00 PM Meet and Greet
7:30 PM Guest Speaker

Paul Gray
25 Years of Supernovae

Supernova Remnant SNR 0509-67.5 Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CXC, SAO, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and J. Hughes (Rutgers University)

Supernovae mark the death of a star in one of the largest explosions in the universe, some resulting in the creation of black holes. They also create many of the heavy elements that earth and life as we know it is made from. For most of the 20th century supernovae were found by professional astronomers in the course of other research. By the 1980’s equipment and technology improved to allow amateurs to seriously pursue supernovae and contribute to research by alerting the professionals quckly of new events. There is much to learn from supernovae and until recently amateurs played a major role in the discovery of new supernovae.

Team Supernova Nova Scotia has had a front row seat to the changes both in discovery and science being done over the past 25 years. In this talk Paul will take us on the journey that his family has had while highlighting some of their discoveries, adventures and science.

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RASC Regular Meeting February 12, 2018, Kilonovae and the origin of gold in the Universe

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

7:00 PM Meet and Greet
7:30 PM Guest Speaker

Rodrigo Fernandez
Kilonovae and the origin of gold in the Universe

Credit: Caltech

This talk will discuss the recent detection of a neutron star merger in gravitational waves by LIGO/Virgo, and the accompanying electromagnetic signal (a kilonova). There is strong evidence that heavy r-process elements (including gold) are made in these events.

 

 

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RASC Regular Meeting December 11, 2017, A Giant Leap for Alberta

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

6:00 PM Reception
7:00 PM Tribute to Franklin Loehde
7:30 PM Guest Speaker

Tyler Hrynyk
A Giant Leap for Alberta

AlbertaSat is a student team at the university of Alberta that has launched Alberta’s first satellite, The Experimental Albertan #1. Currently the team is conducting Orbital Operations on Ex-Alta 1 and is finishing its design for Ex-Alta 2. The team has many other initiatives including balloon missions and educational outreach.
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