Hi all,IAA at "COSMIC CUILCAGH" at Marble Arch, 25 - 26 February, Confirmed: Building on recent success, we are also running, in conjunction with Armagh Planetarium and the Marble Arch International Geopark, another stargazing event at the Marble Arch Caves Visitors Centre, in Co Fermanagh. This is one of the darkest sites in Ulster, lying about 15 km SW of Enniskillen. It's near Florencecourt NT property, and can be accessed from the A32 Enniskillen to Swanlinbar / Ballinamore Road. It will be on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 February. AP staff will be providing the Stardome mobile planetarium, a selection of meteorites, and other hands-on activities.
1. IAA LECTURE, 8 February: The Astronomical Association's next public lecture will be given by Prof Bill Napier, formerly of Armagh Observatory, now University of Cardiff: Title: "Spiral arms, giant comets and life in the Galaxy". Bill is well known to IAA members, having given us several excellent lectures in the past. His research interests include cosmology, comets and their orbits, giant comets, mass extinctions, and exobiology: he holds the professorship at Cardiff in the latter. He has published numerous papers in most of the top academic journals in those fields. He has also written, or co-written three technical books: The Cosmic Serpent ('82, with Victor Clube), The Origin of Comets ('90, with Mark Bailey and Victor Clube, and The Cosmic Winter (with Victor Clube).
He is also a very well respected and successful writer of scientific thrillers, with 5 published so far: Nemesis (1998), Revelation (2000), The Lure (2002), Shattered Icon (2003) and The Furies (2009).
The lecture will look at various factors affecting both the development, and the possible space hazard risks to, life on Earth and elsewhere in the galaxy
The lecture is on WEDNESDAY 22 February, 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
"Cosmic Cuilcagh" aims to bring the universe down to earth in Fermanagh, and is named after the mountain which dominates the area.
The IAA will be providing a selection of powerful telescopes for observing if clear, or on display if cloudy, together with the usual selection of the best astronomical photos and posters from all the world's leading earth-based and space-based telescopes, some of our own meteorites, and other items and information.
It will start at 11.00 on Saturday morning, running on until late that evening if the sky is clear, and then again on Sunday from 11.00 to 17.00. Celestial highlights will include a lovely crescent moon with Earthshine, brilliant Venus ('the evening star'), giant planet Jupiter with its belts and four large moons, and Mars rising later in the evening. And of course all the usual deep sky wonders from one of our nearest neighbour stars, through double stars, clusters and nebulae, or nearest big neighbour galaxy in Andromeda, out to members of the Leo/Virgo cluster of galaxies.
See http://www.marblearchcavesgeopark.com/ for location and other details.
The V/C has a cafe, and refreshments will be available.
3. IAA again, at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, on 30 March, evening: This event had already been booked well before the BBC Stargazing Live event. It too will have our usual format (but without the broadcast this time). This will be similar to other recent events, except that we will be running the whole event ourselves, with the Stardome of course (loaned from Armagh Planetarium with thanks once again). See www.irishastro.org
4. COSMOS 2012: The Midlands Astronomy Club are finalising the programme for their very popular annual star party, at Annaharvey Farm, just outside Tullamore, on the W/E of 13-15 April. More details when available, but note all these dates in your diaries.
5. Lectures in RDS, Dublin: In celebration of Dublin's status as European City of Science 2012, UCD School of Physics has teamed up with the RDS to bring some of the world's leading physicists to speak in Dublin about the latest developments in their fields of research. Please note these lectures are aimed at a public audience. Full details of these lectures and booking information can be found on the UCD website: http://ssmr.ucd.ie/speakerseries2012/speaker_series2012.html
Metamaterials and the Science of Invisibility - Sir John Pendry. Tuesday February 14, 2012; RDS Concert Hall; 6.00pm -- 7.30pm
Titan - The Moon that thinks it's a Planet - Prof. John Zarnecki. Tuesday March 20, 2012
Minerva Suite; 6.00pm – 7.30pm.
Lasers in the Fast Lane - Prof. Wilson Sibbett. Tuesday May 15, 2012. RDS Concert Hall
6.00pm - 7.30pm
6. Advance notice: Armagh Observatory Event, 17 March.
AO's next public event will be a pair of back-to-back public lectures in St. Patrick's Trian on the morning of St. Patrick's Day, Saturday 17th March, followed by tours of the Observatory Grounds and Astropark, and an exhibition, in the afternoon. More details when available, but note your diaries if interested.
7. ISS: the International Space Station will commence a new series of evening passes on Feb 14/15. See www.heavens-above.com for details of this, and other bright satellites, Iridium Flares etc, for your own location.
8. Venus, the Evening Star: Is now prominent in the evening twilight as the brilliant 'evening star'. It continues to brighten and move higher up into a darker sky throughout the next two months and will be very well placed in late March as it approaches the Pleiades. It's visible in the SW after sunset, at magnitude -4.3, and apparent diameter 15" (arcsecs).
9. Aurora alerts. A lot of people who are not particularly interested in astronomy have asked me about seeing an aurora from Ireland/UK. I'm therefore going to set up a separate alert bulletin for possible aurora events only. If you know anyone who would like to get alerts of chances when aurorae might be visible from here (but not these more comprehensive bulletins), send me their email address, or ask them to email me directly.
I will of course include such information in these general astronomy bulletins too!
10: Earth Hour 2012 March 31, 20:30 - 21:30. Switch off all unnecessary lights, see the sky, and save the planet! Take part in a global call to action to highlight concerns about climate change and the way we are wasting the worlds limited resources
11. BCO Events. A wide variety of scientific events continue into next month at Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork. see www.bco.ie
14. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is now even easier: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://irishastro.org.uk/iaamembership.doc. See also www.irishastro.org.