March 2020 Scibar

Beyond The Fringe: Astronomy with Invisible Light

Speaker: Professor Gary Davis
Date: 9th March 2020 at 18:30

Astronomy is based on the detection and analysis of light we receive from objects in the sky. Progress in our understanding of the universe comes through advances in light-detection technology: we continue to build bigger and more sensitive telescopes in order to address challenging problems and discover new phenomena.

For more than 30 years, the UK operated two observatories at the summit of Maunakea on the island of Hawaii: the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope. Both telescopes observe the heavens using forms of light that cannot be seen with the naked eye. In this talk I will describe why we do this challenging type of astronomy, why we go to places like Maunakea to do it, and what we achieved there. Along the way I will also reflect on the importance of astronomy for understanding our place in the Universe, and why science is such a powerful approach to understanding the world in which we live.

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