Saturn’s rings reveal how to make a moon

Writing in the journal Icarus this week, Professor Carl Murray from Queen Mary’s Astronomy Unit reports that recently discovered disturbances at the very edge of Saturn's outer bright A ring result from a small icy object that formed within the ring and which may be in the process of migrating out of it. They have nicknamed the object, ‘Peggy’.

"We hadn't seen anything like this before," explained Professor Murray. "We may be looking at the act of birth, where this object is just leaving the rings and heading off to be a moon in its own right," he said.

Saturn's rings are a small-scale version of discs of ice and dust that surround young stars. One reason for high interest in how moons form in Saturn's rings is insight into how Earth and other planets may have formed and migrated within a disc around our star, the sun.

SPA Colloquium : Showbiz Physics

Alix Pryde

Abstract : You've heard of Medical Physics, Geophysics, Astrophysics... but have you ever thought about the vital role physics plays in showbiz? Alix Pryde is the BBC's Director of Distribution. She also has a PhD in solid state physics, completed under the supervision of QML's Professor Martin Dove. She'll talk about her career journey from crystals to crystal sets and their modern equivalents. And as a working mother of two, she'll also share her thoughts on balancing career and family.

Speaker: Alix Pryde

Venue: Friday March 7, 4.00 p.m : David Sizer Lecture Theatre.

Reception : The talk will be followed by drinks and snacks. All members of QML (faculty, students, staff) are invited. 

The National Student Survey

The National Student Survey

The National Student Survey 2014 (NSS), of final year undergraduate students, officially opens at QM on Monday 13 January 2014 and closes on Wednesday 30 April 2014. The NSS website goes live on Monday 13 January, where students can complete the survey online: www.thestudentsurvey.com. Students cannot complete the survey prior to Monday 13 January.

The National Student Survey (NSS) is an important survey for QM. It enables prospective students and the wider public to measure our performance against competitors, and provides us with useful data on both our strengths and those areas in need of improvement, informing policy and strategy to improve the student experience.

Physics Outreach draws in the crowds at largest ever Stargazing Live event

BBC's Stargazing Live event at Royal Holloway University of London

Queen Mary stand has 1000 visitors at BBC flagship regional event
 
An estimated 1000 visitors flocked to Queen Mary’s inspirational Lego Universe stand at the BBC’s flagship Stargazing Live, last Thursday.  Members of the public were led through a whistle-stop tour of the early universe by enthusiastic undergraduate Physics Ambassadors with the help of LEGO quarks and electrons, before helping to build a colourful two metre-wide LEGO spiral galaxy.
 
Professors Carl Murray, David Burgess and Richard Nelson were joined by Dr Lucie Green who hosted a discussion on exploring solar systems.  This lively session covered aspects of exploration of our own solar system as well as those on others within our galaxy.  This session was well attended, with an estimated audience of 250 visitors.
 

Junk the Jargon

On Wednesday 27 February, ten PhD students from QM competed in the annual Junk the Jargon competition. Junk the Jargon challenges participants to communicate their research topic in an engaging and fun way to a broad audience - in just three minutes. The winner, Evelina Arushanova, a first-year PhD student from the Particle Physics Research Centre, taught us how the ‘neutrino’ particle is a lot like a spy. For the full story please see http://bit.ly/spyparticle

Juno Practitioner Status

The School of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to announced that it has been awarded Juno Practitioner status by the Institute of Physics. The aim of Juno is to recognise and reward departments that can demonstrate they have taken action to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage better practice for both women and men.  More information about the Juno programme can be found at http://www.iop.org/policy/diversity/initiatives/juno/index.html. 

The National Student Survey 2013

The National Student Survey 2013

National Student Survey is now open for all 3rd year BSc and 4th year MSci students to complete.  We would like to encourage all of these students to complete the survey as soon as possible.

January sees the launch of the National Student Survey (NSS) 2013 at most Higher Education Institutions and most Further Education Colleges providing Higher Education courses across the UK. The NSS is your opportunity to give your opinions on what you liked about your time at your institution/course as well as things that you felt could have been improved. 

Mini-jets make the Top 10!

An image taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera just after the spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn on 1 July 2004.  The inset shows presence of a "mini-jet" approximately 55km long emanating from the bright core of Saturn's F ring. These features are caused by the gentle (about 2 m/s) impact of icy objects with the core.  QMUL astronomers have shown that there are about 500 examples of such features detectable in the images taken by Cassini's cameras.

Work carried out by planetary scientists in the Astronomy Unit has been chosen as one of the Top 10 Science Highlights of NASA's Cassini mission in 2012.  Nick Attree, Carl Murray, Nick Cooper and Gareth Williams reported their work on trails, or "mini-jets", in Saturn's peculiar F ring in April 2012.  The image was taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera just after the spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn on 1 July 2004.  The inset shows presence of a "mini-jet" approximately 55km long emanating from the bright core of Saturn's F ring.  These features are caused by the gentle (about 2 m/s) impact of icy objects with the core.  The QMUL astronomers have shown that there are about 500 examples of such features detectable in the images taken by Cassini's cameras and provided an explanation for their unusual properties.

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