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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

'Stargazing Live!' Study Day Event

10:00 - 16:00
17 January 2015
Avenue Campus University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this event, please email Lifelong Learning Team at .

Event details

This study day will enable you to learn about cutting edge research carried out by scientists in the Physics and Astronomy department at the University of Southampton.

Following on from the BBC’s annual Stargazing LIVE events, we plan to include interactive talks and planetarium shows during the day presented by staff and graduate students.


Robert Firth: Supernovae - Stars going out with a Bang
Historically, little was understood about new stars, ‘novae’, appearing in the night sky for a few weeks before fading forever; seen as ones and harbingers, they fascinated astronomers. In modern times, supernovae still captivate astronomers, even as we understand much more about their origin; the outcome of a star finally losing it’s billion year struggle against gravity. When finally it’s death is marked by an enormous explosion, they can outshine 100 billion of it’s neighbours. Not only does an understanding of stellar evolution and supernovae help us understand the abundances of elements that we see in the universe, they can also be used to shine a light across the Cosmos, illuminating dark matter and dark energy.

Chris Frohmaier & Dr Sadie Jones: Interactive Planetarium show inside the mobile planetarium (Soton Astrodome)

Juan Hernandez: Stars in Coalition
Most of the stars in our Galaxy are found in multiple systems, 2 or more stars orbiting around each other as a planet does around our Sun. Many of these systems can come in close-contact producing a zoo of exotic and powerful objects observed in all the electromagnetic spectrum, from gamma rays to radio. In most cases, they contain a dense and massive object such as a white dwarf (WD), neutron star (NS) or a black hole, all remnants of a dead star. Their origin, evolution and role as part of our Galaxy remains a mystery. More importantly, they pose as perfect laboratories to study one of the fundamental concepts in astrophysics: ACCRETION. In this talk, I will review how binary stars evolve through time, taking a closer look at systems containing a WD and NS at its centre from both theory and observations. Also, I will introduce the concept of accretion and it’s vital role in astrophysics.

Sam Connolly: Black Holes
Arguably the most extreme objects in the universe, black holes possess gravity so strong that they twist spacetime to its limit, preventing anything, including light, from escaping. Despite the absence of light emitted directly from black holes it is still, however, possible to study them indirectly, by looking at the light produced by matter falling onto the black hole, or being fired away from it in high-speed 'jets' produced in the process. The product of both the deaths of massive stars and the formation of galaxies, black holes small and huge are ubiquitous in our universe. I will discuss both what we know about all kinds of these amazing objects and how it is that these discoveries have been made using astronomical data.

Dr Rob Fear: Earth’s Aurora and Magnetosphere
The Earth’s aurora, or northern (and southern) lights are one of the most beautiful manifestations of the Sun’s influence on the Earth. They arise as a result of the interaction between the solar wind, the magnetosphere (the region of space surrounding Earth), and the upper atmosphere. Our understanding of both the aurora and magnetosphere has transformed from humble beginnings in the early 20th century to the modern day, yet many questions remain and they are both active topics of research both for those interested in pure scientific research (“How does our Solar System work?”) and the application of this field on modern technology (space weather).

Dr Sadie Jones: BBC Stargazing live event on campus 18th March, BBC TV Shows & partial solar eclipse visible on 20th March & Questions & Discussion


£40 full rate (please email us for details of our new Loyalty Scheme)

£25 loyalty rate (Harbour Lights Members, Friends of Parkes, English Teachers Network, university staff and alumni)

£12.50 discount rate (students/sixth form & college students and those in receipt of income-based Job Seeker's Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Council Tax or Housing Benefit)

All prices include lunch and refreshments


Please note that this event is now FULLY BOOKED.

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