Astronomy Ireland Christmas Lecture
'Is Pluto a Planet?'
Monday 12 December at 8:00pm
Trinity College, Dublin
Do you think Pluto should be a planet? Vote on our Facebook poll HERE!
About the Lecture
Why is Pluto no longer a proper planet? What's the problem; what happened at that meeting in Prague? This talk explains how our knowledge of Pluto has changed and how with our bigger telescopes we're finding Pluto's pals - other trans-Neptunian objects.
Pluto is the second-most-massive known dwarf planet in the Solar System (after Eris) and the tenth-most-massive body observed directly orbiting the Sun. Originally classified as the ninth planet from the Sun, Pluto was recategorized as a dwarf planet and plutoid due to the discovery that it is one of several large bodies within the newly charted Kuiper belt.
Artist's impression of Pluto with the Sun and Charon, one of its moons. Click to enlarge.
From its discovery in 1930 until 2006, Pluto was classified as a planet. In the late 1970s, following the discovery of minor planet 2060 Chiron in the outer Solar System and the recognition of Pluto's relatively low mass, its status as a major planet began to be questioned. In the late 20th and early 21st century, many objects similar to Pluto were discovered in the outer Solar System, notably the scattered disc object Eris in 2005, which is 27% more massive than Pluto. On August 24, 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) defined what it means to be a "planet" within the Solar System. This definition excluded Pluto as a planet and added it as a member of the new category "dwarf planet" along with Eris and Ceres. After the reclassification, Pluto was added to the list of minor planets and given the number 134340. A number of scientists continue to hold that Pluto should be classified as a planet.
Images of Pluto's surface. Click to enlarge.
ABOUT THE LECTURER
The radio astronomer Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered the first pulsar (stars that release regular bursts of radio waves) in 1967. Susan Jocelyn Bell (Burnell) was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on July 15, 1943. Her father was the architect for the Armagh Observatory, which was close to their home. Her early interest in astronomy was encouraged by the observatory staff. She studied at the Mount School in York, England, from 1956 to 1961. She earned a B.S. in physics at the University of Glasgow in 1965. That same year, she began work on her Ph.D. at Cambridge University. There, under the supervision of Antony Hewish, she constructed and operated a 81.5 megaherz radio telescope.
She studied interplanetary scintillation of compact radio sources. Bell Burnell detected the first four pulsars. The term "pulsar" is an abbreviation of pulsating radio star or of rapidly pulsating radio sources. Pulsars represent rotating neutron stars that emit brilliant flashes of electromagnetic radiation at each revolution, like beacons from a lighthouse.
She has since played very active role in developing the science of radio-astronomy and in the world of Astronomy and Astrophysics and has championed the status of women in science. In 2006 she chaired the meeting of the IAU in Prague where Pluto got demoted to the status of Minor Planet. In 2007 she was honoured with a DBE - Dame Commander of the order of the British Empire. She has just finished her tenure as president of the Institute of Physics.
She was recently featured on BBC tv in the fascinating "Beautiful Minds" series.
After the lecture there will be a social reception in The Lombard
and we encourage all of you to come along for a chat.
All are welcome to attend and free food will be kindly provided by The Lombard.
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A prize draw will be held after the lecture.
|Date||Monday 12th December|
Ed Burke Theatre, Arts Building,
Trinity College Dublin.
|Admission||€7 (€5 Astronomy Ireland members and concessions)
Places MUST be booked in advance
Click HERE to book seats online.
Call (01) 890 1111 to book tickets over the phone using Debit/ Credit Card
Send a cheque/ PO/ Draft, made payable to Astronomy Ireland to PO BOX 2888, Dublin 5.
This lecture is also available to people nationwide on DVD.
To order a copy of the DVD simply:
Order by credit/ debit card online HERE
Call (01) 890 1111
Alternatively post a Cheque or postal order to: December 2011 DVD, Astronomy Ireland, PO. Box 2888, Dublin 5.
Cost: DVDís cost Ä7 each (add Ä5 for P&P for any number of DVDs)
Acknowledgment: Astronomy Ireland would like to thank the TCD Astrophysics Research Group for hosting AI public lectures in Trinity College Dublin.
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