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Space and astronomy digest: October 2009 (RAS PN 09/56)

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 March 2010 22:49
Published on Thursday, 08 October 2009 00:00
LCROSS_impact.jpgThe latest digest of space and astronomy news, from the Royal Astronomical Society. October sees a probe (deliberately) crashing into the Moon, the Autumn Moonwatch for IYA2009 and the test flight of NASA's Ares 1-X launch vehicle.  [The image above is an artist's rendering of the LCROSS spacecraft and Centaur separation. Credit: NASA]

 

SPACE AND ASTRONOMY DIGEST: OCTOBER 2009
ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY PRESS INFORMATION NOTE
Ref.: RAS PN 09/56
Date: 8th October 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: OCTOBER 2009 (RAS PN 09/56)
This release contains a summary of some space and astronomy events that will be taking place during the second half of October (following a delay while the RAS Press Officer was on paternity leave). 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.

9TH OCTOBER: LCROSS PROBE CRASHES INTO THE MOON

Launched in June this year, on 9th October the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) will end its mission in spectacular style, with a deliberate collision with the crater Cabeus near the south pole of the Moon.

With astronomers at professional and amateur observatories on Earth and in space following events, LCROSS will watch the Centaur upper stage of its launch vehicle crash into Cabeus at 1230 BST, before itself hitting the crater four minutes later, at 1234 BST. By studying the plumes of material thrown up in the impacts, scientists hope to find evidence for water ice in the permanently shadowed crater surface.


CONTACTS

Jonas Dino
Office of Public Affairs
NASA Ames Research Center
Tel: +1 650 604 5612
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

9TH OCTOBER: RAS SPECIALIST DISCUSSION MEETING: EXOPLANETS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTS, BURLINGTON HOUSE, LONDON

On 9th October, leading astronomers will gather at the Geological Society to discuss research on planets in orbit around other stars or exoplanets. The scientists will look at topics from the prospects for life to the latest results from the SuperWASP camera.

Bona fide representatives of the media who wish to attend should present their credentials at the entrance desk of the Geological Society for free admission.


CONTACT
Dr Robert Massey (details above)

9TH OCTOBER: RAS SPECIALIST DISCUSSION MEETING: THE GEOMAGNETIC FIELD: PREPARING FOR THE SWARM MULTI-SATELLITE MISSION, BURLINGTON HOUSE, LONDON

On 9th October geophysicists will gather at the Royal Astronomical Society to discuss the upcoming European Space Agency Swarm mission, where three satellites are set to complete a survey of the Earth’s magnetic field in unprecedented detail. During the meeting, held jointly with the British Geophysical Association, speakers will look at the scientific opportunities the mission presents.

Bona fide representatives of the media who wish to attend should present their credentials at the entrance desk of the Royal Astronomical Society for free admission.


CONTACT
Dr Robert Massey (details above)

13TH OCTOBER: RAS PUBLIC LECTURE: THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF LUNAR SCIENCE AND EXPLORATION, BURLINGTON HOUSE, LONDON

In the latest lunchtime lecture at the Royal Astronomical Society, lunar scientist Dr Katherine Joy from Birkbeck College London will talk about the new era of lunar exploration now underway. Dr Joy will discuss the scientific legacy of the Apollo programme, the new views of the Moon from robotic missions and the prospects for the future.


CONTACT
Dr Robert Massey (details above)

24TH OCTOBER - 1ST NOVEMBER: AUTUMN MOONWATCH

The final week of October will see people across the UK getting a close look at the Moon for the first time. During ‘Autumn Moonwatch’ – from 24th October to 1st November - astronomers will be giving the public the chance to look at our natural satellite through a telescope. The Moon’s features – like craters, mountains and valleys - can be seen in even the smallest telescope or pair of binoculars and Autumn Moonwatch gives the public the opportunity to enjoy this view for themselves.

Autumn Moonwatch is one of the largest scale projects taking place during the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009), with tens of thousands of people expected to participate. The week will also include a lunar Twitter event, where the public will be encouraged to view and post their thoughts about the Moon.


CONTACT

Steve Owens, UK Co-ordinator, IYA 2009
Tel: +44 (0)141 420 5010
Mob: +44 (0)771 772 0479
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

27TH OCTOBER: ARES 1-X TEST LAUNCH

In its ongoing effort to develop a new astronaut launch vehicle, NASA is set to launch the Ares 1-X rocket on its test flight on 27th October. The Ares 1-X will take off from the Kennedy Space Center and the flight will give engineers the opportunity to gather data to help them develop the Ares-1 vehicle that will carry astronauts to orbit.


CONTACTS

Ashley Edwards, Grey Hautaluoma
NASA HQ
Tel: +1 202 358 1756 / 0668
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 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 October 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.

OCTOBER’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.