Sunday, 3 May 2009

New IAA Council, IAS President, IYA events, GRB Record, Jobs


Hi all,

1. NEW IAA COUNCIL:  At the recent Irish Astronomical Association AGM, a new Council was elected, as follows:

President: Philip Baxter:

Vice Presidents: George Brannan, Pat O'Neill

Secretary: Danny Collins

Treasurer/Membership Secretary: Pat O'Neill

Members: Robert Campbell, David Collins, Ken Doyle, Paul Evans (Webmaster), Dr Andy McCrea (Editor of Stardust), Terry Moseley (P.R.).

Ex Officio Members: Prof Mark Bailey (Director, Armagh Observatory), Robert Hill (NISO), Dr Tom Mason (Director, Armagh Planetarium), Prof Stephen Smartt (Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB).

Our thanks to John Hall for a long and distinguished stint as Treasurer and Membership Secretary, and to Robert Cobain for his spell as Webmaster.

Welcome to Paul Evans, who is jumping in at the deep end as Webmaster from the outset!


2. New IAS President: Michael Murphy, I have no info about the rest of the new IAS council.
3. IYA Talks in Dublin: Upcoming talks in association with  Dublin City Libraries  Bealtaine 09 Festival - Deirdre Kelleghan All free events

May 5th 2009 Coolock Library 6:30pm - Introduction to Astronomy in Ireland

Coolock Library, Barryscourt Road, Dublin 17, Tel. 847 7781, E.
May 6th 2009 Dolphins Barn Library 6:30pm.  Introduction to Astronomy in Ireland
Dolphin’s Barn Library, Parnell Road, Dublin 12 T. 454 0681, E

May 12th 2009 Ballymun Library 6:30 pm.   Introduction to Astronomy in Ireland
Ballymun Library, Main St., Ballymun, Dublin 1 T. 842 1890, E.

In association with the National Gallery of Ireland Merrion Square Dublin
National Drawing Day  3:00 pm Dunsink Observatory Castleknock  Deadly Moons art/astronomy workshop

In association with The National Museum of Ireland Kildare Street Dublin
May 24th 2009  My Museum Event 3pm - 4pm. 2009 is International Year of Astronomy! Deirdre Kelleghan looks at the ten most unusual moons in the solar system - then vote & draw your favourite moon! No Booking required. Age 7–12


April 28, 2009: NASA's Swift satellite and an international team of astronomers have found a gamma-ray burst from a star that died when the universe was only 630 million years old--less than five per cent of its present age. The event, dubbed GRB 090423, is the most distant cosmic explosion ever seen.

Swift quickly pinpointed the explosion, allowing telescopes on Earth to target the burst before its afterglow faded away. Astronomers working in Chile and the Canary Islands independently measured the explosion's redshift. It was 8.2, smashing the previous record of 6.7 set by an explosion in September 2008. A redshift of 8.2 corresponds to a distance of 13.035 billion light years.

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"We're seeing the demise of a star -- and probably the birth of a black hole -- in one of the universe's earliest stellar generations," says Derek Fox at Pennsylvania State University.

"The incredible distance to this burst exceeded our greatest expectations -- it was a true blast from the past," says Swift lead scientist Neil Gehrels at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

5 PDRA POSITION, QUB: Research Fellow in Astrochemistry and Exoplanet Atmospheres

Ref. 09/100895: 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 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:

 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 (including contribution points).

 Closing date: 4.00 pm, Friday 5 June 2009  

6.PhD Position at Trinity College Dublin, beginning September 2009. 

A fully funded postgraduate position working with Dr. Graham Harper in the field of stellar astrophysics is available in the Stellar Astrophysics Group at Trinity College Dublin, beginning
September 2009. The aim of the research programme will be to study mass loss from red giant stars, which is one of the great unsolved problems
in stellar astrophysics. Although magnetic fields have been invoked in the mass loss process, a more detailed examination
of their influence is required, and this will performed using a combination of pre-existing data and new radio observations
with ALMA ad the EVLA, together with semi-empirical analysis and radiative transfer techniques.

A good degree in Physics or Astrophysics is required, and previous experience in data analysis/computational techniques
is desirable.

Applications should be sent by email to:
  Dr. Graham Harper, email: The position will be kept open until a suitable applicant is found.

Information on the research group can be obtained in the first instance from:, or directly from:     Dr. Brian Espey, email:
or Dr. Graham Harper, email: Graham.Harper@Colorado.EDU

Brian Espey, Senior Lecturer, School of Physics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
Room number: SNIAM 1.04, Ph: +353-1-896-2680 / Fax: +353-1-671-1759

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley



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