September Public Meeting

For our first public meeting after the summer break, we will welcome our Honorary Vice‐President,  and popular science writer & astronomy journalist, Dr Stuart Clark.

“The Places That Gravity Forgot” will discuss those vast regions of space, millions of miles across, in which celestial forces conspire to cancel out gravity and so trap anything that falls into them. They sit in the Earth’s orbit, one marching ahead of our planet, the other trailing along behind. Astronomers call them Lagrangian points, or L4 and L5 for short. The best way to think of them, though, is as celestial flypaper.

Lagrange points are locations in space where gravitational forces and the orbital motion of a body balance each other. In the 4.5 billion years since the formation of the solar system, everything from dust clouds to asteroids and hidden planets may have accumulated there.

They were discovered by French mathematician Louis Lagrange in 1772 in his gravitational studies of the ‘Three body problem’: how a third, small body would orbit around two orbiting large ones. There are five Lagrangian points in the Sun-Earth system and such points also exist in the Earth-Moon system.

The public meeting takes place at the Henry Dixon Hall, Rivenhall End on Wednesday 16th September. Doors open at 7:30pm for a 7:45pm start. For further details on how to get there, click on the Events link above.

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Posted on 10 September, 2009, in IYA2009-Beyond, Popular Science, Society News. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on September Public Meeting.

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