Outside the Earth, the Universe can be a wild place with exploding stars, killer asteroids, colliding galaxies, deadly black holes and gamma-ray bursts that zap planets, and perhaps some less pleasant wild life ...
I will describe some of the latest discoveries that highlight this and will end with a summary of astrophysics research that is going on at Lawrence Livermore National, Laboratory.
Students will learn how scientists are learning about the violent universe and the formation of galaxies, stars, planets, and ultimately us.
1) How do stars and planets form?
2) What are some of the dangers to planets, including Earth?
3) How do galaxies get larger?
4) What happens when galaxies collide?
5) What are active black holes?
6) What can happen when jets collide with interstellar gas?
Dr.Wil Van Breugel
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Wil van Breugel has more 25 years of experience in conducting astronomical research using a wide variety of telescopes on earth and in space. He obtained his Ph.D. at Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands, where he discovered that some galaxies exhibit strong radio emission, which is powered by jets emanating from massive black holes at their centers (`radio galaxies'). After his Ph.D. he held postdoctoral fellowships at the Kitt Peak National Observatory and the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. During that time he used the Kitt Peak 2.1-m and 4-m and Steward 2.5-m telescopes, as well as the world's most powerful radio imaging telescope, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Very Large Array near Socorro, New Mexico. By combining radio and optical observations he found that radio jets often interact violently with gas clouds in the interstellar medium of their parent galaxies. Shocks from jet/cloud collisions heat up and entrain this previously invisible, cold gas. The heated gas can be observed on large telescopes using special filters.