From the Program Chair

by Ira Polans

The December meeting of the AAAP will be held on the 10th at 7:30 PM in the auditorium of Peyton Hall on the Princeton University campus. The talk is on Gamma-ray Bursts: Unraveling the mystery of the universe’s brightest explosions by Patrick Crumley Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University.

Understanding the source of gamma-ray bursts–brief, extremely bright flashes of gamma-rays–was a driving force in high energy astronomy for more than 30 years. The mystery started when gamma-ray bursts were serendipitously discovered by nuclear anti-proliferation satellites at the height of the cold war, and the final piece of the puzzle came just 2 years ago in 2017 with the first simultaneous detection of a gamma-ray burst in both gravity waves and gamma-rays. I will give an overview of the history of high energy astronomy, and how satellites, ground based observers, and theorists all worked in concert to unravel the mystery of the gamma-ray bursters. Because of the hard work of several academic generations of astronomers, we now know that gamma-ray bursts are produced by luminous jets traveling close to the speed of light, launched by the most violent explosions in the universe: the death of massive stars in a supernova, or in the merger of two neutron stars.

We’re looking for a member to give the first 10 minute talk of the season. If you’re interested please contact me at program@princetonastonomy.org and let me know which month you want to give your talk. If you have an idea and are unsure how to present it please contact Rex at director@princetonastronomy.org or Ira at program@princetonastonomy.org. As announced earlier rather than give your talk at the beginning of the meeting your talk will be given after the break.

There will be a meet the speaker dinner at 6 PM at Winberie’s in Palmer Square prior to the meeting. If you are interested in attending please email me by noon on December 10 at program@princetonastonomy.org.

This entry was posted in December 2019, Sidereal Times and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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