PN04/35: OCTOBER SPACE DIGEST
This release contains a summary of some significant astronomical and space events that will be taking place during October. It has been written in order 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.
4 - 10 OCTOBER: WORLD SPACE WEEK
The largest public space event in world history, with celebrations planned in some 50 nations on all seven continents, marking the 5th anniversary of World Space Week. This year's theme is "Space and Sustainable Development". UK Space Week activities include:
4 OCTOBER: SIXTH FORM LECTURE DAY - CURRENT RESEARCH IN ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS.
Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes
Four lectures by scientists at the forefront of current research. Programme includes:
Claire Ellis, Education Manager, Tel: +44 (001908 377519Carys Underwood, Events Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1908-367362
5 OCTOBER: KEY STAGE 2 SPACE DISCOVERY DAY - THE EARTH, MOON AND STARS.
Activities with the National Space Centre and the Open University at Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes. Includes a mobile planetarium, hands-on rocket launching and a rare chance to come face to face with some genuine moon rocks and meteorites from Mars. A model of Beagle 2 will also be on display.
Further information (see above)
6 OCTOBER: GCSE SCIENCE - SPACE AS WE KNOW IT
Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes. Talks and demonstrations designed to enthral GCSE students include: Cambridge University astrophysicists on the Solar System and current research; local astronomer, Sheridan Williams on solar eclipses; and Dr. Chris Riley, producer of BBC 1's next science epic "Space Odyssey" (due to be aired in November) on the making of the programme. Props from "Space Odyssey" will also be on display.
Further information (see above)
8 OCTOBER: CAFE SCIENTIFIQUE - LIFE IN SPACE?
Poppies, Bishopdale Court, Settle, North Yorkshire, 7.30 pm for 8.00 pm.
Speaker: Dr Jim Cohen, Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchester
Radio astronomers have made strange discoveries, but none stranger than the existence of organic molecules in space. The molecules are formed in the same clouds of gas and dust where the stars are born, so it is hard to imagine that life could be widespread in the Universe. The talk will focus on three topics: the search for biological molecules in space; the search for extra-solar planets; the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI).
8 OCTOBER: RAS SPECIALIST DISCUSSION MEETINGS, 10:30-15:30
PARALLEL SESSION 1: THE MAGNETOSPHERIC CUSPS REVEALED: RESULTS FROM THE CLUSTER MISSION.
Geological Society Lecture Theatre, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London.
The cusps above the Earth's magnetic poles play a key role in regulating the transfer of solar wind energy to the ionosphere and inner magnetosphere. Results from ESA's four-spacecraft Cluster mission reveal them to be regions of great complexity whose structure is determined by both global magnetospheric dynamics and local small-scale plasma processes. This meeting will provide an overview of what has been learned after three years of the Cluster mission.
PARALLEL SESSION 2: RECENT ADVANCES IN STAR-FORMATION STUDIES
Society of Antiquaries Lecture Theatre, Burlington House.
Recent work on the study of star formation will be presented. The topics will include observational studies, chemical and dynamical modelling studies, and theoretical simulations. Speakers will be highlighting future directions of research in this rapidly developing field.
RAS MONTHLY A&G (ORDINARY) MEETING
16:00, Geological Society Lecture Theatre, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London.
Talks will include:
Paul Davies is Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Australian Centre for Astrobiology and the award winning author of more than 25 books. In this lecture he will be examining the paradox between daily life, in which the world shows a marked distinction between past and future, and the laws of physics, which are symmetric in time. The issue has still not been fully resolved, and remains one of the great outstanding cosmic mysteries.
8 - 10 OCTOBER: 4TH EUROPEAN MARS SOCIETY CONFERENCE
Open University, Milton Keynes.
The Mars Society UK is hosting EMC4, the European Mars Society Conference 2004. The main guest speaker is Dr. Robert Zubrin, Founder and International President of the Mars Society. Other guest speakers include Dr. Andrew Ball, Principal Investigator for the Mars, Phobos and Deimos Survey Proposal; Dr. Kevin Fong, Chairman of the UK Space Biomedical Research & Education Advisory Committee; and Dr. Loredana Bessone who is involved with the ESA Aurora programme of Moon and Mars exploration.
MID-OCTOBER (?): LAUNCH OF ISS EXPEDITION 10
Russia is scheduled to launch a three-man crew to the International Space Station during October. The launch has been pushed back from 9 October after problems with the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft, and a new date has yet to be announced.
The Soyuz rocket launched from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan will send up a replacement crew for Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and NASA astronaut Michael Fincke, who have been manning the orbital platform since April.
Russian Salizhan Sharipov and NASA's Leroy Chiao will live on the station for the next six months. They will be joined in the Soyuz TMA-5 by Yuri Shargin, a lieutenant-colonel from Russia's space forces, who will spend 10 days in orbit before returning to Earth with the outgoing crew.
Russian spacecraft have been the only link to the multinational space station since February 2003, when NASA grounded its shuttle fleet after Columbia disintegrated on re-entry.
Further information: Web: http://www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/
15 OCTOBER: YOUNG SCIENTISTS' PLANETARY MEETING
Royal Astronomical Society, Society of Antiquaries Lecture Theatre, Piccadilly, London
This meeting, organised by the UK Planetary Forum with the support of the RAS, will include presentations by young planetary scientists (PhD students and recent post-docs of any age) on subjects related to planetary and solar-terrestrial sciences.
The aim of the event is to enable junior scientists to meet, learn of planetary work done in the UK, share experiences and explore possible collaborations. An important aim is to provide less experienced scientists with an opportunity to present their own work to fellow young scientists at similar levels in their careers. The meeting also intends to further integrate the UK planetary community.
15 OCTOBER: AN EVENING WITH VALENTINA TERESHKOVA AND VALERY BYKOVSKY
Royal Aeronautical Society, 4 Hamilton Place, London W1J 7BQ. Doors open at 5 pm.
Vostok cosmonauts Valentina Tereshkova and Valery Bykovsky, two pioneers of human spaceflight in the early 1960s, will be speaking about the Soviet human space programme. Tereshkova and Bykovsky orbited Earth simultaneously aboard separate Vostok 5 and 6 spacecraft in June 1963.
Valentina Tereshkova, whose history-making flight turned her into a national heroine, will talk about the preparations for her space flight, the flight itself and how the plans for the two flights came about. Valery Bykovsky will talk about his three space missions and the differences between the Vostok and Soyuz craft.
20 OCTOBER: THE CHEMISTRY OF INTERSTELLAR SPACE
Royal Society of Chemistry - Faraday Division jointly with the Royal Astronomical Society and Astrophysical Chemistry Group. A half-day symposium to be held in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leeds at 1.30 pm on Wednesday 20 October.
The programme includes:
26 OCTOBER: CASSINI-HUYGENS FIRST CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH SATURN'S MOON TITAN
On 26 October, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft will make its second flyby of Saturn's giant satellite, Titan. This encounter will be much closer than the previous flyby in July, with the spacecraft approaching to within 1,200 km (746 miles) of the smog-shrouded moon. Cassini's first Titan flyby on July 2 was at a distance of 340,000 km (211,000 miles).
The data sent back by Cassini will enable scientists to learn more about the mysterious moon, particularly its hidden surface, before ESA's Huygens probe descends through its nitrogen-rich atmosphere and touches down on 15 January 2005.
Over the next four years, the Cassini orbiter will execute 45 Titan flybys, occasionally approaching to within 950 km (590 miles).
University of London
Tel: +44 (0)20 78825456
College, LondonTel: +44 (0)20 7594-7757
Professor John ZarneckiOpen University
Further information: NASA Cassini Website: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm
ESA Huygens Webpage: http://sci.esa.int/huygens
26 OCTOBER: LAUNCH OF SWIFT
Swift mission will study gamma ray bursts. Originally scheduled for 7 October, the launch of Swift has been delayed until the end of October by the recent hurricanes over Florida. The current launch date is 26 October.
Swift will pinpoint the location of distant, short-lived explosions that appear to signal the births of black holes. These gamma ray bursts are the most powerful explosions known in the Universe, emitting more than one hundred billion times the energy that the Sun emits in an entire year. Yet they last only a few milliseconds to a few minutes. Fortunately, in most bursts, an afterglow of X-rays, optical light and radio waves frequently follows the initial gamma ray flash, sometimes lasting for hours to weeks after the initial burst has subsided. This afterglow gives scientists the opportunity to learn more about these enigmatic events.
UK scientists have leading roles in two of the three instruments - the X-ray telescope and the UV/Optical telescope.
28 OCTOBER: LUNAR ECLIPSE
A total lunar eclipse will be visible throughout the UK in the early hours of 28 October - weather permitting. The second lunar eclipse of the year will also be visible from western Europe, western Africa and most of the Americas.
The eclipse will begin at 00:05 GMT when the Moon begins to enter Earth�s penumbral shadow. However, the Moon will not become noticeably darker until 01:14 GMT, when it begins to enter the main part of the shadow, the umbra. Totality - when the entire Moon will be in the umbra - will last for 1 hour 21 minutes, between 02:23 and 03:44 GMT. The eclipse will then become partial once more, with the Moon leaving the umbra at 04:53. It will leave the penumbra at 06:02 GMT.
Fred Espenak's eclipse site: http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/OH/OH2004.html
30-31 OCTOBER: A REVIEW OF UK SPACE ACTIVITIES - CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION.
Hall A, The Wing, Brighton Centre, Russell Road, Brighton
The programme includes sessions on:
British Interplanetary Society Website: www.bis-spaceflight.com
Date: 29th September 2004
Issued by Peter Bond, RAS Communications Officer.