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.
8 MARCH: LAUNCH OF JULES VERNE TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
At 0423 GMT on 8 March the European Space Agency (ESA) is scheduled to launch the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) ‘Jules Verne’ into space using an Ariane 5 rocket from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. Jules Verne is the ESA-built unmanned resupply vehicle for the International Space Station (ISS), is 10.3 m high, 4.5 m across and carries a payload of up to 9000 kg.
The ATV will arrive and dock automatically with the ISS. Astronauts will then remove the cargo and can then dispose of waste in the empty spacecraft. Eventually the refuse filled spacecraft will undock from the ISS and make a controlled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, before burning up over the Pacific Ocean.
FURTHER INFORMATIONEuropean Space Agency
This mission will also return French astronaut Leopold Eyharts to Earth after 4 weeks aboard the ISS, where he commissioned Columbus, the ESA-built space laboratory that was added to the space station in February. Eyharts will be replaced by NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman.
Emeritus Professor Clive Ruggles from the University of Leicester will give the next RAS public lecture, where he will set out the latest evidence of how ancient cultures worldwide related to what they saw in the sky. Professor Ruggles will explain how astronomers and archaeologists seek to understand this by looking at prehistoric evidence from across the world – from Wessex in the UK to Ireland, continental Europe, the USA, Australia, Polynesia and Ethiopia.
The lunchtime lectures are open to everyone and take place in the newly-refurbished Burlington House, the headquarters of the RAS off Piccadilly in central London. The lectures take place at 1pm on the first Tuesday of each month and the audience can take their seats from 12.45.FURTHER INFORMATION
On 14 March leading scientists will gather to discuss the latest ideas on how galaxies evolve. Delegates at the meeting will hear how new surveys, instruments and techniques are giving astronomers an insight into the development of galaxies throughout the history of the Universe, from the earliest epochs to the present day.FURTHER INFORMATION (INCLUDING MEETING PROGRAMME)
Observing the way they move in binary systems is one of the few direct methods for measuring the mass of stars. At a special meeting held to honour the work of Professor Roger Griffin of the University of Cambridge, astrophysicists will consider and discuss the latest techniques for determining stellar masses in a variety of astronomical settings.FURTHER INFORMATION
Nearly 500 astronomers and space scientists will gather for the RAS National Astronomy Meeting 2008 (NAM 2008), which will be hosted by Queen’s University Belfast and runs from 31 March to 4 April. At NAM 2008 scientists will present new research in many aspects of astronomy and space science, including the early history of the Universe, planets around other stars, the vision for space exploration, black holes and the impact of ‘space weather’ on the Earth.
Representatives of the media are cordially invited to attend and press room facilities will be available for the duration of the meeting. Please pre-register via http://nam2008.qub.ac.uk/registerpress.shtmlFURTHER INFORMATION (INCLUDING SCIENCE PROGRAMME)
Robert Massey | RAS
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Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
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The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
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