Friday, 2 November 2012

Fwd: Lectures, Stargazing Live 2013, Dark Sky Discovery Night, Weblinks

Hi all,
(I'm off for Australia tomorrow for the Total Solar Eclipse on 13/14 November, and won't be back until the end of the month, so this will cover the next two IAA lectures + a few other new items. I won't repeat the details of all the other public events during the month, so refer to my previous bulletin if you need a reminder about those.)
1. IAA PUBLIC LECTURE: The next IAA Public Lecture is entitled "Solar Activity and Our Climate", and will be on November 14, at 7.30 p.m. 
It will be given by Dr Ian Elliott, formerly of Dunsink Observatory and the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. There is evidence from both solar physicists and atmospheric scientists, together with the climatic record, that the 'Little Ice Age' in N. Europe in the 17th century was linked to the Maunder Minimum in solar activity. Some solar astronomers are saying that the Sun is about to enter another 'Maunder Minimum type period', and that we can therefore expect another prolonged series of very cold winters. Not every one agrees of course, but go along and hear the evidence for yourself: it's a topic of very considerable importance to everyone in these islands, not just astronomers.
  Admission is free, including light refreshments
This lecture will be in the Bell Lecture theatre, Physics building, main QUB Campus.
2. IAA PUBLIC LECTURE: The following IAA Public Lecture is entitled "Cosmic Rulers, Standard Candles and Type 1A Supernovae", and will be on November 28, at 7.30 p.m. It will be given by Dr Rubina Kotak of the Astrophysics Research Centre at QUB. How do we know the distances to the stars, nebulae, other galaxies, galaxy clusters, Quasars, Supermassive Black Holes, and the most distant observed objects in the universe, which we have now detected out to distances equivalent to a time less than a billion years after the 'Big Bang'? The measurement of astronomical distances is absolutely fundamental to the whole of modern astronomy beyond the Solar System, so this will be both a fascinating and important talk.

NB: There MAY be a change to this lecture: check the IAA website for details.

Admission is free, including light refreshments.

This lecture will be in the Bell Lecture theatre, Physics building, main QUB Campus.

3. STARGAZING LIVE BACK: 10 January 2013. Following the phenomenal success of the IAA's events for Stargazing Live last January, the BBC has again asked us to be their partner in delivering another, even bigger and better, event on 10 January. It will again be at the excellent location of Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, near Lurgan, Co Down. More details in the next bulletin, but keep that date free!
4. Dark Sky Discovery Night: The IAA will be running a public observing evening at Delamont Country Park, near Killyleagh, Co Down, on the evening of 9 November, or 10 November if the 9th is cloudy. It's just South of Killyleagh, on the A22 to Downpatrick. This is part of a sustained programme to reduce light pollution and provide dark sky sites where everyone can go and see the night sky free from light pollution. See: for more details
5. SDAS/IAS talks: The next IAS/SDAS meeting will be on Monday, November 5th at 8pm in Gonzaga College, Ranelagh. The topic will be "What makes a comet Great?"Speaker is John Flannery. All are welcome and admission is free.

An additional talk this month: Thursday, November 29th – "Observing the Universe" lecture in Gonzaga College, Ranelagh.

Professor George K Miley, former Director of Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, and currently Chair of the International Astronomical Union's Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), will give this public lecture. Professor Miley is a past-pupil of Gonzaga College and a pioneer in the field of Radio Astronomy. He was recently named a Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion, the Netherlands' highest public distinction, and has received numerous other awards. 


Biggest ever Portrait of the Milky Way: Don't try to download it - it might freeze your computer!
13 November: Launch of X-37B spaceplane: The latest launch of the US Orbital Test Vehicle X-37B is set to take place on or after 13 November, when it will be carried aloft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida atop an Atlas 5 rocket. Built for the US Air Force, the X-37B is a reusable robotic spaceplane designed to operate in Earth orbit for several months at a time, where it can carry out a variety of missions before making an autonomous landing. US Air Force factsheet on X-37B:

7. IAA Annual Subscriptions: All IAA members are reminded that if they have not yet renewed their subscriptions for 2012 - 2013, they should do so at once, otherwise they will not receive the next issue of STARDUST. You can do this easily online:, or via, or download a form, see Item 11 below.

8. TWITTER: Follow the IAA on Twitter:  @IaaAstro

9. BBC THINGS TO DO WEBSITE: See the forthcoming IAA events on  
10. 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