Star Talk: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence using the MeerKAT and the Very Large Array Telescopes

Catch our upcoming Star Talk with post-doctoral researcher Dr. Cherry Ng!
Zoom link:…
Passcode: startalk
Abstract: “The search for technosignatures – remotely observable indicators of advanced extraterrestrial life – addresses one of the most profound questions in science: are we alone in the universe as intelligent life?” writes Dr. Ng. “The Breakthrough Listen program is leading the most concerted search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) effort to-date through radio and optical surveys of nearby stars, nearby galaxies and the Milky Way galactic plane, thus representing the best chance the human race has ever had to detect a technosignature.”
“Recently, Breakthrough Listen has partnered with the SETI Institute to develop commensal SETI search capabilities on some of the most sensitive radio inteferometers, including the Allen Telescope Array (ATA), the Very Large Array (VLA) and MeerKAT,” writes Dr. Ng. “Interferometric radio telescopes have the advantage of providing a larger field of view, maximizing the SETI survey speed. In this talk, we will present the latest updates on these surveys and conclude with a refreshed outlook on SETI search using next generation telescope facilities.”
Speaker biography: Dr. Cherry Ng is a post-doctoral researcher at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, where she researchers pulsars and Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs).


Star Talk: Revealing the Nature of Dark Matter with Strong Gravitational Lensing

How are astronomers investigating dark matter by analyzing gravitational lenses? Learn more at the ASX’s upcoming Star Talk on June 28 at 5 pm with Dr. Daniel Gilman, Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto’s David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Catch the event page at:

Star Talk Abstract: “Most of the mass in the Universe exists in the form of dark matter, an enigmatic substance connected to ‘normal’ matter only through the force of gravity,” writes Dr. Gilman. “As a result, the properties of the dark matter particle and its production mechanism remain a mystery. In my talk, I will review the compelling evidence for the existence of dark matter, and describe what we have learned by analyzing visually spectacular strong gravitational lenses.”

“Gravitational lensing refers to the deflection of light by gravitational fields, and strong lensing refers to a particular case where the extreme deformation of space by a massive foreground object produces multiple highly-magnified and distorted images of a luminous background source,” he continues.

“I will review how strong lensing provides insights into the nature of dark matter on scales ranging from galaxy clusters, the largest concentrations of mass in the Universe, all the way down to sub-galactic scales, where strong lensing reveals the presence of otherwise-invisible dark matter structures throughout the cosmos.”

To join the Star Talk on June 28th at 5:00 pm EST:
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 812 0668 9945
Passcode: 280621


Star Talk: Water, Water Everywhere?

Water, water everywhere?

Our understanding of our own solar system has changed significantly since the advent of spacecraft exploration. Water was once believed very scarce in our corner of the galaxy but we now realize this is not the case.From understanding where our own planet’s water riches originated to the proliferation of the so called water worlds, this presentation will discuss the evolution of this “sea change” in thinking and its implication for the search for life on exoplanets.

𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗯𝗶𝗼𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗵𝘆: Dr. Paul Delaney is a Professor at York University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and the inaugural Carswell Chair for the Public Understanding of Astronomy. He is the coordinator of the York University Observatory, and promotes the use of its telescopes for education, research, and public outreach.Zoom link will be posted closer to the event!

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Star Talk: The New Era of Radio Astronomy

Radio telescopes — such as the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), HIRAX, and the planned CHORD — will lead to unprecedented advances in astronomy. How will they shape future research? To find out more, join us online on Wednesday, October 28 at 6:00 pm.Abstract: “In recent years, the exponential growth of available computing power has spurred a revolution in radio astronomy. Digital processing of radio light has replaced traditional mirrors and imaging optics, with huge arrays of smaller detectors now beginning to supplant the monolithic dishes of prior years. Canada has become a leader in this new arena, with the recently-built CHIME telescope displaying unprecedented survey sensitivity, and upcoming arrays like HIRAX and CHORD set to redefine the field. I will discuss these developments, recent results, and upcoming instruments.” — Professor VanderlindeBiography: Dr. Keith Vanderlinde is an Assistant Professor at U of T’s David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics as well at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics. In his research, Prof. Vanderlinde studies the Large Scale Structure, working on the South Pole Telescope and CHIME.


Star Talk: Hands-On Astronomy: Building Instruments to Measure Our Cosmos

You may be familiar with some of the fantastic technology and instruments to do astronomy and the pictures we get with them of our cosmos, but how do these telescopes and cameras actually get built? What do experimental astrophysics do all day? I will discuss astronomical instrumentation and what technology we use to measure the sky across the electromagnetic spectrum from UV telescopes to superconducting transition edge sensors. I will describe how these instruments are created and what the careers of astronomy “builders” are like. I will also show some images of the sky taken with different instruments and describe the discoveries they have allowed astronomers to make.