Magnetic Fields in Space
Dr Chris Hales, Newcastle University
(Venue: Royal Astronomical Society Lecture Theatre – booking via Eventbrite – booking opens end February 2018)
Magnetic fields are amazing. Their invisible presence can be illuminated by the classic experiment to sprinkle iron filings over a bar magnet. They make your compass point north, and protect the Earth and your smartphone from harmful radiation from space. But have you ever wondered what would happen if you followed your compass out beyond Earth into deep space? What types of cosmic magnets you would encounter? And how strongly they would deflect your compass’ needle? In this lecture, Dr Hales will lead us on a tour of magnetic fields throughout space, spanning the smallest scales in the Universe to the largest. Dr Hales will explore a range of ingenious techniques that astronomers have developed to effectively sprinkle iron filings over the cosmos, revealing the directions that compasses will point and the importance of magnetic fields for understanding the formation of objects like stars, galaxies, and perhaps even the Universe itself.
Dr Chris Hales is an astronomer whose research seeks to unveil the role that interstellar and intergalactic magnetic fields play in the evolution of galaxies and the Universe. Dr Hales began his career as an aerospace engineer before discovering his passion for astronomy. Following completion of a PhD in his hometown of Sydney, Australia, he moved to New Mexico, USA, to work alongside the powerful Very Large Array radio telescope at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. In 2017 he moved to Newcastle University where he is currently working as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow.