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"Rise of a Giant: The Extremely Large Telescope"
Dr. Aprajita Verma University of Oxford
With a primary mirror of 39m across (about half the length of a football pitch!), the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) will be the "World's Biggest Eye on the Sky" operating in the visible to infrared wavelength range. The E-ELT will collect 13 times more light than the largest visible/IR telescopes today allowing us to peer deeper and further than ever before.
Using novel technologies (adaptive optics) to overcome the effect of the atmosphere, the ELT will be able to take images of the sky in exquisite detail, 16 times sharper than the Hubble Space telescope.
This deeper and finer view will address many exciting questions in astrophysics such as nature of extra-solar planets and detecting the first galaxies to form stars at the edge of the visible Universe, as well as raising new questions and making exciting discoveries. In this talk, she will describe the major steps in telescope design that have lead up to the forthcoming era of extremely large telescopes and the scientific questions they will address. In particular, she will discuss the ELT project, in which UK astronomers are playing a central role.
The next 50 years of astronomy will be revolutionary with facilities like the ELTs, the James Webb Space Telescope, the Large Synoptic Telescope and the Square Kilometre Array operational. The ELT will play a central role in delivering ground=breaking science contributing to our evolving understanding of the Universe.
Aprajita Verma is Project Scientist for the UK Extremely Large Telescope Programme and a Senior Researcher at the University of Oxford. After receiving her PhD and a short post-doc at Imperial College (London), Aprajita was science research staff at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching (2001-2006), and subsequently joined the Sub-department of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford (2006-present).
Her research interests cover a wide range of extragalactic topics, including dust obscured star-forming and black hole hosting galaxies, high-redshift (distant) galaxies and gravitational lensing. She is one of the three founding members of 'Space Warps' , the Zooniverse Citizen Science project to find gravitational lenses. Dr Verma regularly gives public talks on her research and the ELT and has been interviewed for features in the press, television and radio.
The Vectis Astronomical Society meets on the 4th Friday of every month, except for December. This event is open for non-members to attend. The speakers come from all over the country and give a presentation for around 45 mins. We then stop for a break with tea and biscuits, which gives an opportunity to mingle and chat. The second half of the evening one of our regular members will give a short 20min ‘what’s in the sky this month’ presentation.
We have a suggested donation of £2.50 for Non Members of Vas