Perseids Sky-watching Party and lecture: "Mapping the Universe"

Sunday, August 12, 2018 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Map of the universe

Explore the night sky with astronomers from the Faculty of Science and Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. The Perseids meteor shower will be at its most spectacular, so let's gather to learn something and then enjoy the view!

We will meet first in the nearby Optometry building for a short lecture by the Department of Physics and Astronomy's Dr. Will Percival: "Mapping the Universe". We'll move to the Columbia Fields for stargazing after that. 

Mapping the Universe

This talk will review how large surveys of galaxies provide a wealth of information about the Universe in which we live. The Universe has an interesting history: after the big bang matter was very evenly distributed. Small fluctuations in density did exist and the strongest over-densities grew under the influence of gravity to form galaxies and clusters of galaxies. This growth was opposed by the expansion of the Universe, which went through periods of acceleration and deceleration. Information about these periods and the physical process driving them is consequently encoded in the distribution of galaxies. By mapping the Universe as a function of look-back time (the time taken for the light from distant galaxies to reach us), we can understand this physics. The talk will start by reviewing distance scales and will look at making maps from galaxy observations. Science from these maps will be briefly considered, before wondering whether it would ever be possible to use these maps to navigate a journey across the Universe.

This is a family-friendly event, but if your kids will have trouble sitting through a lecture, you're welcome to join us on the Columbia Fields around 8:30pm for the stargazing portion of the evening.

Please note that if the skies are cloudy, the lecture will still take place on August 12th, but we will not gather on the fields for stargazing. Please register so that we can keep you updated:

Parking will be provided in Lot X, near the lecture venue, and in the OpenText lot on Frank Tompa Drive, north of Brubacher House. It is an easy walk between both parking lots, the lecture, and the fields. Please do not park in the small gravel lot adjacent to the field, as your car lights interfere with our stargazing.