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PN05/06: MARCH SPACE DIGEST

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 April 2010 14:37
Published on Wednesday, 02 March 2005 00:00
This release contains a summary of some significant astronomical and space events that will be taking place during March. 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 MARCH. ROSETTA COMET CHASER'S FIRST EARTH FLYBY

ESA's Rosetta comet-chaser will make a flyby of Earth on 4 March 2005, and sky watchers should be able to see it with telescopes or binoculars if the sky is clear. The spacecraft will make its closest approach over Mexico at about 22:10 GMT, having already passed over Europe.

Rosetta approaches from an area on the sky at the border between the constellations Leo and Sextans. The spacecraft should become visible in large amateur telescopes around 26 February, when it reaches a brightness of 18 magnitude.

After sunset on 4 March, Europeans will be able to see it travel from the constellation Sextans across the entire sky from south east to south west. It will move faster as it heads west, disappearing below the horizon around 22:00 GMT. As seen from Europe it will only reach a magnitude of about 8 or 9 - still too faint to be seen by the naked eye. The flyby manoeuvre will boost the three-tonne Rosetta spacecraft towards Mars, where it will make a flyby on 26 February 2007, before coming back to Earth later that year.


11 MARCH. ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY DISCUSSION MEETING:
THE CASSINI/HUYGENS ENCOUNTER WITH THE SATURNIAN SYSTEM

A Specialist Discussion Meeting on the Cassini/Huygens mission to explore the Saturnian System will be held on 11 March from 10:30 to 15:30. The meeting will take place in the Society of Antiquaries Lecture Theatre, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1.

On 1 July 2004 the Cassini/Huygens spacecraft went into orbit around Saturn, an event which marked the beginning of a 4-year exploration of Saturn, its rings, magnetosphere and atmosphere, its largest moon Titan, and some of the icy satellites; and on 14 January 2005 Europe's Huygens probe successfully landed on Titan. First scientific results from these ground-breaking observations will be presented in this discussion meeting.

To celebrate the phenomenal success so far of the Cassini/Huygens mission, this one-day scientific discussion meeting will summarise some of the key science results obtained so far for Saturn, its magnetosphere, rings and icy satellites as well as Titan, its surface and atmosphere. There will be a broad overview of the Cassini/Huygens science results, with presentations from many of the Cassini and Huygens instrument teams as well as supplementary observations and theory.

The programme includes:

10:05 - 10:30 D. Southwood (ESA): Huygens and Cassini in the ESA Programme10:30 - 11:00 R. Brown (Univ. of Arizona, Tucson): Titan as seen by Cassini's Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer 11:00 - 11:30 J. Zarnecki (OU): Titan - The First "Views" from Huygens11:30 - 11:45 D. Rothery (OU): Geology and surface processes on Titan - insights from Cassini and Huygens images11:45 - 12:10 P. Irwin (AOPP Oxford): The atmospheres of Saturn and Titan as revealed by Cassini CIRS13:20 - 13:45 M. Dougherty (Imperial College London): Cassini Magnetometer results from Saturn and Titan13:45 - 14:10 A. Coates: (MSSL/UCL): Plasma at Saturn and Titan: Results from CAPS14:10 - 14:35 C. Murray (QM): Results from the Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) Experiment14:35 - 15:00 S. Cowley (Leicester): Solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions at Saturn: The big picture15:00 - 15:25 T. Stallard (APL/UCL): Ground-based Cassini Support with Infrared Observations of the Aurora CONTACTS:Dr. Michele DoughertySpace and Atmospheric Physics Group, Imperial College LondonTel: +44 (0)207-594-7757E-mail: m.dougherty<-at->ic.ac.uk Dr. Ingo Mueller-WodargSpace and Atmospheric Physics Group, Imperial College LondonTel: +44 (0)207-594 7674Mobile: +44 (0)7973-271816 Fax: +44 (0)207-594-7900E-mail: i.mueller-wodarg<-at->imperial.ac.uk
11 MARCH. ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY DISCUSSION MEETING:
CURRENT PROBLEMS IN RELATIVISTIC ASTROPHYSICS.

A Specialist Discussion Meeting on Current Problems in Relativistic Astrophysics will be held on 11 March from 10:30 to 15:30. The meeting, organised in honour of Professor Donald Lynden-Bell's 70th birthday, will take place in the Geological Society Lecture Theatre, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1.

The meeting will cover a wide range of topics in relativistic astrophysics, from black holes to cosmology. The programme includes:

10.40-11.00 Prof. Leon Mestel (Sussex) "Relativistic MHD"11.00-11.20 Prof. Joseph Katz (Jerusalem) "Energy in General Relativity"11.20-11.40 Prof. Jiri Bicak (Prague) "Black Holes and the Meissner effect"11.40-12.00 Prof. Jose Lemos (Lisbon) "Instabilities in Black Holes and Black Branes"12.00-12.20 Prof. Tim de Zeeuw (Leiden) "Black Holes in Galactic Nuclei"12.20-12.40 Dr. Jonathan Gair (Cambridge) "Gravitational Waves"14.00-14.20 Prof. Richard Ellis (Caltech) "Dark Energy: Observational Prospects"14.20-14.40 Prof. Mike Hudson (Waterloo) "Bulk Flows"14.40-15.00 Dr Somak Raychaudhury (Birmingham) "The Great Attractor Revisited"15.00-15.20 Prof. Donald Lynden-Bell (Cambridge) "Summary"
CONTACT:

Dr. Wyn EvansInstitute of Astronomy, CambridgeE-mail: nwe<-at->ast.cam.ac.uk Prof. Ofer LahavDepartment of Physics and AstronomyUniversity College LondonGower Street, London WC1E 6BTTel: +44 (0)207-679 3473Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 7145E-mail: lahav<-at->star.ucl.ac.uk
11 MARCH. RAS MONTHLY A&G (ORDINARY) MEETING
The RAS ordinary meeting will take place in the Geological Society Lecture Theatre, Burlington House, Piccadilly, between 16:00 and 18:00.

The Gold Medal of the Society will be presented to Professor Grenville Turner. Talks will include:

  • Prof Donald Lynden-Bell (IoA, Cambridge) - From the charged Kerr Metric to the electron - Reporting recent results on relativistically rotating disks.
  • Prof. John Zarnecki (Open University) - Highlights of the Cassini/Huygens Mission - A summary of the scientific returns from this exciting mission.
  • Professor Paul Murdin (IoA, Cambridge) - The Paris Meridian in science, fiction, art and adventure - The action in Dan Brown's bestseller, 'The Da Vinci Code', takes place on the Paris Meridian, in the Church of St Sulpice at the location of a meridiana, used to determine the orbit of the Sun, and on the line of the installation-art memorial to Francois Arago, whose account of his measurements of the meridian line in Spain reads like an adventure story. This talk explores all these aspects of the meridian line across Paris, and its place in the history of science.
11-20 MARCH: NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK 2005

Many space- and astronomy-related events will be held around the country during National Science Week. A full list of these is available on the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science) website.

Highlights include:

  • The announcement of the winners of the "Universe - relativity rhymes!" poetry competition to find the best poem on the theme of space, time and energy. (http://www.einsteinyear.org/)
  • The completion of "Spaced Out", the world's largest representation of our Solar System, with representations of planets, asteroids and other objects across the length and breadth of Britain. ( http://www.spacedout-uk.com/)
  • A week of lectures, workshops and performances at the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory Greenwich. (http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.18301 )
    These include:
  • - "Deaf Astronomy Day", a series of events for deaf visitors, which includes a show in the new Neptune planetarium, a theatrical performance of Arthur Stanley Eddington and a session in the 28 inch telescope dome;- "Spotting Sunspots", a solar observing session in the courtyard of the Royal Observatory;- "Stars 'R' Us" (sponsored by the RAS, the EPSRC, PPARC and the Royal Society of Chemistry), a presentation about how all the atoms that make up our bodies were forged in the nuclear furnaces of ancient stars.
  • Cambridge Science Festival, which includes displays, exhibitions and demonstrations explaining the research at the Institute of Astronomy, followed by an opportunity to observe the night sky. (http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/science/ )
CONTACT:

Craig BrierleyPress Officer, the BAWellcome Wolfson Building, 165 Queen's GateLondon SW7 5HETel: +44 (0)207-019-4947Fax: +44 (0)870-770-7102Mobile: +44 (0)7957-468218E-mail: craig.brierley<-at->the-ba.net
FURTHER INFORMATION: www.the-ba.net/nsw

22 MARCH. HUYGENS: A FIRST LOOK AT TITAN

Professor John Zarnecki (Open University), Principal Investigator for the Surface Science Package on the Huygens probe that landed on Titan in January, will be speaking about the mission at Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, on Tuesday 22 March. The journey of the Huygens probe will be described as well as its final dramatic plunge to the surface. Very early results will be presented with emphasis on the United Kingdom's contribution.

This event has been organised jointly by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Space Group and the RAeS Cranfield branch.


22 MARCH: THE EARTH IS NOT ENOUGH - ASTRONOMY CONFERENCE FOR SCHOOLS

The first of three school conferences about astronomy will take place on Tuesday 22 March at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge. The purpose of this one day conference is to introduce keen and interested science students at Key Stage 4 (aged 14-16) to modern astronomical research.

In the morning, Dr. Lisa Jardine-Wright will talk about "Gravity & the Universe", and Dr. Paul Hewett will talk about "Careers in Astronomy". In the afternoon, Dr. Helen Mason will speak about "The Sun - Our Star" and Professor Gerry Gilmore will speak about "Mysteries of the Universe: Dark Matter & Dark Energy".

Delegates will be given a guided tour of the historical telescopes and the instrumentation laboratories in Cambridge and will perform a practical experiment of their own. Postgraduate students will be on hand, during the practical and in the lunch break, to discuss their research and how they progressed from secondary school to a career in astronomy. The meetings are sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society, SCS Astro Ltd, and the Institute of Astronomy (IoA).


31 MARCH - 2 APRIL. THE BRITISH ROCKETRY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT (BROHP) MEETING.

This year's event is entitled "Working Together". It will run from Thursday 31 March to Saturday 2 April at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey, and will feature presentations on many aspects of space exploration. The event will also include the presentation of The Sir Arthur Clarke Awards, which are intended to provide recognition and pay tribute to those who have worked for the advancement of space exploration.

Subjects tackled by speakers this year include Reg Turnill and Eric Brown talking about the German Scientists at Farnborough immediately after the war. Prof. John Zarnecki (Open University) will be speaking about the Cassini-Huygens mission.

There will be a presentation on hybrid rocket motors by Rick Newlands. John Boyes will be talking about the period the Thor missile was in service with the RAF in the United Kingdom. Wayne Cocroft about his recent visit to Kummersdorf and the Industrial Archaeology of the Cold War. Jerry Stocker and Kristian Stoddart will be presenting papers on Anti-Ballistic Missile systems. Frank Panton will be talking about the role of the Chief Scientist. John Becklake will be speaking on Early British Rocket Development.

There will be other papers on the role of women in the aerospace industry, propulsion, the Fairey VTOL project and the latest developments in UK Space Science.

FURTHER INFORMATION:



Date: 25th February 2005

Issued by Peter Bond, RAS Communications Officer