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From black holes to lightning in the outer atmosphere, UNH researchers are delving into the mysteries of space. Come learn how a trip to Antarctica helped scientists study outer space, what black holes are made of and how lightning events help us understand the make up of our atmosphere.
Studying Neutron Stars in Antarctica
Prof. Fabian Kislat (Assistant Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy, UNH)
Strong gravity and extreme magnetic fields turn the surroundings of black holes and neutron stars into the most extreme environment in the Universe. This makes these objects excellent laboratories to study phenomena inaccessible to laboratory experiments. Not only that: neutron stars and black holes have a profound influence on the development of the Milky Way and the evolution of the elements we are made of. I will discuss how we can use measurements of the polarization of X-rays to study these fascinating objects, and I will take the audience on a virtual journey to Antarctica.
Gigantic Lightning Shooting Towards Space
Prof. Ningyu Liu (Associate Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Space Science Center, Department of Earth Ocean and Space, UNH)
Nearly twenty years ago, scientists discovered that lightning discharges originating deep inside thunderstorms can propagate upward, exit cloud tops, & continue to reach the near-space environment at 70-90 kilometer altitude. They are now called gigantic jets, which properly describes the spectacular scene created by them. This talk will give an overview of our current knowledge of gigantic jets. Amazing video clips and images will be presented, along with computer-generated animations to test our understanding. Other related lightning-like phenomena above thunderstorms will also be discussed.
Probing the Mystery of Radiation in Space
Prof. Nathan Schwadron (Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Space Science Center, Department of Earth Ocean and Space, UNH)
The Source and Acceleration of Radiation from space remains a huge scientific problem. We are starting to understand where radiation comes from, how particles are accelerated in space, and why radiation changes over time. However, large problems remain. Humans in space are at risk to exposure to radiation, and the Sun now exhibits conditions never seen within the space age. In this discussion of the mysteries of radiation in space, we discuss the vexing problem of particle radiation, and its widespread impacts.