Cambridge Astronomical Association
Cambridge Young Astronomers


Saturday Matinee by Zoom

The Gravitational Wave Background
Saturday 20th March 2021
Start time : 16:00

Speaker : Paul Fellows

The Gravitational Wave Background

Einstein's prediction of waves in the fabric of space time was finally shown to be true just a few years ago with the discovery by LIGO of the echo of the merger of a pair of black holes far across the universe. Since then, with new detectors coming on line and improvements in both sensitivity and the range of frequencies covered we are finding more and more such events, including collisions of neutron stars and white dwarves.

However it turns out that nature has provided us with a method to create a pan-galactic telescope that can listen out for the background hum of gravitiy waves from millions of such events that have all been happening since the dawn of time, and leaving ripples in the background of spacetime.

In this talk Paul will discuss just how this works, what the initial results are revealing and what we might hope to uncover about the universe if we can untangle the secrets burried in the information we are getting.

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About our speaker:

Paul is chairman of the Cambridge Astronomical Society and a keen amateur astronomer having built his first telescope in 1975, he now operates his own private observatory and takes many astronomical images of both deep sky and solar system objects. He studied at Emmanuel College Cambridge, from which he has an MA in Natural Sciences and a post-graduate Diploma in Computer Science. He is an elected Fellow of both the Royal Astronomical Society and the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and RAS Fellow to Cunard line as well as a part-time advisor and board member of a number of software and electronics design companies in the Cambridge area.

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