Celebrating 50 years of astronomy at UCT

28 January 2020 | Story Supplied. Photo Flickr. Read time 2 min.
Prof Van Dishoeck will discuss “building stars, planets and the ingredients for life in space” in her lecture on 6 Feb.
Prof Van Dishoeck will discuss “building stars, planets and the ingredients for life in space” in her lecture on 6 Feb.

Ewine van Dishoeck, Professor of Molecular Astrophysics at Leiden University and president of the International Astronomical Union, will present a public lecture in celebration of 50 years of astronomy at the University of Cape Town (UCT) on Thursday, 6 February, at 16:30.

In her lecture, titled “Building stars, planets and the ingredients for life in space”, Van Dishoeck will discuss, among other things, the discovery of thousands of planets around stars other than the Sun and how these exo-planets form, why they differ from those found in our solar system, and which ingredients are available to build them.

She will also touch on the importance of the new ALMA array – currently the largest telescope in the world – and how it allows astronomers to zoom in on planetary construction zones for the first time – where water and a surprisingly rich variety of organic materials are found.

Can these pre-biotic molecules end up in comets and ultimately new planets and thus form the basis for life elsewhere in the universe? What did the Rosetta mission find when it landed on comet 67P?

Professor Van Dishoeck will address these and other age-old questions at the New Lecture Theatre on upper campus on Thursday, 6 February, at 16:30. All UCT staff and students are invited to attend the event.

RSVP to Carol.Marsh@uct.ac.za.


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