Wednesday, 12 November 2008

IAA Telescope event, possible Leonid outburst, Robinson Lecture


Hi all,

1. "EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT TELESCOPES" The next IAA Meeting will be on Nov 12: It will be a 'Hands-On Telescopes' evening, covering all practical aspects of choosing & using telescopes & binoculars.

We'll have a large selection of telescopes and binoculars on display, covering all the popular types used by amateur astronomers. We'll be giving advice on choosing and using both telescopes and binoculars, with some practical demonstrations.

   TELESCOPE TROUBLE-SHOOTING. And if you have a telescope of your own and are having any problems with it, or just feel that you're not getting the best from it, bring it along (if it's portable), and we'll try to help you with it.

   NEVER USED YOUR TELESCOPE? And if you are one of those people who buy, or are given, a telescope, and you have taken it out of the box, looked at the instructions, and thought 'I'll have a go at assembling it some other time' but have never actually done so, bring it along & we'll do our best to show you how!

   TELESCOPE or BINOCULARS or ACCESSORIES FOR SALE? Bring it/them along, if portable, and you might get a buyer - if the price is right!

      Wednesday November 12, 7.30 p.m., Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast. Admission free, including light refreshments, and all are welcome."

2. POSSIBLE LEONID OUTBURST: There is a chance of a minor outburst of Leonid meteors on the evening of 16-17 November, centred on 01.32 on 17 November, with a ZHR of around 100. (The ZHR is the Zenithal Hourly Rate: the rate which would be seen by an experienced observer, with the radiant in the zenith, in VERY dark skies. Actual observed rates would be much lower).

  This is based on a prediction that the Earth will encounter the edge of the trail of particles emitted during the 1466 perihelion of the parent comet, (55P/Tempel-Tuttle) at 01.32 on 17 November. That was 16 periodic revolutions ago, so it's quite hard to be definite, but past predictions have been remarkably accurate. Indeed, the actual predictions indicated a ZHR of around 1000, but this was toned down to 100 to be on the safe side! The enhanced activity might last for about 6 hours altogether, centred on that time, although that also is very far from a firm prediction. The radiant will be fairly well up in the East at the relevant time, so even though the view will be spoiled by a brightish waning moon, it will be worth having a look.

   There is a prediction for another lesser outburst from a trail from the 1932 passage of the comet, but it is predicted to occur at 21.38 on Nov 18, well before the radiant rises in Ireland. The radiant is located in the 'Sickle of Leo'.


3. 2008 ROBINSON LECTURE: The ninth Robinson Lecture will be held on Thursday 20th November 2008 in The Armagh City Hotel, 2 Friary Road, Armagh.
The Lecture will be delivered by Professor Peter W.J.L. Brand FRSE, of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh.  The lecture will begin at 8.00 pm and is scheduled to end at 9.00 pm, followed by light refreshments.
       The Armagh Observatory Robinson Lecture is a public lecture held biennially in honour of the Founder of the Armagh Observatory, Archbishop Richard Robinson (1708--1794).
    The title of Professor Brand's lecture is: GOD AND THE UNIVERSE
Attendance at the 2008 Robinson Lecture is free, but if you would like to attend the Lecture, please contact the Armagh Observatory in order to obtain tickets.
   Please write, telephone or send an e-mail to: Mrs Aileen McKee, Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG; Tel: 028-3752-2928; Fax: 028-3752-7174; e-mail:  For more information, see

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

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