NUI Galway Centre of Astronomy Holds Second in Series of Public Talk

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Pulsars which are some of the most extreme and enigmatic objects in the known Universe, will be the subject of the second NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy public talks. Dr John McDonald, Post-Doctoral Researcher with the Centre for Astronomy, will discuss pulsars (neutron stars) on Wednesday, 2 March, at 7.30pm in the Larmor lecture theatre, NUI Galway. First observed serendipitously in the late 1960s by an Irish postgraduate student working in Cambridge, these objects have been intensely studied for more than 40 years, and yet much about these objects remains shrouded in mystery. The progeny of type II supernovae (the death of massive stars), neutron stars possess the mass of our entire Sun contained in an area the size of Galway, with immense electromagnetic and gravitational fields, spinning up to 650 times a second. Dr McDonald will explain the origins of these stars, starting right from the birth of normal stars, through their violent death, to their stunning rebirth. He will also discuss work being done by the Centre for Astronomy to expand our understanding of these fascinating stars. Speaking about the upcoming talk, Dr Andy Shearer, Director of the Centre of Astronomy at NUI Galway, said: "The Centre for Astronomy has been a world leader in optical pulsar studies for the past twenty years. In this time we have identified two of five known optical pulsars. Dr McDonald's talk will put this work in context show casing ground breaking research at NUI Galway." The talk is open to the public and might be of particular interest to transition year students and students thinking of doing science at University. More details about the series of talks can be found at http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach.
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