A Storm of Stars: The Life of the Milky Way

Thursday, February 28, 2019
4:30 PM (PT)
Strain Science Ctr Classroom 121
Event Type
Lecture, Film, Forum
Natural Sciences

Physics Colloquium 
Presented by Shane Larson, Research Associate Professor and Associate Director CIERA at Northwestern University 

For most of human history, we have been aware of the Milky Way, but it is comparatively recent that we have come to understand the Milky Way is our parent galaxy, a vast swirling storm of stars 10 billion years in the making. The story of how we came to understand our home galaxy is one of the central threads in the story of how we have come to understand the Universe far beyond.  In this talk, we’ll examine the discovery of the Milky Way, and discuss how we came to understand the structure, evolution and environs of the galaxy.  We’ll talk about how a new observational discipline, gravitational wave astronomy, will give us a new insight into the past, present and future of the Milky Way by studying the stellar graveyard that has built up over its entire 10 billion year history.  The future gravitational wave observatory, LISA, will be the pre-eminent observatory for studying a population of millions of white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes that are quietly whispering the story of the galaxy’s life.

A Storm of Stars
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