Annual Robert Grosseteste Lecture in Astrophysics

Planets and Pulsations: The New Keplerian Revolution

a public lecture by

Professor Don Kurtz

Jeremiah Horrocks Institute, the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK

Wednesday, 6 December 2017,

6:00-7:20 pm

Newton Lecture Theatre  INB0114 in the Isaac Newton building, University of Lincoln

Eventbrite - Annual Robert Grosseteste Lecture in Astrophysics

One of the biggest questions humans can ask is, “Are we alone?” Does Earth harbour the only life in the universe? Everyone has an opinion on this question, but as scientists, we want to know. A first step is to find other planets like the Earth, planets with rocky surfaces and liquid water where conditions are similar to home. The Kepler Space Mission has done this. With the discovery of nearly 5000 planets orbiting other stars Kepler has revolutionised our view. It has found entire solar systems orbiting other stars and it has even found planets orbiting double stars: Yes, Luke Skywalker’s fictional home planet Tatooine really does exist out there.  The Kepler mission measured the brightnesses of 200,000 stars for four years, giving us a view of the stars 100 times more precise than is possible from the ground. From this a jewel box, exotic stars have been discovered, and astrophysics that used to be purely theoretical is now also observational. This talk introduces the concepts of asteroseismology and shows a selection of exciting results from the Kepler mission in a multi-media performance of science, animations and the physics of music and the stars. The speaker is a co-author of the fundamental textbook, “Asteroseismology” and Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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