Although produced by any accelerating mass (ie bodies in orbit around another mass) as a direct prediction from Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, it needs objects to be as massive as binary neutron stars or binary black holes to generate gravity waves big enough that stand a chance of being detected. Even then, the changes/distortions caused by the gravity waves are infinitesimal - requiring detectors that would be able to measure the difference of something as far away as Alpha Centuri by the width of a human hair!!
And in 2015, various ground based detectors of this sensitivity, like 'Advanced LIGO' will be coming on-line. up to 4km long, perpendicular laser beams, sighted across the world, able to measure the tiny changes in the stretching of space/time caused by these gravitational waves! Amazing!!
All the technology worked (well the important bits!!) and we could watch and listen to Richard on one screen while displaying the presentation about his research thesis on another! Richard's in-depth knowledge of the latest theories was evident from the detailed analysis he has undertaken during his Research Fellowship at Monash University and his presentation conveyed the reasoning beautifully. Trying to work out how galaxies have evolved over the past 8 billion years from 'snap-shots' of what we can currently see in the night sky seems truly amazing!
Richard's full thesis can be found at:
At the end of the meeting Richard was made an honorary, lifetime member of the Knowle Astronomical Society - another first!
Due to the poor weather forecast (100% cloud cover!!), we have had to cancel the stargazing part of this evenings event, but a presentation 'An Introduction to the Night Sky' will still be given in Dorridge Village Hall at around 8pm.
We will also have displays, handouts and telescopes set up in the hall to help get you interested in all aspects of viewing the heavens.
On 1st Sept. Prof. Paul Roche of the University of South Wales gave us a fasinating, flawlessly delivered presentation about Neutron Stars - bizarre stellar objects, with twice the mass of our Sun but crushed down to a ball about 15km in diameter and spinning at up to 700 times a second!!
After 14 years of sterling service, Nigel Foster has decided to stand down from the Committee, which means we currently have no Treasurer or Membership Secretary!
Nigel will still be around to help his replacements get up to speed, and by splitting the roles we hope they shouldn't be too onerous on any individual!
Nominations to join the Committee in either of these roles would be most welcome! Please consider helping us run the Society - many hands make light work!!
Please speak to the Chairman or email email@example.com if you are prepared to help.
Our April 2014 meeting saw Dr Frazer Clarke (University of Oxford, Physics Dept) talking about Big Telescopes: Why Size Has Always Mattered - in particular, the European Extremely Large Telescope.
DR Paul Abel of Leicester University & 'Sky at Night' fame gave a talk about Planetary Astronomy. The turnout was excellent and the talk enjoyed by all. Paul fielded numerous questions at the end and has inspired many of us to go out and record our own observations of the planets in our solar system.
Paul also stayed on afterwards to do a bit of planetary observation but unfortunately the conditions outside where not suitable.
Dr Paul Abel & KAS Chairman Mark Wright after the talk
Our Chairman Mark Wright, is offering prizes for the best astronomical photograph in two categories: beginner and expert.
Members should submit their entries by email to 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. Photographs can be of anything associated with the night sky and don't necessarily have to be taken through telescopes. Get you camera phones, compact cameras, DSLR's and webcams out and have a go.
The last date for entries is 30th June 2014 and the winners will be presented with their prizes at our AGM on 7th July 2014.
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