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Two speakers from Durham's Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy will discuss their current research on the universe around us and the instrumentation used for cutting-edge astronomy.
Through the looking glass: revealing the changing Universe with the world's biggest telescopes
Dr Julie Wardlow (Researcher in Astrophysics)
Galaxies are constantly changing and evolving, but as their lifetimes are billions of times longer than ours we cannot easily see these changes. I will demonstrate how we use the world's biggest telescopes to look back in time towards the edge of the Universe, to measure the sizes, shapes and chemistry of galaxies when the Universe was young. I will show why a huge variety of telescopes are needed to fully understand the evolving Universe and reveal it's secrets.
Getting to Space on a Budget
Dr Richard Massey (Royal Society Research Fellow)
Please don’t twinkle, little star. All that jiggling blurs our view of the night sky. Astronomer Richard Massey felt twice aggrieved, when his toddler kept taunting him with that nursery rhyme. He describes the lengths Durham university took for a clearer view of the sky, by lifting a telescope above the Earth’s atmosphere. Space rockets were too expensive, so they got creative with party balloons and gaffer tape. The telescope found dark matter, but the balloons floated away. So it is part science, and part revenge on children’s third birthday parties everywhere.