Astronomy Talks

Talks run on Monday evenings from 7:30 – 8:30pm in the Royal Observatory Edinburgh Lecture Theatre. The programme for 2016-17 starts on Monday 31st October 2016.

Admission is £4 adults /£2 children and concessions. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Tickets must be purchased in advance through Eventbrite via the links below. Only the first 10 talks are currently bookable, with the remaining 10 becoming available from the 9th January 2017.

The number of tickets remaining for each talk can be seen on the relevant Eventbrite page. If you would like to book an advance ticket offline, please call us on 0131 6688 404.

Season Tickets will be available to buy on the door from the start of the series at £30 adults / £15 children and concessions. Please note that a season ticket is a discount scheme and does not guarantee a place at each talk; seats still must be reserved via Eventbrite under the "Season Ticket Holder" option when they become available.

If you would like a paper copy of the programme, please call us on 0131 6688 404 or email us at vis@roe.ac.uk to request one.


 

27th March

What’s Up: Putting the Science into Stargazing

Alastair Bruce, Martin Black & William Taylor

A monthly guide to the night sky, including a round-up of recent astronomical news and the science the celestial sights. Feel free to bring questions along with you!

Fully booked – waitlist available

Previous Talks

 

20th March

New Horizons in the Solar System

John Davies

The last two years have been great for planetary science: three new and very different worlds have been explored by three very different spacecraft. This talk presents updates and science highlights from the Dawn Spacecraft orbiting around Ceres, the Rosetta/Philae mission to comet Cheryumov- Gerasimenko, and the flyby of the Pluto-Charon System by NASA’s New Horizons mission.

13th March

Ralph Copeland, the First Astronomer Royal on Blackford Hill

Peredur Williams

The third Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Ralph Copeland lived a full and varied life before establishing the new Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill in 1896. This talk spans several continents as it follows the hugely interesting career of a 19th century astronomer whose work deserves to be better known.

6th March

Robotic Astronomy - Studying the Changing Universe

Chris Copperwheat

We live in a constantly changing, evolving universe and observing this change on timescales from hundreds of years down to fractions of a second is key to unlocking the nature of the cosmos. Robotic telescopes are the kings of the time domain, particularly when every second counts. Hear how the world’s largest robotic telescopes are used to pursue some of the universe’s most spectacular phenomena.

27th February

What’s Up: Putting the Science into Stargazing

Alastair Bruce, Martin Black & William Taylor

A monthly guide to the night sky, including a round-up of recent astronomical news and the science the celestial sights. Feel free to bring questions along with you!

20th February

The Long History of the Search for Life on Mars

Clive Davenhall

The search for evidence of microbial life on Mars is an active research topic with a surprisingly long history. This talk will review the development of ideas about life on Mars, from the Copernican Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, through the first Mars probes of the 1960s, to the present day.

13th February

Reaching for Stars & Down to Earth Again: Space Industry in Scotland

Matjaz Vidmar

The global space industry is in a time of a radical transformation. This talk will highlight the exciting developments in Scotland’s space sector, and how it joins together entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists. However, building a sustainable space industry ecosystem is not trivial – after all, who said it wasn’t rocket science?

6th February

Galactic Archeology: Digging for the Fossils of the Milky Way

Oscar Gonzalez

How do galaxies form and evolve? This is a fundamental question that astronomers are trying to answer. Understanding the formation history of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is a critical piece of this puzzle. This talk will introduce you to the exciting world of Galactic Archaeology, what clues the astronomers look for, and how they are used to reconstruct the past of the Milky Way.

30th January

What’s Up: Putting the Science into Stargazing

Alastair Bruce, Martin Black & William Taylor

A monthly guide to the night sky, including a round-up of recent astronomical news and the science the celestial sights. Feel free to bring questions along with you!

23rd January

Straight Outta Clusters: Galaxies With Attitudes

Rubén Sánchez-Janssen

Galaxy clusters are big. In fact, they are the most massive single entities in the entire Universe. But life isn’t easy in there! Learn what physical processes affect the evolution of galaxies in these hostile environments, from the disruptive forces that can shred the smaller counterparts, to the energetic output from the supermassive black holes residing at the core.

16th January

Future Space Telescopes

Colin Cunningham

This year the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) went into the full system test phase, ready for launch in 2018. What will be the next big telescopes in space? Will we be able to afford to go even bigger than the JWST, or do we need new breakthrough technologies to take the next steps? And what might we discover if we could have giant telescopes in space?

9th January

Gravitational Waves: A Window into a Violent Universe

Ewan Fitzsimons

Detected for the first time in September 2015 by the Advanced LIGO Observatory, Gravitational Waves offer a totally new way of observing the Universe. The formation of these space-time ripples emits more energy in one second than the Sun will emit over its entire lifetime. In spite of this, it’s taken 100 years since Einstein proposed their existence to finally detect them. How hard can it be?

19th December

What’s Up: Putting the Science into Stargazing

Alastair Bruce, Martin Black & William Taylor

A monthly guide to the night sky, including a round-up of recent astronomical news and the science the celestial sights. Feel free to bring questions along with you!

12th December

Cosmic Recipe Book: How to Make Stars

Michal Michalowski

Star formation is an important process which started shortly after the Big Bang and is continuing today. This talk explores how stars are born, what material is required, and what physical processes are involved, discussing how astronomers use observations to understand more about this fascinating and fundamental phenomenon.

5th December

Colliding Galaxies

Vivienne Wild

Massive galaxies in the local Universe typically come in two types: spiral and star-forming, or elliptical with no active star formation. This talk will start with a basic introduction to extragalactic astronomy - just how big is the visible Universe? - before looking at the role that galaxy collisions could play in shaping the galaxy populations we see around us today.

28th November

What’s Up: Putting the Science into Stargazing

Alastair Bruce, Martin Black & William Taylor

A monthly guide to the night sky, including a round-up of recent astronomical news and the science the celestial sights. Feel free to bring questions along with you!

21st November

The Discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

Ian Robson

The story of the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation is one of theoretical prediction, careful measurement, pipped-at-thepost experiments and controversy, ending in two Nobel Prizes. This talk highlights the progress from Hubble’s discovery of the expanding Universe to the present day and gives an inside view of the ups and downs of a challenging experiment in observational cosmology.

14th November

Proxima Centauri b: The Closest Habitable Exoplanet Outside the Solar System?

Beth Biller

This year yielded the very exciting discovery of an Earth-sized exoplanet candidate in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri. But is it actually habitable? Its atmosphere must be probed to find out more. Learn about the techniques used to characterise giant exoplanets, and how they will be used in the coming decades to determine if Proxima Centauri b has the potential for life.

7th November

Exploring the Deserts and the Jungles of the Universe Through the Cosmic Lens

Ben Giblin & Vasiliy Demchenko

The bending of light by gravity allows us to visualise a cosmic “web” of dark matter which underlies the visible structures in the Universe. This talk explores what observations of weak gravitational lensing tell us about underdense and over-dense areas in the Universe: cosmic voids and galaxy clusters.

31st October

What’s Up: The Beginners Guide Stargazing

Alastair Bruce, Martin Black & William Taylor

Taking things back to basics, this talk will cover some of the core knowledge about astronomy and stargazing that will enable you to take your first steps into exploring the night sky.