Who really discovered the Oort cloud?
This dynamic and entertaining presentation will take us to the outer reaches of the Solar System, where there are enough comets to form a small planet. While the Dutch astronomer Jan Oort is popularly regarded as having suggested the existence of this colossal cloud of frozen debris, is this the whole story? This talk will argue that one important person has been left out of the picture – an Estonian emigré called Ernst Öpik who worked at Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland and who actually came up with the idea first. The talk will also explain why the Öpik–Oort Cloud could spell big trouble for Earth in the future – if you give the cloud a shake, you never know what’s going to fall off, or what it’s going to hit.
About Lembit Öpik
Lembit Öpik was born in Northern Ireland to Estonian parents, who fled to escape Stalin’s purges of their home country. Lembit studied philosophy at the University of Bristol, before working for American multinational company Procter & Gamble. He served as an MP for 13 years in Wales. His lifetime interest in astronomy was inspired by his grandfather, Ernst Julius Öpik, and his physicist father, Dr Uno Öpik. Lembit has raised the risk of asteroid impacts and put a new perspective on who discovered the Oort Cloud. A popular and entertaining speaker, he is also an author, political commentator and TV celebrity.