We can all look at the Milky Way (street lights permitting) but what is it that we see?
How far away are the stars? How big is everything? How fast are stars moving? Are there really lots of potentially killer asteroids? What else is out there that doesn't shine? Where did it all come from?
The European Space Agency satellite Gaia, launched in late 2013, will give us the first ever 3-dimensional census of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, and provide answers to those questions - and more.
Kea is thrilled to be able to host New Zealander Professor Gerry Gilmore who leads the UK Gaia programme. Gerry will introduce us to the science, the satellite, and explain how school classes will be involved in original astrophysical research to explain Gaia's discoveries. This is a fantastic opportunity to get an insight into one of the most exciting projects happening at the frontier of space exploration.
Spaces are strictly limited for this event, so please reserve early to avoid disappointment - our last few events have sold out fast!
We will have Kiwi beer, wine, and nibbles available to enjoy, and look forward to meeting you all there!
About Professor Gerry Gilmore
Professor Gerard F Gilmore FRS is a Professor of Experimental Philosophy, Institute of Astronomy, at the University of Cambridge.
Gerry Gilmore leads efforts to understand the structure and origin of our Galaxy. He led a revival of star-count analysis that first showed that the Galaxy possesses a "thick" disc, and helped to show that the thick disc formed early in the Galaxy's life.Our current understanding of how the masses of stars are distributed at birth was produced by Gilmore's team.
In the early 1990s, with a student he obtained the still standard estimate of the mass surface density associated with the discs. This study set the pattern of future work. He pioneered the use of spectral surveys to unravel the Galaxy's history through its chemistry and established that stars in the halo of the Galaxy are chemically distinct from stars in the Galaxy's satellites, even though much of the halo must consist of stars stripped from satellites.
In 1994 with a student he discovered the Galaxy's most important satellite after the Magellanic Clouds. As its leading UK proponent, Gilmore played a big role in selection of ESA's revolutionary Gaia mission.
He is the driving force behind the ESO-Gaia survey, which has over 250 co-investigators and will obtain spectra designed to complement data from Gaia.