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Join the next Astronomy trip to Winchester, Wednesday 9th March.
Destruction of supersonic solid state snowballs in the sun’s corona.
Letters available from the science prep room or Mr Rogers.

Prof John Brown (University of Glasgow)

Early stages of solar system formation involved heavy bombardment of young planets by asteroids and comets and other debris. This bombardment continues today, though at a much reduced rate. Even without a close approach, let alone an impact, the mere apparition of a major comet like Hale Bopp induces widespread awe and even fear among the uninformed. Dinosaur extinction, is widely attributed to a major (probably asteroid) impact, while comets have variously been invoked as bringers of water and even of life to earth.

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Recent progress in the study of comets via spaceborne instruments has been truly astonishing in the realms both of flyby, sample collection probes and of space-borne telescopes. This talk will concentrate on the latter , ranging from the first (1980) white-light coronagraph discovery of sun-grazing comets plunging toward the sun’s surface to the direct UV imaging since 2011 by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory of comets inside the lower solar atmosphere.

John Brown is a world leader in understanding the physics of how freezing dense solid comet nuclei behave in the intense sunlight and atmospheric friction and pressure these Supersonic Snowballs in Hell experience!

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