Virtual Lectures

The Department of Astronomy is pleased to introduce a new Virtual Lectures series. This series of four online events, distributed over two years, showcases the world-class science being undertaken by faculty, scientists and students in the Department. It is free and open to everyone, and is pitched at a level accessible to non-scientists. Each event is composed of a pair of 30-minute lectures, followed by question-and-answer sessions. For those unable to participate in a live event, a recording together with a brief synopsis will be posted below after completion of the event.

The Invisible Universe

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have X-ray vision, or to see using ultrasound? What might our world look like to you? Over the past century, astronomers have developed these and other powers to make the invisible visible.

In this first event, which took place December 3rd 2020, Professor Eric Wilcots (Dean of the College of Letters & Science) introduces the Department of Astronomy and the Virtual Lectures series. The two inaugural lectures then follow: Professor Sebastian Heinz describes how X-ray echoes allow him to to map out the distribution of dust from nova outbursts, and Professor Rich Townsend explains how he leverages waves and oscillations to peer beneath the opaque surfaces of stars.

The recording of the event can be viewed here.

For further reading about X-ray echoes, see the first article (X-ray Dust Tomography: the New Frontier in Galactic Exploration) in this issue of the newsletter for the Chandra X-ray Observatory. If you're feeling brave, the following scientific papers may be of interest:

For further reading about stellar seismology, the first few sections of this review article by Gerald Handler provide a solid introduction to the topic (later sections become progressively more mathematical, however). The user and reference guides for the GYRE asteroseismology software can be viewed online here, and the technical aspects of the software are desribed in these scientific papers:

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