Friday, 7 September 2012

Lectures, Book Launch, astrophot workshop, BCO, NEO pass, Moon, Meteorites

Hi all,
The opening lecture of the IAA's new season will be given by none other than the renowned space expert, broadcaster, lecturer, journalist & character, Leo Enright. It's entitled "Mountaineering on Mars".  Leo will take us into the canyon-lands of Gale Crater on Mars, to scale the summit of a mountain taller than Mont Blanc.  Using the latest pictures from the Curiosity rover, he will guide us through the most breathtaking scenery ever witnessed on the surface of another planet.  We expect that some of the pictures for this talk will have arrived on Earth just minutes before Leo speaks, so this will truly be the latest news from the surface of Mars.
VENUE: Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Main campus, Queens' University, Malone Road, Belfast. Time: 7.30 p.m. Doors open from about 7.10. Admission Free, including light refreshments. All welcome.
2. Cork Astronomy Club Lecture, 10 Sep: "First Steps in Astronomy" An introduction for beginners. By Terry Moseley. 8 p.m. Civil Engineering Building, UCC, College Road. The opening lecture of the new season will describe what you need to know to get started in astronomy, from learning the basics, finding your way around the sky, getting equipment, etc.
3. Astrophotography workshop Sep 10: (see last bulletin: these further details from John Flannery) Tom O'Donoghue's astrophotography exhibition opened last night with images that are simply stunning in their beauty. A number of the portraits have more than 50 hours camera exposure time, never mind the processing.
    Tom mentioned that he is holding a workshop/talk from 7pm to 9pm in the Centre for Creative Practices in Pembroke Street Lower, Dublin next Monday, September 10th. You can register for this via Tom's e-mail address which is at the bottom of his web site 
   The Centre for Creative Practices is at number 15, Pembroke Street Lower, not far from the corner with Baggot Street on the same side of the road as F.X. Buckley's restaurant. You go down a set of stairs beside the main entrance to #15. See
4. Events at Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork:  See the website  for details, including the following talk on meteorites:  

If you've ever wanted to see what a meteorite looks like then Friday 7 Sep is your chance! Dr. Matthew Parkes from the Natural History Museum will bring a selection of meteorites to incorporate into his talk, allowing you to see and feel what meteorites are like close-up. Free event from 18:00 open to all, includes family-friendly workshops and Cosmos at the Castle 

5. Newly discovered NEO to make a close pass to Earth  (Adapted from a BAA e-circular, with thanks).
   NEO 2012 QG42 was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey on Aug 26, and this relatively large
near-Earth asteroid will be readily observable for Irish/UK observers between September 4-14 during which time it will exceed magnitude 15.0.  It is probably between 200-500 m diameter. It will be brightest around September 10-12 when it will reach visual magnitude 13.6 on average. It passes closest to us around 05h UT on Sep 14 at a range of about 7.4 lunar-distances (0.019 AU).
   2012 QG42 is a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) and is unusual in that it passes very close to the opposition point on September 7. The circumstances of this close approach therefore makes it a good target for photometry (using a V, R or r' filter if possible) as well as other physical studies. An ephemeris with visibility details for UK observers is available at:
   If you are planning to observe this target then please consult the Minor Planet Center ephemeris service: to obtain exact positions for an observatory location near to your site at the time you require.
   This object should be within easy reach of many readers with modern CCD imaging equipment.
6. IAA MEMBER'S ECLIPSE BOOK LAUNCH IN BELFAST, 15 Sep. Remember the official launch of "TOTAL ADDICTION: The Life of an Eclipse Chaser" by IAA member Dr Kate Russo, at 3 p.m. on Sat 15 September, at the Queen's Film Theatre, University Square, Belfast. 
   Kate is both a clinical psychologist and a highly enthusiastic eclipse chaser, and she has combined the two in this fascinating book about what drives people to travel halfway round the world to see a Total Eclipse of the Sun. The simple answer is of course that it's probably the most amazing, incredible, mind-blowing, emotional spectacle that anyone will ever see. But there's much more to it than that, with lots of different motivations for seeing one, and an even greater range of reactions to the event.
   The event is free, with a documentary being shown in the film theatre, followed by some presentations by Kate and others - even including myself - followed by refreshments and a chance to get a signed copy, chat to Kate, and mingle with other astronomers and eclipse chasers. And some psychologists to, but don't let that put you off - they won't be analysing anybody!
   Everyone is welcome to attend. Details at  - and look under events.
7. International Observe the Moon Night, Sep 22:

Saturday, September 22nd, is when telescopes worldwide will be pointed at our lovely space neighbour for members of the public to observe the Moon. More details later.


8. "Meteorites Tamed" Lecture Series, Ulster Museum, by Dr Mike Simms
Mondays at 7.30pm, 22nd October – 26th November 2012
Free. Booking for each lecture essential: Go to, Telephone 028 9044 0000
(Lines open Tue – Sun 10am – 6pm), Email:
SYNOPSIS: Every year visitors from Outer Space arrive on Earth. These are meteorites, messengers from beyond our planet. This series of six lectures from Dr Mike Simms will explain what meteorites are, where they come from, how they get here, and what they can tell us about the far reaches and earliest history of our Solar System.

10. TWITTER: the IAA now has a twitter account:  @IaaAstro

11. BBC THINGS TO DO WEBSITE: See the forthcoming IAA events on  
12. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is now even easier: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. If you are a UK taxpayer, please tick the 'gift-aid' box, as that enables us to reclaim the standard rate of tax on your subscription, at no cost to you.  See also
Clear skies,
Terry Moseley


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