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Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition



Elements of our modern life that are sensitive to the active Sun
(Click on image for a larger version - TIF format)

The Armagh Observatory is this week participating in the Royal Society's prestigious Summer Science exhibition, held in London from 2nd to 5th July. The exhibition shows that science is a major part of everyday life, and is designed to present the best of UK science to schools, the general public and VIPs.

The Armagh Observatory is part of a collaboration of researchers from across the UK that is using new space missions to better understand our Sun, especially how it produces powerful eruptions that affect us here on Earth. The group, which includes members from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, University College London, Imperial College London, and the Universities of Aberystwyth, Cambridge and Central Lancashire, has created an interactive exhibit as part of its contributions to International Heliophysical Year 2007/2008.

The exciting display "Living with a Star: Surviving near our Explosive Sun" presents the latest 3-D images and movies of the Sun, and includes an interactive slide show and live images of the Sun as well as hands-on material to illustrate magnetic fields and ultraviolet light. The exhibit also shows how vulnerable our Earth is in space. The Sun regularly produces immense explosions, called flares and coronal mass ejections, with energies equivalent to many millions of hydrogen bombs, sending hot gases towards the Earth at millions of miles per hour. The resulting space weather can damage satellites, and disrupt telecommunications and electrical power lines.

Two recently launched space missions, Hinode and STEREO, are now providing us with unprecedented views of the Sun. It is expected that these observations will allow astronomers to understand how the eruptions are triggered and provide new ways to predict which ones may hit the Earth.

The prestigious Summer Science exhibition is held annually at the Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science. This year 23 exhibits, representing all areas of UK science, engineering and technology, will be on display. During the four days of the event, more than 4,000 people are expected to visit the exhibition in London. The solar physics exhibition will then tour the British Isles, first visiting Ireland and Northern Ireland.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: John McFarland at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG. Tel.: 028-3752-2928; FAX: 028-3752-7174; jmfat signarm.ac.uk.

Links:
IHY Open Day
Cross Border Schools Science Conference
International Heliophysical Year
IHY European Section
IHY Irish Section

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Last Revised: 2007 July 2nd
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