Listen to astrophysicists from across the UK talk about cutting edge research in space science
5th February 2019
Protecting Earth from the ravages of the Sun
Dr Colin Forsyth (University College London)
The Sun bathes the Earth in light and also in a stream of charged particles that fly through the solar system at over 1.8 million mph. As these particles reach the Earth, they collide with Earth’s protective magnetic field, getting captured and trapped in the space around us. Dr Colin Forsyth helps us discover how this stream of particles changes, modifies the particles trapped on the magnetic field and results in the aurora, the Van Allen belts. Also, find out what we are doing to understand and prevent space weather from impacting on our lives.
26th February 2019
Observing the Cosmic Dawn with Radio Waves
Thomas Binnie (University College London)
The next generation of radio telescopes will begin in the coming decade with the Square Kilometre Array. The SKA aims to turn the deserts of Western Australia and South Africa into vast retinas with which we will observe the Cosmic Dawn - our Universe's first stars. With a huge gap between observations of quasars (highly energetic galactic centres) 9 billion years ago and the Cosmic Microwave Background (a snapshot of the Universe shortly after the Big Bang) over 13 billion years ago, the SKA is hoping to fill in the missing 4 billion years of the Universe's history when the earliest galaxies formed. Join PhD researcher Thomas Binnie of Imperial College London as he describes the incredible insights the SKA is expected to give us in the future!
26th March 2019
Jupiter's X-ray Aurorae
Affelia Wibisono (Mullard Space Science Laboratory - University College London)
The Earth is not the only planet to experience the northern and southern lights – in fact almost all of the planets in our Solar System have been observed to display these beautiful light shows. Jupiter’s aurorae crown the polar regions of the Gas Giant as permanent features due to the planet’s fast rotational period and interactions between its powerful magnetic field and the Galilean moons. Our planet’s light displays are small and weak compared to that of Jupiter’s which are large enough to house the entire Earth. What’s more, they have been detected to emit radiation from almost every part of the electromagnetic spectrum, including bursts of high energy X-Rays, but how and why Jupiter produces them is still a mystery. Join PhD researcher Affelia Wibisono as we discuss how learning more about aurorae will help researchers better understand how Jupiter’s magnetic field works, and learn how new discoveries found there can be applied to the Earth and perhaps even to extra-solar planets.