The 25th “New Worlds, New Horizons” Public Astronomy Lecture took place in the Xijie lecture hall of Tsinghua University on Apr. 17th, 2019. It was delivered by Dr. GOU Lijun from the National Astronomical Observatory, Dr. YU Jun (Steed) from GuoKr.com, and Prof. MAO Shude from the Tsinghua University. It attracted a large amount of audience on site and over one hundred fifty thousand online viewers via the Tencent News live broadcast.
The film “The Wandering Earth” is full of sci-fi elements, where humanity was forced to flee from the solar system due to the impending helium flash of the Sun. First, Dr. GOU explained some of the physics involved in the movie and discussed several “bugs” in the movie, such as the helium flash, the halt of the Earth rotation, and Jupiter's Roche lobe limit. Dr. YU showed many pictures, which illustrated the beauty of life on Earth and stars on the sky. We should cherish all these that we see. Prof. Mao pointed out that there may be billions of wandering planets in the Universe and introduced the gravitational microlensing method as a way of searching for them. If there are life forms on wandering planets, given the extreme environment in the interstellar space, it is probably the most common form of life in the Universe.
Finally, in the Q&A session, students and school children interacted actively with the three speakers and the host in lovely atmosphere.