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Part 1: Big Telescopes – Why do we need so many telescopes? – Why build big telescopes? Part 2: Big Science – Hunting for exoplanets – Are We Alone in.

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Presentation on theme: "Part 1: Big Telescopes – Why do we need so many telescopes? – Why build big telescopes? Part 2: Big Science – Hunting for exoplanets – Are We Alone in."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Part 1: Big Telescopes – Why do we need so many telescopes? – Why build big telescopes? Part 2: Big Science – Hunting for exoplanets – Are We Alone in the Universe?

3 Part 1: Big Telescopes Why do we need so many telescopes? Light is an electromagnetic wave that travels through space......but light is not the only EM wave travelling through space

4 An object can give off any of these EM waves... Radio waves km to metres Microwaves centimetres Infrared micrometres Visible light tenths of a micrometre Ultraviolet nanometres X-rays tenths of nanometres Gamma rays hundredths of nanometres Astronomers observe the universe in all of these waves Part 1: Big Telescopes Why do we need so many telescopes?

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6 The Lovell Telescope Telescopes collect EM waves and bring them to a focus Part 1: Big Telescopes Why build big telescopes?

7 Larger telescopes collect more waves Fainter objects can be seen Like a pupil dilating in dim light! Larger telescopes can also create sharper images Why build big telescopes?

8 Part 1: Big Telescopes Why build big telescopes? The Square Kilometre Array Planned for 2020, it will be the most powerful radio telescope ever It will be so sensitive it could detect an airport radar 50 light years away It will collect enough data every day to fill 15 million 64 GB iPods

9 1.How do you think it would it affect your vision, if your eyes were half the size? 2.If your eyes could see radio waves, what do you think a mobile phone mast would look like?

10 It would look bright, like a streetlamp!

11 Part 2: Big Science The hunt for exoplanets

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13 Before we continue… 1.Multiply your time by 100 days (e.g. 2 seconds becomes 200 days) This is to make your results more realistic! 2.How many Earth years does it take for your planet to orbit its star?

14 Part 2: Big Science The hunt for exoplanets Kepler’s third law For planets orbiting the Sun… 1 A.U. (or ‘Astronomical Unit’) is just the distance between the Earth and the Sun How far away would your planet be from its star? Analysing your results: How far out is your planet?

15 Part 2: Big Science The hunt for exoplanets Mercury = 0.4 AU Venus = 0.7 AU Earth = 1 AU Mars = 1.5 AU Jupiter = 5 AU Saturn = 9.5 AU Uranus = 19 AU Neptune = 30 AU Compare your planet to our Solar System. Distance from Sun to… Analysing your results: How far out is your planet?

16 Part 2: Big Science The hunt for exoplanets Area of a circle? You have already calculated the percentage starlight blocked by your planet (B) Radius of Sun = 700,000 km What’s the radius of your planet? Analysing your results: How big is your planet?

17 Part 2: Big Science The hunt for exoplanets Radius of Earth = 6,400 km Radius of Jupiter = 70,000 km Analysing your results: How big is your planet? Compare your planet to our Solar System.

18 Part 2: Big Science Are we alone? Are we alone in the universe? August 2013: Scientists have detected a total of 929 exoplanets

19 Star Kepler-22 Part 2: Big Science Are we alone? 620 light years away

20 Part 2: Big Science Are we alone? In 2011, astronomers found planet ‘Kepler-22B’ around this star… Kepler-22B is… Approximately Earth sized. About the same distance away from its star as the Earth is from the Sun. AND, its star is very similar to the Sun!

21 Part 2: Big Science Extension activity What type of exoplanets do you think are the easiest to find? Why? 1.Larger exoplanets 2.Exoplanets that are closer to their stars Both of these cause a larger dip in the star’s light, making them easier to detect. So far, most of the exoplanets found have been “hot Jupiters”. These are large gas planets, but very close to their star.

22 Part 2: Big Science Extension activity What assumptions did we make when calculating the distance and size of your exoplanet? That your star is like the Sun In actual fact, the star may be a different mass. This will change how quickly a planet orbits around it, which will affect the distance calculation. Also, the star may be a different size. This will affect the planet size calculation. In real life, astronomers take measurements of a star’s light to see if it is like the Sun or not. That your planet passes next to your star In actual fact the planet will likely be hundreds of millions of km closer to us than the star, which will make it look slightly bigger. This will also affect the planet size calculation. In real life, astronomers estimate the distances to stars and planets, so they can take this into account.

23 Part 2: Big Science Extension activity Consider the following questions... 1.Can you think of any situations where the method we have used to detect exoplanets would not work? (hint: look at the animation below for one way) 2.We assumed that your stars were identical to the Sun. What effect would it have on the size of your planet if the star were actually… a)Larger than the Sun b)Smaller than the Sun 3.What effect would it have on your planet’s distance from the star if your star was… a)More massive than the Sun (more gravity) b)Less massive than the Sun (less gravity) 4.If your star is like the Sun, do you think there is any chance of there being life on your planet? Why? 5.Would there be more or less chance of life if your star was… a)Hotter than the Sun b)Colder than the Sun

24 Part 2: Big Science Extension activity Answers… 1.This method only works if, from our point of view, the planet passes in front of the star. If the planet orbits the star on a different plane, we will not see a dip in the light. 2.We calculated the size of your planet by comparing it to the size of your star, which we said was the same as the Sun. If your star was… a)Larger than the Sun; the planet would be larger than calculated. b)Smaller than the Sun; the planet would be smaller than calculated 3.We calculated the distance of your planet from its star by looking at how fast your planet was orbiting its star. We assumed the relationship was the same as the planets of the Solar System going around the Sun. If your star was… a)More massive than the Sun (more gravity), then the planet would orbit quicker than expected. Therefore, the planet may be further out than calculated. b)Less massive than the Sun (less gravity), then the planet would orbit slower than expected. Therefore, the planet may be closer to its star than calculated. Questions 4 and 5 depend on your results.


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