The Milky Way
Saturday 17th August 2013
Physics Lecture Theatre, Old Main Building, UNSW Kensington Campus
Speaker: Prof. James Jackson
Almost everybody knows about our home planetary system, the Solar System, but our home galaxy, the Milky Way, remains mysterious. The problem is that we simply can't move far enough to get a birds-eye vantage point, and so trying to map the Milky Way is like mapping Sydney from a single room at UNSW. I will talk about what we know about our home galaxy, how our conception about it has changed over the centuries, and some recent progress in mapping its structure by finding its "bones," the dark, dense gas clouds called Infrared Dark Clouds. I will discuss how stars form in these dark clouds, and how they are finally providing some clues about spiral arms in the distant outreaches of our home galaxy. We have finally reached a point where we can make a good map of its beautiful spiral structure.
Prof. James Jackson has research interests in radio, infrared and submm astronomy, interstellar medium, starburst galaxies, star formation, the Milky Way and Antarctic Astronomy. He has earned a BSc from Pennsylvania State University and his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).