Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Supermassive Black Holes and Killer Asteroids - 2011 Michael West Lecture Series at QUB

Two public lectures coming up for astronomically interested readers.

The 2011 Michael West Lecture Series presented by the Astrophysics Research Centre at QUB starts this Friday evening with a lecture about Supermassive Black Holes [and hyperbole?] by Prof Reinhard Genzel. Friday 22 July at 7pm in the Larmor Lecture Theatre (in the Physics Building which sits behind the Botanic Gardens side of the main quadrangle).

Over the past two decades, compelling evidence has been obtained for the existence of black holes with masses millions of times that of our Sun. In 2008, Reinhard Genzel won the prestigious Shaw Prize for establishing the existence of such a supermassive black hole in the centre of our own Milky Way.

That will be followed by Dr Robert Jedicke speaking about Killer Asteroids in the same venue on Wednesday 3 August at 7pm.

The current surveys for 1km near-Earth asteroids have almost completed their goal of finding 90% of the population, but the telescopes used are too small to discover more than a fraction of the dangerous sub-km objects. A renowned asteroid hunter, Jedicke is leading the search for dangerous asteroids with the new PanSTARRS1 telescope in Hawaii, the largest and most sensitive telescope built for this task.

While admission is free, the organisers note that reservations are required.

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