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RAS PN 09/43: Space and astronomy digest: June 2009

Last Updated on Friday, 05 February 2010 15:16
Published on Friday, 29 May 2009 00:00
The latest digest of space and astronomy events. June sees the launch of a new mission to the Moon, a public lecture on the science and beauty of nebulae and the continuing construction of the International Space Station.

ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY PRESS INFORMATION NOTE
SPACE AND ASTRONOMY DIGEST: JUNE 2009
Ref.: RAS PN 09/43
Date: 29th May 2009
For immediate release

Issued by:
Dr Robert Massey
Press and Policy Officer
Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
Piccadilly
London W1J 0BQ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 3307
Mob: +44 (0)794 124 8035
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SPACE AND ASTRONOMY DIGEST: JUNE 2009 (RAS PN 09/43)

This release summarises some of the astronomy and space science events taking place during June, particularly those with UK involvement. It is not intended to be fully comprehensive and dates and times may be subject to change.

9TH JUNE: RAS LUNCHTIME LECTURE: THE SCIENCE AND BEAUTY OF NEBULAE

At 1300 BST on Tuesday 9th June, Dr Carolin Crawford of the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, will give a public lecture at the RAS in Burlington House, London. Dr Crawford will show some of the most spectacular images of the clouds of gas and dust (nebulae) that make up much of our Galaxy, explaining the science behind their beauty and how they give us an insight into the lives of stars.

FURTHER INFORMATION HERE

CONTACT
Dr Robert Massey (details above)

13TH JUNE: LAUNCH OF SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

In a mission to continue the construction of the International Space Station (ISS), the space shuttle Endeavour is set to take off during a launch window which opens at 0717 EDT (1217 BST) on 13th June. In a 16-day mission, the shuttle will carry two Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) components to the ISS, which the crew will attach during five spacewalks. Endeavour will leave astronaut Timothy L. Kopra on board the Station and return JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata to Earth.


CONTACT
Katherine Trinidad
Tel: +1 202 358 1100
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

17TH JUNE: LAUNCH OF LUNAR RECONNAISANCE ORBITER

The launch window for the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) opens at 1551 EDT (2051 BST) on 17th June 2009. The two spacecraft will take off together on board an Atlas V rocket launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

LRO will eventually enter an orbit just 50 km above the lunar surface, where it will operate for 1 year. The probe will be used to make global maps of the Moon, with a particular emphasis on the area around the lunar poles. In these regions there are parts of the lunar surface in continuous sunlight and craters in permanent shadow, offering the prospect of solar power and possibly sub-surface water ice to a future lunar base.

A little later LCROSS, made up of a Shepherding Spacecraft (S-S/C) and the upper stage of the Atlas V (the Centaur) will be targeted to impact a permanently shadowed crater near one of the lunar poles. The Centaur will strike the Moon at around 9000 km an hour, excavating an area about 1/3 the size of a football pitch and generating a 50 km high plume of dust. The S-S/C will fly through the plume four minutes later, looking for evidence of water, before it too crashes into the lunar surface. The plumes from the Centaur and S-S/C impacts will both be observed by telescopes on Earth.

FURTHER INFORMATION



CONTACT
Nancy N. Jones
Office of Public Affairs
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Md.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF ASTRONOMY 2009 (IYA 2009)

In June another tranche of IYA 2009 events will take place across the UK. A comprehensive list can be found on the UK IYA 2009 home page at http://www.astronomy2009.co.uk. IYA2009 is endorsed by UNESCO and is now supported by 135 countries under the leadership of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Throughout the year, thousands of professional and amateur astronomers will be working with the public as part of a global effort to promote astronomy and its contribution to science and culture. A series of innovative projects will encourage public engagement, from observing sessions at observatories to online blogs, photographic exhibitions and the campaign to combat light pollution.

In the UK, IYA2009 is led by volunteers in amateur astronomical societies, universities, industry, museums and science centres and supported by the Royal Astronomical Society (http://www.ras.org.uk), the Institute of Physics (http://www.iop.org) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (http://www.stfc.ac.uk).
 
UK CONTACT
Steve Owens
UK Co-ordinator, IYA2009
c/o Glasgow Science Centre
50 Pacific Quay
Glasgow G51 1EA
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)141 420 5010 x. 299
Mob: +44 (0)771 772 0479       
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

JUNE’S NIGHT SKY

Information on stars, planets, meteor showers and other celestial phenomena is available from the British Astronomical Association (BAA).



NOTES FOR EDITORS

THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY

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.