European Astrofest came of age in 2013, celebrating its 21st birthday. It was a memorable anniversary with a fantastic selection of speakers at sold-out lectures, busy exhibition stands, enthusiastic visitors, happy meetings and some sad farewells.
The first Astrofest talk was by Professor Steve Miller of University College London. He says that without one special molecule the universe could not have evolved as it did and we wouldn't be here!
The molecule is commonly known as tritium or, as he describes it, H-three-plus. Ordinary hydrogen has one proton and it has one electron, so it's electrically neutral. Hydrogen can have a proton & a neutron in the nucleus - this is known as deuterium. Tritium has a proton and two neutrons. H-three-plus is positively charged because it has no electron.
I don't know how it made the universe because I was at the airport meeting another speaker. But I've started reading Miller's book The Chemical Cosmos which I'll review when I've finished it.
Last edited by Mona - Astronomy; 02/16/1305:09 PM.
Barry Madore gave a fascinating talk about galaxies in the ultraviolet, showing us some of the exciting and unexpected images from GALEX (Galaxy Evolution Explorer). We saw some previously unpublished examples which mean that ideas about the formation and evolution of galaxies needs revision.