1. TV Programme: Tuesday 4 March, BBC2, 21.00 - 21.50: "HORIZON: "Are we alone in the Universe?"
2. Wednesday 5 March, 19.30: Irish Astronomical Association Public Lecture: Change of programme: "Cosmic Dust: Is that all we are?" by Seanie Morris, Tullamore Ast Soc. The Bell lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast. Admission free, including light refreshments. All welcome.
We are VERY grateful to Seanie Morris for stepping in at very short notice to give this lecture. We hope to have the originally scheduled one by Kevin Nolan at a later date.
The IAA lecture programme is held in association with the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen's University Belfast. See: www.irishastro.org
3. SDAS lecture: "Shooting the Planets" to be given by Carl O'Beirnes of Astronomy Ireland. The talk will be held in Gonzaga College, Ranelagh, on Thursday, March 6th at 8pm. All welcome on the night.
4. Astronomy Ireland will have the same lecture on Monday, March 10th at 8pm in the Physics Building, Trinity College Dublin. More details are available from http://www.astronomy.ie/lecture200803a.html Admission for members of IFAS affiliated clubs to this lecture is at a reduced rate of €3.
5. Monday, March 10th -- IAS lecture "Cosmic Dust, is that all we are?" by Seanie Morris (TAS). Lecture in Dunsink Observatory, Castleknock, Dublin 15 at 8pm. More details at www.irishastrosoc.org
6. SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR CLEARED FOR LAUNCH ON MARCH 11.
NASA managers have completed a two-day flight readiness review and have formally cleared the shuttle Endeavour for blastoff on March 11 on a 16-day space station assembly mission featuring five spacewalks, delivery of a new Japanese module and assembly of a complex Canadian hand-like attachment for the station's robot arm. See: http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts123/080229frr/
7. ASGI MEETING, Armagh: Friday 14 March, St Patrick's Trian. See http://www.saintpatrickstrian.com/
Note: as you can see from the details below, this is a Professional-level meeting (well, apart from the coffee & beer, which are common to all....), but members of affiliated societies such as the IAA are welcome to attend free, if you think your grey matter can cope!
Start at 9.45 -- COFFEE
10.15 -- Carlos del Burgo (DIAS): "Spatial distribution of dust in the shell elliptical NGC 5982"
10.35 -- Jose Gracia (DIAS): "MHD models and synthetic emission maps for the jet of M87"
10.55 -- Martin Cordiner (QUB): "The discovery of Diffuse Interstellar Bands in M31"
11.15 -- more COFFEE
11.35 -- Robert Loughnane (Galway): "Physical conditions in starless cores"
11.55 -- Colin Folsom (Armagh): "Magnetic fields in very young intermediate-mass binaries"
12.15 -- Caroline Pereira (Armagh): "An Abundance Analysis of SdB Stars"
12.35 -- LUNCH
13.45 -- INVITED LECTURE: Prof Janet Drew (Hertfordshire): "IPHAS: the INT Photometric H-alpha Survey of the Galactic Plane
14.30 -- Mark Reynolds (UCC): "IR contamination from the accretion disk in quiescent X-ray Novae"
14.50 -- more COFFEE (or tea perhaps)
15.10 -- Jeff Grube (UCD): "X-ray and Gamma-Ray studies of TeV Blazars"
15.30 -- John E Ward (UCD): "The Search for Galactic TeV Gamma-Ray Sources with VERITAS"
15.50 -- ASGI policy/discussion (very brief!)
16.15 (beer o'clock) -- End of meeting
As there will be enough space in the Trian, you NO LONGER NEED TO LET THEM KNOW if you are going.
8. RAS NATIONAL ASTRONOMY MEETING, 31 March – 4 April 2008, Queen’s University, Belfast.
Nearly 500 astronomers and space scientists will gather for the 2008 Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2008), held in conjunction with the UK Solar Physics (UKSP) and Magnetosphere Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial Physics (MIST) meetings. NAM 2008 will be hosted by Queen’s University, Belfast and run from 31 March to 4 April 2008.
At NAM 2008 scientists will present new research in many aspects of astronomy and space science, including the early history of the Universe, planets around other stars, the vision for space exploration, black holes and the impact of ‘space weather’ on the Earth.
For the general public, three keynote speakers will give lectures on the risk of asteroid impact, the Hubble Space Telescope and the way in which science influences popular science fiction. The Irish Astronomical Association has secured 50 tickets for the Lectures on Tuesday 1st and Thursday 3rd April, and 100 tickets for the lecture on the HST on 2 April, as that is one of our own IAA lectures. These tickets will be available at our meetings before then, or by application via our website www.irishastro.org : details of how to get them will be posted shortly. These lectures are:
A. "Tunguska 2008: 100 Years of the NEO Impact Hazard"
2008 is the one-hundredth anniversary of the most recent significant extraterrestrial body known to have run into the Earth: the famous 30 June 1908 Tunguska Event, which devastated some 2000 square kilometres of forest in a remote part of Siberia. Since then, advances in astronomy have confirmed that the phenomenon of impacts is a key driver of planetary evolution, ranging from the cause of the largest craters and mare (or "seas") on the Moon, to the evolution of life on Earth. This has led to our modern understanding that impacts by relatively small astronomical bodies (comets, asteroids and fragments thereof) have the potential to produce occasionally catastrophic environmental changes on Earth. The objects, which range in size from typically a few tens of metres across to many kilometres in diameter, orbit the Sun in elliptical orbits that cross those of the planets and are sometimes the closest extraterrestrial objects accessible to direct observations or to visits by spacecraft. Those that cross or come close to the Earth's orbit are called Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), and it is these that have the potential to collide with our Earth. This talk will review our growing understanding of the resulting extraterrestrial impact hazard and especially its implications for various aspects of civilization and for our wider understanding of mankind's and Earth's place in the Universe.
B. "Adventures with the Hubble Space Telescope".
The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most successful scientific projects of all time, both in terms of its scientific output and in terms of its almost iconic public appeal. Hubble's enormous impact derives from its ability to exploit a unique scientific niche where no other instruments can really compete at the moment - consistently delivering super-sharp images and clean, uncontaminated spectra, also in the elusive infrared and ultraviolet. This has opened up new scientific territory and resulted in many paradigm-breaking discoveries. Hubble's exquisite image quality has enabled astronomers to gain entirely new insights into the workings of a huge range of different astronomical objects and provided the visual overview of underlying astrophysical processes taking place planets, stars and galaxies.
On top of all this astronomers are lucky scientists. Their telescopes do not only produce results of great scientific value, but also of eye-catching beauty and artistic potential. This talk aims to also show how Hubble has built a bridge between science and art.
This lecture is presented in association with the Irish Astronomical Association.
C. "The Science of Science Fiction in TV and Films".
Professor Francis Keenan - Queen's University Belfast Astrophysics Research Centre
Larmour Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Thursday 3rd April, 19:00.
Science-fiction films and TV shows are extremely popular, with many of the top-grossing movies of all-time being science-fiction, while Star Trek (and its various spinoffs) is one of the most-watched TV series. As a result, for many people their main exposure to scientific ideas and concepts is via the medium of science-fiction films and TV. In this presentation, the accuracy (or otherwise!) of the science in science-fiction films and television programmes is discussed, and illustrated using clips from films and TV shows including Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Aliens.
A full and up to date schedule of these and other events can be found on the official website at http://nam2008.qub.ac.uk
The conference is principally sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Queen’s University, Belfast.
FURTHER INFORMATION: NAM 2008: http://nam2008.qub.ac.uk.
Astronomy at Queen’s University Belfast: http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk