Our inaugural meeting was on the 8th November 2010 and we officially formed in February 2011.
AAS holds monthly meetings with guest speakers.

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AAS is able to host discussions on subjects as varied as Dark Energy through to 'How dark is your sky'.

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September is on the way

3 items in this post:-

1) The schedule of meetings for the Autumn
2) The final fling of Cassini
3) An invitation to a GW lecture in Cardiff University

1) The schedule of meetings for the Autumn
The “Meetings” page has been updated for the period September to December.
Meanwhile, the September meetings are:-
11th September – Nick Busby, AAS  :  Basics – The Sun – what is it’s Structure and how does it work.

25th September – Keith Moseley, MARS (Monmouth Astronomy Research Society), ex Head of Physics, Monmouth School  :  Subject to be confirmed

2) The final fling of Cassini


A portrait of Saturn created by layering together 12 different images taken using different filters from
Cassini’s imaging instruments. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/G. Ugarkovic

An extract from the BBC news site, 14th August, 2017.  HERE

The Cassini probe has begun the final phase of its mission to Saturn.

The satellite has executed the first of five ultra-close passes of the giant world, dipping down far enough to brush through the top of the atmosphere.

It promises unprecedented data on the chemical composition of Saturn.

It also sets the stage for the probe’s dramatic end-manoeuvre next month when it will plunge to destruction in the planet’s atmosphere.

Cassini is currently flying a series of loops around Saturn that thread the gap between its atmosphere and its rings.

The 14th August swing-by saw the spacecraft go closer than ever before to the cloud tops – skimming just 1,600km (1,000 miles) above them.

This low pass was designed to allow the probe to directly sample the gases of the extended upper-atmosphere.

Saturn’s bulk composition is thought to be about 75% hydrogen with the rest being mostly helium, explains Nicolas Altobelli, the ESA’s Cassini project scientist.

“It’s expected that the heavier helium is sinking down,” he told BBC News. “Saturn radiates more energy than it’s absorbing from the Sun, meaning there’s gravitational energy which is being lost. And so getting a precise measure of the hydrogen and helium in the upper layers sets a constraint on the overall distribution of the material in the interior.”

Dipping down into the atmosphere should create a drag on the spacecraft, requiring Cassini to use its thrusters to maintain a stable flight configuration and stop itself from tumbling. But the mission’s scientists think any buffeting effects ought to be manageable.

They are hopeful that when the post-pass analysis is done, the probe will be permitted to go even lower on the remaining four dip-downs before 15 September’s goodbye plunge.

Cassini is a joint venture between the US, European and Italian space agencies. They are ending the probe’s operations after 20 years because it is running low on fuel and will soon become uncontrollable.

Scientists want to avoid the possibility of a future collision with Saturn’s moons Titan and Enceladus, which could conceivably support simple microbial life. And the only way to prevent that is to deliberately drive the probe to destruction in the atmosphere of the giant planet.

Eos article “Saturn Unveiled: Ten Notable Findings from Cassini-Huygens”  HERE

 3) An invitation to a GW lecture in Cardiff University

What  :  Gravitational Waves: Natures biggest explosions
When  :  6th September, 2017  :  Time 17:00 – 20:00
Where  :  Cardiff University, Main Building, Park Place, CF10 3AT
Entry  :  Free entry – but you need to book a place
Open to all
More details  :  Website and Booking Page HERE

Gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of space-time — were one of the first major predictions of Einstein’s theory of gravity, and are the last to be directly measured. These waves are produced by some of the most violent phenomena in the universe, such as collisions of black holes, the explosive deaths of massive stars, and the big bang itself. But they are so fantastically weak that they have only recently been observed, following decades of effort by a worldwide collaboration.

In this inaugural lecture, Professor Patrick Sutton from the School of Physics and Astronomy will discuss Cardiff University’s role in the discovery of gravitational waves, and how the team are using them as a new probe of Nature and its most extreme environments.

Registration and refreshments (VJ Gallery) from 5pm, with the Lecture (Large Chemistry Lecture Theatre) at 6pm. A drinks reception will take place after the lecture in the VJ Gallery.


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