Unfortunately two items got omitted from my last bulletin due to a cutting & pasting error. I include them here, together with a reminder about the other main item which occurs in the meantime, and a note about transport that evening.
1. IAA Public Astronomy Evening, at WWT, Castle Espie, Friday 2 December, 7.30 p.m.
Everyone is invited to another of the very successful and popular public astronomy evenings run by the Irish Astronomical Association at WWT, Castle Espie, near Comber, Co Down.
Using powerful telescopes and binoculars, if it's clear we will be able to see a spectacular First Quarter Moon with giant craters and huge mountain ranges, and Jupiter, the Giant planet of the Solar System with its four large Galilean Moons. Looking beyond the Solar System we'll have on view the Pleiades or Seven Sisters, which is the brightest and most spectacular star cluster in the whole sky, the magnificent constellation of Orion the Hunter, with its famous trio of stars forming the belt, and the amazing Orion Nebula, where dozens of stars are currently being born. Later we'll be able to see brilliant Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.
And looking way beyond our own Milky Way Galaxy, you can spot the most distant object visible to the naked eye: our 'big sister' galaxy, the Andromeda Galaxy, which contains 200,000,000,000 stars, and lies an incredible 25 million million miles away.
We will also be giving the ever popular star shows in the portable planetarium, and we'll have an exhibition of fantastic photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and other powerful telescopes from all around the world, meteorites from space, and many other interesting items.
So it will be an astronomical treat, even if it's cloudy.
2. IAA Public Astronomy Evening, at St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon, Saturday 3 December, 7.30 p.m.
Then we'll be doing it all again the next night at St Patrick's Academy, Killymeal Rd, Dungannon! They have one of the best school observatories in these islands, with a Celestron 14-inch reflector in a lovely big purpose-built dome. This event is planned to coincide with a 're-launch' of the refurbished telescope and dome.
As well as that telescope, we will be providing all the same options as at WWT above, including the shows in the Stardome, and we'll be able to see all the same objects in the sky too, if it's clear.
This will be our first event in the Dungannon area, so all members and friends in that area, and indeed from anywhere, will be very welcome.
For more details, and to book a starshow, see: http://www.stpatricksacademy.org.uk/
3. IAA LECTURE, 30 November: The Astronomical Association's next public lecture will be given by Tom Boles, founder and owner of Coddenham Observatory in Suffolk.
Tom is the world's greatest supernova discoverer, with about 140 discoveries to his credit. Supernovae come in various forms, with different causes, but in general terms they represent either the explosive death of a giant star, or a very violent episode in the life of a binary star pair. Visually, they are the greatest explosions we see in the universe, with the exploding star sometimes becoming as bright as the combined light of all the other hundreds of millions of stars in its parent galaxy!
And they are an extremely important tool in our efforts to measure accurately the distances to the remotest and oldest objects in the universe.
And it's through the latest observations of distant supernovae that astronomers have concluded that the expansion of the universe is speeding up - the so-called 'Accelerating Universe'.
Come along and learn all about these amazing phenomena, how one man has beaten the rest of the world in making these discoveries at his own observatory, and how you might even be able to discover one yourself!
Tom's talk is entitled "Discovering Supernova: Motivation and rewards".
(This lecture is being arranged with assistance from the Astrophysics Department at QUB, for which we are very grateful.)
The lecture is on WEDNESDAY 30 November, 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
NB: Because of the public servants' strike, public transport will not be available that day. If anyone needs a lift to and/or from QUB that evening, let me know your address, or general area, and I'll see if any members can offer a lift. T.M.
4. TWITTER: the IAA now has a twitter account. twitter@IaaAstro