Space and astronomy digest: April 2011
The April digest of upcoming space and astronomy events. This month sees the final launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and the annual RAS National Astronomy Meeting.
12 April: RAS lunchtime lecture: Light and darkness in the accelerating Universe
At 1 pm on 12 April, Ofer Lahav, Perren Professor of Astronomy at University College London, will give a public lecture at the RAS on the 75% of the Universe thought to be made up of the mysterious 'Dark Energy'. Professor Lahav will review the chequered history of the idea of Dark Energy, dating back not only to Einstein's proposal in 1917, but to Newton's much earlier concepts. He will summarize the evidence for the existence of Dark Energy and discuss the ways in which future projects like the Dark Energy Survey and the Euclid space mission may 'shed light' on this enigmatic component of the cosmos.
RAS public lectures
17-21 April: RAS National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2011), Llandudno, Wales
From 17 to 21 April, around 500 astronomers will gather at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2011) at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, Wales. NAM 2011 is one of the largest professional astronomy meetings in Europe and attracts researchers from all over the world.
Delegates at NAM 2011 will present research on topics across the whole field of astronomy and space science, ranging from the formation and evolution of planetary systems to the collaboration between astronomers and industry.
Bona fide members of the media are cordially invited to both attend NAM 2011 and to register to receive around 20 embargoed press releases expected to be issued during the conference. Please contact Robert Massey (see above) for details.
Twitter: #nam2011 / #nam11
19 April: Space Shuttle Endeavour due to blast off for ISS
The launch window for the final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and the penultimate mission in NASA's Space Shuttle Program opens on 19 April. Endeavour will travel to the International Space Station (ISS) carrying a crew of six astronauts, a spectrometer designed to detect antimatter and dark matter, and other Station components set to be installed in four separate spacewalks.
The mission will be commanded by Mark E. Kelly, whose wife is Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, critically injured in a shooting in Arizona in January, but now sufficiently recovered to attend the launch. The Shuttle will take off from the Kennedy Space Center and is scheduled to return 14 days later.
All month: April's night sky
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, www.ras.org.uk), 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 3500 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.