As beautiful as the Earth’s northern and southern lights are, they can’t compete with Jupiter’s. Its aurorae dwarf our planet’s in every way and span almost every part of the electromagnetic spectrum – from infrared light to X-rays. But what can Jupiter’s aurorae teach us about the Sun and what do they have to do with alien worlds and black holes?
Affelia Wibisono is a Planetary Science PhD student at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory and an experienced Science Communicator. They use observations by space telescopes, such as XMM-Newton, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Juno spacecraft to investigate how and why Jupiter produces intense X-ray northern and southern lights. Their vast science communication portfolio includes writing for NASA, performing at the Cheltenham Science Festival and giving TV interviews for BBC News and Sky News. Over the last 10 years, Affelia has worked with organisations, such as the Science Museum, the Royal Observatory Greenwich and the Royal Institution, to educate, engage, and enthuse everyone from toddlers to grandparents to school groups, in science.
Planets, eclipses, meteor showers and occultations all form part of a rich observing calendar for the remainder of 2022. Pete will identify a number of impressive objects and events, giving hints and tips on how to best observe them from your own back garden.
Pete Lawrence has been a presenter on the long running BBC Sky at Night television programme since 2005. He has been an astronomical consultant for the popular BBC Stargazing Live television series since it began, and appeared on the programme in 2014 as an aurora expert. Pete also writes many of the guides used by the BBC to support the programme. He compiles and writes the monthly Star Guide for the Sky at Night Magazine as well as carrying out equipment reviews on their behalf and acting as their resident imaging expert. He has held this position since the magazine started in 2005.
Pete is highly regarded in the world of astrophotography specialising in capturing time specific events. Many of his images have been published in books, magazines and online across the world. As well as having several decades experience as an astronomical observer, he also holds an honours degree in Physics with Astrophysics from the University of Leicester. As part of his astronomical duties, Pete also acts as an expert guide on specialist trips including those in search of the elusive Northern Lights and solar eclipses. He was awarded the Davies Medal by the Royal Photographic Society in 2014, for his significant contribution in the field of imaging science.
Humans have been looking to the red planet as early as 400 BC, but in the past 60 years our knowledge has really taken off with the advancement of satellites and rovers collecting data and thousands of images for us to look at. The Mars we know today is a dry, dusty and arid environment, and every Mars year the planet experiences a dust season, with huge dust storms travelling across the planet, causing major obstructions to satellite observation and rover operations. Now, we are in a golden age of Mars exploration with three countries arriving at Mars with spacecrafts in 2021, with many more to come. Why are we so interested in Mars? Why do the dust storms cause so much havoc? Is there really the potential to find life on the planet?
Catherine Regan is a PhD student at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), University College London. She studies the magnetic environment of Mars using the Mars Express satellite and is particularly interested in how dust influences Mars' magnetosphere. She is also part of the science team for PanCam, the Panoramic Camera onboard the Rosalind Franklin Rover, due to launch to Mars within the next decade. After not being in top-set science at school and being told she wasn't 'clever enough' to do physics, she now works to encourage people to pursue STEM subjects by being heavily involved in outreach and public engagement. She has created the project 'Eyes on Mars' to help raise awareness both in schools and the public about the huge UK involvement in Mars exploration and is chair of the outreach working group at MSSL.
On April 28th 2001 Dennis Tito became the first space tourist paying a reported $20 million for a week-long trip in a Soyuz capsule to the International Space Station. Since then, several more people have paid for the ride above the Karman line and into space beyond.
What might a trip like this be like? How would it feel to experience the g forces flying in a rocket? How long would it take – are we nearly there yet? What would microgravity feel like? Is the food any good? What should I pack? What trips out could I do – where are the best backgrounds for selfies? Are there any sports available – do I need to take my swimsuit? Should I really be doing this considering the high cost and what is happening back on Earth?
This talk tries to answer these questions based on the experiences of those who have been there, science demonstrations and a bit of conjecture as science fiction becomes science fact.
Robin Mobbs is a lead educator for the National Space Academy explaining the science of space and the potential for space careers to students around the UK.
The James Webb Space Telescope, which launched on Christmas Day 2021, is the long-awaited successor to both the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes. Webb is an international collaboration, featuring strong involvement from the UK. Ultimately thousands of scientists from around the world will use data from Webb to answer a range of scientific questions. Webb will enable an enormous range of science from allowing us to identify the first stars and galaxies to form in the Universe to probing the atmospheres of alien planets.
Born and raised in Yorkshire, Stephen completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Durham before gains his doctorate from to the University of Cambridge. Stephen then moved to Oxford where he worked as research fellow. In 2013 Stephen was appointed a lecturer in astronomy at the University of Sussex an is now a Reader and Head of Astronomy.
From mysterious radio signals to spectacular supernovae, the Universe keeps finding new ways to astonish us. Chris Lintott (Sky at Night, University of Oxford) explains why we should keep our eyes peeled for the unusual, and what to do when you think you’ve found an alien civilisation.
Chris Lintott is a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford, where he runs the Zooniverse citizen science project and things about everything from interstellar objects to galaxies. He is best known as the co-presenter of the BBC’s long-running Sky at Night program, and an author whose work has appeared in the Times and London Review of Books.