Monthly adult evening lectures, each followed by a short planetarium show.
These Wednesday lectures are aimed at a level a little above most popular science lectures, so come prepared to exercise your brain and learn the science behind the headlines. The speakers are chosen from the best academic speakers in the UK, with a talent for explaining difficult concepts and the knowledge to give the very latest news from the research community.
Although the primary audience is adults, older children are also welcome to attend.
4:30pm lecture £8/£6
6:30pm lecture £10/£8
Multiple bookings: 5-for-4 ticket offer for phone or in-person bookings only. You must book all five tickets at the same time, specifying all dates and times. The cheapest ticket is free.
Lectures run on the second Wednesday of the month, except for February and April 2018 (third Wednesday).
This years dates are September 13, October 11, November 8, December 13, January 10, February 21, March 14, April 18, May 9, June 13 and July 11.
Click the title for further information:
13 September 2017 - What is new in our Solar System?
Dr Robin Catchpole (University of Cambridge)
Robin Catchpole works as an astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, having retired as Senior Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich in July 2004. After obtaining a BSc at University College London, he was posted to the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope, S Africa (now known as the South African Astronomical Observatory) and spent the next 24 years, working first at the Radcliffe Observatory in Pretoria and then at the SAAO in Cape Town. He then obtained his doctorate at the University of Cape Town on The Properties of the SC Stars and the Chemical Composition of UY Cen, under the supervision of Prof. Brian Warner. In 1991 he returned to the Royal Greenwich Observatory in Cambridge, until it closed in 1998, when he moved to Greenwich as Senior Astronomer.
He has authored and co-authored over 120 research papers and articles and used a number of telescopes around the world including the Hubble Space Telescope. Research interests include the composition of stars, exploding stars, the structure of our Galaxy and galaxies with black holes at their centres. His current research interest is in the structure of the Bulge of our Milky Way Galaxy, as shown by Mira variables.
Since 1996 he has given over 900 popular lectures in the UK, S Africa, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Spain to over 44,000 people. Has also given 420 TV and Radio interviews and participated in a number of programmes relating to astronomy.
Robin regularly lectures at the Cambridge International Science Summer School and for Summer Schools at Downing and Pembroke Colleges as well as on numerous Cruise Ships and at Game Lodges in South Africa and Namibia.
11 October 2017 - Rosetta and Beyond: ESA's Interplanetary Mission Operations
Dr Paolo Ferri (ESA)
Lecture: The European Space Agency has truly entered the era of interplanetary mission operations only about 20 years ago, when the Rosetta mission was approved and the necessary infrastructure developed to achieve such a pioneering mission. Since the beginning of this century, thanks to the experience gained with Rosetta and the other two planetary missions Mars and Venus Express, ESA has become a major world player in interplanetary operations, with an infrastructure and a know-how that put it on the same level as NASA in most of the fields of solar system exploration.
Rosetta is the first and only mission in the history of spaceflight to rendezvous with a comet nucleus and drop a lander module onto its surface. From an operations engineering point of view the challenges of this mission were enormous. Flying in the proximity of the nucleus required the development of an accurate model of the comet and the forces acting on the spacecraft that it generates. This had to be done while the spacecraft was already flying in this unknown environment, a highly risky and unconventional way of flying in space. The Philae lander delivery operations at a distance of 511 million kilometers from Earth was the highlight of the mission, but the two years operations in proximity of the comet, completed with the final landing of the mother spacecraft on the surface on 30 September 2016 have achieved revolutionary scientific results in comet and solar system science.
After Rosetta ESA is focusing again on Mars, with the two ExoMars missions, in cooperation with Russia: the first one already orbiting Mars since October 2016. After the only partial success of its test landing module Schiaparelli, which crashed on the surface but managed to validate most of the systems required to complete this operation, the second ExoMars mission, scheduled to launch in 2020, will land a scientific platform and a rover on the surface.Other missions in preparation for the coming years are BepiColombo, a mission to Mercury in cooperation with Japan; Solar Orbiter, for close observation of the Sun; and finally Juice, a mission to the icy moons of Jupiter, scheduled for launch in 2022 and arrival at the Jupiter system in 2030.
This lecture will recall the Rosetta mission and its spectacular and unique operations, describe the ExoMars missions and their operational and development status. Finally the future missions to Mercury, Sun and Jupiter and their operational challenges will be briefly introduced.
Paolo Ferri joined the European Space Agency in 1984, supporting the science operations of the EXOSAT X-ray astronomy satellite. In 1996 he was nominated Spacecraft Operations Manager for the Rosetta mission, in which he was involved for the following 20 years. Dr. Ferri continued to lead the flight operations until August 2006, when he was nominated head of the newly created Solar and Planetary Mission Operations Division, in charge of ground segment management, mission operations preparation and execution for all ESA solar and planetary science missions.
Since February 2013 he is Head of the Mission Operations Department, in charge of mission operations preparation and execution for all ESA unmanned missions. As of today there are 17 satellites in flight under the responsibility of his Department, and 10 more space missions in the areas of science and Earth observation are in preparation for launch before the end of the decade. His passion for space is combined with his interest in education and outreach. Thanks to the popularity of the Rosetta mission, which has been the project of his life and on which he has worked for the past 20 years, he has been lecturing to a large number of Universities, schools and general public audiences, bringing the subjects of space exploration and operations closer to a large audience of enthusiastic people of all ages. For the historical achievement of the Rosetta mission Dr. Ferri has been granted various awards, among which the Sir Arthur Clarke Award and the Galileo Medal of the City of Padova.
8 November 2017 - From the Bay of Fundy to Black Holes
Professor Don Kurtz (University of Lancaster)
Lecture: Tides are mysterious. Why are there two tides per day? What causes Spring and Neap tides? What are Earth tides? Tides on other bodies in the solar system can lead to moons disintegrating – this is where the rings of Saturn come from. Stars have tides and there are now the amazing, new tidal "Heartbeat Stars". Tides from some black holes would tear a person apart, so don't get too close! This richly illustrated lecture looks at tides from the Earth to colliding Galaxies.
Don Kurtz was born in San Diego, California, to an American father and Canadian mother. He obtained his PhD in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin in 1976, then spent 24 years in South Africa at the University of Cape Town, where he was Professor and Life Fellow. Don has dual British and American citizenship and has been Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Central Lancashire since 2001. He was recently a vice-president of the Royal Astronomical Society and serves on many international committees. He is frequently invited to speak internationally to both professional astronomers and to the public. Don observes with some of the largest telescopes in the world, has over 2000 nights at the telescope, and over 470 professional publications. He is the discoverer of a class of pulsating, magnetic stars that are the most peculiar stars known. He is co-author of the fundamental textbook “Asteroseismology”. He is an outdoorsman and has travelled widely. Don enthusiastically gives many public lectures per year to diverse audiences all over the world on a wide range of topics. He is a regular guest on BBC Radio Lancashire and has appeared in prime time on the BBC's "Stargazing Live" with Dara O'Briain, on the BBC One Show, and on the "Sky at Night" with Patrick Moore.
13 December 2017 - TBC
Entry to upper exhibition and cafe
Lecture followed by Q&A and a short break
Entry to upper exhibition and cafe
Lecture followed by Q&A and a short break
Event ends, Science Centre closes
Space Lectures are a fundraising event for Winchester Science Centre.
Visual warning: as with all planetarium shows, the show after the lecture includes large moving images which may affect people with photosensitive epilepsy, balance disorders and/or extreme motion sickness.