IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter

November 2014

In this newsletter:

  1. From the Editor
  2. Rosetta mission’s historic comet landing will take place on 12 November
  3. Short science fiction film, Ambition, highlights the Rosetta mission
  4. Visualising black holes — science fiction movie Interstellar
  5. CosmicLight IYL2015: Globe at Night — Sky Brightness Monitoring Network
  6. CosmicLight IYL2015: Contribute images to Light: Beyond the Bulb
  7. Citizen science project — Near-Earth asteroids precovery
  8. The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development newsletter #7 available online
  9. Upcoming meetings
  10. Contributions to this newsletter

 

0) From the Editor

The first comet landing in human history will take place next week, don’t miss it! In this issue, I can’t resist featuring three very inspiring movies — the Rosetta mission’s creative cartoon about the landing, the short and stunning film Ambition, featuring Rosetta (again!), and the Hollywood film Interstellar.  These three movies all demonstrate the impact of visualisations on science communication.

Clear Skies,
Sze-leung Cheung
IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach

 

1) Rosetta mission’s historic comet landing will take place on 12 November

ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 6 August after a ten-year journey through the Solar System. It is the first mission in history to rendezvous with a comet, escort it as it orbits the Sun, and then deploy a lander onto its surface. The mission’s lander, Philae, will be deployed on 12 November at 08:35 GMT/09:35 CET from a distance of 22.5 kilometres from the centre of the comet. It will land about seven hours later, with confirmation expected to arrive at Earth at around 16:00 GMT/17:00 CET.

There is a cartoon video about the landing at http://youtu.be/AvkPFXdpOQQ.

Live coverage of the landing will be available at http://rosetta.esa.int/.

 

2) Short science fiction film, Ambition, highlights the Rosetta mission

Ambition is a collaboration between Platige Image and the European Space Agency and it fuses science fiction with science facts. The short film tells the story of ESA’s Rosetta mission as a mixture of computer animation and live action.

Watch the movie at http://ambitionfilm.com/

 

3) Visualising black holes — science fiction movie Interstellar

The new science fiction film Interstellar features a team of space travellers who travel through awormhole in search of a new habitable planet. The visualisations were made in collaboration with theoretical physicists and computer effects experts, who transformed the physicists’ equations into computer simulations showing the effects of gravitational lensing close to a black hole. The resulting visual efforts have led to two scientific papers, one for the astrophysics community and one for the computer graphics community.

You can watch the movie trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfGfZwQ_qaY

 

4) CosmicLight IYL2015: Globe at Night — Sky Brightness Monitoring Network

Globe at Night — Sky Brightness Monitoring Network is a project that aims to set up a global network to measure the night sky brightness with dedicated monitoring stations. The project welcomes users who already own the device, Sky Quality Meter — LE, to join the network. A user workshop will be held at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan at Tokyo on 7‒8 January 2015. Please email outreach@iau.org if interested.

 

5) CosmicLight IYL2015: Contribute images to Light: Beyond the Bulb

As part of the activities for the International Year of Light 2015, Light: Beyond the Bulb is curating a high-quality, free-to-use image exhibition for the science of light to be shown throughout 2015. You can support the project by contributing images to be considered for use during the exhibition.

Details: http://lightexhibit.org/contribute.html

 

6) Citizen science project — Near-Earth Asteroids precovery

Near-Earth and Mars-crosser asteroids (NEAs and MCs) are those with orbits that cross that of the terrestrial (inner, rocky) planets and they are the progenitors of the meteorites that reach Earth. One of the most attractive aspects for the general public is an estimate of the risk level of a potential meteorite collision with the Earth, as well as any mitigation strategies that could be adopted if necessary. Discovery alone is not enough to quantify the threat level of a NEA. It is necessary to compute reliable orbits through accurate astrometric positions covering as long a period of time as possible.

The Spanish Virtual Observatory has developed a citizen science programme to characterise the orbits of a large number of near-Earth and Mars-crosser asteroids using Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) images. By inspecting sequences of images visually, users can identify an asteroid and measure its coordinates. After passing a number of quality checks, the asteroid positions are sent to the IAU Minor Planet Center to improve the associated orbital parameters. Since the public release of the system in July 2011, more than 3500 users have participated in the programme and over 350 000 astrometric measurements, corresponding to more than 3600 asteroids (17% of the total census) have been realised.

If you are interested in the project, please see http://www.laeff.cab.inta-csic.es/projects/near/main/

 

7) The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development newsletter #7 available online

The seventh edition of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD)'s quarterly newsletter is available on the OAD website. Read all about the exciting activities that have been taking place in the world of astronomy for development: http://www.astro4dev.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/OAD-Newsletter-7.pdf 

Previous issues: http://www.astro4dev.org/newsletters/

 

8) Upcoming meetings

a) The 225th American Astronomical Society Conference
Date: 4–8 January 2015
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
More information: http://aas.org/meetings/aas225

b) Globe at Night — Sky Brightness Monitoring Network User Workshop
Date: 7–8 January 2015
Location: Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan
Contact: outreach@iau.org

c) East Asian Young Astronomers Meeting 2015
Date: 9–12 February 2015
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
More information: http://www.eacoa.net/event/20150209/

d) 2nd International Conference on Light Pollution Theory, Modelling and Measurements (LPTMM)
Date: 26–29 May 2015
Location: Sherbrooke, Quebéc, Canada
More information: http://lptmm.org

e) 3rd International conference on Artificial Light at Night (ALAN 2015)
Date: 30 May ‒ 1 June 2015
Location: Sherbrooke, Quebéc, Canada
Website available soon

f) The 29th IAU General Assembly
Date: 3‒14 August 2015
Location: Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA
More information: http://astronomy2015.org/

 

9) Contributions to this newsletter

We are looking for news about astronomical education and outreach events; if you are organising any large-scale events at regional and international levels, offering positions for astronomy education or communications, have any special innovative projects or inspiring stories, looking for professional–amateur collaboration in astronomy, or created any educational resources, please send us an email at outreach@iau.org.

 

 

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