The evening will begin with a selection of cheeses and wine and will be followed by an informative talk by a guest speaker.
The speaker will be Dr Mark Sargent from Sussex University.
Biography: After completing his undergraduate and PhD studies at the ETH Zürich in Switzerland in 2007, Mark went on to postdoctoral positions at the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg and at the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA) near Paris. In 2013 he joined the Astronomy Centre at the University of Sussex where he holds the position of Senior Lecturer in Astronomy.
Mark works in the field of galaxy formation and evolution, with a particular focus on how the gas and dust content of galaxies evolves over time, and how the process of star formation plays out in different types of galaxies.
Title: 'Special delivery - the long journey of meteor building blocks'
Each year, when the Earth crosses the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle, small pieces of cometary debris enter the atmosphere and burn up, producing the Perseids meteor shower. In addition to such yearly recurring events, various other types of meteors exist. Where do they come from and what are they made of? Recent space missions to asteroids and comets are revealing their rich chemistry, and have also provided intriguing insights into their likely role in depositing essential ingredients for the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere. At the same time, astrophysicists have also developed a much better understanding of how the heavy elements in small solar system bodies and elsewhere are formed by generations of stars and redistributed across the Universe. This talk will reconstruct the journey of the elements in meteors from pristine gas clouds in the intergalactic medium, all the way into the upper layers of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Following the talk, weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to try and spot some fast moving meteors with the unaided eye and look through the telescopes at other interesting celestial objects including the magnificent planets, Jupiter and Saturn.
The Perseids meteor shower occurs as Earth passes through the outskirts of a cloud of debris from comet Swift-Tuttle. The dust and bits of rock left behind are called meteoroids. As they enter the Earth's atmosphere they 'burn' up with the larger pieces producing bright streams - meteors - that you can see with the unaided eye before they fade away. These bright streams are also known as shooting stars and can be seen from 17th July until 24th August. The maximum is actually in the early hours of the 13th August when you may see up to 60-80 shooting stars per hour. Unfortunately this year the Moon will be extremely bright and wash out the least bright of the meteors but it is always worth a look for those extra bright ones!
The evening aims to be both informal and informative. If the weather is unsuitable on themed evenings, the talk will go ahead regardless and a comprehensive tour of the telescopes will replace viewing. On the tour you will be taken into domes not open to the public during the day.
Numbers are limited to 100 (age 18+ only), so book early to secure your place.
You can book on-line or by telephone. Please just phone The Centre on 01323 832731 to secure your place(s) using a credit or debit card. Alternatively you are able to book on-line. Gift Tickets are available for this event.
Please wear warm clothing and sensible footware and please bring a torch, preferably red light. The Centre, has been built on different levels with high walkways and steps, please be very careful when walking around The Centre especially in the hours of darkness.
While the Centre makes every effort to accomodate wheel chair users and others with mobility issues, by virtue of the nature of the building (grade II* listed), the telescopes are accessed by steep narrow stairs. If you require further information please do not hesitate to get in touch.
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