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The new era of multi-messenger astronomy

When: Tuesday, 26 November 2019 - Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
Senate Room, 2nd Floor Solomon Mahlangu House
Start time:18:00

Professor Andrew Chen from the School of Physics will deliver his inaugural lecture.

For thousands of years, since before the dawn of history, humanity has peered into the night sky with the naked eye. Beginning in the renaissance, optical telescopes revolutionised our view of the cosmos and our place within it. The 20th Century saw the birth of multiwavelength astronomy, with telescopes spanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum from radio to gamma rays, no longer limited by the narrow band of the visible frequencies. The 21st Century has witnessed two new discoveries, which herald a new era of multi-messenger astronomy, moving beyond light to gravitational waves and neutrinos. On 17 August 2017, a merger of two neutron stars was observed both by gravitational wave detectors LIGO and VIRGO and by gamma-ray telescopes Fermi and INTEGRAL. On 22 September 2017, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory detected a high energy muon neutrino from the blazar TXS 0506+056 which was found to be in a flaring state of high gamma ray emission. In this lecture, Chen will explore the background and meaning of these two momentous discoveries and what the implications are for current and future experiments, including participation by the astronomy group in the School of Physics at Wits.

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