Time-travel back to the first stars! Free talk, 29 October

Oct 22, 2015

Come time-travelling!

Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn. Photo: University of Sydney

In a special free talk at the University of Sydney on 29 October, CAASTRO Associate Investigator Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn (University of Sydney) will take you back more than 13 billion years to when strange giant stars roamed the Universe.

“These stars were unli

ke any we see today,” Professor Bland-Hawthorn said. “They were probably hundreds of times more massive than our Sun. They lived fast and died in gigantic explosions. It was like the Wild West.”

These pioneers cleared a fog of gas out of the Universe and laid the ground for today’s stars.

“We, and everything around us, are descended from those giants,” Professor Bland-Hawthorn said. “If they hadn’t existed, we wouldn’t be here.”

In search of the oldest light in the Universe

How the Universe might have looked when the first stars lit up. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)

Date: Thursday, 29 October 2015         

Time: 5.30 – 7.00 pm

Cost: Free

Place: Harry Messel Lecture Theatre 4002, Sydney Nanoscience Hub, University of Sydney (behind the old School of Physics)

Please register for the talk

Enquiries: Silke Weiss, CUDOS (M-T) tel 9351 2637

In his talk Professor Bland-Hawthorn will describe how astronomers are searching for signs of these original stars.

“The Hubble Space Telescope shows us the Universe back to about 600 million years after the Big Bang, but the first stars are further back,” he said.

They’ll be a target for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, successor to the Hubble, which is due to launch in 2018.

Also looking will be gigantic telescopes now being built on the ground.

Professor Bland-Hawthorn and his team at the University of Sydney have built a device that can block light from the Earth’s atmosphere, letting astronomers see further into space.

“We expect to use this on one of the next-generation giant telescopes,” Professor Bland-Hawthorn said.

His talk, “In search of the oldest light in the Universe”, is the final in a series organised by the ARC Centre of Excellence CUDOS for the 2015 International Year of Light.