1. MERCURY + VENUS: Mercury continues its favourable evening elongation, close to bigger and brighter big sister Venus.
On the evening of 2 April Mercury will lie only 3° just below and right of Venus. Mercury slowly gets closer to Venus, approaching from the right as we look at it, and about level above the horizon with Venus. The separations about 30 mts after local sunset are:
2 Apr: 3° 4’; 3 Apr: 2° 59’; 4 Apr: 3°; 5 Apr: 3° 3’; 6 Apr: 3° 8’; 7 Apr: 3° 16’; 8 Apr 3° 27’.
Mercury's magnitude fades from -0.1 to +0.6 over this period, so the difference in brightness between it and Venus will become even more pronounced.
By 15 April Mercury will have moved back to about 7° below right of Venus, and faded to mag +1.1, but on that evening you have a rare chance to see the Moon closer to the Sun in the sky than Mercury! In mid twilight, the very thin crescent Moon will lie 1° 40’ below and right of Mercury. Mercury may be the hardest to see – if you see the Moon, draw an imaginary line from it to Venus, and Mercury will lie just slightly below and left of a point 1/5 of the way along that line.
2. IAA PUBLIC LECTURE: The next of the Irish Astronomical Association's public lectures 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
3. Events at Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork:
Monday March 29 – Sunday April 11: Easter Holidays - Children's Workshops Strange New Planet. Daily 1-2.30pm €5.00 No booking required. Ages 6-10. Accompanied children welcomed. Theme: ‘Who might live on Strange New Planets?’
Friday April 2: First Fridays at the Castle. Blackrock Castle Observatory hosts open nights on the first Friday of every month with inspired activities for visitors of all ages.
6-8pm Cosmic Calendars 4 half hour family friendly workshops
7.00pm Cork Science Café Open discussions on Time and Risk Perception led by Dr Dylan Evans
8.00pm Tony O’ Hanlon - 2012 - Is it really the end? Tony’s talk discusses Mayan astronomy and their calendar, what the astronomical situation will be on Dec 21st 2012 and finishes with what the really long term outcome of our planet might be.
9.00pm-10.30pm April is Global Astronomy Month. Explore the theme One people One Sky as we observe Mars and Saturn.
The award-winning interactive astronomy exhibit Cosmos at the Castle is open until 9.00pm and is free to the public
CORK SCIENCE CAFÉ
Cork Science Cafe is a place where anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology and their impact on our culture. Meetings take place monthly in the relaxed surrounds of the Castle Bar and Trattoria before the headline speaker at Blackrock Castle Observatory’s First Fridays at the Castle.
Saturday April 3
10.00pm-01.00am PULSE presents Circo Scientifico
Blackrock Castle Observatory presents Circo Scientifico. An evening of Illusion, Aerial Dance, Clowning, Film and Music is promised for all from a wide range of local and international performers and scientists. Be prepared to be amazed, awe-struck and enthralled as the mysteries of science are explored through the elements of circus.
– the illusory theatricals of Fernando
– science mysteries on 4 screens
– the revelry of the Circo Castello performers
– the grace and beauty of Chloe de Buyl-Pisco’s Dance
– the voodoo jazz and vaudeville vibes of DJ Dr Fiasco
PULSE at Blackrock Castle Observatory (BCO), is a renaissance showcase where art, science and technology come to play together in the space age multimedia environment of the centuries old Castle. Admission: Tickets €10.00 per person (Right of Admission Reserved)
Every Saturday and Sunday. 3pm-4pm That's Why! A new science club for kids aged 9-12. €5 drop in admission fee. Let your kids join in an hour of fun filled discussion, exploring exciting themes in science, technology and astronomy. The theme for April is Astrobiology, the study of potential alien life. See: www.bco.ie or call on 00 - 353 - 21- 4357917.
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. NEXT SHUTTLE LAUNCH: Space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to begin a 13-day flight to the International Space Station with launch at 11:21 a.m. BST on April 5. The ISS will not become visible again from Irish skies until about April 11, by which time the Shuttle will be docked to it (if all happens on time), but we may see the undocking and start of the return to Earth of the Shuttle at the end of its mission.
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