NASA’s Cassini probe has now burned up in the atmosphere of Saturn sending data as it went. Its legacy of fantastic science and stunning photographs will continue. There is a fantastic ebook on the mission on their website https://www.nasa.gov/connect/ebooks/index.html
Following the excellent meeting last Monday with the talk on Women Astronomers by Martin Lunn, the Institute of Physics magazine has just published an article on Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell. She was recently awarded the IoP’s President’s Medal for her outstandish work in physics, much of which recently has been on encouraging women to go into science. Of course, she is [sadly] known as the women who didn’t get a [deserved] Nobel Prize for the discovery of pulsars [and I don’t think they do retrospective awards]. But she has many other strings to her bow, so I hope you will enjoy the read and learn at bit more about her.
Members might be interested in this article, from the Institute of Physics magazine physicsworld, on Cassini. The mission will end next Friday [15th September] when Cassini dives into Saturn’s atmosphere to avoid possible future contamination of Saturn’s moons.
There is a free public lecture in Preston on 28th September 2017; the Jeremiah Horrocks Autumn Lecture. The speaker is Professor Lucie Green, and the title is “15 million degrees: journey to the centre of the Sun“.
It will be in the Darwin Lecture Theatre, 6.30pm start. Although it is free, you will need to apply for a ticket in advance:
We held a Solar Watch at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal on July 1st. The weather was very good with just a few passing clouds. The clouds had the advantage of allowing members time to cool down telescopes and explain the physical nature of our nearest star with the aid of photographs and diagrams to members of the public. Only one faint sunspot could be seen on the day, nonetheless the opportunity to view the sun safely, either through projection, solar filters or using the society’s Coronado, was enjoyed by many enthusiastic visitors who could observe the sun and see the occasional prominence.
See David and Richard getting their awards for research into the presence of dust in galaxies
Am considering going. Has anyone been before? Is it worth the visit?
Eleven EAS members travelled to Lancaster to hear Prof Monica Grady speak on the Rosetta mission. It was an entertaining presentation giving some insight into the difficulties, complexities and timescales of such a mission. We were told why the orbiter and lander were called Rosetta and Philae – it is linked to the famous Rosetta Stone in the British Museum and how this led to the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics. The hope was that this mission would ‘decipher’ some of the secrets of the early Solar System. The instruments, built with late 1990’s technology, were delivered for integration onto the spacecraft in early 2001 and subsequent launch in 2004. The spacecraft flew by several asteroids before hiberbnating for 4 years prior to the encounter with Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P)… it did wake on command to much relief and well, the rest we know… The science analysis will go on for several more years.
At the end, there was a lively Q&A with several EAS members asking questions.
Overall, an excellent evening.
A talk which may interest members:
Wednesday 14 June, 6.30 pm, Lancaster University, Cavendish Lecture Theatre in the Faraday lecture complex.
Professor Monica Grady (Open University)
ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft was launched in 2004, arriving at its target comet in July 2014. The Philae lander was deposited onto the comet’s surface in November 2014, operating for 70 hours before its battery failed.
Monica Grady was scientific advisor to the lander’s Ptolemy instrument team. In her talk, she will relate what it was like to land an instrument on a comet, and discuss some of the results from the mission.”
Every year at around this time amateur astronomers – including several EAS members – start looking out for displays of “noctilucent clouds”, or “NLC”, in the north after midnight. What are they? There’s a beginners guide on my blog which will tell you when to look for them, and what you’re looking for…