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Public Lecture

'Meteorites and the formation of the Solar System'

By Dr. Ian Sanders, Geology Department, TCD.

NOTE: The "Stephen Hawking" lecture has been postponed until March 2019 (the first anniversary of his death). Please check closer to that date.

About the Lecture

The Solar System was evidently formed 4567 million years ago in much the same way as stars with planets are forming today. Following 'in-fall' in a molecular cloud, a disk of gas and dust surrounded the infant Sun.  Material in the disk aggregated into small bodies (planetesimals) that in turn coalesced to make our planets.  Meteorites are interpreted  as fragments of planetesimals that failed to become a large planet, and thus they preserve evidence for the nature of Solar System material at a very early, pre-planetary stage in the disk. 

Recent research has refined the timing of meteorite formation with truly remarkable precision, and this new knowledge has forced a change in our understanding of events during the first five million years.  In particular, so-called primitive meteorites, whose chemistry is remarkably similar to that of the Sun, were always presumed to be samples of the first-formed planetesimals; they now turn out to be bits of the last-formed planetesimals.  The earliest planetesimals were, it seems, so radioactive that they melted rapidly; iron meteorites are interpreted as surviving bits of their once-molten cores.


About the Lecturer



Dr. Ian Sanders studied mineralogy and petrology (PhD 1972) at the University of Cambridge, and has taught at TCD in the Department of Geology since 1971.  Interests span the whole range of 'hard rock' geology, and since 1992 they have focused on the geology of asteroids, and the formation of planets.




After the lecture there will be a social reception in The Lombard and we encourage all of you to come along for a chat.
All are welcome to attend and free food will be kindly provided by The Lombard.

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A prize draw will be held after the lecture.

Booking Information

Date Monday 10th September
Subject to change - please check back later
Time 8:00p.m.

Physics Bldg, Physics Department , Fitzgerald Building, Trinity College Dublin.
There is an entrance on Lincoln Place (not far from the Merrion Square end of TCD). If you get the DART or bus to Pearse St, or drive. Use the Science Gallery entrance on Pearse Street (near the corner with Westland Row) There are maps here:  Here

Parking: Mark Street , Marks Lane , Lombard St. East .

Free Parking on the above streets after 7pm
Click HERE for a building map of Trinity College campus
Click HERE for Map of area

Admission €10 (€5 Astronomy Ireland members and concessions)
Tickets where possible should be booked in advance. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the night, please come along 15 minutes early to accommodate.

Book online below

Call 086 06 46 555 to book tickets over the phone using Debit/ Credit Card
Send a cheque/ PO/ Draft, made payable to Astronomy Ireland to PO BOX 2888, Dublin 5.


This lecture is also available to people nationwide on DVD.
To order a copy of the DVD simply:
Order by credit/ debit card online below OR
call 086 06 46 555
Alternatively post a Cheque or postal order to: Astronomy Ireland, PO. Box 2888, Dublin 5.
Cost: DVD's cost €10 each incl P&P (€5 Astronomy Ireland members)

Lecture September 2018
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Lecture DVD September 2018
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Acknowledgment: Astronomy Ireland would like to thank the TCD Astrophysics Research Group for hosting AI public lectures in Trinity College Dublin.

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