Tuesday, 16 November 2010

FW: Telescopes and Meteorites, Lectures, BCO movies, Shuttle delay

Hi all,
1. Armagh Planetarium: 'Telescopes and Meteorites'. The Irish Astronomical Association will be at Armagh Planetarium this evening (Tuesday 16th) to answer your questions about choosing and using a telescope or binoculars. We will have with a wise selection of telescopes and binoculars to demonstrate, and if the sky is clear, to show the Moon and Jupiter and other astronomical highlights.
   If you have a telescope that you're having problems with, bring it along if you can, and we'll try to sort out any user problems for you.
 In addition, Dr Tom Mason, Director of the Planetarium, will give a talk on meteorites, and if it is cloudy, there will be a show in the Planetarium dome. Doors open at 6.30 for light refreshments, the telescope demos will start at 7.0, and Dr Mason's talk will begin at 8.0. After that will be the viewing or the show in the dome. Contact Armagh Planetarium for more details: www.armaghplanet.com, or see www.irishastro.org
2. The next Irish Astronomical Association Lecture  will be on Wed 17 November, in the Bell Lecture Theatre, QUB, It will be given by Dr Patrick McCafferty of QUB. TITLE: "Tunguska Events in Ireland?" 
On 30 June, a comet nucleus, or perhaps a small asteroid, smashed into the Earth's atmosphere at about 40 miles per second, causing a multi-megaton explosion, which caused damage over an area of thousands of square miles, and blew people off their feet about a hundred miles away.
  Fortunately for us, the event occurred in an almost uninhabited area of Siberia, so there are no reports of human fatalities, although there were injuries, and some reindeer were killed. And the event occurred on 1908, just over a century ago, before the advent of modern news media, let alone the Internet, so relatively few people know about it.
   But what's really scary is that if the impact had occurred about 5 hours later, it would have obliterated St Petersburg, Russia's second largest city. Or just a little bit later, and Helsinki would have been flattened. Or a little later again, and there would have been no Oslo. Or if the trajectory and timing had been just a bit different, London would have been flattened, with deaths approaching a million, and casualties of many millions. And if something similar were to occur over London today, the effects would be unimaginable. Such is the luck of the Cosmic 'pinball' lottery - we were fortunate that time.
  But has Ireland experienced similar events in the distant past? Are some of these recorded in myths or folk memories? Dr Patrick McCafferty is researching this area, and has some very interesting analysis of the evidence. It will be a fascinating lecture, with the very latest news.
Time: 7.30 p.m. Venue: Bell Lecture Theatre, main Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast. Free parking is available on the main campus, right beside the lecture theatre, from 5.30 pm onwards. Admission free, including light refreshments: All are welcome. See www.irishastro.org for full details of the programme.
3. PUBLIC LECTURE, ARMAGH, 18 November: The Biennial "Robinson Lecture" will be given by Prof Chris Impey of the University of Arizona, in the City Hotel, at 8 p.m. "Astrobiology: Implications of Life Beyond Earth"
    Either we are alone in the universe or not; either way, the implications are staggering. This talk considers the prospects for and implications of life beyond Earth. Biological adaptation to extreme conditions makes it very likely that variations on biology will be present on moons and planets around many of the billions of Sun-like stars in the Milky Way. The nearly 500 planets already found around other stars are forerunners of Earth-like planets that astronomers expect to be finding in the next few years. With exobiology still a blank slate, consideration will be given to potentially unusual forms of life.
     Attendance at the Robinson Lecture is free, but if you would like to attend the Robinson Lecture, please contact the Armagh Observatory in order to obtain tickets. Please write, telephone or send an e-mail to: Mrs Aileen McKee, Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG; Tel: 028-3752-2928; Fax: 028-3752-7174; e-mail: ambnat signarm.ac.uk.
    Saturday 27 November
Movies by the Moonlight BCO Members Film Club (8pm)
(Members €5\ guests €7, 50)
    2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)
In this sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey based on the novel by Arthur C. Clarke, American and Russian astronauts live in a world greatly affected by the Cold War.  Sent to Jupiter to determine the reason for the failure of the original mission, they must also discover the fate of H.A.L., the spaceship's sentient computer. 

    For more information on these and future events at Blackrock Castle Observatory
call us  00 - 353 - 21- 4357917, email
info@bco.ie or visit www.bco.ie/upcomingevents
Continuing problems with a fuel leak have delayed launch until the next 'window', at the end of the month.
Clear skies,
Terry Moseley

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