News

When the Stars Align

December 6, 2017
  • Physics students attending a session of the international conference “Asymmetric Planetary Nebulae VII”

    Physics students attending a session of the international conference “Asymmetric Planetary Nebulae VII”

A chance encounter leads to local high-school physics students attending a session of an international astronomy conference in HK — Today a class of Physics students from Discovery College in Discovery Bay attended a session of the international conference “Asymmetric Planetary Nebulae VII” being held at the Auberge Hotel organized by HKU. Virginia player a science teacher at the college overhead a conversation on the DB ferry on December 5 and recognized the voice as that of her old graduate professor from the USA Professor Bruce Ballick! After getting over the co-incidence a plan was hatched to invite her physics class to attend a session of the meeting on Wednesday (Dec 6) morning. This duly occurred. This was an exceptional opportunity for local students to participate directly in this prestigious international meeting taking place from December 3 to 8 with more than 60 astronomers from 20 countries registered.

This series, on-going for nearly 25 years, is being held in Hong Kong for the first time. Why Hong Kong? Basically because of the emerging strength of this research field at The University of Hong Kong – google “Ghostly and beautiful planetary nebulae get a more meaning physical presence” for some indication of the global impact of our work at HKU!


Unique collage showing 22 individual planetary nebulae artistically arranged in approximate order of physical size. The scale bar represents 4 light years. Each nebula's size is calculated from our new HKU published distance scale, applicable to nebulae across all shapes, sizes and brightnesses. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, ESO, Ivan Bojicic, David Frew, Quentin Parker