Thursday, 26 March 2009

Competition, 2 more asteroids, Lectures, COSMOS, EARTH HOUR, ASGI


Hi all,

1. MAJOR ASTRONOMY COMPETITION: As part of International Year of Astronomy 2009, the Irish Astronomical Association (IAA) is pleased to announce a major public competition, with substantial prizes, for all ages, and in various categories, so that anyone can enter. Full details at, or I can email a copy (in Word or RTF format) to anyone on request.

2. TWO MORE IRISH ASTEROIDS: It's getting to be a bit of a habit! Dave McDonald has just discovered his second asteroid, and Dave Grennan has just discovered his THIRD!


Dave McDonald has found his second asteroid in a few months. 2009FM14 was confirmed as a discovery on 21st March 2009. It was discovered on Thursday March 19th from J65 Celbridge Observatory, Kildare, by Dave McDonald.
   As a main belt asteroid (orbiting between Mars and Jupiter), it is rocky object a few kilometres in diameter. It will not approach Earth, at least not any time soon.
More details are at

Dave Grennan's THIRD was discovered only yesterday, initially dubbed 2009 FV19. This follows hard on the heels of his 2nd, dubbed 2009 EN1, discovered last week.

  What can I say? - Totally amazing and brilliant work by both! Well done, and keep it up.

3. LECTURE: THE GALILEO WARS: A talk by Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, in Gonzaga College, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, at 8pm on Thursday, March 26th 2009. Admission is FREE and all are welcome. Science is always shaped by what is happening in the broader society that supports it, and the science of the 17th century was no different. Tonight’s talk will examine how Galileo's work challenged the science of the day; how it was shaped by the fortunes of the Spanish during the 30 Years War; and the effect on science in the Catholic world after his famous trial.
    Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ has been at the Vatican Observatory since 1993. His research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies, observing Kuiper Belt comets with the Vatican's 1.8 meter telescope in Arizona, and acting as curator of the Vatican meteorite collection. Along with more than 100 scientific publications, he is the author of a number of books including Turn Left at Orion (with Dan Davis) and Brother Astronomer.

4. PUBLIC LECTURE: Irish Astronomical Association, Public Lecture: "Astronomy and Poetry", by Prof Jocelyn Bell-Burnell. This is a new venture for Jocelyn Bell, originally from Lurgan in Co Armagh. Best known as the discoverer of pulsars, for which she narrowly, and unfairly, missed out on a Nobel Prize, Jocelyn has gone on to the very top of her profession, with a professorship at Oxford, being elected President of the Royal Astronomical Society, and now President of the Institute of Physics. Well-known as a broadcaster, writer and speaker, she has lectured to the IAA twice before, and we are delighted to welcome her back to talk on this new topic, which coincides with the publication of her new book on the subject. Like all her talks, it promises to be entertaining and illuminating.

   Date: Wednesday 18 March, at 7.30 p.m. in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, main campus, QUB.

Admission is free, including light refreshments, and all are welcome. 

   Free parking is available on the main campus, beside the lecture theatre, in the evenings - entrance via University Square.

   The IAA gratefully acknowledges the support of the Astrophysics and Planetary Science Division of the Department of Physics, QUB, in sponsoring these lectures.

5.  COSMOS 2009: A Final reminder about the COSMOS 2009 W/E star party in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Hosted by the former Tullamore Astronomy Society, now renamed the Midlands Astronomy Club. It will be held as usual at Annaharvey Farm & Equestrian Centre, Portarlington Road (R 420), Tullamore, on the W/E of 27-29 March. This is always a good event, with interesting speakers & an informal atmosphere.  Details on

6. Earth Hour, a global project sponsored by WWF, aims to get lights turned off in as many buildings as possible, particularly in and on public buildings. It will be on Friday 27 March, from 8.30 to 9.30 p.m. Do your bit, and encourage as many as possible to participate.

7. ASGI: The next meeting of the Astronomical Science Group of Ireland will be held on Friday 27 March in Trinity College Dublin: This is a meeting mainly for professional astronomers, and the talks are all at a high level, but amateur members of clubs affiliated to ASGI, such as the Irish Astronomical Association, are welcome to attend. But please note, if you don't have at least 1st year university maths and physics you'll find it tough going! It will be held in the SNIAM Lecture Theatre and SNIAM Conference Room, SNIAM Building, which is at the East end of the campus. It begins at 10.00 wit coffee, and the first talk is at 10.30. details on

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley

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