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October 2009 Extra: Moon Watching

October 2009 Extra

In this show we find out about Autumn Moonwatch from Steve Owens and we hear all about the rings and moons of Saturn from Prof. Carl Murray. We put your astronomical questions to Dr Tim O'Brien, get a summary of recent news and events and round-up the feedback we've received since the last show.

Autumn MoonWatch

Stuart talked to Steve Owens (UK International Year of Astronomy coordinator) about Autumn MoonWatch (24 October - 1 November). The event follows on from the international Galilean Nights (22-24 October) and will give an opportunity to experience of a wide range of public outreach activities, live science events, observing with telescopes, research observatory webcasts and sidewalk astronomy events. If you have an event make sure you register it. If you have a Twitter account make sure you follow #MoonWatch.


The Cassini spacecraft arrived in orbit around the planet Saturn in July 2004. Two years ago, in late 2007, we talked to Professor Carl Murray (Queen Mary University of London) of the Cassini spacecraft imaging team and found out about the discoveries that Cassini had made whilst looking at the rings and moons of Saturn. Stuart caught up with Carl again to get the latest news on Saturn. To start they talk about the recent news of a new ring discovered in observations by the Spitzer Space Telescope. The new ring is huge but very tenuous with material spiralling in towards two-faced Iapetus. They also discuss the F-ring and other interesting features such as edge waves near Daphnes. The ciclops website is a great source of Cassini images.

Ask an Astronomer

Tim O'Brien answers listener questions.

Odds and Ends

NASA are having a live tweetup with astronauts on the ISS on the 21st October. It will be too late to register but if you're already signed up let us know how it goes.

NASA's LCROSS imitated the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as it approached impact with the lunar surface.

On 30th September/1st October MESSENGER had a fly-by of Mercury and has returned images of parts of Mercury not seen in this amount of detail before.

National Geographic have produced a representation of Fifty Years of Space Exploration (also on Flickr).

The Vatican is opening an exhibition about Galileo.

During MoonWatch (which is also the same week as Manchester Science Festival) From Earth To The Universe exhibition will be on at the Museum of Science and Industry Manchester. There will also be astronomers from Jodrell taking to the streets of Manchester with telescopes!

Show Credits

Interview:Steve Owens and Stuart Lowe
Interview:Prof Carl Murray and Stuart Lowe
Ask An Astronomer:Dr Tim O'Brien
Presenters:David Ault, Adam Avison, and Jen Gupta
Editors:Stuart Lowe
Segment voice:Cormac Purcell
Website:Stuart Lowe
Cover art:Saturn at Equinox Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

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