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Two large white diffusive areas, galaxies with faint spiral structure, on black background with stars and smaller galaxies

JHI Spring Lecture – Hunting for the Ghosts of Galaxies

Posted Date: 8 March 2021

Event Date:: 22 April 2021

We are holding our next JHI Spring Lecture online on Wednesday the 22 April at 6.30pm BST.  If you would like to register for a ticket(s) please click on the Eventbrite link below.

Please note all participants will be emailed on how to access this online lecture week beginning 19th April.


Lecture by Dr Mark Norris of UCLan

In recent years it has become possible to study millions or even billions of individual stars within our Milky Way galaxy, and hence to determine how it formed in exquisite detail.

But our Universe contains hundreds of billions of other galaxies, all but a handful of which are far too distant to individually examine their stars. Is it possible for us to learn how they formed or acquired their stars with similar detail?

In this talk I will describe how the combination of computer simulations, large surveys using state-of-the-art spectrographs, and a few bright ideas are allowing us to pick apart the light of galaxies to work out how and when their stars were formed. In the process we are uncovering the ghosts of the dozens or hundreds of former galaxies that were destroyed to produce the surviving galaxies we see today.


Dr Mark Norris graduated from Durham University with a MSci in Physics in 2004, followed by a PhD in Astrophysics in 2008. Between 2008 and 2015 he conducted research into the formation of galaxies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg Germany as a postdoctoral scholar. In 2015 Mark joined UCLan as a Lecturer in Astronomy, teaching undergraduate on-campus and distance learning course related to Astronomy. He is responsible for the running of UCLan’s Alston Observatory.