Despite its seemingly unchanging appearance in the daytime sky, the Sun is incredibly dynamic and shrouded in mystery. Descended from ancestors who hailed the Sun as a deity, the way we observe the Sun has come a long way. Our scientific journey to understand the Sun has included many intriguing and humorous stories from over the centuries, including tales of 11th century monks, feuds of 17th century astronomers, and a part-time brewery owner who discovered the link between the Sun and northern lights. Built on centuries of research, we know today that the Earth is not isolated in outer space, but is sat within a stream of plasma emanating from the Sun at hundreds of miles per second. The influence of the Sun’s activity on the near-Earth environment is known as space weather, which has the ability to damage satellites, disrupt power grids, and deliver harmful levels of radiation to astronauts.
In this talk, we’ll explore how humanity is adapting to living under a star, and how our understanding of the Sun has helped unlock the wider secrets of the universe.
We are extremely happy to have Dr Ryan French as a speaker this year. As a student, Ryan worked as a general assistant here at The Observtory Science Centre and we are immensely proud of his achievements.
Ryan is a solar physicist, science communicator and author. He is pursuing the mysteries of the Sun at the forefront of modern solar physics research, using cutting edge telescopes on the ground and in space. His research takes him all over the world, collaborating with the global community of solar physicists. Ryan also works to share the wonders of the Sun and space with the public, through social media, museums and observatories, and on television and radio. He is also an avid hiker, rock climber, and skier, perhaps because the mountains take him closer to the Sun. Ryan’s first book, ‘The Sun: beginner's guide to our local star’, was released earlier this year. Ryan will be doing book signings at the festival.
Twitter/Tiktok: RyanJFrench; Website
The culmination of decades of effort by scientists and engineers across the world, JWST launched on Christmas Day 2021 and commenced scientific observations a little less than a year ago. In this time JWST’s exquisite sensitivity, resolution, and wavelength coverage has enabled astronomers to explore our Universe as never before. We’ve now peered through clouds of gas and dust to observe stars and planets forming, analysed the atmospheres of alien planets, and discovered galaxies present when the Universe was only a tiny fraction of its age.
This year JWST will be joined by ESA’s Euclid satellite. While smaller, and thus less sensitive, Euclid has a much larger field-of-view ultimately allowing it to survey around 1/3 of the entire sky with Hubble quality imaging. Euclid’s capabilities will allow it to map out structures across the Universe allowing us to better understand the mysterious dark matter and dark energy.
In this talk I will introduce both JWST and Euclid and present some of insights from JWST so far.
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.
Stephen is the Astronomer in Residence here at The Observatory Science Centre.
This is your chance to get your astronomical questions answered. The BBC Sky at Night’s Chris Lintott, armed with nothing more than a laptop full of images, will weave a talk crafted from your questions - come prepared for a whistle stop tour of modern astronomy with Lintott’s usual humour and insight.
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. He isalso the 39th Gresham Professor of astronomy, presenting talks for the public in the City of London and online six times a year.
A light hearted food based guide to Cosmology that has nothing to do with Hitchhiking. Beginners will discover the terror of Dark Energy and the weirdness of Dark Matter via the media of Camembert and a salad spinner. Experts (even if just self proclaimed) will discover new ways to explain complex topics, such as cosmological redshift and standard candles, using bell peppers and Granny Smiths. This overly elaborate and somewhat chaotic show was developed as part of the outreach programme for the Dark Energy Survey, and has previously only been performed in the USA. It is being brought to the UK by one of its original creators, Professor Kathy Romer. Please note that audience members will not be able to eat any of the props, and that, although the show involves only vegetarian products, it is not vegan.
Professor Kathy Romer: Originally from Tyneside, Kathy was awarded her BSc in Physics with Astrophysics from the University of Manchester in 1990 and her PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Edinburgh in 1995. She then moved to the USA and was a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University and at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). After a short time as a research professor at CMU, she secured a tenure track position there. She moved back to the UK in 2004 to take up a lectureship at the University of Sussex. She is still at Sussex and is now Professor of Astrophysics. Kathy is a world expert in the discovery and exploitation of X-ray clusters of galaxies. She is principal investigator of the XMM Cluster Survey collaboration and is senior member of the Dark Energy Survey collaboration.