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Space and astronomy digest: April 2015

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 16:38
Published on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 16:38

The April digest of upcoming space and astronomy events. Highlights this month include the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union.


10 April: Accretion States and Feedback: Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London

The compact remnants of stars i.e. white dwarfs, neutron stars and stellar-mass black holes, all have strong gravitational fields that means they can pull in or 'accrete' the matter around them. The different 'states' of accretion can be identified from the way they change over time and the spectral properties of the radiation they emit.

On 10 April astrophysicists will gather at the Royal Astronomical Society for a discussion meeting on the latest research on accretion states and the associated feedback processes, like the ejection of material in jets.

Bona fide members of the media who wish to attend this meeting should present their credentials at the registration desk for free admission.

Accretion States and Feedback: meeting home page

RAS meeting page


Dr Robert Massey
Royal Astronomical Society
Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 3307 / 4582 x214
Mob: +44 (0)794 124 8035
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10 April: Spectroscopy of Airless Bodies in wavelengths from the visible to the microwave: Orbital, Telescopic and/or Laboratory Measurements relevant to Mercury, the Moon and Asteroids: Geological Society, Burlington House, London

False colour image of MercuryFalse colour image of Mercury, from the Messenger mission. The colours emphasise the chemical, mineralogical, and physical properties of the planet's surface. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington. Click to enlarge.Airless planetary bodies like Mercury, the Moon and asteroids provide a unique opportunity for studying the formation and evolution of planetary surfaces, as there is no weather or liquid water altering their surfaces.

One of the best techniques for establishing the makeup of the surface of these worlds is spectroscopy i.e. dispersing their light into a spectrum, where characteristic lines indicate the presence of different minerals and give an insight into the interior of the different bodies. Scientists use remote data from telescopes and space probes to study these surfaces, complemented in a few cases by laboratory studies of material returned by spacecraft.

Planetary scientists will gather at the Geological Society on 10 April for a specialist discussion meeting on the latest research in this area. Presentations at the meeting will cover Mercury, the Moon, asteroids, comets and the icy bodies in the Kuiper Belt at the edge of the Solar system.

Bona fide members of the media who wish to attend this meeting should present their credentials at the registration desk for free admission.

RAS meeting page


Robert Massey
(details above)


12-17 April: European Geosciences Union, General Assembly 2015: Vienna, Austria

One of the largest conferences of its kind in the world, the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2015 will bring together geoscientists from diverse disciplines in Earth, planetary and space sciences. The EGU sets out to provide a forum where scientists, especially early career researchers, can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience.

The conference usually sees the presentation of major scientific results of interest to the wider public, and has a dedicated press office and full programme of press conferences.

Media registration to the meeting is available to journalists, freelance science writers and public information officers of all nations free of charge.


Bárbara Ferreira
EGU Media and Communications Manager
Tel: +49 8921 806 703 (before the General Assembly)
Tel: +43 6763 199 381/2 (at the General Assembly, Press Centre landline)
Mob: +43 6812 082 7254
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

EGU 2015: Media at General Assembly (including details of registration process)

EGU 2015 home page


14 April: RAS public lectures: The Unknown Universe: Geological Society and Royal Astronomical Society

Award-winning journalist and author Dr Stuart Clark will give the latest RAS public lecture on 14 April, at lunchtime in the Geological Society and in the evening at the Royal Astronomical Society. In his talk, he will describe our current thinking on the origin of the Universe, ideas that developed in the century since Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity. In the subsequent decades, the theory that the Universe was born in a titanic release of energy about 14 billion years ago, the Big Bang, has become the accepted model, but it remains difficult to prove completely. Dr Clark will describe the discoveries, mysteries that remain and the questions that we may never be able to answer about the origins of the cosmos.

RAS meeting page


Robert Massey
(details above)


Night sky in April

Information on stars, planets, comets, meteor showers and other celestial phenomena is available from the British Astronomical Association (BAA), the SPA and the Jodrell Bank night sky guide.



The Night Sky: Jodrell Bank


Notes for editors

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 3800 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.

Follow the RAS on Twitter via @royalastrosoc