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From:   TerryMoselaol.com
Subject: LECTURE AT QUB Thu 31st, SMART Impact, Shuttle Launch, Pluto
Date: 30 August 2006 20:30:17 BDT

Hi all,

1. Public Lecture: Sorry for the short notice - I've only just been told
about this lecture by Pat O'Neill - thanks Pat:

"Rediscovered Hazards - Why Humans Have Always Feared Comets" By Prof
Mike Bailie, QUB (author of "Exodus to Arthur" & "Comets in Irish
Myth"  & many papers on the subject). 6.30 p.m., Peter Froggett Centre,
QUB, Belfast.

2. The European SMART-1 Spacecraft is about to be crashed into the
Moon: The following details are from the SPA - reproduced with thanks.

Predicted impact on 3 September 2006, 02h UT with a 7 hour uncertainty
(i.e., between 17h UT on 2 September and 09h UT on 3 September).

Possibility of impact flash and/or the resulting ejecta plume being
observed/imaged from the UK (& Ireland)

On 2/3 September, ESA's SMART-1 spaceprobe will slam into the lunar
surface in a dramatic end to its 18 month period of orbiting the Moon.
The 285 kg (628 lb) spacecraft, traveling at a velocity of 7,200 km/h,
is expected to crash onto the Moon's near side in Lacus Excellentiae
(the Lake of Excellence), around 10 south of Mare Humorum, in the unlit
lunar hemisphere, several hundred kilometres west of the lunar morning

The 9 day old waxing gibbous Moon will be south of the ecliptic, low in
the constellation of Sagittarius on the date of impact, so UK observers
will only have a narrow window of opportunity to monitor the Moon for
signs of impact. From the UK the Moon is visible in a darkening sky from
around 19h, culminating at around 19:30 UT (at an altitude of some 8°)
until it sets at around 22:40 UT on the evening of 2 September.

SMART-1's kinetic energy will be equivalent to that of a 1 kg (2.2 lb)
meteoroid impacting the Moon at a velocity of 144,000 km/h. Therefore
the explosion is likely to be rather faint in terms of its apparent
magnitude (predictions range from magnitude 8 to 16) with a duration of
a fraction of a second, so even though it takes place on the
unilluminated lunar hemisphere, the impact flash itself is likely to
elude even the most attentive of visual observers using large
instruments under ideal conditions. However, should a plume of ejected
material reach an altitude high enough to catch sunlight, it may produce
a small temporary point that is bright enough to be visible through
amateur telescopes for a short period.

See the SPA website at www.popastro.com for a graphic of the impact.

Please send video footage, CCD images and visual observations (whether
they are positive or negative) to Peter Grego, SPA Lunar Section
Director at lunarpopastro.com. All material will be compiled and
submitted to ESA, and shared with other organisations involved in the
observing project. A report on the event will appear in the SPA News
Circular and Luna journal. See also: science.nasa.gov. 

Find out about the Science@NASA Podcast feed at

3. Shuttle Launch: The Space Shuttle flight was delayed by a lightning strike and the impending
arrival of hurricane (now tropical storm) Ernesto. The flight was to
lift-off on 27 August, but the launch window for the mission to the
International Space Station extends to 7 September. If NASA
managers will allow a night-launch, the Shuttle could take off as late
as 13 September. However, the situation is complicated by the need to
avoid an operations conflict with a Russian Soyuz mission that is
scheduled to ferry the next Expedition resident crew to the space
station on 14 September. During the 11-day STS-115 mission, the crew
of six astronauts will resume construction of the station by installing
the integrated P3/P4 truss segment with its two large solar arrays. Four
spacewalks are planned during the complex operation to install and
deploy the solar arrays. The STS-115 crew consists of Commander Brent
W. Jett Jr., Pilot Christopher J. Ferguson, Mission Specialists
Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper, Joseph R. Tanner, Daniel C. Burbank,
and Steven G. MacLean, who represents the Canadian Space Agency.


Spaceflight Now status updates:

4. If you haven't already heard: Prof Alan Fitzsimmons sent this (slightly
edited) from the IAU, on the voting on 'planetary status' 

A. The clear majority vote said Mercury to Neptune are planets, Pluto, Sedna, Charon,
Ceres etc are "dwarf planets". 

B. They voted by a clear majority against calling Mercury-Neptune "Classical planets". 

C. They voted by 237 to 157 (30 abstentions) that Pluto is the prototype of a new category of
trans-Neptunian dwarf planets. 

D. They voted by 186 to 183 that the name of this category should not be "Plutonian objects".  

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley


Last Revised: 2006 August 31st
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