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.

Continue Reading Star Talk: The New Era of Radio Astronomy

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.

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

Star Talk: Statistics Meets Astronomy


Link to Facebook Event page:

Big data permeates every facet of modern society, and astronomy is no exception! What do astrophysicists do with the massive amounts of information being constantly recorded by telescopes? To find out, join ASX for our first-ever, socially-distant online Star Talk on Wednesday, July 8. From analysing the behavior of single stars to calculating the mass of the Milky Way, Professor Gwendolyn Eadie will be elucidating the ways in which statistics meets astronomy! As always, everyone is welcome!

Lecture Abstract:
Statistics meets Astronomy: Challenges in Time and Space

Astronomy, like so many other disciplines, has entered an era of big data — large telescopes and all-sky surveys are bringing in petabytes amount of data on a daily basis. The hope is that these large data sets will help us not only untangle mysteries of the universe but also help us discover new phenomena. At the same time, these data sets often come with challenges that require sophisticated statistical analysis. In this talk, I will summarize some of the exciting science being done by my Astrostatistics Research Team at the University of Toronto, from studies of individual stars, to open star clusters and the entire Milky Way Galaxy.

About the Speaker:
Dr. Gwendolyn Eadie is an Assistant Professor jointly-appointed between U of T’s David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Department of Statistical Sciences. Prof. Eadie is an expert in astrostatistics, and is currently applying modern statistical methods to the study of the Milky Way.

Continue Reading Star Talk: Statistics Meets Astronomy

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).

Continue Reading January Star Talk: Black Holes in 2020

Star Talk: Stellar Fossils of the Early Universe

Date: October 30th, 7PM – 9PM
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.

Continue Reading Star Talk: Stellar Fossils of the Early Universe