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Space Weather - Protecting the Earth from the ravages of the Sun ~ Sam Walton (UCL)

Space weather is one of the biggest threats to modern infrastructure as we know it, and is only growing with our increased reliance on space-faring technology such as the many satellites in orbit today. This is due to the the many millions of tonnes of highly energetic plasma that the Sun spits out towards Earth every second. During this talk I will give an overview of what space weather is, beginning with the sun and ending with the influence of this on the Earth's geomagnetic field and generating the Northern and Southern Lights. I will also talk about how this can threaten many satellites in orbit around Earth today in which modern society heavily relies upon, and is continuing to do so more and more. Finally, how us scientists are using research to help understand and mitigate the effects of Space Weather.


Return of the Background ~ Tony Baxter

Following on from the December talk, attention is given to two X-ray satellites, Spektr-RG and Athena, specifically optimised for X-ray sky surveys of conditions when galaxies began to emerge. In the early days of X-ray astronomy, the observed “background”, i.e. a distant emission from a pervasive plasma, attracted significant attention, but was progressively attributed to distinct sources with the introduction of X-ray telescopes. The “background” is now re-emerging as a descriptor for emissions from primordial material excited when in proximity to structures such as galactic clusters and filamentary connections that are moulded by instabilities in the large scale expansion of the universe. The talk considers objectives of the two missions and describes the development of X-ray imaging  technologies, concluding with a short Italian “sales” video for Athena.

The Moon and Venus and other things ~ David Pulley

This month saw the Moon very close to Venus.  Many members imaged this event and we show these photos


The Local Group