Inaugural Wolf Debate: "How Common is Life in the Universe?"
Rudolf Wolf was an early Professor of Astronomy at the ETH who conducted research into Solar Activity and other topics throughout the second half of the 19th century. His observations of sunspots, and reinterpretation of the historical record on sunspot activity led to his introduction of the Wolf number as a way to place observations of solar activity on a sound footing which is still in use today. To honor his memory, we would like to inaugurate the Wolf Debates where international experts are invited to debate a topic of great interest in the scientific community at a level of discourse accessible for the general public. The inaugural Wolf Debate, moderated by Rolf Probala, ETH Zurich, will be on the following proposition: "life is a common emergent phenomena in the Universe”. During the debate, the invited speakers, Jonathan Lunine (in the affirmative) and Peter Ward (in the negative), will discuss the topic. After the discussion questions from the audience will be answered. The event is followed by an apéro. For more information please visit http://www.astro.ethz.ch/news-and-events/events/wolf-debate.html
Science Cafe at the Scientifica / Saturday, 31 August 2013, 16.30 - 18.00 on the polyterrasse
"Killer Asteroids: Public Health Threat or Science Fiction"
Our planet is under constant bombardment by small interplanetary bodies, mostly originating in the asteroid belt of our Solar System. The size distribution of these bodies is such that most of them are small, burning up harmlessly in the protective atmosphere of our Earth.
The largest ones, such as those thought to be responsible for major extinction events in the biologic history of our planet, are the most rare. Based on observational data, combined with computer simulations, we can estimate the threat we face from these bodies, and compare it to other hazards we face in modern life. At issue is whether this threat is significant enough to justify expensive (and speculative) "planetary protection" programs that could help our civilization survive a major impact event as depicted in several films in recent years. (Read more)
A Night at the Observatory
Come and hear about some of the latest astronomical research at the ETH Zurich. The night will begin with a public lecture on "dark matter" by Prof. Justin Read (in English). This will be followed by a tactile "mobile museum" exhibit and tours of the historic ETH Sternwarte. Weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to actually look at the night sky through the large optical telescope in the Sternwarte dome. For more information please visit The_ETH_Sternwarte
The Transit of Venus Across the Sun
On June 6, 2012, as the Sun rises on Zurich, Venus will be completing its transit across the face of the Sun. This celestial event will not happen again for over 100 years. To come watch this rare astronomical event with us at ETH, or to learn more about the transit and how it relates to research being conducted at ETH on extrasolar planets, please visit http://www.vs.ethz.ch.
Exhibition Verkehrshaus Luzern
To the edge of the visible Universe, running October 2009 - March 2012
The Institute for Astronomy of the ETH Zurich welcomes you at the entrance of the Planetarium of the Verkehrshaus Luzern with an exhibition that highlights achievements and future challenges of modern astrophysics and cosmology.
The Institute for Astronomy participated in Scientifica 2011, a yearly recurring three-day event welcoming the public to visit ETH Zurich and University of Zurich and share in our fascination with science and nature. This year's theme was "Energy", and members from our Institute presented an exhibit on "What powers the Universe?", organized tours of the old ETH "Sternwarte", and contributed two of the main lectures ("What powers the Universe?" by Simon Lilly, "Energy of Forming Planets" by Michael Meyer). See also a photo reportage from the event.
International Year of Astronomy 2009
Please visit our IYA 2009 webpage (in German) for more on our outreach activities during the International Year of Astronomy 2009.
Darwin Year 2009
Our Institute participated in an exhibition at the Zurich Main Station 4-6 September 2009, organized in support of the Darwin Year 2009 by the University of Zurich and ETH, highlighting the role of ground- and space-based telescopes in the search for life on other planets.