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Early 21st Century Astrometry: Taking the measure of the Universe

Alberto Krone-Martins
CENTRA/SIM - Universidade de Lisboa


Astronomy is widely considered as one of the oldest natural sciences. And Astrometry, is the oldest branch of the astronomical endeavor. Throughout the entire history, Astrometry has been constantly contributing to human life: from matters of practical and direct application, as ship and satellite navigation and time-keeping, to important intellectual challenges, as setting the primary step in distance ladder that give us the scale of the Universe.

In this seminar, I will discuss a bit about this venerable Science, from some episodes of its long history, to its present developments and its flourishing future. I will comment about some of its past contributions, as proving that the Earth moves around the Sun, to its impacts on our every-day life and present and near-future Science, by making a few (educated) predictions – specially taking into account what the ESA Gaia space mission, that I have been helping to shape in the past ten years, will enable us to unravel from its main result: the largest and most accurate all-sky survey ever.

I will also briefly comment on the expected contributions to Astronomy of the present generation of ground based astrometric instruments at the ESO, as Gravity, that was partially built at the CENTRA/SIM group, and of the next generation of astrometric ground-based instruments at the E-ELT. Finally, I will talk about the next steps towards future Space Astrometry missions - a unique European expertise -, and their perspectives to the study of Dark Matter, habitable exoplanets and the structure of the space-time tissue itself.

2015 December 03, 15:00

Observatório Astronómico de Lisboa (Seminar room)
Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-018 Lisboa

Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia