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Top UK astronomer to give lecture at UC

Top UK astronomer to give lecture at UC and at the Starlight Festival in Tekapo

September 12, 2013

A UK astronomy expert will deliver a research lecture at the University of Canterbury (UC) and give a public talk at the first New Zealand Starlight Festival in Tekapo next month.

The festival is being organised by the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve Board in partnership with UC.

University of Portsmouth astronomer Karen Masters will give the 2013 Beatrice Hill Tinsley lecture tour which is organised by the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ) Lecture Trust. Masters is the project scientist for Galaxy Zoo and is also involved in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. She is also a member of the Dark Energy Survey and Euclid.

UC astronomy professor John Hearnshaw says Masters is well known for her work on galaxies, huge star assemblages similar to our own galaxy, the Milky Way, which contains some 200 billion stars. She will give a research seminar at UC and a popular talk on galaxies at the Starlight Festival.

The Galaxy Zoo is Masters’ figurative expression for the wide diversity of galaxy types and galaxy phenomena observed in the universe. Roughly one hundred billion galaxies are scattered throughout our observable Universe.

Many are remarkably beautiful, and the aim of Galaxy Zoo is to study them, assisting astronomers in attempting to understand how the galaxies we see around us formed, and what their stories can tell us about the past, present and future of our Universe as a whole.

``Karen has an outstanding academic career. She is a young scientist with a bright future and an exceptional role model for other young women in astronomy. Her undergraduate career was at Oxford, her PhD at Cornell and she was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard – all among the world’s top universities.

``UC has only, in recent years, had a research interest in galaxies and our latest appointments to the academic staff in astronomy have been in this area. Having a galaxy expert come to visit will consolidate this area of astronomy at UC, both for our teaching programme and for research.’’

An astronaut, Marsha Ivins, who has travelled almost 27 million miles in space and has orbited the Earth 990 times will be another key speaker at the October 11 to 13 Starlight Festival in Tekapo.

Recently retired United States astronaut Ivins was a veteran of five shuttle missions, including one to the International Space Station.


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