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Public Worm Hole Lecture - Nov 5th

  • 05-11-2002 12:03pm
    Registered Users Posts: 10,148 ✭✭✭✭

    Looks interesting :)

    Worm Holes Popularised by Star Trek may now actually exist according to UCC Astrophysicist - 5 November 2002
    What are Black Holes, why do we need to find out more about them and what would happen if you got too close to one? These are some of the questions which will be answered on Wednesday evening next (6 November 2002) by Dr Paul Callanan of the Physics Department at UCC, in “Seeing the Invisible- the Search for Black Holes”- the first in a new public lecture series organised on behalf of the Science Faculty by Professor William Reville.

    Black Holes, says Dr Callanan, represent nature in the most extreme form imaginable to humans. At their core, density approaches infinity, no light can escape from them, near them, time itself slows down, and anything that gets too close will be swallowed up forever. Their presence was predicted by Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity, but it has taken the ingenuity of scientists since then to establish that such exotic forces do indeed exist and that they can be observed and even weighed.

    While Black Holes exist in the isolation of the vastness of space, very often, they are accompanied by orbiting stars similar to our sun. A Black Hole, for instance, lies at the very heart of our own galaxy, and typically, it is estimated to be 2.5million times more massive than the sun which gives us light and warmth. The gravitational pull from Black holes distorts companion stars, and draws material from them. The speed at which the companion star orbits the Black Hole is also affected – the heavier the Black Hole, the faster the orbit. By measuring the gravitational pull, the exchange of material from one body to another and the orbital speed of the companion star, it is possible for scientists to establish the mass or weight of the Black Hole itself. Given that we are unlikely ever to be in a position to test our theories in or near a Black Hole, Dr Callanan, says, the ability to make such measurements, using observations in infra red, is a vital part of the ongoing scientific search for knowledge and a necessary test of the theories we hold true. And tantalisingly, he suggests, at some future date, we may even learn whether Black Holes contain worm holes - popularised by Star Trek – but that's for another day!

    At UCC, Dr Callanan and his team are studying lower-mass Black Holes, several thousand light years away in our Milk Way galaxy. The astrophysics research is being conducted in collaboration with other teams around the world including the University of California at Berkeley. The researchers use facilities at different locations, one of the best known being at Mauna Kea in Hawaii, where the giant10-m Keck telescope is based.

    UCC is the only university in Ireland with its own observatory on campus – the Crawford Observatory was built 130 years ago – and is to be restored. During his lecture, Dr Callanan will give an update on plans for the restoration.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14,483 ✭✭✭✭daveirl

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14,483 ✭✭✭✭daveirl

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,148 ✭✭✭✭Raskolnikov

    I wanted to, but had a society thing on.

    Was it any good?

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14,483 ✭✭✭✭daveirl

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,082 ✭✭✭Chris_533976

    I went. :D

    It was quite good..... Paul started with a general thing about telescopes and how they work, etc, before going on to some basic stuff about what forms back holes.

    He also showed a few neat videos from the Internet.

    Finally, he showed some new research that had come out in the last few weeks... new evidence for a supermassive black hole in the middle of the galaxy. It showed data taken over the past 10 years of stars orbitting something in the middle of the galaxy.

    Overall, it was quite interesting, but a lot of it was stuff I'd known already from his other meetings. :)

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