Tuesday, 20 January 2009

IAA Meeting, Galway Star Party, Fireball, ISS, PDRA position at QUB


HI all,

1.  The Irish Astronomical Association will hold its next lecture for IYA2009 on Wednesday 21 January, at 7.30 p.m., in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University Belfast. Free parking is available on the main campus, beside the lecture theatre, in the evenings - entrance via University Square.

Prof. Francis Keenan (QUB) will give a public lecture entitled "The Science in science Fiction". This is a very informative & highly entertaining talk, not to be missed! Admission is free, including light refreshments, and all are welcome.

2. A reminder about the Galway Astrofest / Connaught Star Party:

The 'Western Winter Star Party', hosted by the Galway Astronomy Club, will be held as usual at the excellent Westwood House Hotel, Newcastle, on the NW outskirts of Galway City, from Friday evening 30 January to Saturday 31st, with a closing dinner that evening. They always have an excellent line-up of speakers, the venue is excellent, & the craic is good, so I wouldn't miss it.

Provisional Timetable:
Friday January 30th: Board Room

7.30 p.m. Official Opening by Prof. Mike Redfern, NUIG. To be followed by a 30 mt talk by him on IYA 2009. Followed by
~ 8pm+:  Robert Hensey: "5000 Years of Ritual Astronomy and Archaeology: Cosmology in Prehistoric Ireland'
Saturday  January  31st: Main Hall
9.30-10.15am: Registration (If you are attending the evening dinner
please book by 2pm).
10.15: Official Welcome by  GAC Chairman
10.20: Professor Luke Drury: "The New Gamma Ray Sky"
11.05: Gregg Hallinan: "Looking for a Pulse, the search for Radio Emission from Extra solar Planets"
11.50: Patrick Browne: "Celestial Mechanics"
12.30-2.00.: Lunch. Food served in bar
(1.00-1.35): Astronomy Workshop: Frank Ryan Jnr" Digital Astrophotography - An Artistic Approach"
2.00: Dr Andy Shearer: "What we don't Know"
2.50: Dr Tigran Khanzadyan: "Looking at the Universe through Infrared Eyes"
3.40-4.00  Tea/coffee break/sale of raffle tickets
4.00: Dave  Mc Donald     Title TBC (On Asteroid Discovery)
4.30-5.15 Dr Mark Simms Title TBC
6.00: Tour of NUI Galway Telescopic Observatory
7.30: GAC Festival  Banquet
8.30: Carl O' Beirnes "An Evening with the Sky at Night"
10.00-1am: Observing at Barna Golf & Country Club, 5 miles drive, dark skies
See: http://galwayastronomyclub.blogspot.com/

3. Did anyone see a bright fireball on Friday 16 January?  Mike Simms (Ulster Museum) was driving back to Belfast from Cavan and saw a bright fireball at ~18.40. He describes it as "Significantly brighter than Venus at the moment, with a long and conspicuous trail. At least two or three pieces broke off shortly before all faded out. Might possibly have dropped a tiny meteorite or two, but certainly not anything terribly big if at all. I was just past Moira at the time and it looked to be heading north-east, so I suspect it plopped into the North Channel unless it was falling very steeply. It’s the best one I've seen for years. Did you or anyone else see it?" Any reports to me by return please.

4. The ISS is now making another series of evening passes over Ireland. details of these, and Iridium Flares, and many other astronomy & space items are available on the excellent, free, www.heavens-above.com site.

5. Research Fellow in Astrochemistry and Exoplanet Atmospheres Ref. 09/100744
School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast
    Applications are invited for a 3-year Post Doctoral Research Fellowship position to work under the supervision of Professor T J Millar and Dr D Pollacco in the development of chemical and physical models of exoplanet atmospheres.

    The post is located within the Astrophysics Research Centre (ARC) of the School of Mathematics and Physics.
   ARC is one of the founders of the WASP Project and operates and maintains the SuperWASP facility on La Palma. The Molecular Astrophysics and Exoplanet Groups within ARC are well supported by STFC and other bodies. In total, the groups comprise of 5 academic staff, 4 research staff and a number of PhD students.
   Applicants must have a PhD in a relevant subject either awarded or submitted by the time of taking up the post. Experience of modelling techniques used in molecular astrophysics or in exoplanet atmospheres is essential. All candidates must demonstrate a reasonable number of high quality, refereed publications commensurate with stage of career.
   Informal enquiries can be directed to Prof. Alan Fitzsimmons (email: a.fitzsimmons@qub.ac.uk).
   An application pack for the post, containing further details of the essential and desirable criteria, as well as instructions on how to submit an application, is available from our website:
Salary: 29,704-34,435 pounds per annum.
Closing date: 4.00 pm, Friday 23 January 2009

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley


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