Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Lectures, Carnfunnock Event, 100h of Astronomy, Hidden Heritage, BCO


Hi all,

1. A final reminder: PUBLIC LECTURE: Irish Astronomical Association, Public Lecture: "Astronomy and Poetry", by Professor Dame 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 1 April, 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.

2. IYA 2009: IAA Event at Carnfunnock Country Park, Friday 3 April, 8 p.m. The next IYA2009 event by the Irish Astronomical Association will be held at Carnfunnock Country Park, Drains Bay, Larne, Co Antrim, on Friday. This will be part of the global "100 hours of Astronomy" project as part of IYA 2009

    We'll have observing, particularly Saturn and the Moon (if clear), displays of telescopes, and a mobile planetarium show. Come and see Saturn's Rings as they shrink to a thin line, just before they turn exactly edgewise to the Earth in September. Marvel at the amazing detail in the craters and mountains and valleys on the Moon, just past First Quarter. Get copies of the IAA's fantastic competition for IYA2009: easy to enter, with lots of super prizes. Something for everyone, in fact.

3. SDAS: The next talk will be given by Dr Kevin Nolan on Thursday, 2nd April 2009 in Gonzaga College at 8pm. Kevin will talk about "Mars: A Cosmic Stepping Stone" which is the subject of his recent book of the same title. More details about Kevin's book are available from

4. 100 HOURS of ASTRONOMY: April 2nd - 5th. The 100 Hours of Astronomy event is a cornerstone project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. A number of activities will be held throughout Ireland over the few days, co-ordinated by Deirdre Kelleghan, President of the IAS.

   The  SDAS will join in the IAS outreach event on Friday, April 3rd from 8pm-10pm at the Martello Tower Car Park in Sandymount, Dublin. The event will be enhanced by the e-Learning bus from Dublin City Libraries which will run astronomy software on PCs. 

    Search for 100 Hours of Astronomy in Ireland at,

and read more about IYA 2009 at

5. "HIDDEN HERITAGE", UTV, Monday April 6, at 8.0 p.m. will feature some archaeoastronomy - or astroarchaeology depending on how you come to it. It will look at, among other things, the famous & enigmatic stone circles at Beaghmore in Co Tyrone, and another similar set of circles nearby at Copney Hill. (The IAA will be holding a joint trip with local archaeologists to these sites in June - more on that later.)

   Yours truly will feature in a short interview (filmed in my conservatory!), talking about these circles - I'm not sure when the astro bit will be on, but I'm told it will be in the first half of the programme, i.e. before 8.15. It's in between the two episodes of Coronation Street, which seems a bit odd, but the programme makers have no control over the scheduling. Still, it's 'prime time', so we can't complain!

6. 100 Hours of Astronomy at Blackrock Castle Observatory

Blackrock Castle Observatory prepares for 100 hours non stop astronomy action at the award winning Cork science centre from April 2-5 2009. The Castle will stay open with extended hours with events around the clock, telescope viewing, astronomy workshops and remote feed from telescopes around the world.

Thursday, April 2. 6.00 - 7.30 pm, Space Observation Webcast: The webcast will feature science centres from around the world discussing the importance of space observation throughout history. This event is a must for adults and teachers interested in learning more about one of the world’s oldest fundamental sciences and its role today.

Friday, April 3. From 10 am: “Around the World in 80 Telescopes”: Live 24-hour webcast from astronomical observatories begins with the telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, before moving westwards around the planet.

First Fridays at the Castle: Blackrock Castle Observatory hosts open nights on the first Friday of the month until 11pm with astro-related activities for visitors of all ages: lectures by visiting scholars, Star Parties, night observing & star counts and activities for children.

6.00 – 8.00 pm: Hands on Science: Preparing for observing! Discover the wonders of deep space scopes in this children’s workshop. Four 30 minute sessions.

8.00 pm: Moon Viewing: Join us in the Courtyard for a look through the Observatory’s telescopes.

8.00 pm: Theatre: Feed and reports from our 16” Meade robotic rooftop telescope and from telescopes around the world.

10.00 pm – late: Film Festival:  Eyes on the Skies: 400 Years of Telescopic Discovery: a 60 minute European Southern Observatories (ESO) documentary on telescopes and their discoveries followed by A Star Wars Movie Marathon.

SATURDAY APRIL 4: SIDEWALK ASTRONOMY. Enjoy Side Walk Astronomy in unexpected locations. Be surprised by an astronomer! As part of the 100Hours 24-Hour Global Star Party, Astronomers will setup telescopes at locations around Cork. This event will commence at 8pm

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