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Space and astronomy digest: October 2015

The October digest of upcoming space and astronomy news. Events this month include the maiden flight of the Super Strypi launch vehicle, a planetary conjunction in the morning sky and a special conference to mark the centenary of the birth of Prof Sir Fred Hoyle.

 


8-11 October: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the Moon in the morning sky

 

Early mornings from 8 to 11 October will see four planets and the Moon in the same part of the sky. Observers who look towards the east before dawn should be able to see Venus (easily the brightest celestial object after the Sun and Moon); Mars lower down, Jupiter lower still and Mercury near the horizon. Over those days the waning crescent Moon will move in front of the four planets, making a good potential target for photographers.

For more details and maps of the view from the UK see the Jodrell Bank night sky guide.

 


9 October: Fred Hoyle Birth Centennial – his remarkable career and the impact of his science:  Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London

 

Professor Sir Fred Hoyle, one of the leading astrophysicists of the 20th century, was born on 24 June 1915. To commemorate the centenary of his birth, on 9 October the Royal Astronomical Society is hosting a specialist discussion meeting on his life and ideas. Hoyle was the recipient of many honours including the RAS Gold Medal, the Bruce Medal, the Royal Medal and the Crafoord Prize, and served as RAS President from 1971-73.

On 9 October astronomers will gather at the Society’s premises in London to consider the legacy of his work, which covered areas including the formation of elements in stars (stellar nucleosynthesis), the 'Steady State' theory of the origin of the universe, and the panspermia hypothesis for the development of life. Speakers will include leading cosmologists and historians, his relatives, and those who worked with him.

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

 

Contacts

 

Dr Simon Mitton
University of Cambridge
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Dr Robert Massey
Royal Astronomical Society

 


9 October: Weather on Other Planets: Measurement and Interpretation: Geological Society, Burlington House, London

 

Planetary scientists and astronomers will come together at the Geological Society on 9 October for a specialist discussion meeting on the nature of the atmospheres and meteorology of the other planets in the Solar System and those in orbit around other stars.

Organised by the Royal Meteorological Society's Special Interest Group on Meteorological Observing Systems, the meeting will also look at the space weather between the planets that results from solar emissions. This rapidly changing field is shaped by measurements from the Earth, from space probes in orbit around other planets and by landers on their surfaces. The meeting will summarise the findings of a rapidly developing new science being driven by complex technology.

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


Contacts

 

Dr Ian Strangeways
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Dr Robert Massey
(details above)

 


 

13 October: RAS Public Lecture: Rosetta – the story so far: Geological Society and Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London

 

Rosetta at Comet portrait smallRosetta mission poster showing the deployment of the Philae lander to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. ESA/ATG medialab; Comet image: ESA/Rosetta/Navcam. Click for a full size imageOn 13 October Professor Ian Wright of the Open University will give a public lecture, at lunchtime at the Geological Society, and then in the evening at the Royal Astronomical Society, on the Rosetta space mission.

Prof Wright is a planetary scientist and the principal investigator for the Ptolemy instrument carried to the surface of Comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the Philae probe. Philae left Rosetta and made the first successful landing on a comet in November 2014.

In his talk, Prof Wright will describe the remarkable achievements of the Rosetta mission, including the landing, the findings from Philae and the orbiting spacecraft, and the way in which it has enhanced our understanding of comets in general.

RAS: Public Lectures

 


29 October: Launch of Super Strypi

 

SPARK, or the Spaceborne Payload Assist Rocket - Kauai, also known as Super Strypi, is set to make its maiden flight on 29 October. Developed by the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory of the University of Hawaii, Sandia and Aerojet Rocketdyne, the expendable space vehicle will take off from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands on the island of Maui. Designed to carry small satellites, its first payload includes the HiakaSat spacecraft and cubesats.

 
 
 
Contact


Hawaii Space Flight LaboratoryThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


Night sky in October

 

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

 


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 3900 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

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