April 2024 Lecture – Dr. Stefano Bagnulo (AOP) – Night Time Astronomy with Sunglasses

For our next lecture in 2024, we are very pleased to have Dr. Stefano Bagnulo from Armagh Observatory, giving us our April Lecture. This is the first time Dr. Bagnulo has been with us and i’m sure he will be made very welcome.
The title of his talk is ‘Night Time Astronomy with Sunglasses‘.

This lecture will be held on Monday 8th April 2024, starting at 8pm sharp. Join us in our usual venue of Ballyclare High School Lecture Theatre.

About the talk:

Most of Astronomy is based on measurements of the intensity of the light from celestial bodies. For instance, from the subtle variability of the light of a star we can deduce the presence of a planet around it; stellar spectra can reveal the composition of a star, and those of distant galaxies can tell us how fast the Universe is expanding. However, the light is characterised not only by its intensity, but also by the way in which it propagates itself, a feature that we call ‘polarisation’. The instruments that we use to measure polarisation have optical elements that resemble very much to the lenses of Polaroid sunglasses. Polarised light carries a somewhat hidden information about the nature of the object that we are observing. Polarimetric techniques are routinely used in Astronomy to reveal the presence of a magnetic field in the atmosphere of a star, to measure the size of asteroids, or to find the composition of cometary dust. I will explain how polarimetric techniques are used in everyday’s life, and how they have made it possible, recently, to see how magnetic white dwarfs funnel debris of their planetary systems into their atmosphere, and to find life on Earth (!)

About Dr. Bagnulo:

Stefano Bagnulo obtained his PhD at QUB in Belfast in1996, and since then has worked at the University of Vienna and then at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, where he was a member of the Science Operations Team of the ESO Very Large Telescope. He joined Armagh Observatory in 2007.

Click this link to read about his work at AOP

I’m sure you will join me in welcoming Stefano along to the NIAAS. I’m really looking forward to this talk as we are now getting towards the end of the current NIAAS season.

As usual, tea and biscuits will be served after the lecture so everyone can get a chance to catch up with a good chat!

I look forward to seeing you all there!