(05) Looking Up: A Virtual Night Sky Tour with Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

(05) Looking Up: A Virtual Night Sky Tour with Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

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03:56
hello everyone hi my name is fiona thank you so much for waiting um i can see some of you are still joining so welcome welcome to our virtual night sky tour event uh we are live on zoo so welcome to those of you that are watching on zoom and also on youtube as well so i'll talk about this at the end but this means that you can share this video with your friends family and you can watch again later so hello welcome uh please do let us know where you're watching from
04:27
i think i saw that someone's watching from america which is brilliant so we do have an international audience which is fantastic i'm based here in scotland in edinburgh i normally work at the royal observatory which you might have been to visit before it's a very beautiful place um and uh at the moment you can see i'm actually at home but usually i'm i'm up in uh up at the royal observatory so just a couple of things before we get started you might already know this because you use zoom all the time but just in case
04:58
you can see that kieran is in the chat so kieran can help you with any technical problems if you can't hear and things like that just let him know you're all letting me know where you're watching from which is great nottingham canada fantastic hello everybody colorado brilliant and also we have live transcript subtitles if you do want to use those they're there they're auto they're live so they might not get it quite right they're quite entertaining
05:29
and but if you want to turn them off or change the size of them there should be a little arrow next to the transcript button and you can change those or remove them completely as well you'll see you have a q a button and on the top of the bottom of your screen and you can submit questions to us we might have a little bit of time at the end but most of this is going to be a tour of the the night sky obviously virtual and and a little bit of a chat so this is a bit different to some of the other events you might have come to if you
06:00
haven't been to one of these before so it's not like our talks it's a chat throughout between me and somebody very special who i'll introduce in a moment and we're going to use a program called stellarium to take you on a tour of some of the things you can see at the moment later on tonight or it depends where you are in the world what time it is at the moment but here in scotland later on tonight um and also at this time of year and uh i i think i should just introduce my my special guest actually let's introduce megan who is hiding in
06:31
the background somewhere hi megan hello am i connected now how are you doing not too bad thanks yourself good yeah it's very sunny in edinburgh at the moment so unusually yeah yeah it's sometimes sunny in scotland but not not very often so it's a beautiful day here um so it's quite nice we're all very happy about that um so i'll introduce megan as a an astronomer at the royal observation does that sound right yeah that's right yeah so megan how long have
07:03
you been working at the observatory actually almost three years now okay quite a while um so megan's going to whilst we tour the night sky and see some of those things to look out for at the moment some of our favorite objects megan's also going to talk about some of the things that she explores in the universe some of the work that she does which is very exciting so um i think we're ready to go i'm just going to share my screen and so you can all see what we're doing
07:32
so if you just bear with me a moment here we go and whoops oh i was nearly there back again okay so that looks good yeah does this can you see the sky not the real sky of course the the virtual sky does that look crazy beautiful view to me i mean this is the weather we have in edinburgh today so usually we make a joke about this never happening but right now it's actually
08:05
light it's outside it's quite nice so almost like a view of the outside today so just looking across the city of edinburgh you may have been to edinburgh before if you've not if you get a chance to come and visit when we're allowed to travel the world a bit more please don't visit the beautiful city of edinburgh there's lots to see and this is the the royal observatory rooftop so just over here you can see this is one of the telescope domes they're victorian built and they've got these very beautiful decorations so we've got one over to the east and also one over to
08:35
the west and we're looking just out to the north at the moment so the program stellarium i should have said you can download this for free at home have a play around yourself but it's quite handy because unlike in real life it's got a an end for north here so we know which way we're facing which is good and also we can see a couple of things that you might recognize handy labels here for everybody um we have this is edinburgh castle just poking out here in the city and also our also arthur's seat which have you been up off a seat megan yes
09:08
uh steep climb open very steep climb down they call it a hill but it's you know it's still pretty pretty big it's just straight up though straight to the top so yeah a great view there but i think we've got a pretty good view from the observatory as well so we need to uh fast forward time a little bit to night time so you can see we've got a handy clock down the bottom here on our toolbar so that tells you uh we're at the the real time at the moment in in edinburgh just after six o'clock um on the 22nd of april today and so if
09:39
you're watching this a little bit later we're gonna see the sky as it would be tonight so i'll be able to fast-forward time for us and we can get a lovely sunset um here we go so once we do that um i noticed the chat in the background is whizzing away all sorts of things happening and i'll have a look in a moment but i wanted to ask you a question megan and also everybody watching at home don't worry we've prepared for this so what do you love about stargazing is
10:10
there anything particular you like about stargazing so i think i'm always surprised by it so i um as a kid i thought it was really boring uh and kind of cold and cloudy and didn't really see what the fuss was about so it's really only as an adult that i've been able to go to places that are dark enough that you can see more than just the brightest stars and i that's been really impressive to me because the longer you stay out the more you can see as your eyes adjust to the darkness and you can start to see fainter stars
10:40
and even some of the fuzziness of the galaxy come out um and there's just something so amazing about actually being able to see that with your own eyes and be like oh no wonder they called it the milky way how else would you describe that kind of fuzziness in a way that i yeah i never knew that before so yeah it's very rewarding i think yeah i think at the moment just with everything that's going on in the world and it's really nice just to take a moment to yeah just yeah i guess it's it's a bit of mindfulness in a way just looking up at the stars taking it all in and just
11:11
seeing the bigger picture like i'm just thinking back to um a few weeks ago um when i spotted i think it was serious the star series and um it was flickering and the colors that it shows as well and it was just so beautiful and just looking at that out of out of my bedroom window you know and just looking at the night sky for a little bit and it just kind of yeah took my mind of other things that are happening so it was it was a nice quiet moment so i think stargazing although you have to go out very late at night at the moment
11:41
it's it's you know it's it's worth doing and the more you look the more you see and there's always things to learn so someone in the chat i'm just having a little look or marie says she's in a dark place where there's and she doesn't use a flashlight and walks at 3am every morning just to be out alone with the stars that's amazing fantastic yeah i mean if you are up at that time even if you're not just getting up at that time you know once you know obviously if you're a bit
12:11
younger get permission from the parents and go out with an adult but yeah having a little look and it is much better if you manage to get out of the city and that's great yeah it's really really good so if you don't do stargazing maybe this is something you wanted to start doing i mean summer as i said you have to go out later but it might be something you want to pick up as well um later on in the year so let's get back to the stargazing okay so someone else says once you see the milky way with your own eyes i don't think there's any turning back i love
12:44
that it's true i think it is fantastic so we're going to have a look at some patterns that you see all year round so you may know we call these circumpolar constellations okay so let me just i'm just going to minimize the chat so i can see everything there we go so one of these that you might know is this one here so let me pop there we go so hand in stellarium you can put up some lines and so you can draw those dots dot lines
13:13
and also you can put up some art as well this just shows you how ridiculous constellations are i mean this is cassiopeia um we may have met her before she i i mean it's it's a w it's a line in the sky and those bright stars so you're looking for a w shape really but it's actually a a lady sat on a chair looking at itself in the mirror so you know that's that's what it's meant to be but i think we'll stick with the w horse depending on where it is it might look like a three or an m as as the stars and move around or as
13:45
the earth rotates rather than the stars here in different places so here we are at cassiopeia and we're looking north there we go um so the handy thing i must say about solarium is you can add in like we put in our view from the rooftop you could put in your garden or a panoramic view of where you're going to go stargazing and you could see you know i might not be able to see that then because there's a you know a tree in the way or something handy so you can prepare for things like that but cassiopeia we're going to use that
14:15
as a pointer to another constellation okay so we're just going to move to the east so over to the right here and this is a summer constellation and this is one of my favorites actually it's part of the summer triangle which you can just about see at the moment it's just rising up in the east you see we've got the tower in the way a little bit here but over here we have this is cygnus so this is a swan there we go there it is flying across the sky
14:47
and also up here we have this very bright star so this is vega and this is one of the other patterns in that um that group of stars called the summer triangle and so we've got the bright star in cygnus the bright star in vega and then one other one so we'll probably talk about the summer triangle next month so i'll hold it there i'm not going to say anything else so tune in next month but vega is part of this is like a harp um this instrument and another thing to say whilst we're here
15:18
is i i think yeah tonight and early tomorrow morning so maybe is it marie if you're out at three in the morning that's probably a good time to go out about and see this if you're out that late or early whichever way you see it and you can look for the lyrids meteor shower at the moment so it's actually peaking very early tomorrow morning so there's not that many and you'll see the brightest ones but if you have time to go out and you know find a quiet dark spot if you're lucky to live somewhere like that you might spot one so it's worth looking and it's around this this pattern here
15:50
it's very bright star which is vega now megan i think there's something that you wanted to point out in cygnus but i can't see anything else there apart from the stars is there something lurking is it something that's perhaps hidden maybe yeah something our eyes can you tell me but we do the thing we can do with this is we can annotate so what i'm gonna do it's a bit like um we'll go into art and science now and uh you want me to zoom in a little bit or
16:21
are we okay there uh i trust your judgment okay um right so we'll stay here so where about so whereabouts do we need to look and what are we looking for it's something that we can't see with our eyes but there's something hiding there in cygnus is that right right it's uh just off the swan's neck does that sound right to you yes i think we're about here somewhere where these three stars are and what what's what's lurking there that we can't see
16:52
so uh in the cygnus constellation is the cygnus x1 uh black hole so this is one of the first sources in the night sky that we saw that really seemed to be looking and acting like a black hole and it's weird i realize i said it looks like a black hole but by definition right you can't see black holes so uh some of our best indication that a black hole might be there is what's happening to the stuff around it uh so cygnus x1 because it's a bright source in x-ray radiation and we're trying to
17:24
figure out why is that so bright it's much too bright to be a star um but it turns out that uh there's a bunch of stuff falling onto the black hole so right before it falls into the black hole it gets very very hot so it's very bright in the x-rays so we discovered this bright x-ray source and trying to figure out what it could be and so it's kind of been a game of like well maybe it's this well we can rule out that it's you know certain types of stars or certain types of remnants of dead stars and other things and we end up in this situation where there's this very bright energetic stuff around
17:54
something that's so very tiny but apparently so very high in mass it can't be anything else so this is uh one of the probably closest and therefore one of the best studied uh black holes that's about i think 20 times the mass of the sun and it's hiding to our eyes it's hiding in cygnus if you have x-ray eyes it's one of the brightest sources so kind of fun yeah if you're a superhero like you know i mean i think some so some of the superheroes have x-ray eyes i don't know
18:24
maybe yeah not that they're looking for black holes i mean they're too busy saving the the universe uh the planet so maybe not surely there's some superhero movie where they're like saving us from black holes or something you just got to know what your risks are that's the next next next one for for the uh and we've looked it so we've looked at cygnus and also the things that we can't see there i don't know if you might want to look that up later on online so that's the is that the x1 black hole cygnus x1 bigness x1 okay so
19:00
if you want to look up later astronomers have great names for things don't they catchy name yeah oh yes we'll come back to that yeah there's another catchy name as well um okay so we've gone from cassiopeia so if you're just a beginner to stargazing it's quite handy because you can see that all year round move to the east to the right we've got cygnus the swan very bright kind of cross shape and there and then we've got vega with the lyre as well part of this summer triangle that we can't
19:30
quite see yet so from there we're going to keep on going and can you just about see can you see my mouse i think you can i can at least yeah yeah that should mean everybody else can so just up here just up to the right just above the the tower can you see this kind of it's like a squashed square um shape it's a bit like a plant pot on its side yeah can you all see that yeah as if i'm magic and we have a shape with all sorts of arms and legs so
20:01
this is actually hercules so this is a constellation yeah i know right so this is hercules the constellation and if you can see those there's brighter stars in that that that squashed shape there then then you're looking in the right place so once you get to vega you know you're not too far off so hercules um also contains one of these catchy named objects is that right megan what's the catchy name of this one i think it's does it begin with an n
20:34
probably but i can't remember which em it is all of a sudden is this where i have to admit how poorly i know my way around the night sky yeah i think yeah there's um there's a little bit of a kind of is it a running joke that astronomers you know you actually don't spend that much time looking up at the night sky is that right it's true so so for me i can find the constellations where the objects i tend to observe are because the constellations help me figure if the clouds are going to come too soon but otherwise yeah telescopes
21:06
point at such tiny areas of the sky that's my excuse anyways i'll let you off so we're looking at m13 so ah okay and let me see so here we go let's go to m13 so we should be flying to it now here we go so this is where i explain what the end is for well i mean i would like to think it stands for megan [Laughter] i mean you flatter me i don't know that i have made that big of a contribution to astronomy just
21:37
yet but uh i'll just zoom out a bit we kind of crash landed and zoomed in quite dramatically there that was sorry everybody and so what what is this that we're looking at what is this m13 i'm presuming it's not megan it's is it does it mean no so the m is for for messier for charles messier so uh this was somebody who was a keen observer of the night sky and was i think interested in comments and so wanted to note fuzzy things that were not comets and so he made a list of them and then numbered them and that became the messier catalogue so i guess is the
22:08
this is the 13th fuzzy object um and i guess it depends on how good your telescope is as to how fuzzy or not it looks like so this is obviously a very very good image from a very good telescope and we can see it's actually a cluster of stars uh and i guess the spirit of astronomers having great names for things this is in particular called a globular cluster so you can tell there's there's a lot of stars in this uh it's pretty dense it looks kind of round you can yeah see different colors of stars you've got a huge population of stars and that's pretty compact and
22:39
pretty old object so yeah i mean so this isn't something that you could easily see like if you were looking with just your eyes at the stars so a telescope or something to look look for this one yeah i certainly wouldn't be able to get this level of detail some yeah depending on your telescope sometimes you could tell it's a fuzzier object uh and see a little bit um that it's you know brighter in the center and how it drops in its brightness towards the edges but so i'm going to zoom out a little bit so that we can just get a perspective of
23:12
where we're where we are because it was very quick there we go so it's kind of just yeah here's that flower pot kind of i don't know why i think of it as a flower pot i don't look that way it's yeah is it trapezoid i can't remember from it's been a long time training shapes tell me in the chat that's wrong but um so yeah it's kind of a squashed squash square shape and then you can just about still see it this fuzzy blob here was where we were in that m13 well globular cluster i can't i can never say that megan globular i'm just trying to say that after after
23:43
a maybe a gin and tonic something i just hope we'll zoom back out there we go so you can see where we've come across the sky up to hercules okay so i've got another question for you all watching um we haven't forgotten you're watching uh don't worry i can still i can i can feel that you're still there and we're going to ask you another question so pop in the chat and if you've got any thoughts on this um megan as well what kind of things you said all these things that you're exploring things you're finding out about you know in your job
24:18
and what are the most kind of exciting mysteries about the universe that we still don't know about do you think is there anything particular like oh that would be really good if we could find that out what were your thoughts on that i mean i think that's a great question should we see uh what folks in the chats are saying i don't want to take up all the airspace yeah sure i'll tell you why so i think well john says dark matter and dark energy i mean these things come up all the time don't they so i'm just moving around
24:49
so yeah and things like that i mean just because it's so unknown black holes these things that you can't necessarily see we don't really understand what's going on um string theory yeah good one danielle land back on them oh going back to the moon yeah someone says so what do you say that because i think at the moment my kind of thinking is like will we you know will we be able to make other places in the in the in the solar system habitable will we ever know you know
25:21
will we go back to the moon there is talk of that happening in the next few years mars at the moment you may be watching the news but there's all sorts of exciting things the news today i read was that um is it perseverance the mission on mars at the moment it's uh the experiment for changing is it converting co2 so carbon dioxide to oxygen is successful so i mean it is is that something that's that's useful going to places like mars or the moon is is that something that
25:51
you think will will happen do you think we'll ever you know be able to get a ticket for a airbnb or any you know hotel on the moon what do you think i mean i think that's a great question i think being able to convert the carbon dioxide that's already on to mars into oxygen that humans would need to breathe is a big step to enable that kind of thing just yeah you're always limited by what you can carry and it i think you're limited in what you can carry by what it takes to get out of earth's gravity
26:21
so i think the more that we can make for ourselves when we arrive the better the chances are that people could go and go for a longer term and go for pleasure those sorts of things and i think that's actually a really nice tie to one of the things that i think is also really exciting happening in astronomy now is just thinking about planets around other stars and trying to ask the question a little bit about what it would take for them to host life uh and how we can detect that using just our telescopes and just the light either that we get um from the planets directly or from um
26:52
how they absorb the light of their star in order to figure out uh what kind of planets and whether or not there's life there so i i think that's both a really exciting bit of science and a really exciting debate about how exactly can we do this should we go and visit the moon why not i mean it's it's looking pretty nice at the moment if you if you get a clear sky let's let's have a little look so i think we should be able to go and see the moon let's have a look is that still the only place other than earth that humans have ever visited so yeah it's crazy when you think about
27:22
like that here we are so if you're new to stargazing as well you know get a pair of binoculars even just use your eyes look up at the moon it's a really good place to start especially at the moment so when it's you can see half of the the lit side so it's always half it's in the shadow half it's lip but it's always the same side that we can see that's facing us so you can see we've got this this uh i forgot the word shadow then the shadow the shadow class here this
27:54
bit where the light meets the shadow that's actually called the terminator like my favorite thing i ever learned about astronomy was that that is called the terminator don't know who named it that but brilliant oh it makes you laugh big enough so this is a really good place to look for detail which you may know if you've looked at the moon before but just in case some of you are new to this so you can see you get all these shadows and the craters and you know if you just use some binoculars look up at the moon you know you'll see all sorts of things and if you get a moon map or look up online google moon
28:26
you know you can find out what these things might be that you can see as well so it's a really good place to to start with with beginner stargazing and it's yeah thinking about will we go back there again and megan is it right that it might be taking the sort of telescopes on the moon is that something that is happening is that right so i think so so i i was aware there's a lot of enthusiasm for putting telescopes on the moon and it sounds like things might be further along than i realized so i think some initial
28:57
probes are maybe down and they're trying to figure out how do you send the signal back to earth but a lot of astronomers would be very interested for telescopes on the moon because it gets around to the really big problems that you have trying to observe certain wavelengths from the surface of the earth so no atmosphere so uh certain wavelengths of light are blocked by the earth's atmosphere and that's simply not a problem on the surface of the moon and then you're away from humans which say at long radio wavelengths if you're interested in the really early part of the universe
29:28
human radio communications just completely drowns out the astronomy signals but if you're on the moon you're far away from all of the human radio noise and you have a hope of detecting this signal from the very early universe so i think that's one of the main science drivers uh at the moment but i think there are a lot of people being like oh interesting if you want to observe ultraviolet light also you have to get above the earth's atmosphere i wonder if we could do ultraviolet light from the surface of the moon so i think yeah a lot of curiosity this might be a real growth area
29:58
yeah exciting that's cool wow yeah you don't really think of taking telescopes i'd never thought of it before it's kind of sending them into space yeah but actually taking them to another body in space or another place in space to actually sit them down there and use that to to observe pretty cool yeah okay so let's let's just go back out from the moon so we'll zoom back a little bit and there we go so we're back on the rooftop here so we're going to look um another couple of um
30:29
constellations patterns that you can see at this time of year and first we're going to go back like we did with cassiopeia to one of these circumpolar constellations so one that you can see all year round and that's a really good signpost for some other constellations so this one is we're facing we're actually facing the south at the moment and but if you just look up here you may know this is the plow or the saucepan you know it does look like a saucepan can you see
30:59
it's got a handle here and then it's got these yep and this is actually an asterism so that's part of a that just means that it's part of a constellation it's a fancy word you can show off to your friends um and this constellation is a major so here it is the weird looking bear with the longest tail you've ever seen but this is a really good pattern to know about because whoops um because it can point you to some other patterns as well if you tuned in last month you might remember this rhyme
31:31
um it was arc to arcturus and speed to spiker so it's a bit like the rhymes that you learn at school for the um planets it's quite a catchy one and i always remember this so hopefully everybody watching this is a handy thing so it just means that you go from the the the panhandle or the the handle of the plow or the bear's tail um and use arc to arcturus so you kind of arc down this way so going down towards the horizon and
32:03
you get to this very bright star here so that's a style that's part of another pattern called vuerti's um which is this this guy here um and this star is called arcturus so arc to actuarise and then we speed to spika so we're going down towards the horizon again down towards um the ground and so we speed so we go all the way down and can you see there's quite a bright star here you just want to see that yeah are you with me megan i see it yeah i'm just
32:33
looking like studying here am i going to remember this when i go out later tonight okay art dark tourists speed the speakers this um these stars they're actually part of something called the spring triangle which isn't really something people talk about much but there is another spring triangle as well um but this one is virgo so you might know that if it's your star sign it's my star sign if you're born in september um so virgo the constellation here it is is a good one to know as well now it's
33:08
quite and there's the glare from the the lip side of the moon is quite quite bright if there's a lot of that side we can see so um when it's a full moon or quite a bright um a lit moon um so it doesn't make its own light but the reflected light from the sun and you might not be able to see all of the stars around it very well but um you should be able to see this very bright one down here so spike is pretty bright and easy to spot so we're facing south at the moment now megan i think there's there's something else that we can another of these
33:39
m these megan i mean messier objects is that right yes another fuzzy blob but a different type of fuzzy blob right yes so if we go um diving in we get to what is it m87 that's the one let's have a go here we go yeah okay oh neat yeah we've been clever and um kieran who's in the background has added in a couple of couple of pictures i can't claim i did this but karen very handily has dropped these in for us because megan's going to talk
34:15
about one of these you might know this image news it's been in the news the one on the right quite a lot recently right what what is this this thing here that we're looking at down here on the right so this is exactly one of those um indirect pieces of evidence telling you that there's definitely a black hole there so the bright stuff is actually material orbiting the central black hole which we can't see because nothing can escape a black hole but i think one of the the powerful things to know about this kind of image the the dark spot in the center is what
34:47
about the size of our solar system and that's in another galaxy so one uh in terms of the technology the astronomy that is so freaking cool uh that also tells you that this uh is a very very tiny area where there's no light escaping but the way that this material is behaving tells you that it's got to be a very massive thing so again very strong evidence that there's a black hole at the center of this galaxy i think karen's going to done a really great job pulling up images here uh because i think one of
35:17
the reasons there we go better yeah so is it what just off the top here we can kind of see the galaxy itself so it's uh where abouts is m87 which one of these because what are these all galaxies these little blobs here are these stars what's going on here i think most of these are um galaxies i think kind of just to the left of your cursor just going down towards the bottom of the screen is actually m87 so that right there yeah this one here okay yeah so it's really big yeah there we go so there's this one here yeah
35:49
yeah it looks like there's maybe a little bit of something fuzzy coming off the galaxy and that's actually this jet where um karen's put the picture on the left that is such a great picture of the jet thank you um image then is that is that a hubble image or is that oh that's a great question i think it is i think it is a porthole image yeah so what does it look like what does this show then what is this thing coming out of so it's a jet driven by the black holes so uh we only partly understand what's
36:19
happening here but as the material that's uh um material is orbiting around the black hole some of that is falling into the black hole but some of that actually gets redirected into this jet and these jets are huge so you can see them in images that tell you that something very interesting is happening deep inside the galaxy and you can sort of study the jet itself to to get an idea of what might be happening uh and this is also a very good indication where to be looking for black holes so uh kind of a nice
36:50
story kind of a nice putting together the pieces of the puzzle trying to chase down what's happening with this particular black hole so then we can go with the event horizon telescope and get this image of the material around the black hole and i think the newest information that if you can see there's some some thin lines kind of looks like hair around the black hole it's just wispy bits here that's new right because the image i've seen before didn't have that on is that is that a new addition right i think those results just came out a few weeks ago and it those are um measures of the
37:20
polarization so if anybody has polarized sunglasses uh it's good fun to go outside and sort of turn your head 90 degrees and put your head back up and you can see that your polarized sunglasses are filtering out some light particularly off of reflective surfaces but that same kind of method that certain polarizations of light will trace different things so in this case the polarized light tells us something about the magnetic field in the material around the black hole which is important for understanding one how you get to this jet and then what's
37:52
happening with the black hole itself um and again this is you know a tiny little uh object in another galaxy so i think a pretty incredible technological achievement crazy so how how big is this you said they're pretty big how how big is this in terms of like what would like the earth be like a tiny speck on this then is this like the size of our you know what so i think the the central dark part in the middle of the donut is there a better term for this cool thing space done i like that
38:24
anyone in it let us know if you've got any other ideas for what we should call it i like that [Laughter] but i think yeah that dark central region is like one or two times the size of the solar system um so earth itself wouldn't look very big at all on that image but i think relatively speaking uh that's still incredibly small especially given the distances that we're talking about yeah i mean this is like so so new this i mean when i'm trying to think when the event horizon
38:54
image was released was it a year ago a year and a bit ago is it that long ago i have no perception of time now since everything's going on in the world a year or two i think it was two years ago but it's very recent yes and i mean like when you started in your career or learning about astronomy did you ever think that there would be something like this was this like you know complete like fairy tale land or was this something how do you feel about that now how far things have come like i mean i think it's amazing so um this
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image is taken at a similar wavelength um to one i used for observations for my very first paper um and it's funny to see uh like the resolution of those observations was very very coarse like there was a blob there was about as much as we could say so you know in what just over a decade we've gone from uh being able to say uh like i can compare different blobs to being able to actually see the material around the black hole in another galaxy and one of the things that's so amazing to me is the telescope that i used for
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that first paper was part of making this image so i think this was such a clever idea let's use telescopes that already exist put some new electronics on and get them to work together like one enormous telescope and you can do things like that like i just think it's such a clever idea so cool i've noticed some people have put some questions in the chat i think kieran's doing a great job answering some of them for you but if you have other questions we'll have a little bit of time for that in a moment so please use the q a button um if you've got any questions for megan
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um so i think we'll go back to the night sky so let's should we zoom back out again let's see there we go okay so we are quite late at night now i mean when we're nearly midnight now um so what i'll do is we'll because we've had quite a a good tour of the night sky a few things and we've looked at there so some things to look out for all year round those circumpolar constellations so cassiopeia the w shape and also um the plough uh major and then those those are the
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seasonal constellations as i said this is recorded so you can always watch this back later um at the end we'll put the information up where you can do that so don't worry if you didn't catch everything and you're like oh i've missed it all i didn't you know what was she talking about and you can go back and watch it and and catch up as well right okay so let's i think it's time to go to a beautiful sunrise so let's let's have a look at beautiful sunrise we're gonna face over in this direction there we go and let's see if we can fast-forward
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time a little bit there we are so you can see as the earth's rotating the stars appear to rotate in the sky and there we are we've got beautiful sunrise and we can see the rooftop again and beautiful telescope dome here and we can also see uh the city of edinburgh as well there we are so that that's the end of our night sky talk part i'm just gonna stop sharing my screen because we've got a little bit of time for questions okay so notice some of you have submitted questions already but if you've got any other questions
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for megan um use the q a button to submit a question um and someone in the chat's asking if we could read out the questions and answers yet we will so and if you submit them in there and we might not be able to answer them all but we'll we'll read out um the question and then megan will put you on the spot here megan we'll answer the questions now the thing is with with any you know any scientist anyone in the world you know we don't know the answers to everything and the great thing about astronomy is that there's so many
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mysteries still out there so um you know we'll we'll we'll answer answer the ones we can but there might be some things that are you know if if you're younger and watching you you might find the answers when you're older or um i mean a lot of astronomy there's so many discoveries that have been made by amateur astronomers i say amateur when you know i mean it's people that are doing astronomy saying their backyard garden or the backyard and so you know it's not just the experts or people you know that are a straw i say i'm trying to you know everyone
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scientists yeah especially now that we're getting into an era where there's just so much data uh people who are very good at looking at images and know what they're looking at have made such big contributions by being like wait a second i can tell that that's something different or i can see that there's something interesting there and they flag it up and that's been huge i think for moving things forward cool so let's have a little look at the questions we have okay so the first question we have is how do we gather information on black holes
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what data are we looking for that's a good question so there are a few different ways to go about it and a lot of that is i think kind of indirect information so we looked at that picture from the event horizon telescope that's looking at emission of things going around the black hole and some of that material will eventually fall onto the black hole some of that will get kicked out by the jet so studying the material around the black hole can tell you um part of what's happening with the black hole studying those jets can tell you
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uh part of what's happening with the black hole because that's an important part of how those jets get made and get so powerful and so big um i think one of the things that's been really powerful looking at the central black hole of our own galaxy is actually been looking at the stars that are very near that black hole and people have been watching for more than 20 years now with incredibly high quality images you can actually trace out the orbits of different stars around what looks to be a very very tiny point but the stars are moving so fast you know that whatever they're orbiting
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around has to be very high in mass and so this is some of the best evidence that we have for the presence of the black hole in the center of our own galaxy and i believe that this was um some of the work that was recognized with the recent nobel prize in physics so uh yeah good stuff i'm i'm sorry i'm smiling at the chat because karen's let me know that he says shout out to the green peas which is the type of galaxy discovered by the public in the late 2000s which he karen's also an astronomer as well and he did some work on
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so green bullet there you go do you know about the green peas megan i've never never heard about that yes yes tell me about that it's exactly a case of um these things look a little bit weird and in fact the galaxies look like green peas depending on how you make your images with different colors of light and the fact that they look green instead of looking kind of whitish or reddish or other sort of colors tells you that there's something very interesting going on um in the kind of emission that you're getting from these galaxies so the question is why and so astronomers have actually been
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tracing that down trying to figure out um and they're pretty exciting kind of funny little systems yeah i mean if any of you are interested in um citizen science as well which is basically you know doing science yourself at home for all sorts of different things it's using the power of people to to gather lots of data and analyze that data there are some great projects to do with astronomy and big one is galaxy zoo and but there are also lots of other projects linked to that as well so you know you can categorize galaxies
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and analyze real data and help help the science as well um so yeah there's a lot of power powering people with science yes okay i think we've maybe covered this question someone else is asking what a black hole does to a galaxy and how does it affect it is there anything else you want to say about about how about that i think you've already talked about some ways it affects it i think some ways maybe the the only other thing to say is that there are certain properties of a galaxy that do seem to be very related to the properties of the black hole
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and it's a very active area of research to try and understand why those things are so close closely related yeah i am okay so another question about citizen science can you do citizen science if you're a complete astronomy beginner i would say yes a big yes i am and i think i'm not an astronomer sorry i'm just going to say i'm not an astronomer i am but i i you know i i've learned astronomy through my job and through things that i'm interested in and um all of the citizen science projects especially galaxy zoo they have
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guides and it shows you what you need to look for and it's really easy and i don't think you need to be um you know an expert in astronomy at all um to take part in it um i was just going to add that if you're interested i think it's actually a really great place to start because they do have so many nice uh ways of introducing you to the project and to the kind of data and objects that you'll be looking at so yeah it's a really nice resource okay so we've got time for a couple more questions um what was your first telescope type someone's asking
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so i guess the first telescope you worked on you said you don't really look at the style i'm guessing you didn't own a telescope or did you or tell me about that megan not really straight to the big big ones you're like i'll just use a big telescope first forget forget this so the first well i guess yeah i i think the first time i looked through a telescope was with the girl scouts and it was cloudy and it was cold and i wanted to go home so i certainly couldn't tell you what kind of telescope that was um i remember there was a telescope on the roof of the astronomy building when i went to college and i do
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remember looking through that that was very cool i don't remember what kind of telescope so the telescope that i used for my first paper was a 10 meter radio telescope in arizona uh very imaginatively called the submillimeter telescope um astronomers with their names for things usually it's that from him that spells out something fun but yeah cool um okay let's have a little look so some people are asking about how to observe the sun i think karen's answered it in the chat i think yeah just be very careful
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obviously you know don't look at the sun with with your eyes without anything at all um yeah look you know i think kieran's put ideas of using special filters and things that are made for the for looking at the sun and it is very easy to do and you can create solar viewers and very easily you can buy them quite cheaply but um yeah just make sure that you get the right right kit for that and yeah let's have a look so i think there's a couple more um oh any astronomical societies or
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astronomy or astrophysics websites that you would recommend so i mean we're in edinburgh so we have the astronomical society of edinburgh and even if you're not based in edinburgh they have a really good um guide and i think it's called is it four steps to the stars i'm trying to think how many steps to the stars but they've got a really good guide in starting off things to look out for and as if you're beginning in stargazing and also they have handy guides for um kits so for telescopes that you might
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want to buy um so yeah i would definitely check out um the astronomical society of edinburgh website but obviously where you live if you just google astronomical society of insert name of place where you live there probably will be lots of other local astronomy societies and i'm sure they'll be more than happy um to chat to you and help out um because they're yeah great bunches of really knowledgeable people so megan would you add any other websites or cool places to go i mean i don't have very practical
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suggestions but i do love the astronomy picture of the day i think that's from nasa just if you'd nasa a pod um yeah a daily bit of autumn yeah let us know if you've got any other sites everyone i mean you could go probably on all day um talking about different places to find astronomy information there's heavens above is quite a good one that i use quite a lot and which you know you can look for when certain things are in the sky stellarium obviously that's a great place to start because you can look at any time or date and you can check ahead what what you might want to
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look out for and so yeah i think is there any other questions i think let's have a little look we do have um oh thanks kieran he's pops there link in the chat for everybody um okay i like this question so this is from pamela do you have any favorite astronomy space movies or books doesn't have to be documentaries could be fictional that's a nice question to end on i think megan i have anything i mean i really loved gravity i know the science isn't perfect um does
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that annoy you or do you just like you just let it go you know i think for me the thing that matters like if i'm invested in the story it's okay if i'm really annoyed about the silence i've clearly lost interest in the characters um yeah i'm trying to think i think there probably are other fun sci-fi movies oh man um you'll think of them afterwards i bet yeah yeah good fun space movies um this is embarrassing i'm totally drawing
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it blank my goodness it is a great question though i don't know so i'm gonna cheat and suggest a tv show i enjoyed firefly also where they're skipping around um different planets in a i think in the same solar system but maybe they're doing inter-solar system travel um yeah that was a good show cool i like that one cool um okay so i think we'll finish that we'll then we've got i think we've answered most of the questions yep any other questions no just people being very
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friendly and nice and saying thank you which is lovely we're so glad that you can all join us and big thanks to megan um it's been great to chat with you and explore the virtual night sky together and i hope you've enjoyed it have you had fun yeah thank you so much for having me this has been great yeah oh good i'm glad um so i hope you've enjoyed watching wherever you are in the world um and i hope that it's inspired you to you know take a look at solarium have a look at what you could look out for and watch this back watch
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some of the other episodes back and you know and maybe even venture out and look at the real night sky even if it's just for you know that little escape at the moment now that we can um travel a little bit further and just to yeah see the bigger picture so it's a nice thing to do right i am going to share a little bit of uh information for you all before we leave um so if you just bear with me everybody and just to show you where you can find out more about some other events so i hope you enjoyed watching and if
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you want to follow us on twitter it's at royal ops and we um share lots of different things and mostly events that are coming up so i think kieran should have posted in the chat and if he hasn't already he probably will very shortly um about our upcoming events so if you're watching this live we have a an event coming on monday so on the 26th we have an astronomy talk if you want to join us for that it's about i think it's active galactic active galactic nuclei there you go so related to the
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black holes and if you want to find out more detail about that and of our other astronomers phil and so that's something to look forward to so that's more of an in-depth talk about that topic and also our next um and final one of these for a little while and we'll be on the 20th of may with um another astronomer called ken so we'll be exploring a few different things maybe the summer triangle some different things in the night sky as well so if you want to check out any of our events that are upcoming or the things that we do go onto our website it's just up there
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it's www.roa vc and also as i said at the start this is recorded it's live stream to youtube so you can watch again and you can find all the other episodes if you just search for stf so it's science and technology facilities council and which you can see on the bottom right of the slide there search for sdfc youtube channel and you should find all the previous ones and also there's lots of other great videos about some of the really cool science and technology and things
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that are happening um all over the uk so do check it out but other than that thanks again megan and and thank you everyone for watching and enjoy the rest of your evening and be careful see you soon bye everybody thank you bye

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