From the first stars to exoplanets: challenges in modern (optical) astrophysics

1 December 2016 - h 14.30
Versione stampabile

Venue: Room A208, Polo Scientifico e Tecnologico Fabio Ferrari

At: 14.30

  • Prof. Adriano Fontana - INAF: Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma

Abstract:
Modern-day astrophysics is facing many outstanding scientific questions. Thanks to a wealth of new instrumentation that will become available in the very next years, we expect to be able to address or to make substantial advances toward the solution of most of these problems.
In my talk I will first review some of the “big” scientific questions that are on the table - at least in my personal and biased view - and then present the new technologies and instrumentation that promise to revolutionize the field in a decade.
The scientific questions that I plan to briefly introduce are:
- the nature of the first stars and galaxies;
- the physics of the assembly and evolution of massive galaxies;
- the constraints to dark matter and cosmological model;
- the demographics  of exoplanets and the physics of planet formation.
Key new technologies in the optical domain involve the use of adaptive optics for ground based telescopes (a technique where Italy is a world-leader) and the launch of new space missions like JWST or Euclid that will provide us with unprecedented tools to explore the early and local Universe.