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Origins of spiral galaxies: From the Milky Way to living dinosaurs with Dr Andy Green, AAO

Friday 2 March 2012 - 8:00pm
Topic: Origins of spiral galaxies: From the Milky Way to living dinosaurs
Speaker: Dr Andy Green, AAO
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: In many ways the beauty of modern spirals is a contradiction of our understanding of galaxy formation. Why are "Grand Design" spiral galaxies so highly ordered, with symmetric arms and very thin disks of stars and gas? In a universe where galaxies regularly collide with one another, why isn't this order quickly destroyed? To answer this question, we must travel back in time, and consider the early history of galaxies. Specifically, we must investigate the the motion of these galaxies.

We will look at when rotating disks of stars appear in the Universe, and how they compare to galaxies today. As we dig deeper, the complex nature of star formation itself will become important, reminding us that the properties of galaxies are really driven by the evolution of the stars within them. Then, we will look at simulations that encode our understanding (or lack thereof) of the formation of galaxies like the Milky Way. With all of these tools, we'll see if we can explain the fossil record of spiral galaxies.

Biography: Andy Green is a research astronomer at the Australian Astronomical Observatory. He received his PhD in Astronomy from Swinburne in Melbourne, and his Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics from Caltech in California. Andy studies the kinematics of star forming galaxies in an effort to better understand how galaxies such as our own form and evolve. At the Observatory, he helps design, build and maintain astronomical instruments, and helps other astronomers use those instruments. Andy is also a keen outdoors person.

 

Event Date: 
Friday, 2 March, 2012 - 20:00

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