The Long Eaton Astronomical Society met on Thursday 26th November with guest speaker Dr. Julian Onions of Nottingham University. Julian gained his PHD only a week previous so this was his first public talk with his new title. The talk, entitled “Galaxies – One Gigayear at a Time”, surely did live up to expectation and advertising of “how many pretty pictures can I fit in one talk”.
Julian explained the various types of galaxy that we have classified and how they fit mostly within Edwin Hubble’s famous “Tuning Fork” model with a few exceptions. These exceptions are gradually increasing as new discoveries are made, but they can still fit within the basic model to some degree. Julian also explained how many of them are thought to form and evolve. Merging galaxies were also discussed and some very interesting simulations were shown. These simulations take huge amounts of data to form them and that takes a lot of computing power. If simulations are to become more detailed it was explained that computing power will soon need a revolution as the limits of current technology are being reached very quickly.
We have heard a lot about Dark Matter in various talks previously and this talk was no exception. Whilst Galaxies do contain a lot of Stars and other “ordinary” matter, the mass of galaxies appear to be much greater than the matter we can detect. The talk ended with a brief look at some of the ground based telescopes of the past and future as well as some of the space based telescopes such as Hubble, James Webb and Gaia. Julian fielded some interesting questions before Mr Perkins gave a very brief look at some of the events coming up over the next few weeks. The two highlights being the Geminid meteor shower peaking during the night of 13/14th December and Major Tim Peake launching on his mission to the International Space Station on the morning of the 15th December.
Tim Peake’s launch is due to air live on BBC1 on the 15th December scheduled around 11am UK time. A special live program from the Stargazing Live team is due to cover the occasion.
The next meeting for the society is on Wednesday Dec 16th and will be the now traditional Christmas Quiz. There will be mince pies and a prize for the winner of the quiz. Keep an eye on the blog for further news and details. The Long Eaton School’s Stargazing Live event will be on January 20th starting at 6pm until 9pm. This time our special guest speaker will be Paul Money from Sky at Night magazine. The main talk will start provisionally around 7pm. The Astrosphere Planetarium will again be running 3 shows in the Gym. Also we have “Cool Science” – pop up science experiments, interactive science experiments for the public to get involved with, exhibitions from our Astronomy GCSE students, Nottingham Trent University and much more. Further details and news to follow.