1. Irish Astronomical Association: IYA 2009 Event at Castle Archdale, Co Fermanagh, Sat 23 May:
The IAA's next event for IYA 2009 will be at Castle Archdale Country Park, near Irvinestown, on Sat 23 May. This is a fabulous location, with very dark skies, and an excellent venue for the indoor parts of the event. It starts at 15.00, with solar observing if clear, an exhibition of telescopes and binoculars.
A highlight will be the amazing "From The Earth To The Universe Exhibition" featuring the very best astronomical photos ever taken, in high quality A0 size. There will talks on astronomy and the night sky, and shows in a mobile planetarium. This will continue into the evening, together with night sky observing that evening, if the sky is clear. Get your last good views of Saturn as the amazing and beautiful rings turn almost edge-on to Earth - your last chance to see them like this for almost 30 years!
There is no extra charge for admission, and all are welcome.
2. ISS PASSES CONTINUE: The International Space Station continues its series of evening passes over Irish Skies until about 24 May. It's now much brighter than before, with the additional modules recently added. The actual brightness varies from one pass to another, and also depends on where you are in Ireland - from the North coast it just exceeds magnitude -2 at its best, but from South Cork and Kerry, where it can pass almost overhead, it can almost rival Venus in brightness. Details for your location, together with details of many other bright satellites, Iridium Flares etc, are on www.heavens-above.com. There's a good pass this evening just before 10 p.m., (exact time depending on your location).
3. Solarfest 2009: "IFAS in conjunction with Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (DIAS) http://www.dias.ie are organising a one-day event in Dublin to discuss solar astronomy. The event is called Solarfest 2009 and will take place on Saturday 20th June 2009 at Dunsink Observatory. We are very grateful for the support of DIAS for sponsoring the event and attendance is FREE. Speakers confirmed so far are Deirdre Kelleghan (IFAS), Sally Russell (RAS), Miruna Popescu (Armagh Observatory www.arm.ac.uk), Kevin Smith (Practical Astronomer contributor), Nick Howes (Astronomy Now contributor) and myself, Michael O'Connell (MAC). Weather permitting, we will also have solar observing sessions. A more detailed programme of the event will be available in due course. Spaces are strictly limited to 60 seats so if anyone is interested in attending this event, I would appreciate if they could drop me an e-mail asap so that we can reserve a seat for them. I would like to thank Deirdre Kelleghan for her assistance in co-organising this event with me.
Regards & thanks, Michael O'Connell, IFAS Chair."