Who am I?

My name is Megan Argo, professional astrophysicist and science communicator. I am currently based at the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics where I study galaxies in the nearby universe (see my publications list), and give public lectures and schools workshops all over the north west of England (see my events list). I have worked as a researcher in the UK, Australia and the Netherlands, and been lucky enough to observe with some of the best radio telescopes around the world, in Europe, India, the USA and Australia. My passion for sharing the wonders of the universe with children of all ages has taken me from northern Scotland to outback Western Australia, via rural India and cosmopolitan South Africa. I'm a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a member of the Institute of Physics, an honorary member of Macclesfield Astronomical Society, on the Council of the Society for Popular Astronomy, Press Officer for the International Meteor Organisation, and an editor for the IMO's journal, WGN. Welcome to my little corner of the interweb, make yourself at home.

Outreach at New Norcia Planets over Perth Star trails from Parkes The Lovell telescope

Upcoming events and bookings

18th May 2015 - Lecture (Manchester): I will be giving a talk as part of the international Pint of Science festival. I'll be at the Nano to Astro: Extreme Scales" evening, talking about When Galaxies Collide! The Red Lion, Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester, doors open 7pm. SOLD OUT!

8th June 2015 - SciBAr (Cheshire): "When Galaxies Collide!" at the Bollington SciBAr, The Vale, Bollington, 6.30pm.

18-19 June 2015 - BSA Sci Com Conference: Awarded a bursary to attend the British Science Association's Science Communication Conference.

5-9 July 2015 - National Astronomy Meeting (Wales): Speaking in at least one session of the UK's National Astronomy Meeting, this year held in Llandudno.

18th July 2015 - Lecture (Shropshire): Invited lecture at the Shropshire Astronomical Society's Summer Social, "The Kaleidoscopic Universe".

14-16th August 2015 - SolarSphere (Wales): Astronomy/music festival. Details and tickets available from the SolarSphere website. I will be there running workshops and giving a talk. Also on the line-up are talks from astro-journalist Will Gater, planetary imager extraordinaire Damian Peach, and others yet to be announced.

27-30th August 2015 - IMC (Austria): The annual International Meteor Conference, organised by the IMO.

3rd October 2015 - Lecture (Warwickshire): Lecture at the UK International Astronomy Show, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

10th October 2015 - Star Party (Yorkshire): The all-new Settle star party, organised by Settle Stories.

17-26th June 2016 - Barnaby Festival (Macclesfield): Macclesfield's bi-annual festival, which in 2016 will have SPACE! as the theme. I'm on the interim programming team.

Read some of the feedback from audiences who have heard me speak.

You can find more of my events, past, present and upcoming, on my events page, a list of my current talks and lectures on my talks page, and my published work on my publications page.

More about me

In my day job I'm a professional astronomer, currently working for Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. Being a professional astronomer means that I am also a writer, a programmer, a data scientist, and used to giving talks to a wide variety of audiences. I'm also used to working with international research teams, dealing with many projects at the same time, and teaching (schools, undergraduates, postgraduates and instrument users).

My current areas of research include: several large legacy surveys with the recently-upgraded e-MERLIN, a wide-field VLBI survey of M31 using the new multiple phase centre capabilities of the DiFX software correlator, a survey of the Galaxy Zoo Voorwerpjes with Westerbork, multi-epoch observations of NGC253 with NuSTAR/Chandra/VLBA, and I'm leading a project to investigate a strange class of objects which are compact and have ultra-steep radio spectra (we currently do not know what they are). I'm also very involved with e-MERLIN, having helped with the commissioning efforts, and now as a collaborator on several of the Legacy programmes, as PI of several regular observing projects, writing and maintaining the data reduction pipeline, scheduling, and acting as a referee on observing proposals. Between 2011 and 2013 I worked at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON). Before starting at ASTRON I spent a few months at Jodrell Bank Observatory helping with the commissioning and early science observations with e-MERLIN (you can find the ParselTongue scripts I wrote for loading and housekeeping of e-MERLIN data, the current version of e-MERLIN data reduction pipeline, and the associated readme files, over here). Between 2008 and 2011 I was a postdoc at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Perth, Western Australia where I worked on wide-field imaging techniques for VLBI. For more information about my research interests, have a look at my publications list.

I'm also a freelance science communicator and outreach specialist, with more than ten years of experience giving public lectures, schools talks, podcasts, science writing, presenting planetarium shows, co-presenting radio shows, telescope training events, large event organisation and organising observing events around the world. You may have heard my voice on the Jodcast where I wrote and produced the News each month for seven years, or on various other podcasts and radio programmes I've contributed to or been a guest on. I'm currently a regular presenter with the Under British Skies show on Astronomy.FM, and writing a bunch of astronomy-themed rock covers. I have a variety of talks that can be given at a moment's notice, for a variety of knowledge levels (from primary-age up to undergraduate physics major); please contact me (megan.argo at gmail) for details. I'm already booked for a number of activities this year, see my events page for details.

What's here?

What you will find here: the e-MERLIN pipeline, some astronomy related outreach resources, articles I've written for Macc Astro's Newsletter, my current academic publication list, my audio work, a mostly astronomy-themed blog, and my old blog (which includes the scripts for the Jodcast News, and occasional attempts at science fiction).

Astronomy resources: investigate what different astronomical objects look like when observed in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum using the multi-wavelength viewer. Use Chromoscope instead, it's much prettier. There's also a pretty interface for the meteor detector at Jodrell (JBOMD) with some background and explanations (set up for open days at Curtin University in 2008 and 2009).

(There's also some photos of the Jodrell Bankers at the christmas party, 16th December 2005.)

LookUP from Astronomy Blog

Here's a neat little gadget from Stuart that lets you query a whole host of astronomical databases. Try typing in the name of any astronomical object you like and see if it works....

LookUP any astronomical object!

(If you've gone blank and can't think of anything, try searching for the Tardis.)

Last updated: Friday, 19-Dec-2014 12:43:25 GMT