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FROM PLANETS TO GALAXIES: 30 years of the Hubble Space Telescope

Dr Francisco Diego, UCL

Saturday, March 7, 2020 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (GMT)

FROM PLANETS TO GALAXIES: 30 years of the Hubble Space...

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General admission
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Mar 6, 2020 Free  

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Event Details

                                             This event is part of

YOUR UNIVERSE, The UCL festival of Astronomy and Particle Physics


Expert panel presentations and audience discussion at a level suitable for general public and families


The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is one of the most successful scientific instruments in history. Its legacy embraces all aspects of space science, from the solar system and extra-solar planets, to the very first stars and galaxies. At the same time, it  produces striking images with deep influence in the public perception of the Universe.

Come and join our UCL panelists who have been using the HST in a variety of fields. Each panelist will introduce their topic for 15 minutes followed by short questions from the audience. After this, there will be a short break before the open discussion with the audience, which will include the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope and the future of space astronomy.

Chair: Dr Francisco Diego, UCL


Prof Christopher Riley
Hubble: from dream to reality

The Hubble Space Telescope is the most famous scientific instrument in history; a triumph of human ingenuity, vision and ambition.  Conceived in the 1950s, the dream of an orbiting space observatory was a vision far beyond our capabilities, at the dawn of the space age.  It would take a collision of new emerging technology, political will power and shear stubborn tenacity to rise to turn the dream into a reality that would change our view of the Cosmos forever.  Science writer and historian Christopher Riley will tell this often surprising story of the Hubble Space Telescope, and those who turned the dreams of decades into the scientific breakthroughs of the century.

Hubble service 4

Chris Riley

Riley is a BAFTA, RTS & Grierson nominated filmmaker and science writer. He produced the Sundance Award-winning Ron Howard film 'In the Shadow of the Moon' and directed the hit YouTube documentary recreation of Yuri Gagarin's pioneering space flight 'First Orbit'.  He is a writer and director on the Patrick Stewart PBS series  'Breakthroughs' and the multi-award winning National Geographic Will Smith / Darren Aronofsky series 'One Strange Rock'. He produced and directed the Emmy nominated 'Hubble's Cosmic Journey', narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson and is Visiting Professor of Science and the Media at the University of Lincoln.


Prof Richard Ellis, (UCL)
Cosmic Dawn: Hubble’s Quest for the Earliest Galaxies

The first billion years after the Big Bang represents the final observational frontier in assembling a complete picture of cosmic history. During this period early stars and galaxies formed and the Universe became bathed in light for the first time. Recent progress has raised the exciting prospect that we will soon be able to directly witness this  period when the Universe emerged from darkness and the first galaxies began to shine. Professor Ellis will review the rapid progress being made with Hubble, and the prospects with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope.
The motivation is fundamental: the origin of starlight begins the process of chemical evolution which ultimately leads to our own existence in this remarkable Universe.

Deep field

Richard Ellis


Richard Ellis is Professor of Astrophysics at University College London.
After obtaining his Ph.D. at Oxford University, he established a major astronomy group at Durham University and later became the Director of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University. In 1999 he emigrated to the California Institute of Technology where he was Director of the Palomar Observatory.
Ellis’ research interests span the distribution of dark matter, the history of the cosmic expansion and studies of the first galaxies seen when the Universe was less than 5% of its present age. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Australian Academy of Sciences.


Prof Jay Farihi, (UCL)
Hubble's Ultraviolet Vision Reveals Rocky Planet Pieces

In this talk, I will highlight the unique capacity of the Hubble Space Telescope to study ultraviolet light, which is impossible from the ground. The most powerful 'UV goggles' in the world have helped astronomers identify rocky and Earth-like compositions among exo-planetary systems, including evidence for water. These planetary
systems offer a glimpse into the future of our solar system, and thus Hubble's ultraviolet vision is somewhat akin to planetary archaeology.

Jay Farihi

Prof Jay Farihi is a faculty member in the Astrophysics group at University College London, an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow, and previously a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He did his doctoral research in California where he is a native, and post-doctoral work on the big island of Hawaii where he is a frequent visitor to the telescopes. In his spare time he is a connoisseur of whisky, and avid reader and music lover, and travels as often as possible.


Dr William Dunn , (UCL)
Space observations of auroral displays on Jupiter

As we explore the wider Universe, understanding how magnetic fields shield life on Earh from the cataclysmic storms from the Sun and other stars is becoming increasingly important. Aurorae provide stunning displays of the interactions between magnetic fields and a planet’s atmosphere. The study of these phenomena is critical to understanding our cosmos and the existence and prevalence of life across it.


Jupiter Aurora NASA

Here on Earth, the sky over Canada, Norway and Iceland (and on rare occasions the UK) glow beautiful reds and greens as solar radiation rain into our atmosphere. However, Earth’s aurorae pale in comparison with those of Jupiter, which burst and crackle dynamically with bright and violent flares energetic enough to power all of human civilization. I’ll show spectacular videos of these aurorae and discuss how the combination of the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Juno spacecraft (along with other flagship missions like the Chandra X-ray Observatory), are finally helping us to understand how planets produce these enigmatic and inspiring displays.

Dr William Dunn splits his time between fellowship positions at UCL, the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, the European Space Agency and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Following some time exploring the world, he undertook his PhD at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory. He now also runs the ORBYTS education programme, which connects scientists with schools to provide school students with the chance to work on space missions and space research.


Have questions about FROM PLANETS TO GALAXIES: 30 years of the Hubble Space Telescope? Contact Dr Francisco Diego, UCL

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When & Where

Wilkins Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom

Saturday, March 7, 2020 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (GMT)

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