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RAS PN 07/39: RAS Space and Astronomy Digest: August 2007

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 April 2010 14:23
Published on Monday, 30 July 2007 00:00
The August RAS digest of space and astronomy news. This month sees the annual maximum of the Perseids meteor shower and the launch of a mission to Mars.

ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY PRESS INFORMATION NOTE
Date: 30 July 2007  For Immediate Release
Ref.: PN 07/39

Issued by:
Robert Massey
RAS Press Officer
Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
Piccadilly
London W1J 0BQ
Tel: +44 (0)794 124 8035, +44 (0)20 7734 4582
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

RAS website: www.ras.org.uk

RAS SPACE AND ASTRONOMY DIGEST: AUGUST 2007

This release contains a summary of some astronomical and space events that will be taking place during August. It has been written to assist the media in planning and researching future stories related to space science and astronomy, particularly those with UK involvement. It is not intended to be fully comprehensive. Dates and times may be subject to change.

3 AUGUST: LAUNCH WINDOW OPENS FOR PHOENIX SCOUT MISSION TO MARS

The NASA Phoenix spacecraft is set to launch during a 22-day window that begins on 3 August. Phoenix will travel to Mars and 10 months later will land on Vastitas Borealis, the northern polar region of the red planet, where frozen water is abundant. The lander carries instruments designed to search for any life that may exist when this water melts.

Astronomers from Imperial College, London supplied surfaces for the ‘microscope station’ mounted on the spacecraft funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). During the mission, the scientists will be based at Mission Control in Arizona and be part of the team analysing Martian soil.
 
FURTHER INFORMATION
http://www.stfc.ac.uk
http://phoenix.jpl.nasa.gov
 
CONTACT
Gill Ormrod, STFC Press Office
+44 (0)1793 442012

5 – 10 AUGUST: SPACE SCHOOL UK (13-15 YEAR OLDS), LEICESTER

The University of Leicester will host a six-day residential course where school students learn about space science, astronomy and space medicine.

FURTHER INFORMATION 
http://www.spaceschooluk.org

CONTACT
Tracey Parker
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2609


8 AUGUST: LAUNCH OF SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR

The Space Shuttle ‘Endeavour’ is expected to launch just after midnight (BST) on 8 August, in its first flight since 2002. The spacecraft will carry a starboard truss and stowage platform to the International Space Station (ISS). On board Endeavour is the first ‘Educator Astronaut’, Barbara Morgan, who first trained as the backup for Christa McAuliffe, the teacher and astronaut who died in the 1986 Challenger accident.

FURTHER INFORMATION
http://www.nasa.gov

CONTACT
Allard Beutel
NASA HQ
+Tel: 1 202 358 4769
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

13 AUGUST: MAXIMUM OF PERSEID METEOR SHOWER

Early morning on 13 August sees the annual maximum of the Perseid meteor shower. At its peak and in a clear, dark sky up to 100 ‘shooting stars’ or meteors may be visible each hour. Meteors are the result of small particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed. In this case the material comes from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, which last passed near the Earth in 1992. The meteors appear to originate from a ‘radiant’ in the constellation of Perseus, hence the name Perseid.

This year the Moon will not be present in the sky on the morning of maximum activity so the prospects for a good view of the shower are excellent. Unlike many astronomical phenomena, meteors are best seen without a telescope and are perfectly safe to watch.

CONTACT
Robert Massey
Royal Astronomical Society
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: +44 (0)794 124 8035, +44 (0)20 7734 4582

19-24 AUGUST: FIRST EUROPEAN PLANETARY SCIENCE CONGRESS (EPSC), POTSDAM, GERMANY

The EPSC 2007 brings together planetary scientists from across the world to discuss planetary science, space missions and exploration techniques. Topics include planets in the Solar System and around other stars, advances in exploration technology and the past, present and future of life on Mars.


CONTACT
Anita Heward
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: +44 (0)7756 034 243

20-24 AUGUST: FIRST RESULTS FROM HINODE MISSION – DUBLIN MEETING

Hinode is an orbiting space observatory with a suite of instruments studying activity on the Sun in unprecedented detail. The mission is led by the Japanese space agency, JAXA, in collaboration with NASA and the STFC.

Scientists will meet in Dublin from 20-24th August 2007 to present and discuss the first results from the mission.
FURTHER INFORMATION
http://msslxr.mssl.ucl.ac.uk:8080/SolarB/Announce.jsp

CONTACT
Julia Maddock
Press Office
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: +44 (0)1793 442094