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  • Free Public Lecture in Astronomy

    Each year the Astrophysics research Institute hosts a public lecture in astronomy. This annual free lecture is sponsored by Paul & Lesley Murdin and the Astrophysics Research Institute.

    Previous Lectures in the Series

    Astronauts and the latest in space exploration Dr. Jackie Bell

    Friday, December 1, 2017


    Dr. Jackie Bell, one of the 12 applicants selected for the BBC series Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, talked us through her astronaut training experience and its links to current scientific research.

    The Volatile Universe - Professor Tim O'Brien, The University of Manchester

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016


    Professor Tim O'Brien of Jodrell Bank and BBC Stargazing Live talked about the dynamically changing universe and how we are using increasingly large and sophisticated telescopes on and above the world to learn about it.

    The Volatile Universe is now available to watch on LJMUTV

    First Light - Professor James Dunlop, University of Edinburgh


    After the Big Bang the Universe expanded and cooled, and for a while there was only darkness. But then gravity caused the most dense regions of the universe to collapse and form the first stars and galaxies.

    In this talk I will describe how recent advances in observational astronomy, especially the refurbishment of the Hubble Space Telescope, have enabled us to look back in time to within 500 million years of the Big Bang, and directly observe the emergence of the first galaxies.

    I will also explain how the next generation of facilities, including the long-awaited James Webb Space Telescope, can be expected to shed new light on how today's highly-structured and beautiful Universe emerged from the initial chaos of creation.

    Happy Landings!?


    Spacecraft Landings on Titan and Comet C-G By John Zarnecki, Professor of Space Science, Open University

    After the spectacular landing of the Huygens Probe on Saturn's Moon Titan and the recent arrival of the Rosetta spacecraft at comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, landings of spacecraft on Solar System bodies will be considered, with emphasis on these two events: one past and one imminent.

    'Happy Landings!?' by Professor John Zarnecki it is now available on LJMUTV

    Astrobiology: The Hunt for Alien Life

    Dr. Lewis Dartnell: The Hunt for Alien Life

    'Astrobiology' is a brand new field of science, encompassing research into the origins and limits of life on our own planet, and where life might exist beyond the Earth. But what actually is 'life' and how did it emerge on our own world? What are the most extreme conditions terrestrial life can tolerate? And where in the cosmos might we reasonably expect to find ET? Join Dr. Lewis Dartnell on a tour of the other planets and moons in our solar system which may harbour life, and even further afield to alien worlds we've discovered orbiting distant stars, to explore one of the greatest questions ever asked: are we alone...?

    'The Hunt for Alien Life' by Dr Lewis Dartnell it is now available on LJMUTV

    Aphrodite's Computer: The Antikythera Mechanism

    The Antikythera Mechanism on display at the National Archaeological Museum, with conservator Gerassimos Makris. (Photo by Yanis Bitsakis)

    Mike Edmunds (Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics at Cardiff University and former Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy)

    Perhaps the most extraordinary surviving relic from the ancient Greek world is a device containing over thirty gear wheels dating from the 1st century B.C., and now known as the Antikythera Mechanism.

    This device is an order of magnitude more complicated than any surviving mechanism from the following millennium, and there is no known precursor. It is clear from its structure and inscriptions that its purpose was astronomical, including eclipse prediction.

    In this illustrated talk, Mike Edmunds (Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics at Cardiff University) will outline the results, including an assessment of the accuracy of the device - from the international research team, which has been using the most modern imaging methods to probe the device and its inscriptions. Their results show the extraordinary sophistication of the Mechanism's design.

    Hubble in Orbit: Two Decades and Counting (23-June-2011)

    Hubble Against Earth's Horizon (1997)

    Dr Bob Fosbury (former director of the Space Telescope - European Coordinating Facility in Garching)

    During May 2009, the Hubble Space Telescope was subject to the most intense overhaul of its life with astronauts from the Space Shuttle Atlantis performing engineering feats far beyond what was originally envisaged for orbital servicing. Instruments were repaired and replaced during the most complex human process that had yet been performed in space. The telescope is now some hundred times more powerful than when it was launched in 1990. This is the story of Hubble, looking back on the revolution in astrophysics that it has achieved and forward to what it is achieving now in its probings of the early history of the universe to the study of the atmospheres of extrasolar planets.

    Listen - LJMUTV

    Watch - YouTube