Small stellar systems, big astrophysical questions

Omega Centauri
The core of the globular cluster Omega Centauri
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team
Start Date
End Date

Booking required. Tickets will be available mid November via Eventbrite. 

The blooming era of ‘precision astrometry’ for Galactic studies opened by Gaia and the revolutionary beginnings of ‘gravitational wave astronomy’ enabled by LIGO truly bring the rich internal dynamics of collisional stellar systems to the centre stage. But the current interpretative picture of the role of ‘small scales’ in the assembly of cosmic structures cannot cope with such new-generation data and theoretical ambitions, therefore a modern view of low-mass stellar systems within the rapidly evolving landscape of ‘near-field’ cosmology is urgently needed. In this thriving context, I will present the highlights of a more realistic dynamical paradigm for globular clusters and other small stellar systems. Their emerging richness will allow us to address three big questions at the forefront of current astrophysical research: How did the first stellar aggregates form in the early universe? Is there a 'missing link' between stellar and super-massive black holes? Where is the limit for the presence of the invisible ‘dark’ matter on small astrophysical scales? 

Anna Lisa Varri is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, where she has been based since 2012 — first as a Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Fellow in the School of Mathematics, then as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at the Institute for Astronomy. She has held international research fellowships in the United States and Japan and received her education in Physics at the Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy. Her work on the dynamics of stellar systems has been recognised by the William Herschel and Royal Astronomical Societies with the 2019 Caroline Herschel Prize Lectureship and by the International Astronomical Union with the 2012 Gruber Foundation Young Scientist Award.

Doors open at 17.30 pm. Please be aware that there is no admittance once the lecture begins at 6 pm, as tickets will be reallocated to those queuing for no-shows. Thank you.

Venue Address

The Royal Astronomical Society,Burlington House


51.5085763, -0.13960799999995