FAST RADIO BURSTS
for the astronomer at heart, the hearty astronomer… and their minders.
Webinars commence at 7.30 pm - AEST.
Fred will be happy to stay online after the talk and answer any questions you may have.
*** Please register through the links below each talk to get the webinar address ***
The Universe for Everyone
1 April 2020
In this talk, Australia’s Astronomer-at-Large presents an introduction to the science and art of the stars. The appeal of astronomy engages everyone from humble beginners to scientists addressing some of the most profound questions it is possible to ask. With a long tradition of citizen science, astronomy is also among the most rewarding of amateur pursuits. This fully-illustrated talk explores the possibilities open to hobbyists at all levels of interest.
Welcome to Mars – our Planet B?
15 April 2020
Mars is the most Earth-like world of the Solar System, characterised by uncanny similarities to our own planet, as well as stark differences – most of which can be understood by its smaller size. There is much talk today about the possible role of Mars as a lifeboat for our own planet. Aspirations among some of the world’s most innovative space entrepreneurs vie in the public imagination with now-discredited plans for wholesale one-way colonisation, with so-called terra-forming of Mars at the far end of the unreality spectrum. This talk argues that while human exploration of the planet is highly desirable, wholesale colonisation is not only unnecessary and impractical but also unethical.
The Mystery of Fast Radio Bursts
29 April 2020
For the past decade or so, the world’s radio astronomers have been baffled by cosmic signals that defy attempts to explain them. Dating from an unrelated trawl through archival data from the Parkes Radio Telescope, the story of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) has now shifted to some of the most advanced radio astronomy facilities in the world. They include the Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory in remote Western Australia, home of the Square Kilometre Array. This is a fast-changing field of research, and in this fully-illustrated talk, Fred Watson presents the latest in our understanding of these freaks of the radio Universe.
Astronomy in the Middle Ages
Laying the foundations of modern science
13 May 2020
Modern astronomy is usually considered to have started in the Enlightenment, largely as a result of the invention of the telescope. But when we look back into the Middle Ages, we find a richness of thought that is preserved today in the art and manuscripts of the time, which are often of exquisite quality. Those ideas, in turn, owed their origin to Islamic scholars in the tenth and eleventh centuries, who had built on the work of the ancient Greeks. In this richly illustrated talk, Fred Watson celebrates the flourishing of mediaeval astronomy and traces its origins and legacies.