MSI and Astro seminars are held on Tuesdays at 3:30 pm on alternating weeks during the fall and winter semesters.
Astro Seminars: feature speakers who discuss topics in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology. Seminars will be held in the R.E. Bell Conference Room (room 103) in the Rutherford Physics Building.
MSI Seminars: feature speakers who discuss topics in astrophysics, planetary science, atmospheric science and astrobiology. Most seminars are held in the MSI conference room at 3550 University. Some seminars are held in the R.E. Bell Conference Room (room 103) in the Rutherford Physics Building (to accommodate larger audiences).
Our spacecraft have taken us to visit and explore many stark and ancient landscapes in the solar system. At first glance, very little appears to have changed for billions of years, but if we look to the atmosphere we see a dynamism that belies active processes in the present era and that hints at changes at and below the surface. In this talk, we will proceed through these open doors to explore the movement of dust, ice and methane in the hauntingly familiar environment of Mars. We will then travel further to more exotic planetary destinations including Titan, Pluto and Venus. Past results will be discussed along with future developments to explore the atmospheres of our solar system and beyond.
McGill Space Institute
The era of X-ray astronomy issued a new understanding of astrophysical processes by observing the high-energy universe. Focusing X-ray telescopes in particular allowed an unprecedented view into previously obscured or undetected objects. The Galactic Center in particular is a complex, crowded region with many interconnected and overlapping astrophysical objects. I will discuss how we can use X-ray observatories, along with complementary multi-wavelength data, to study GC sources such as Sgr A*, nearby supernovae, and X-ray transients, and in turn shed light on the structure and evolution of the Galactic Center.
The LIGO detectors have opened for us a new way of studying compact objects in the time domain with direct detections of gravitational-wave bursts from binary mergers of compact objects. I will highlight what current results imply and what we can look forward to in terms of advancing our understanding of the densest objects in nature, their origins and the explosive phenomena they cause.
While we have known for 40 years of the existence of a relation between a solar-mass star's age, rotation, and magnetic activity, observational limitations have hampered the assembly of uniform samples of rotation and activity measurements for stars spanning a wide range of ages and masses. We are still far from being able to describe fully the evolution of either rotation or activity for low-mass stars, or from being able to use rotation or activity measurements to estimate accurately the ages of isolated field stars. I will describe results from our efforts to assemble a complete sample of rotation and activity measurements for low-mass stars in six nearby open clusters ranging in age from ~100 Myr to ~3 Gyr. I will focus on our recent results for the benchmark clusters Praesepe and the Hyades, on new results for NGC 752, and on tests of models of rotational evolution that these data have enabled.