The next meeting of the 2017 season is on Monday 3rd April, it starts at 8pm sharp in our usual venue of Ballyclare High School Lecture Theatre. Directions can be found here.
Our speaker for April is our very own, NIAAS member Dr. David Lisk. The title of his talk is 'Astro Spectroscopy'.
Spectroscopy is a technique used to measure the spectrum of electromagnet radiation and includes the visible light which radiates from stars and hot celestial objects. The technology is now available to the amateur astronomer to make such measurements and enables anyone, using free on line software and a Digital SLR or CCD camera, to participate in this interesting area of astronomy.
Using a Digital Camera or Telescope, fitted with a 'Spectra Grating' along with appropriate analysis software, the amateur can take scientific measurements from stars many hundreds if not thousands of light years away. A stars type, temperature and chemical composition can be determined.
The talk examines what Astronomical Spectroscopy is and pays tribute to its early pioneers. The terms used in Astro-Spectroscopy are explained, for example the identification and importance of Hydrogen Balmer lines which show up as dark strips on the spectrum and how these lines contribute to a stars identification. The equipment and computer software required to carry out spectroscopy on stars is examined and an example of the process of turning a spectrum image into useful calibrated scientific data is undertaken. Such data produced can be compared, for example, to the professional 'Pickles' Star Atlas reference library to identify star types.
This is an exciting aspect of astronomy and is now available to any enthusiastic amateur.
We are delighted to have one of our own members give us a talk on a subject he is interested in, although I suspect this is more than an interest, as David has just had a 2 page article on this topic published in this months Astronomy Now magazine.
About David: Dr David Lisk has been interested in astronomy for many years and his interests also include the study and understanding of black holes and quasars. He was the Head of Informatics and Technology at an Institute of Higher Education where he also lectured in Applied Science.
Please note: Under 16's are very welcome but due to our child protection policy, we ask that they are accompanied by an adult.
As always the talk is free, a donation bucket is available at the door if you wish to support us in our work! Refreshments are available (also free) after the meeting and so is some good chat!
Hope to see you all there!