Summer Solar Viewings

UPDATE (July 19, 2:15PM): There’s only wispy clouds in the sky, so we will set up the telescope and try a viewing session. If a larger clouds in, you may need to wait a few moments for it to move along before viewing, but hopefully conditions will remain good for the full session.

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UPDATE (July 4, 12:00PM): There aren’t many gaps between the clouds out there, so we won’t be able to view the Sun today. We’ll try again July 19 (see details below)

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We have scheduled several solar viewing sessions for the summer. We’ll view the Sun’s chromosphere with our

Our hydrogen-alpha solar telescope.

hydrogen-alpha (red light) solar telescope and we may also set up another telescope to do some viewing of the photosphere in white light. These viewings will go ahead so long as the sky is not clouded over and we can see the Sun. (This post will be updated in the event of weather-related cancellations).

The scheduled viewing dates are:
Tuesday July 4, 12:00-1:00pm
Wednesday July 19, 3:00-4:00pm
Wednesday, August 2, 1:00-2:00pm
Monday, August 21, 2:30-5:00pm: Special Partial Solar Eclipse session!

The solar viewing sessions will be held on the green roof of the SSDE building at UPEI (building #30 on the campus map). The roof is accessed via the second floor and is wheelchair accessible. The route to the green roof will be sign-posted from all the building entrances.

Solar viewing sessions will take place on the green roof of the SSDE building. Parking is available in the MacLauchlan Arena lot.

The SSDE building green roof is accessed from the second floor via this ramp.

July Public Viewing

Our next public viewing is scheduled for Saturday, July 22 from 9:45-11:00PM.

Our observatory is on the rooftop of UPEI’s Memorial Hall, but we ask that you come first to room 417 to wait for your turn to go up to the telescope. Volunteers from local astronomy groups and UPEI Physics will be available to answer any astronomy questions for you while you wait.

It is necessary to climb a flight of stairs to reach the telescope, but the elevator can be taken up to the 4th floor waiting room.Observatory Location & Parking

In the evening hours, campus parking lots are free, with parking lots B and C being the nearest lots to Memorial Hall.

If the weather is cloudy and we cannot view the sky, the event will have to be cancelled or postponed. This post will be updated in the event of cancellation or postponement.

June Public Viewing – CANCELLED

UPDATE (10:40AM, June 24): It doesn’t look like the weather will clear up in time for the telescope viewing tonight, so we will have to cancel. We’re scheduling another nighttime viewing on July 22 and will also be scheduling some daytime solar viewing sessions starting in July. Watch for posts to this blog next week as details are confirmed.

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Our next public viewing is scheduled for Saturday, June 24 from 10:00-11:00PM. Since this viewing is scheduled not long after the summer solstice, the sun will be setting very late so we will have a later, shorter viewing than usual. But there will be two planets visible in the sky – Saturn and Jupiter, so if the weather cooperates we should have an interesting viewing.

Our observatory is on the rooftop of UPEI’s Memorial Hall, but we ask that you come first to room 417 to wait for your turn to go up to the telescope. Volunteers from local astronomy groups and UPEI Physics will be available to answer any astronomy questions for you while you wait.

It is necessary to climb a flight of stairs to reach the telescope, but the elevator can be taken up to the 4th floor waiting room.Observatory Location & Parking

In the evening hours, campus parking lots are free, with parking lots B and C being the nearest lots to Memorial Hall.

If the weather is cloudy and we cannot view the sky, the event will have to be cancelled or postponed. This post will be updated in the event of cancellation or postponement.

April 29 Public Viewing – CANCELLED

UPDATE (12:15pm Apr 29): With showers forecast for tonight and the sky not clearing until after midnight, we have to cancel the scheduled viewing.

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Our next public viewing is scheduled for Saturday, April 29 from 8:30-10:30PM. As it will be twilight during the first 30 minutes or so of the viewing, we’ll look at the crescent Moon mostly during that period. Once it’s fully dark, Jupiter will be a good viewing candidate, and we may look at some other interesting sights also.

Our observatory is on the rooftop of UPEI’s Memorial Hall, but we ask that you come first to room 417 to wait for your turn to go up to the telescope. Volunteers from local astronomy groups and UPEI Physics will be available to answer any astronomy questions for you while you wait.

It is necessary to climb a flight of stairs to reach the telescope, but the elevator can be taken up to the 4th floor waiting room.Observatory Location & Parking

In the evening hours, campus parking lots are free, with parking lots B and C being the nearest lots to Memorial Hall.

If the weather is cloudy and we cannot view the sky, the event will have to be cancelled or postponed. This post will be updated in the event of cancellation or postponement.

Public Lecture: Windy Supermassive Black Holes

UPEI Physics invites you to a public lecture on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 4:30-5:30 pm in McDougall Hall, Room 242.

Dr. Sarah Gallagher will present “The Biggest Blowhards: Windy Supermassive Black Holes” as part of the 2017 Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) Lecture Tour. Dr. Gallagher’s summary of her talk and brief biography is presented below.

The Biggest Blowhards: Windy Supermassive Black Holes

Supermassive black holes reside in the centres of every massive galaxy including our own Milky Way. In relatively brief spurts, black holes grow as luminous quasars through the infall of material through an accretion disk. Remarkably, the light from the accretion disk can outshine all of the stars in the host galaxy by a factor of a thousand, and this radiation can also drive energetic outflows. Mass ejection in the form of winds appears to be as fundamental to quasar activity as accretion, and can be directly observed in many objects with broadened and blue-shifted UV emission and absorption features. Applying unsupervised and hierarchical clustering algorithms on quasar spectra, we can match windy quasars with specific emission-line properties sensitive to the shape of the ionizing continuum. Beyond the dust sublimation radius, radiation pressure is still important, but high energy photons from the central engine can now push on dust grains. This physics underlies the dusty wind picture for the putative obscuring torus. I’ll describe our model of the dusty wind and evaluate its successes and shortcomings in accounting for observed properties of quasars such their mid-infrared power and the fraction of hidden objects.

Dr. Sarah Gallagher. Photo via LinkedIn.com

Sarah Gallagher is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Western Ontario. Prior to that, she was an Assistant Research Astronomer at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2006, she completed a Spitzer Postdoctoral Fellowship entitled Understanding Quasar Outflows: Evolution or Orientation? Her research focuses on investigating the nature of winds from luminous quasars (accreting supermassive black holes at the centers of distant galaxies) using observatories covering the infrared to the X-ray, including two of NASA’s Great Observatories, Spitzer and Chandra. Gallagher received her Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Penn State where she was also a member of the Chandra ACIS Instrument team. Her thesis, entitled The View through the Wind: X-ray Observations of Broad Absorption Line Quasars, incorporated X-ray data from three observatories: ROSAT, ASCA, and Chandra. Gallagher spent a year at MIT working with the Chandra X-ray gratings group before going to UCLA in 2003. Before graduate school, she was an undergraduate at Yale University and a Physics teacher for two years at the Holderness School where she also coached soccer, ran a girls’ dormitory, and led winter camping trips.