1. IAA PUBLIC LECTURE, WED 7 APRIL: The next Irish Astronomical Association public lecture will be given by Dr Chris Watson of QUB.
His talk is entitled "Exoplanets and Extraterrestrial life". Chris is well-known as an expert in this field, and was the principal organiser of the recent ASGI meeting at Queens, which covered this topic. This is sure to be a fascinating talk, on a fascinating subject: there are now well over 300 known exoplanets! It's on WEDNESDAY 7 April, 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
2. IAA AGM: The AGM of the Irish Astronomical Association will be on Wednesday 21 April. Nomination forms for Council positions are being issued with STARDUST, but as there has been an unavoidable delay in posting these, the deadline for the return of nominations has been extended to Tues. 13th April.
3. TV PROGRAMMES: Wednesday 7 April, BBC4 "Sky at Night" 8-9pm. extended repeat. Followed by: BBC4 "Beautiful Minds" (series) 9-10pm, on Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, the local woman (from Co Armagh) who discovered pulsars. This series starts with the story of Jocelyn and her pulsar discovery. One of the winning entries for the IAA IYA2009 Astronomy competition tells a story about Jocelyn, too. For those attending the IAA lecture in QUB, set your recorders! See
4. COSMOS 2010, 9 - 11 April: The annual COSMOS spring star party / astrofest will be held as usual at Annaharvey Farm, just outside Tullamore, Co Offaly. This is always an enjoyable event, with good talks, good fun, and a good record of at least some clear skies for observing each time. It's hosted by the Midlands Astronomy Club (formerly Tullamore A.S.) See: http://www.tullamoreastronomy.com/cosmos2010.html
5. SHUTTLE +ISS: Space shuttle Discovery is now docked to the ISS, and the pair can be seen over Irish skies from 10 or 11 April (though not separately, except with a telescope and special tracking programmes). We may see the undocking and start of the return to Earth of the Shuttle at the end of its mission, depending on timing.
6. THINKTANK PLANETARIUM: Mario di Maggio, whom some of you may remember from his time at Armagh Planetarium, sent me this link to Birmingham's Thinktank Planetarium's booming Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/ThinktankPlanet.
It is proving extremely popular, with lots of fun astronomy bits and pieces being shared all the time, including regular competitions. You'll notice that recently the Thinktank Planetarium even appeared as a setting in the BBC1 drama series DOCTORS
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