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Tonight we will explore one of the most important objects in astronomy: the telescope. Our first speaker will tell us how the most powerful telescopes use naturally occurring magnifying glass in space to see distant galaxies. Then, we will talk about the essentials of keeping a telescope working. Finally, we have planned a science quiz for our audience with special prizes for the winners!
How Snapchat lenses are helping the search for gravitational lenses
Joshua Wilde (PhD Researcher)
Gravitational lenses distort space-time and our view of the universe. They are an important tool in our study of dark matter and the expansion of the universe. New telescopes will find thousands of gravitational lenses among billions of objects. Finding gravitational lenses and rare lens alignments will be a “needle in a haystack in a field of haystacks” problem. Recent advancements in the field of artificial intelligence are needed to find these rare objects and tell us more about our universe.
How do you keep a space telescope working?
Dr Neil Hollyhoke (Researcher)
Many things can break space telescopes, but my work is focused on radiation shielding. Background radiation can make images fuzzy, or simply break pixels. Modern shielding uses layers of different materials to remove as much background radiation as possible with the least material possible. My work has two parts, one uses experiments at particle accelerators to validate shielding simulations for ATHENA, a telescope due to launch in the 2030s. The other is developing and testing new materials for use in space telescope shielding.