How big in the universe and how do we know?
To open our 2021-22 season of public lectures, Cork Astronomy Club welcomed Dr Robin Catchpole of the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy. He talked to us via Zoom.
The title of his lecture was “Taking the Measure of Our Universe”. Two thousand years after the ancient Greeks thought of the idea, we measured the
distance to the nearest star. Less than two hundred years later we are measuring the distance to a 1000 million stars almost a million times more accurately, opening a new era of discovery in astronomy. Soon we will measure the position of 3000 million galaxies in the hope that they might reveal the nature of the mysterious dark energy. Robin explained how this is being done and what more we know about our universe.
One member commented: “Robin was an amazing lecturer and had me spellbound.”
Now an astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, Dr Catchpole has held posts at various observatories around the world including Senior Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
He has authored and co-authored over 120 research papers and articles and used a number of telescopes including the Hubble Space Telescope. Research interests include the composition of stars, exploding stars, the structure of our Galaxy and galaxies with black holes at their centres. His current research interest is in the structure of the Bulge of our Milky Way Galaxy.