1. EUROPEAN DARK SKIES CONFERENCE, ARMAGH, SEP 17-19.
As previously notified, Ireland is honoured to be hosting the next European Dark Skies Conference, on the theme "Light Pollution And Its Impact". The formal title is "THE NINTH EUROPEAN SYMPOSIUM FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE NIGHT SKY"
PUBLIC LAUNCH LECTURE IN DUBLIN, Wed 16 Sep:
The Armagh Conference will be preceded by a public launch event in Dublin on Wednesday 16 September, with a public lecture by broadcaster Leo Enright who literally needs no introduction! Entitled "What is Light?", it will take place in the Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin, at 18.30 for 19.00. Admission is free, but will be by ticket only, available from the RIA, www.ria.ie
PUBLIC LAUNCH LECTURE IN ARMAGH, THURSDAY 17 Sep.
Leo will give this public lecture again in Armagh on the next evening, at 19.00 for 19.30, at the Market Place Theatre, Market Place, Armagh.
CONFERENCE, FRIDAY 18 & SATURDAY 19 SEPTEMBER, MARKET PLACE THEATRE, ARMAGH. The main part of the conference will be held in the same venue on the Friday and Saturday. See www.lightpollution2009.eu
VISIT TO DARK SKY OBSERVING & ARCHAEOASTRONOMY SITE: BEAGHMORE STONE CIRCLES AND ALIGNMENTS. Included in the programme is a free trip by coach to one of the darkest observing sites in N. Ireland on the evening of FRIDAY 18th, which also happens to be one of the most interesting sites from an archaeoastronomy aspect - the Beaghmore Stone Circles and Alignments in the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains in Co Tyrone. We will see the site just before sunset when it is at its best. This trip will also include a FREE buffet meal at the nearby An Creagan Visitors Centre, followed by observing in a very dark sky at Beaghmore if clear.
There is a full and varied programme, covering other aspects such as the waste of energy, environmental and health effects, so it's not just for astronomers! We have lots of top speakers, on various topics, from all over Europe, and from America and beyond; one who is well known to all astronomers in these islands is Dr John Mason.
This is a major honour for Ireland, and Armagh in particular, and sponsorship from (principally) DSE and Armagh Observatory is gratefully acknowledged. It is also a major IYA2009 event for Ireland.
All amateur astronomers should be concerned about increasing light pollution, and this is your opportunity to learn more about it, and what you can do to try to stop it and even reverse it. Please attend if you can: thanks to sponsorship the cost has been kept incredibly low, and it includes morning and afternoon refreshments.
Full details of the latest draft programme, and the subsequent updates, are on the website, http://www.lightpollution2009.eu/
PLEASE REGISTER NOW, if you can attend, so that we know how many to cater for. You will also find details of accommodation in Armagh (assuming you are staying for the whole
conference) and indicating whether you will expect to attend the Beaghmore trip and/or the conference dinner.
I hope to see lots of you there.
2. The IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION HAS LAUNCHED ITS NEW WEBSITE, which is already receiving lots of compliments: See www.irishastro.org This gives details of all the IAA meetings & activities and lots of other up to date information, observations etc. But it's still a work in progress, so all comments and suggestions will be welcome.
3. OPENING LECTURE OF THE NEW IAA SEASON: 23 SEP. We are delighted to announce that the opening lecture of the Irish Astronomical Association's new season will be given by Prof Tom Ray of the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies and the Royal Irish Academy. It is entitled "Planning Hubble's Successor, the James Webb Space Telescope". Prof Ray is eminently qualified to talk on this topic, as he is involved in the design of some of the instrumentation which will be going on the telescope! We have had several excellent lectures from Tom before, and we are delighted to welcome him back again.
It's on WEDNESDAY 23 SEPTEMBER, at 7.30 p.m., in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast. ADMISSION IS FREE, as always, and includes light refreshments. Everyone is welcome.
Full details of the rest of the programme are on the website: www.irishastro.org
4. ASTRONOMY FOR HERITAGE WEEK AT NEWGRANGE. The Irish Astronomical Association, in conjunction with Armagh Observatory, is delighted to be presenting at the Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre, Newgrange, Co Meath, some of the amazing FETTU (From Earth To The Universe) exhibition photographs which have been produced for IYA 2009. This exhibition will run from 22 Aug. to at least 6 Sep.
5. BURREN STAR PARTY, 26 SEPTEMBER. The Shannonside Astronomy Club are running their annual star party this year at Ballyvaughan, Co Clare, on Saturday 26 September. This is 'instead of' the Whirlpool Star Party in Birr, which will not take place, at least not this year (it's a long story, which I'm not going to go in to!). While the programme is confined to the Saturday, most people will arrive there on the Friday evening, and hope for some clear skies in this dark location on the North coast of Co Clare. Details are on: www.shannonsideastronomyclub.com/sac_burren_starparty.htm