Poster

Friday 1st March 7.30pm at the BRLSI. WHS Annual Lecture. Dr Chris North. “Herschel: A Space Observatory’s Legacy” BRLSI 7.30pm

Herschel: A Space Observatory’s Legacy

Dr Chris North will recap the Herschel Space Observatory, in terms of the mission design and its science goals, and the discoveries that have been made from it. From planets to supermassive galaxies, the range of discoveries is vast. The science continues apace, even nearly 10 years after Herschel’s launch, and new results are continuing to come out. He’ll look to the future, and what upcoming missions will do to build on the legacy of Herschel.

The Herschel Space observatory was an infrared telescope and so this lecture will complement the Herschel Museum’s current theme of infrared which was famously discovered to be a constituent of the solar spectrum by William Herschel.

Cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. Friday 1st February. Dr Victoria Scowcroft. “Beacons in the Night: Mapping the Universe with Variable Stars.” BRLSI, 7.30pm

Abstract:

For centuries, variable stars have been crucial in the study of stellar populations. Astronomers have conducted rigorous observations over many decades in order to understand the physics behind their varying brightnesses. These unique objects come in many flavours, some changing regularly and predictably, with others changing erratically, sometimes lying dormant for years at a time. The changes that occur in a variable star occur on human timescales, making them one of the few astronomical objects whose evolution we can observe in real time.

However, these variables are not just fascinating probes of stellar evolution; they are also powerful distance indicators, enabling us to measure distances to objects within our Galaxy and beyond. Over the past 100 years, variable stars have made essential contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the Universe, and continue to be at the forefront of modern astrophysics to this day.

In this lecture, I will discuss the vast contributions that variable stars have made to astronomy and cosmology. I will describe how variable stars are used to create three-dimensional maps of nearby galaxies, revealing new details about their structure and evolution. I will discuss the advances in cosmology brought about through variable star studies, such as Hubble’s discovery of the expanding Universe, the discovery that this expansion is accelerating, and what this tells us about the ultimate fate of our Universe.

Background of Lecturer:

Dr Vicky Scowcroft is a Lecturer in Astrophysics at the University of Bath. She moved to Bath in 2016 as a University of Bath 50th Anniversary Prize Fellow. After receiving her PhD in Astrophysics from Liverpool John Moores University in 2010, she moved to The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena, California, working as part of the Carnegie Hubble Program team to make the first measurement of the expansion rate of the Universe using mid-infrared observations. Her research uses variable stars as precision distance indicators in order to determine the structure of nearby galaxies and the evolutionary history of our Universe.

 

Friday 5th October. “To Mars via Kazakhstan Beagle 2, lost on Mars but found 11 years later.” Terry Ransome

The final highlight in Terry Ransome’s working life was to work at the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan from where Yuri Gagarin embarked on the first human spaceflight.  It is still busy today launching astronauts and cosmonauts to the International Space Station and lots more.

He took with him the UK’s Mars Lander Beagle2, the probe that was ‘lost’ on Mars on Christmas 2003, but ‘found’ 11 years later.

In this talk he tells of his Beagle2 and Kazakhstan experiences and how Beagle2 was eventually found and identified on the Red Planet. A
postscript tells of the latest (2016) European attempt at a Mars landing and looks ahead to the future.

Friday 7th September 2018. Luke Lucas, “The Herschel Space Observatory – an Engineer’s Story”

Luke Lucas will talk about her career in conversation with Charles Draper of the William Herschel Society.  Inspired by Caroline Herschel’s discoveries of comets and nebulae, Luke Lucas’ career has been involved with the Herschel Space Observatory prior to launch, through launch, commissioning, and then finally routine operations. Herschel, the largest infrared telescope ever launched, was investigating previously unseen cold regions of Space, where stars are born.  Her responsibilities included mission planning and the SPIRE instrument.  The conversation will continue about her present work with the Mars Express, which has been orbiting Mars since 2003.  She is responsible for mission planning, defining batteries and the thermal subsystem.

Wednesday 21st November – Caroline Herschel Prize Lecture. Bath University.

Dr Sarah Rugheimer (Simons Research Fellow at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of St Andrews) is an outstanding early career researcher studying the atmospheric composition of exoplanets, and the potential of these atmospheres to provide fingerprints of conditions that can sustain life. Her key results include showing how clouds can complicate the detection of oxygen in an exoplanet’s atmosphere, and how a star’s ultraviolet radiation affects the ability to detect signatures of life on its orbiting planets. Her energy and vision were central to the creation of the Centre for Exoplanet Science at St Andrews, where she has integrated and utilised insights ranging from the geochemical and isotopic character of the Earth’s rock archive to the fundamental physics of how a planet’s atmosphere forms. Her lectures demonstrate a rare clarity of understanding, and she has proved effective at presenting scientific concepts to the public.

30th November 2018 – Early Indian Astronomy and the Birth of Zero, Dr Peter Ford MBE and Deepali Gaskell

This talk starts in Georgian Bath where former members of the British East India Company came to take the waters and exchanged ideas about the mathematics that they had found in Bengal. It will trace the development of Indian Mathematics and the vital concept of Zero from its origins in ancient astronomy to its use in commerce and science.

Dr Peter Ford was a shadow trustee of the reformed BRLSI from 1990-1993. He was then one of the first trustees representing the University of Bath and later the membership of the BRLSI. He has lived in Lansdown Crescent for forty years half of which was spent in the Physics Department of the University of Bath. He was chair of the William Herschel Society for nine years. In 2008 he was awarded MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for “services to higher education and science”.
Deepali Gaskell. Marriage brought Deepali to Bath, where she now lives. Her interest in Astronomy and Mathematics nurtured by her mother who was an historian and archaeologist was revived when she came across, in her voluntary work with the National Trust, the collection of books in the library at Stourhead which included the Asiatick Researches commissioned by the British East India Company in the 1770’s. This has provided much of the material for this talk.
Deepali has also referred to the Records Office and to the collection in the archives of BRLSI, where she found Newton’s Principia Mathematica, Max Muller’s translation from the Veda, and Journals of the East India Company all of which helped to produce this talk. Deepali is on the Publications and Website committees at BRLSI.

4th January 2019, Deborah Ireland – Hasselblad and the Moon Landing

Hasselblad and the Moon Landing

On 20 July 1969, as part of the Apollo 11 space program, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people ever to set foot on the Moon. Their iconic small steps were captured forever by the camera the astronauts carried with them: the Hasselblad 500EL. The remarkable images taken with this camera provide an enduring record of one of humankind’s most extraordinary adventures: but the development of the camera involved a great leap in technology that lasted almost as long as the space program itself. The Hasselblad & The Moon Landing looks at the history of the Apollo 11 mission through the lens of the Hasselblad, while narrating the parallel tale of the challenge to create a camera that could work on the Moon. It considers the cameras used, and the photographs captured, during the Space Race between Russia and America; looks in detail at the experience of taking photographs on the Moon for the first time; and reflects on the processing, preserving and legacy of those images, and the part they play in the enduring conspiracy theories that claim the Moon Landing to have been a grand hoax. The second half of the book presents a commemorative album of photographs taken in space using the Hasselblad 500EL. While the Apollo 11 astronauts left their three cameras behind on the Moon, where they remain to this day, they brought back film magazines containing 1,400 photographs. A selection of the finest of these is shown alongside the mission timeline and transcripts of the conversations between the astronauts and mission control at Houston, completing a beautiful commemorative guide to mark the 50th anniversary of one of humankind’s most remarkable achievements.

Debbie Ireland has spent 19 years working in photography, having held the positions of assistant curator of the Royal Photographic Society’s archive and head of the AA World Travel picture library.

Presentation by Will Herschel-Shorland on the Herschel Family Archive. Wednesday 27th June, Bath Elim Church, between 3 and 4pm. Please notify if you plan to attend via the Contact Page.

The Elim Church is located Charlotte Street, Bath BA1 2ND

Friday 13th July, “Blue Dots: Technology Developments on ISS for Finding Earth 2.0.” Dr Daniel Batcheldor

Event held at BRLSI. Friday 13th July, 7.30pm.

Dr Daniel Batcheldor from the Florida Institute of Technology

The last decade has seen a giant leap in the number of known planets around other stars. As we improve our technologies, and invent new ones, we have been getting better and better at finding these exoplanets. To date, we have uncovered some incredible statistics that have fundamentally changed our understanding of planetary systems; Jupiter-like planets can be close to their host stars, Earth-like planets are very common. The Kepler Space Telescope has been responsible for finding most of the known exoplanets, and the TESS mission is attempting to find the closest stars with planetary systems. These data will be used by the James Webb Space Telescope to point at those planets that might tell us something fundamental about their atmospheres. The imaging of these planets, however, is incredibly difficult and has only happened in a handful of cases. Recently, we have been testing technologies that should massively simplify future attempts to image exoplanets. We have carried out observations in Florida and on the Canary Islands, and have recently completed an ISS mission to demonstrate a key technology. During this lecture, our current understanding of exoplanets, the techniques used to detect them, and the status of our ISS mission will all be discussed.