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Space and astronomy digest: January 2016

The RAS digest of upcoming space, astronomy and geophysics events. This month sees the 100th anniversary of the election of women to RAS Fellowship, the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, conferences on big data in solar physics, and on surveys of the extragalactic universe, and the launch of the Jason 3 satellite.

 


4-7 January: 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), Kissimmee, Florida, United States

 

The 227th meeting of the AAS will take place at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Kissimmee, Florida, from 4 to 7 January. This major astronomical conference, one of the largest in the world, typically brings together more than 3000 astronomers and space scientists to discuss the latest work in their fields.

This meeting has sessions on a huge range of astronomical topics, from new instrumentation and space missions, to solar system science, to planets in orbit around other stars, stellar astrophysics, galaxies and cosmology.

The conference has a full press office and programme of media briefings, and journalists are actively encouraged to attend. For full details see http://aas.org/meetings/aas227/press-information

 


8 January: Modern data analysis in solar physics: progress in the automated analysis of solar features and their dynamics: Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London

 

Though stable overall, our Sun changes all the time. Sunspots, prominences and more dramatic events like solar flares shape both the star and its planetary system. To understand this activity scientists now depend on satellites and telescopes that provide near continuous observations of our nearest star, generating a wealth of data beyond the capability of people to analyse on their own.

On 8 January scientists will gather at the Royal Astronomical Society for a specialist discussion meeting on automated approaches to data analysis, focussing on the solar dataset from current and future missions and observatories.

Delegates will also celebrate 2016 as the 100th anniversary of the admission of women to fellowship of the Royal Astronomical Society, and Prof Lidia van Driel-Gesztelyi (University College London) will give a talk highlighting the contribution of women to solar physics.

Bona fide members of the media who wish to attend this meeting should present their credentials at the registration desk for free admission.

 


8 January: Multiwavelength Surveys for Extragalactic Astrophysics: Geological Society, Burlington House, London

Contemporary astronomy has a large number of successful, ongoing, or planned surveys of the universe beyond our galaxy. These cover large areas of the sky and all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to gamma rays. Many more such surveys will be initiated in the coming years, as astronomers from across the globe work together to further our understanding of the evolution of galaxies in our Universe.

On 8 January astronomers will gather at the Geological Society for a specialist discussion meeting on the plethora of scientific discoveries from these large surveys, and what to expect in the years ahead.

Bona fide members of the media who wish to attend this meeting should present their credentials at the registration desk for free admission.

 


8 January: RAS Ordinary Meeting: Announcement of RAS Awards and Medals and performance of 'The Way to the Stars'

 

The Ordinary Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society, from 4 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. on 8 January, will include the announcement of the winners of the Society's awards and medals, to be presented at the National Astronomy Meeting in June.

After the meeting concludes there will be a performance of 'The Way to the Stars', a short play marking the 100th anniversary of the first election of women as fellows of the RAS.

 


12 January: RAS Public Lecture: 100th Anniversary of the election of Women to the RAS Fellowship, Geological Society and Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London

 

Dr Mandy Bailey, RAS Astronomy Secretary and Projects Officer at the National Schools Observatory, will give the latest RAS public lecture at 1 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. on Tuesday 12 January.

From its beginnings in 1820, the RAS, following the social habits of the time, only accepted men as Fellows of the Society. Despite this, a number of notable women, including Caroline Herschel and Annie Cannon, were given Honorary Fellowships. In 1886 Miss Pogson, of the Madras Observatory was nominated for Fellowship, but it was to be another 20 years before the first women were elected as Fellows of the RAS in their own right.

14 January 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of that election, and in her talk Dr Bailey will look at those 20 years at the turn of the twentieth century and the changing social habits of the time. She will consider such questions as: what happened to Miss Pogson, were women accepted in other societies and why did the King have to get involved? The first elected women include Annie Maunder, Mary Proctor and the intriguing Fiammetta Wilson. This talk will give a brief look at their work and what it was that made them stand out.

 


17 January: Launch of Jason 3

 

The launch of the US-European Jason 3 satellite is scheduled for 1842 GMT (1042 local time) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, in the United States, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Jason 3 is the fourth in a series of missions to measure the height of the ocean surface. Assessing this gives scientists information on circulation patterns in the ocean and on changes in sea level, and how these are changing in our warming world.

Jason 3AA rendering of the Jason 3 satellite after deployment in Earth orbit. Credit: NASA / JPLThe mission is a joint project of the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Contacts

John Leslie
NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Tel: +1 301-713-0214
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Stephen E. Cole
NASA Office of Communications
Washington D.C., United States
Tel: +1 202-358-0918
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Alan Buis
NASA JPL Media Relations
Pasadena, California, United States
Tel: +1 818-354-0474
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Claudia Ristert-Clark
EUMETSAT Communications
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Nathalie Journo
CNES Communications/Public Relations
Toulouse, France
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Night sky in January

 

Information on stars, planets, comets, meteor showers and other celestial phenomena is available from the British Astronomical Association (BAA), the Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA) and the Jodrell Bank night sky guide.

 


Notes for editors

 

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 3900 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.

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