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Space and astronomy digest: September 2009 (RAS PN 09/53)

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 March 2010 23:10
Published on Monday, 31 August 2009 00:00

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Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Arizona State University/Carnegie Institution of Washington.

The September digest of space and astronomy news events, from the Royal Astronomical Society. This month sees a major conference on light pollution, the opening of an exhibition of astronomers' portraits at the Royal Albert Hall and the latest encounter between the MESSENGER mission and the planet Mercury.

SPACE AND ASTRONOMY DIGEST: SEPTEMBER 2009
ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY PRESS INFORMATION NOTE
Ref.: RAS PN 09/53
Date: 31st August 2009
For immediate release

Issued by:
Dr Robert Massey
Press and Policy Officer
Royal Astronomical Society
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: SEPTEMBER 2009 (RAS PN 09/53)

This release contains a summary of some space and astronomy 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.

8TH SEPTEMBER: RAS PUBLIC LECTURE: PROVING EINSTEIN RIGHT, BURLINGTON HOUSE, LONDON

In the first of the new season of RAS public lunchtime lectures at 1 p.m. on the 8th September, Gresham Professor of Astronomy and Jodrell Bank radio astronomer Ian Morrison will give a gentle introduction to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity discussing the curvature of space and how it gives rise to an apparent force we call “gravity”. He will describe the experiments that, since 1915, have been undertaken to test the theory’s accuracy, the search for gravitational waves  and how recent observations by Jodrell Bank astronomers have shown that Einstein's theory must be at least 99.95% right!

FURTHER INFORMATION

 

CONTACT
Dr Robert Massey
(details above)

17TH – 19TH SEPTEMBER: 9TH EUROPEAN SYMPOSIUM FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE NIGHT SKY, ARMAGH, IRELAND

From the 17th to the 19th September, astronomers and campaigners will gather at the Market Place Theatre in Armagh, Ireland for the 9th European Symposium for the Protection of the Night Sky. The Symposium will deal with the issue of light pollution, its effect on the environment, health and astronomy and examine how bad lighting is contributing to global climate change.


CONTACT
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

24TH SEPTEMBER – 2ND NOVEMBER: EXPLORERS OF THE UNIVERSE EXHIBTION, ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON

To celebrate the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) and as part of the Royal Albert Hall's reflect series, Explorers of the Universe opens on the 24th September. The exhibition contains a selection of photographs by Max Alexander, portraying all aspects of astronomy in the UK.

Through interpretive and character portraits, Max will introduce astronomers at the forefront of our understanding of the cosmos, complemented by reportage photography of professional and amateur astronomy.

Explorers of the Universe is sponsored by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).


CONTACTS

Jodie Jenkins
Media Relations Manager
Royal Albert Hall
Tel: +44 (0)20 7959 0511
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Joe Winters
Press Officer
Institute of Physics
Tel: +44 (0) 7470 4815
Mob: +44 (0)7946 321 473
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

29TH SEPTEMBER: MESSENGER MISSION MAKES 3RD MERCURY FLYBY

On the 29th September, the NASA MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission will make its third and final flyby encounter with Mercury, the closest world to the Sun, flying just 227 km (142 miles) above the surface. The probe will use Mercury’s gravity to change course so that it enters orbit around the rocky planet in March 2011, when it will study Mercury for a year. During the encounter, MESSENGER will investigate the Mercurian magnetic field and send back another suite of images of the planet’s battered surface.

The two MESSENGER encounters in 2008 were the first visit by a spacecraft to Mercury since the Mariner 10 probe made its last visit in March 1975. MESSENGER has already sent back images of the large regions of the Mercurian surface unseen by Mariner 10, discovered large amounts of water in the outer atmosphere and found evidence for volcanic activity and a liquid planetary core.

FURTHER INFORMATION
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/

CONTACTS

P. Campbell
The Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory
Tel: +1 240-228-6792
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

D. Brown
NASA Headquarters
Tel: +1 202-358-1726
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

30TH SEPTEMBER: SOYUZ LAUNCH TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

On 30th September, the Soyuz TMA-16 mission is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying three astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The Soyuz crew is made up of Russian Maksim Surayev, American Jeffrey Williams and the Canadian founder of Cirque du Soleil and now space tourist Guy Laliberté.


CONTACT
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ALL YEAR: INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF ASTRONOMY 2009 (IYA 2009)

In September IYA2009 events will take place across the United Kingdom. A comprehensive list can be found 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).

All through 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.

SEPTEMBER’S NIGHT SKY

Information on stars, planets, meteor showers, eclipses 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.