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Fitzgerald Building, School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin
Friday 27th September, 17:00 – 22:00

Researchers from the astrophysics groups in the School of Physics are delighted to be taking part in the PROBE research night on Friday 27th September 2019. We will be showcasing some of the astrophysics research taking place in the School of Physics.

We have an exciting schedule of demonstrations and short talks which will be taking place from 5-10pm in the Fitzgerald Building. Some of our own PhD students and postdoctoral researchers will be explaining how rockets work and will demonstrate how to make a comet! Amongst others, Dr. Kate Maguire will give a short talk discussing the excitement surrounding the recent detections of gravitational waves -- the elusive ripples in the fabric of spacetime that led to the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2017. We are also happy to be able to offer a tour of the Monck Observatory on the roof of the Fitzgerald Building led by Joe McCauley (limited availability and weather dependent).

Researchers using the i-LOFAR radio telescope and the European Solar Telescope will be setting up camp in Front Square. Come along to talk to I-LOFAR researchers, find out more about the cutting edge astrophysics research happening right here in Ireland, and make a model of a pulsar! We will also be participating in the citizen science project Star-spotting helping to investigate light pollution by counting stars.

Star Spotting Experiment

The Fitzgerald Library Schedule

5.00pm | How to make a comet, moon craters & rocket launching (Gopal Hazra, Dúalta Ó Fionnagáin, Kelly Skillen)

Comets are icy, rocky bodies that and are usually identifiable by their long sweeping tails as they orbit the Sun. These tails are produced by gasses that are released as the comet melts as it heats up in the inner solar system, and have made comets celestial objects that have been observed since ancient times by many different cultures. We will replicate the formation of comets by taking their base building blocks, water (ice), dirt, ammonia and organic material.

6.00pm | Planetary bodies in 3D and space rocks - meteorites and space rock analogues (Ankit Verma, Donna Rodgers-Lee)

In this event be prepared to experience planetary bodies and their surface features in 3D. You will be seeing 3D models and anaglyph 3D images from various NASA and ESA Earth and Planetary missions. You will also be able to feel cool space rocks and their analogues from Earth in your hands.

6.30pm | An observing experience (Simon Prentice)

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a professional astronomer, and have to travel to some of the most remote places in the world to use a telescope? In this talk I will share my experience of observing at ESO's La Silla facility, located at an altitude of 2500m on the outskirts of the Atacama desert in Chile.

7.00pm | Gravitational waves: the new era of multi-messenger astronomy (Kate Maguire)

In this talk Dr. Kate Maguire will discuss the excitement surrounding the recent detections of gravitational waves -- the elusive ripples in the fabric of spacetime that led to the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2017. She will also talk about how the longstanding mystery of how gold is formed may now be answered through the first detections of the smashing together of two neutron stars in the distant Universe.

7.30pm | Stellarium: a glimpse of the sky tonight (Carolina Villarreal D’Angelo)

Stellarium is a free software package that can be used to identify observable stellar objects in the sky at any time. We will use Stellarium to discover the most interesting objects in the sky during the PROBE research night. We will talk about their properties and how they move in our sky. Weather permitting, some of these objects will be observable with our own telescope at the School of Physics, Fitzgerald building.

8.00pm | Tour of the Monck Observatory on the roof of the Fitzgerald Building (clear sky dependent, 8-10pm, last tour starting at 9.30pm, limited spaces!) - Joe McCauley, Amanda Mesquita, Gopal Hazra

Sign up for tickets here : Eventbrite

This tour will take place at half hour intervals during the evening. Groups of 8 maximum will be escorted to the roof of the Fitzgerald building and brought into the observatory to view the sky through the 12” telescope. Unfortunately due to the nature of this activity, we cannot accommodate children under the age of 7. All minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and all visitors must be escorted at all times. Please arrive 10mins early.