Astronomy Talks

Covid 19 Announcement

The Royal Observatory Visitor Centre is closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We are not confirming any new group bookings at the current time, and there are no public events taking place on site.

Online Astronomy Talks

We are very excited that we can now offer talks from astronomers and engineers online! Follow the links below to watch talks from the 2019/20 season, which has now ended.

The 2020/21 season will begin in October.

Thank you for your continued support.

The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh is also holding free online-streamed talks on their You Tube channel. Visit their events page to find out more.


Previous Talks

Monday 22nd June 19:00-20:00 BST

CloudCatcher - How to Help Catch Clouds From Space

Caroline Cox

Clouds are beautiful. Seen from Earth, they provide a constantly changing backdrop to the sky. Seen from space, they are spectacular formations. However, clouds can be problematic for many Earth Observation missions interested in making observations of the atmosphere or land below them. I will discuss the process of identifying clouds in satellite images, specifically the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer that flies on board the Sentinel-3 satellites. I will also introduce a new citizen science project, CloudCatcher, and tell you how you and your family can be part of it.

Watch Here

Monday 15th June 19:00-20:00 BST

Women in Astronomy: At the Royal Observatory Edinburgh and Around the World

Anna Lisa Varri

Great progress has been made towards a more balanced gender representation in Astronomy, nevertheless, the issue is not solved yet. We will explore the history and state of the workforce, locally and globally, and analyse some of the barriers which are still in place. The future of the next generation of women astronomers is bright - but every adult has a role to play now!

Watch Here

Monday 8th June 19:00-20:00 BST

What keeps astronomers up at night?

Ciaran Fairhurst

Astronomy is ridiculously ambitious: we are attempting to chart the history of the entire universe. It's only natural that there would be some gaps. I will talk you through a couple of these "open questions" -- the problem, why it's so hard, and what is being done about it.

Watch Here

Monday 1st June 19:00-20:00 BST

Illuminating the Tadpole’s Metamorphosis

Megan Reiter

Using the biggest and best telescopes, we will peer inside a little tadpole-shaped cloud and gather clues to how this little cloud in a star-forming sea will transform from a bunch of gas and dust into a star and planet system that may look a lot like our solar system.

Watch Here

Monday 25th May 19:00-20:00 BST

Starlight Caught in Gelatin

Clive Davenhall

The first crude daguerreotypes of the Moon and Sun were taken shortly after the first photographic processes were announced in 1839. By the end of the century photographs were being taken of faint nebulae and extensive photographic star-charting programmes were in progress. This talk will tell the story of how photography was introduced into astronomy, and the revolution in astronomy that it caused.

Watch Here

Tuesday 19th May 19:00-20:00 BST

Following the Photons

Rubén Sánchez-Janssen

Join us on a billion-year journey through the cosmos. We will follow the path of light emitted by the first stars, from their birth places to the camera detectors where we finally record it.

Along the way we will learn about the large telescopes and powerful instruments that enable the most astonishing astronomical discoveries.

Watch Here

Monday 11th May 19:00-20:00 BST

Euclid: A Space Mission to Map the Dark Universe

Niraj Welikala

Dark Matter and Dark Energy account for most of the energy in the Universe. Yet their nature remains a complete mystery. Niraj will describe Euclid, which is an upcoming space mission that will map both to unprecedented precision. A team at the Royal Observatory is at the forefront of this effort by measuring the shapes of almost a billion galaxies.

Watch Here

Monday 4th May 2020 19:00pm-20:00pm

Helping Scotland Launch to Space!

Matjaz Vidmar and Karina Wardak

With new applications of observing the Earth from space and spaceports planned for the North, researchers, developers and entrepreneurs often need a little help to realise their vision. In this talk, we will explore the important role of intermediaries, including our Higgs Centre for Innovation, in supporting the Scottish Space Industry.

Watch Here

Monday 27th April 2020 19:00pm-19:45pm

The Very First Light

Teresita Suarez Noguez

Are we able to see the first stars and galaxies in the Universe? How do we know they are the very first stars? These early luminous objects determined the formation of structure in our Universe that led to the distribution of matter that we observe today.

Watch Here

Tuesday 21st April 2020 19:00pm-19:45pm

The Simba Galaxy Simulations

Sarah Appleby

This talk will explain how we use galaxy simulations in astronomy to make sense of real data and determine how galaxies evolve over cosmic time. The Simba simulations help astronomers to understand the impact of supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies.

Watch Here