January Star Talk: Black Holes in 2020

It’s time for our first event of 2020! Black hole are everywhere in popular science and science fiction, but what do we really know about these ultra-dense objects? If you would like to know more, join ASX for our Star Talk on Wednesday, January 29, in Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories (LM), Room 161. Professor Chris Matzner will be illuminating the darkness surrounding black holes, by elaborating on the state of our understanding in 2020! The free, public lecture itself is from 7PM-8PM followed, weather permitting, by a free, public telescope viewing atop MP. Everyone is welcome!

Lecture Abstract:
Once just a speculation, the existence of black holes is now an established fact. But what are they? Where do they come from? How were they found? What consequences do they have in our Universe? What mysteries remain? I will cover our knowledge of black holes as of 2020, and what we might learn next.

About the Speaker:
Dr. Christopher Matzner is a Professor and Graduate Associate Chair of U of T’s David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics. Prof. Matzner is currently conducting research on aspects of star formation (protostellar disks, molecular clouds, energy feedback) and stellar explosions (supernovae, gamma ray bursts).

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Graduate Student Panel – Methods of Modern Astronomy

Location: Cody Hall (Room 107), Astronomy & Astrophysics Building (AB),
U of T – St. George

Want to know more about how modern astronomy is conducted? Bursting with questions on how exoplanets are detected or how galaxies are surveyed? Not sure what to ask, but just want to learn more? Then come on down to ASX’s November Graduate Student Panel!

This 27th of November, we are proud to be featuring an expert panel of U of T PhD candidates in astronomy and astrophysics, each one with experience in cutting-edge observational methods. Feel free to come with your own questions, or lend an ear to our guided discussion. Weather-permitting, the discussion will be followed by an observation night using the instruments at the top of McLennan Physical Laboratories’ Burton Tower. As usual, everyone with any amount of background knowledge is welcome!

The panel will be moderated by journalist Dan Falk, winner of the 2019 Fleming Medal for Excellence in Science Communication. Falk is an award-winning science writer, broadcaster, and author, with credits in New Scientist, Scientific American, Astronomy Magazine, and Quanta among many others.

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Star Talk: Stellar Fossils of the Early Universe

Date: October 30th, 7PM Р9PM
Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories Rm 161

This star talk features Dr. Jeremy J. Webb, an Assistant Professor in U of T’s Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics. An NSERC postdoctoral fellow, Professor Webb is currently conducting research on Dynamical Evolution of Star Clusters, Dark Remnants, Dark Matter Substructure, Stellar Streams, Multiple Populations in Globular Clusters, and N-body Numerical Techniques.

Title: Fossils of the Early Universe
Abstract: Star clusters lie at the cross-roads of star formation, galaxy formation, and galaxy evolution. Stars do not form alone in isolation, but in clustered environments surround by between several tens to several millions of stars. The current star cluster population of a galaxy is made up of newly formed clusters of young stars and old star clusters that formed at the same time as the galaxy itself. These old clusters, often called globular clusters, provide clues as to what a galaxy was like when it first formed and how it has evolved over time. I will discuss what we know about cluster formation and evolution, as well as how we can use clusters as tools to study the galaxy within which they orbit. To help gain an understanding of the present day properties of Galactic clusters, we will also explore what life would be like if our Sun was actually inside a cluster with the help of a virtual reality environment. Not only will the night sky look very different, but the type of science available to astronomers would also change.

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Stargazing + Grad Student Q/A

Date: September 25th, 8PM – 10PM
Location: McLennan Physical Laboratories
14th floor observation room

Calling all stargazers! ASX’s first event of the school year is coming up at the very top of McLennan Physical Laboratories (MP). We will be hosting an observation night with the 8″ and 16″ telescopes on the tower roof. Spend the evening gazing at various celestial objects. Additionally, knowledgeable graduate students will be present to answer any questions you have about the telescopes, the astronomy programs at UofT, and the Universe! This event is open to the public, and is kid-friendly. There will even be free hot chocolate!

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August 2019: Picture of the Month

This picture is an original photograph of the Perseid meteor shower taken by ASX Chief Graphic Designer Hansen Jiang. The photo was created by superimposing separate pictures of two meteors onto each other, which is why two streaks of light can be seen.

The Perseids meteor shower is visible from late July to mid August. It is caused by dust particles ejected from the Swift-Tuttle comet, which orbits the sun every 133 years. These particles cross paths with the Earth, and produce short, bright streaks of light as they burn up in the atmosphere.

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