Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Prof Smartt: Inaugural Lecture, Galway lecture, IAA AGM, Mercury, research posts


Hi all,


Queen's University, Belfast; School of Mathematics and Physics: The Head of School cordially invites you to the Inaugural Lecture by Stephen Smartt, Professor of Astrophysics.

    ‘SUPERNOVA: A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH’, on Thursday 1 May 2008 at 5.00 pm, Larmor Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB. Admission free.

2. Galway Astronomy Club: Lecture, "The Who, Why, Where, What & When of Irish Astronomy", by Terry Moseley:  Monday 28 April, 8 p.m. Claddagh Hall, Nimmo Pier, Galway. See:

3. Mercury well placed in evening sky: Mercury, the elusive innermost planet, will reveal itself in the evening twilight in late April and early May. It can be fairly bright, but is always difficult to see as it never moves far from the Sun in the sky, and so can only be seen low down in the evening or morning twilight.

   You could look for it with good binoculars as early as 25 April, when it will be bright, but very low down in the WNW sky by the time the sky is dark enough to see it. It then moves gradually further out from the Sun, and by the end of April you should be able to find it using binoculars: start looking about half an hour AFTER sunset. (Never look anywhere near the Sun in the sky with binoculars or a telescope, so always wait until the Sun has set!). Once you've found it with binoculars you can usually see it with the unaided eye when you know where to look.

   If you don't know in just what direction to look, note the point on the horizon where the Sun sets, and then about 30 minutes later look about 7-8 degrees above and just to the left of that spot. 5 degrees is about the diameter of the usable field of view of most binoculars. If you don't spot it then, keep looking: by 40 minutes after sunset it will be a bit lower, and almost vertically above the point where the Sun set; - about 5 degrees above the horizon.

   On 2 May it will pass just to the left of the lovely Pleiades star cluster, although they will appear much dimmed in the twilight, and you'll need binoculars to see even the brighter members of the cluster.

    If you still can't find it, hope for a clear sky on the evening of 6 May, when the lovely thin crescent Moon will pass just over 2 degrees (4 Moon diameters) to the right of Mercury. Next evening the Moon will be about 12 degrees to the upper left of Mercury.

4. IAA AGM REPORT: At the Irish Astronomical Association's AGM in Belfast on 16 April, the new Council elected was as follows.

President: Mr Pat O'Neill

Vice Presidents: Philip Baxter, George Brannan

Secretary: Danny Collins

Treasurer & Membership Secretary: John Hall

Members: R. Campbell, R. Cobain, D. Collins, K. Doyle, R. Hill, A. McCrea, T. Moseley.

5. Research position: PhD Position in Exp. Physics NUI Maynooth
   Funding is available for 1 PhD student (3 years) in the Submillimetre Astronomy Group at NUI Maynooth, working under the supervision of Dr. Neil Trappe. The position will involve modelling, optimising and optically
testing receiver instrumentation for ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre Array) in collaboration with receiver groups at the Space Research Organisation of the Netherlands and Chalmers Technical University, Sweden.
   The position will commence in September 2008. Applicants must have relevant qualification (1st or upper 2nd class honours BSc. degree) and will be considered by submission of a CV, statement of interest and description of any previous experience in optics or electromagnetism. Submissions must include contact details for 2 referees. Research involves potential extended visits to collaborating institutes.
  Neil Trappe, Exp. Physics, NUI Maynooth, Maynooth, Co Kildare, Email: neal.a.trappe@nuim.ie.

For some additional information see: http://physics.nuim.ie/research/index.shtml

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley

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