Thursday, 21 July 2011

Lecture at QUB, Shuttle landing, Rocket Weekend at Armagh, Aurora Trip

Hi all,

1. Supermassive Black Holes: Lecture at QUB on 22 JULY.
     The Michael West Public Lectures in astronomy will be held each year to explain some of the latest and most exciting discoveries in the world of Astronomy. They are named after Dr. Michael West, who is supporting scientific research and public outreach in the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queens.
    Dr. Pedro Lacerda, the Michael West research Fellow in Astronomy, said
"A lot of people are interested in astronomy, which happens to be a major research topic at Queen's University Belfast. We want to give everyone the chance to learn about it from some of the best astronomers in the world."
    The first talk on "SuperMassive Black Holes" will be held on Friday 22nd July in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
   Black Holes are the most extreme, most mysterious, most fascinating and least understood objects in the universe. And the big ones, such as the one at the centre of our own Milky Way Galaxy, which has a mass equivalent to about a million Suns, are the most powerful energy emitters in the universe.
   Some others, in giant galaxies, are even bigger. So Supermassive Black Holes break just about all the records in the entire universe!
   The lecture will be given by Professor Reinhard Genzel, Director of the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. Professor Genzel is an international expert on investigating black holes that weigh millions of times more than our Sun. In 2008 he won the prestigious Shaw Prize for establishing the existence of a huge Black Hole in the centre of our own Milky Way.
(NB: the date was incorrectly given as 27 July in my Skydiary section in Stardust - sorry.)
        The talk will take place in the Larmor Lecture Theatre in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Queen's. Attendance at the talk is free of charge, but seats must be booked either by phone at 028 9097 3202, or by visiting the website Series and registering there.
    These talks have been organised by the Astrophysics Research Centre at QUB, in association with the Irish Astronomical Association.

Prof Alan Fitzsimmons                               Tel: +44 (0) 2890-973124
Dept. of Physics & Astronomy        Fax: +44 (0) 2890-973110
Queen's University Belfast         e-mail:
Belfast BT7 1NN                          WWW:
2. Final mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis. The Shuttle Atlantis has now undocked from the ISS and is in the de-orbiting phase, approaching atmospheric re-entry for a touchdown on Thursday. Safe landing, folks!
   Thanks to Peter Paice for the following info on tv programmes:
Channel 4:  Sat. 23 July 7.30 - 9 pm. "The Space Shuttle's last flight".
BBC2:  Sun. 24 July 9.0 - 10pm. "Space Shuttle - final mission"
             Thur. 28 July 7 pm. repeat


So you want to be a ROCKET SCIENTIST? Have you ever wondered how to build a solid fuel space rocket?  Have you ever wanted to witness a rocket launch?  If the answer is yes, then Armagh Planetarium is the place to be on the 30th and 31st of July 2011 for a blastoff into a fun-filled weekend of rockets.

Rocket Man Andy Willis is looking to recruit some space engineers in his Rocket Workshop to construct some real rockets ready to be delivered to the launch pad.  Are you ready to be his apprentice?

Take part in the countdown and watch as the rocket is launched up into the air, carrying its very own satellite.  Perhaps even try and guess the height that the rocket travelled!

You will also discover the latest design in Japanese space planes, participate in some water rocket launching and even be trained up on how to make paper planes.

If you are up for the challenge, step up to the launch pad and call on 028 37 523689 to book your place.  The rocket workshop is FREE, but places are limited and filling up fast.  Workshops will blastoff at 11am and 2pm sharp each day.

On this weekend the Planetarium will have their summer programme of Digital Theatre shows on offer.  Here you can relax and experience our planet and beyond and view the cosmos as never seen before.  Check out for show trailers and times.  Pre-booking for a theatre show is essential and normal admission fees apply.


4. AURORA TRIP TO NORTHERN NORWAY - bookings closing soon

Closing date for bookings for this trip will be coming soon, so if you want to go, don't delay. As there are several attachments to the original, I have already forwarded it separately to all. For further information, contact Ann Relph of Ulster Travel (who organised the recent eclipse trip to China): Ulster Travel Ltd, 2 Church Street, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, BT71 6AB, E:

"As solar activity continues to climb there has been a great increase in strong auroras, with almost nightly shows in the auroral zone. Ulster Travel has organized a special auroral viewing expedition which will put you directly under the auroral oval in Tromso, Norway during late October this year.  

The group will be led by Terence Murtagh, who is an expert aurora photographer.  Recently, he spent seven months filming the Aurora for the world's first high resolution, three sixty degree all dome movie "Experience the Aurora" which is currently being shown in digital theatres around the world.

Terence will take you to some of most accessible viewing locations and be on hand to provide advice and assistance with photographic techniques. He will also make available a Canon EOS 5D Mk II camera for you to capture the aurora should you not want to carry a camera and tripod on the trip. The period chosen in October is during the dark of the Moon and weather permitting, you will be in an excellent position to witness one of nature's most spectacular events.

The Raddisson Blu Hotel is one of the best in Tromso. Its central location makes it perfect for exploring the town and the Tromso environs. It is also only 15 minutes away from some good auroral viewing locations.

Full details, including booking forms, are on the attachments to the original email which I have already forwarded separately. If anyone needs these details again, please let me know.


5. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is now even easier: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA.  See also

Clear skies,
Terry Moseley


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