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RAS PN 08/45: Space and astronomy digest: September 2008

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 April 2010 15:24
Published on Friday, 29 August 2008 00:00
The latest digest of space and astronomy events, from the Royal Astronomical Society. September sees Rosetta's close encounter with asteroid Steins, the International Astronautical Congress, an RAS public lecture on the Tunguska event and the launch of the GOCE satellite.


ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY PRESS INFORMATION NOTE
Date: 29th August 2008
For Immediate Release
Ref.: PN 08/45

Issued by:
Dr Robert Massey
Press and Policy 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: 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.

FURTHER INFORMATION


PRESS CONTACT AND REGISTRATION

Jocelyne Landeau-Constantin
Head of Corporate Communication Office, ESA / ESOC
Tel: +49 (0)6151 902861
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

FURTHER INFORMATION


PRESS CONTACT

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.

FURTHER INFORMATION


PRESS CONTACT

ESA media relations, Paris
Tel: +33 1 5369 7155
Fax: +33 1 5369 7690
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

FURTHER INFORMATION


PRESS CONTACT AND REGISTRATION

IAC 2008 Ltd
The British Interplanetary Society
27/29 South Lambeth Road
London SW8 1SZ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7793 1050
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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.