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Professor Nick Mitchell is to give a talk about his research into meteors
Professor Nick Mitchell is to give a talk about his research into meteors
This lecture will be podcast
This lecture will be podcast

Press Release - 27 March 2006

Free public lecture: Meteors and the edge of space

Local people will be able to hear about research that uses meteors (“shooting stars”) to study the edge of space at a free public lecture at the University of Bath this week (6.15pm, Wednesday 29 March 2006).

Every day, about 40 tons of extra-terrestrial material collides with the earth, most of which is in the form of tiny particles that have come from passing comets.

Using sophisticated radars based at sites stretching from the Arctic to the Antarctic, researchers at the University of Bath detect these particles as they burn up in the upper atmosphere, giving rise to what we see from the ground as a meteor.

By monitoring the movement of these meteors 100 km above the surface of the earth, researchers can reveal the intricate circulation and dynamics of the meteor region.

They can also use this information to monitor how climate change is affecting the uppermost layers of our atmosphere – known as the mesosphere and thermosphere – at the very edge of space.

“The meteor region is notoriously difficult to investigate, but hosts a wide range of fascinating and poorly-understood phenomena,” said Professor Nick Mitchell from the University’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

“Atmospheric tides and waves launched from below are thought to drive its circulation, coupling together different layers of the atmosphere.

“Smoke from meteors acts as condensation nuclei for ghostly, polar noctilucent clouds and the meteor region is home to the giant lightning discharges known as sprites.

“Its great sensitivity has lead to it being called the miner's canary of climate change.”

The lecture will take place at 6.15pm on Wednesday 29 March 2006 in lecture theatre 2 East 3.1.

Tickets are free but must be reserved from Sheila Willmott on 01225 386 631.

This lecture will be podcast.

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