Want to know more about astronomy? Want to learn how to observe? Want to know what's currently in the sky?

Part of the National Science and Engineering Week.

See here for an event poster.

University of Birmingham - Other Worlds

Expanding our view of the unvierse

March 10th from 10am at the University of Birmingham - Poynting Physics Building

For as long as mankind has seen the night's sky we have been fascinated with the planets. These celestial Wanderers have helped us understand our place in the Solar System, but it was not until the end of the 20th century, until the discovery of planets around other stars, that we began to appreciate how strange our solar system is.

Two decades later, over 750 exoplanets are known, with several thousand more waiting for confirmation. This is an exciting time for science, and one astronomers from the University of Birmingham hope to demonstrate at their upcoming National Science and Engineering Week event, Other Worlds!

This event is aimed at all members of the general public and will feature talks by experts such as Dr Ian Stevens and Dr Samuel George who will discuss the discoveries so far, the prospects for the future and what these discoveries mean for the search for life by groups such as SETI. We will also have many fun interactive activities and workshops throughout the day, such as the making of air rockets and, weather permitting, solar viewing.

Other Worlds is currently planned to run from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday the 10th of March, 2012. Entrance and all activities are free, however due to limiting numbers certain workshops will be on a first-come-first-served basis.

We hope to see you there!

Featured Talks

The Search for Other Worlds by Dr Ian Stevens

Extrasolar planets are planets that orbit around stars other than our Sun. The first was only discovered around 15 years ago and now several hundred are known. There is a huge diversity of worlds - planets more massive than Jupiter orbiting very close to their star, other planets on wildly elliptical orbits. I will describe how astronomers go about finding planets and discuss the implications of extrasolar planets on the search for life in the Universe.

Big radio telescopes and the hunt for places that alien life could exist by Dr Samuel George

The hunt for life in the Universe has been highlighted by the discovered of hundreds of extrasolar planets but many of these are not suitable for life. Without the magnetic field that the Earth has life probably wouldn't exist. With big radio telescopes we should be able to determine crucial information about the magnetic field of these planets. We also can use big radio telescopes to try and directly detect evidence for alien civilizations. In this talk I will discuss the role of big telescopes such as Arecibo and the forthcoming Square Kilometre Array in the quest to answer the question, are we alone?

Event Location: The day will be taking place in the Poynting Physics Building (R13 on the University map), the talks will take place in the Large Lecture Theatre (S02). Directions to the University can be found on the University's visitor information pages and a campus map can be found here.