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Space and astronomy digest: April 2014

Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 21:48
Published on Monday, 31 March 2014 21:48

The April digest of upcoming space and astronomy events, from the RAS. Events this month include the possible crash of the LADEE mission into the lunar surface and a specialist meeting on the science of comets.

 


8 April: RAS lunchtime lecture: The heartbeat of the stars: Geological Society, Burlington House, London

At 1 p.m. on 8 April, Yvonne Elsworth, Poynting Professor of Physics at the University of Birmingham will give the latest RAS public lecture.

In her talk, Prof Elsworth will present the latest work in asteroseismology, the science of studying stars through the sound waves that propagate and resonate through their interiors. Using precise techniques, astronomers are able to build up seismic maps of the core and internal layers of the Sun and in less detail other stars. The field has taken a big step forward since the launch of the Kepler satellite, a mission better known for its search for extrasolar planets but which also collected asteroseismological data on around one thousand stars. Prof Elsworth will explain how these new data are helping scientists better understand the stars that potentially habitable planets are associated with.

RAS Public Lectures

Contact

Robert Massey
Royal Astronomical Society
Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 3307 x214
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


11 April: RAS specialist discussion meeting: Non-equilibrium plasmas, from the X-rays to the UV: challenges for modelling: Geological Society, Burlington House, London

On 11 April laboratory and solar physicists will gather at the Geological Society, for a meeting on plasmas, the so-called fourth state of matter that makes up the overwhelming majority of the ‘ordinary matter’ in the universe. Like gases, plasmas are made up of freely moving particles, but with significant ionisation of the atoms it contains. The electrically charged ions (atoms are electrically neutral overall) give plasmas quite different properties to gases.

Scientists at the meeting will concentrate on non-equilibrium plasmas where conditions are changing, something ubiquitous in space environments. These effects are important for the IRIS satellite currently being used to study the outer layers of the Sun’s atmosphere as well as for many future missions.

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

 

Contact

Robert Massey
(details above)

 


11 April: RAS specialist discussion meeting: Bridging the Gap: Comets after Stardust and Before Rosetta: Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London

Studies of comets have been dramatically changed by space missions to several comets. In the last decade the NASA Stardust spacecraft returned samples from comet 81P/Wild 2 and flew past comet Tempel 1, which had also been visited by the NASA Deep Impact Mission. This year the European Space Agency spacecraft Rosetta will rendezvous with comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko and will then place a lander on its surface – the first soft landing on a comet. In addition, ground based astronomers saw comet 2012 S1 (ISON) in the night sky in the autumn 2013 before it was destroyed after a close passage of the Sun.

The comets meeting, to take place at the Royal Astronomical Society on 11 April, aims to bring together all those interested in cometary science, bridging the gap between those working on different space missions and modellers and observational astronomers. Talks are expected to include latest results from 81P/Wild 2, and the status of and expectations for Rosetta.

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

 

Contact

Robert Massey
(details above)

 


On or around 21 April: LADEE mission set to crash into the Moon

ladee smallAn artist's impression of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft seen orbiting near the surface of the moon. Credit: NASA Ames / Dana BerryThe NASA Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission arrived at the Moon in October 2013. Since then it has been gathering information on the Moon’s tenuous atmosphere and its significant dust content. The mission received a 100-day extension in January 2014, allowing it to sample the lowest part of the lunar atmosphere and is now set to end its life in an impact on the lunar surface in the second half of April.

LADEE mission

 

 

 

Contact

Rachel Hoover
Mission management, development, operations and science
NASA's Ames Research Center
Tel: +1 650 604 4789
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


 

Night sky in April

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 3800 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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