RAS PN 08/45: Space and astronomy digest: September 2008
ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY PRESS INFORMATION NOTE
Date: 29th August 2008
For Immediate Release
Ref.: PN 08/45
Dr Robert Massey
Press and Policy Officer
Royal Astronomical Society
London W1J 0BQ
Tel: +44 (0)794 124 8035, +44 (0)20 7734 4582
RAS website: www.ras.org.uk
RAS SPACE AND ASTRONOMY DIGEST: SEPTEMBER 2008
This release contains a summary of some astronomical and space events that will be taking place during September. 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.
5TH SEPTEMBER: ROSETTA SPACEPROBE FLIES PAST ASTEROID STEINS
In February 2004, the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Rosetta spacecraft set off on its decade long journey to the comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In the latest of a series of encounters with celestial objects, at 1858 GMT (1958 BST) on 5 September the space probe will pass just 800 kilometres from the asteroid 2867 Steins. Steins lies in the ‘main belt’ of asteroids, travelling around the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter and is thought to be less than 5 kilometres across.
After the encounter, Rosetta will transmit the first close-up images of the asteroid to ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. Media representatives are invited to attend ESOC during the fly-by and to see the first images and results at a press conference the following day.
Rosetta home page
PRESS CONTACT AND REGISTRATION
Head of Corporate Communication Office, ESA / ESOC
Tel: +49 (0)6151 902861
9TH SEPTEMBER: RAS PUBLIC LECTURE: THE TUNGUSKA EVENT
On 30 June 1908 something entered the upper atmosphere of the Earth and exploded high above the forest near the Tunguska river in southern Siberia. The ‘Tunguska event’ knocked down and set fire to trees over an area of more than 2000 square kilometres. Fortunately the epicentre was in the middle of a remote area - had it happened over a town or city the results would have been disastrous. Research over the following century indicates that the destruction was probably caused by a comet or asteroid that collided with the Earth.
In the first of the new season of public lectures hosted by the Royal Astronomical Society, University of Leeds scientist Dr Chris Trayner will present the latest insights into Tunguska and outline the lessons it gives us for the protection of human society from future impact events.
RAS home page
Dr Robert Massey (details above)
10TH SEPTEMBER: LAUNCH OF GOCE GRAVITATIONAL MAPPING PROBE
On 10th September the ESA-built Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite will launch on a Russian Rockot (a converted SS-19 missile) from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. In a 20-month mission, GOCE will orbit about 250 kilometres above the Earth, mapping the terrestrial gravitational field and the shape of our planet (the geoid) in unprecedented detail.
The completed GOCE map will give geophysicists a better understanding of the internal structure of the Earth and provide a better reference for studies of ocean circulation and sea level, both essential components of our understanding of the impact of climate change.
GOCE home page
ESA media relations, Paris
Tel: +33 1 5369 7155
Fax: +33 1 5369 7690
29TH SEPTEMBER – 3RD OCTOBER: 59TH INTERNATIONAL ASTRONAUTICAL CONGRESS, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND
Delegates from across the world will gather at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow for the 59th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), running from 29th September to 3rd October. More than 2000 astronauts, space scientists, engineers and technology specialists are expected to attend the Congress, which will have a full programme of public events. Highlights include a space technology exhibition (open to the public) and a live link-up with astronauts on board the International Space Station.
IAC home page
PRESS CONTACT AND REGISTRATION
IAC 2008 Ltd
The British Interplanetary Society
27/29 South Lambeth Road
London SW8 1SZ
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7793 1050
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 3000 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.