Saturday, 5 January 2013

Quadrantids, NY Party, Lecture, Stargazing Live, Astro course, Galway SP

Hi all,
1. Quadrantid Meteors tonight and tomorrow: The maximum of the annual Quadrantid meteors will be on the early morning of Jan 4, so observe on the night of 3-4 Jan. The ZHR should be about 70 - 90, but actual rates seen might be less than half of that. This shower has a very sharp peak, with maximum rates only occurring for a few hours. Some should also be visible early on the following evening.

   The radiant lies about halfway between the end of the handle of the Plough (or Eta UMa) and the head of Draco. The radiant will be rising in the NNE and then NE.

    Moonlight will be a slight a problem this year: it won't rise until around local midnight, but that's when most of the shower activity should be starting: It's gibbous, but just approaching LQ, with a phase of 63%.

2. IAA New Year Party. This will be held on Saturday 5 January. We start with a buffet meal at McBrides restaurant in The Square, Comber, followed by a special private screening of a film in the local Tudor private cinema. Meet at McBrides at about 5.30 p.m. for 6.0. p.m. The film will be "Men in Black 3". This film is supposed to be funny, but has some S/F violence, and has a rating of PG-13, so parental discretion is advised regarding any children. We will also have free refreshments at the Tudor Cinema, including my notorious seasonal punch (notorious because no-one else can make one like it!), tea & coffee, and soft drinks. We will also have George's entertaining and challenging quiz.
   You MUST book in advance, and if you have already promised to go, but not paid yet, you should contact our treasurer, Mrs Josephine Magill, right away to explain yourself:
Cost £15 per adult - see the IAA website for details.
3. IAA LECTURE: The next IAA public lecture will be on 9 January, at 7.30 p.m.. It will be given by Prof Phil Dufton, of Queen's University. Entitled "45 Years in Astronomy"; Phil will recount the tremendous changes that have occurred in astronomy 'under his watch', as he now retires after a long and distinguished career. I've a feeling that some interesting anecdotes will also be included. This will be an interesting and entertaining start to the new lecture season, and all are welcome.
  Admission is free, including light refreshments
This lecture will as usual be in the Bell Lecture theatre, Physics building, main QUB Campus.
4. BBC's STARGAZING LIVE: Venue: Lough Neagh Discovery Centre (LNDC), Oxford Island, near Lurgan, Co Armagh, on 10 January.
The whole event will be over the period  8 - 10 January, and the IAA is once again the main partner with the BBC in delivering this major public broadcast initiative. Last year was an unbelievable success, and the plans are to make the next one much bigger and even better.
   There will be stargazing if clear, mobile planetarium shows, telescope displays, telescope workshops, meteorites, comet-making, astronomy drama, stargazing cruises on the Maid of Antrim on Lough Neagh (weather permitting), live telescope links to other observatories, 'Ask an Astronomer', hands-on events, the BBC Bus, and much more.
   Final programme details in the next bulletin.  
 The other main special event is a repeat of the highly successful Jupiter Watch held by the IAA and QUB, in the front of the main QUB campus. This will be on 8 January, commencing at 6 p. m.
   More details in the next bulletin, but keep these dates free:
8 January, 18.00: Jupiter Watch at QUB main campus.
9 January: 19.30: IAA Public Lecture, Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB
10 January: Main event: live radio and tv broadcasts of a wide and varied range of activities at LNDC.
5. ASTRONOMY COURSE at STRANMILLIS COLLEGE, BELFAST. I will be delivering a two part course, introduction to astronomy, as follows:

Astronomy:  Our place in the Universe

Looking to the sky for the first time you may feel overwhelmed and confused by the spectacle of thousands of stars above your head.  Astronomy is a great gateway science that can inspire you to do great things!  Participants will gain enjoyment from exploring the wonders of the night sky.  The topics covered include Greek mythology, Egyptian and Babylonian cosmology, Astrobiology, Quantum Physics, Terrestrial and Jovian planets and Solar System to help us understand our place in the cosmos.  This is a great way for the community to come together and take a fresh look at our night belongs to us all.  No experience necessary and questions encouraged! 

Tutor:             Terry Moseley, Time:              7.00pm - 9.00pm

Session 1:         Tuesdays, 5 weeks; dates:      19th February 2013 – 19th March 2013 

Location:        Central Building.

Session 2:         Tuesdays, 5 weeks. Time: 7.00pm - 9.00pm. Dates:      9th April 2013 – 7th May 2013.   Location:        Central Building

There will also be a daytime visit to Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, provisionally on 17 May.

Full details and booking at:

6. Galway Star Party: UPDATE: NB if you are going to this event, you are advised to book accommodation soon, as the Galway Rally will be on the same weekend.
The 10th Galway Starparty: "Ireland, the Final Frontier" takes place on Saturday, 2nd February, 2013 at the Westwood House Hotel, Galway City.
The speakers include:
Dr. Andy Shearer (Centre for Astronomy, NUIG): "Kepler: The Search for Habitable Planets"
Dave Gradwell: "OSCAR: A unique Irish Solar Observatory"
Ronan Newman (workshop): "Celestial Light: Chasing the Elusive Irish Aurora"
John Flannery (South Dublin AS): "What makes a Great Comet?"
Prof. Tom Ray (DIAS): "Making Stars and Planets: The First Three Billion Years"
Dave Grennan: "Hunting Extra-Galactic Supernovae from Ireland"
Terry Moseley (IAA): "Untold Stories of Sir Patrick Moore, FRS" (Celebrating his 90th Birthday)
Professor Lorraine O'Hanlon (UCD) "The GLORIA project"
Details & bookings at:
7. IAA Annual Subscriptions: All IAA members are reminded that if they have not yet renewed their subscriptions for 2012 - 2013, they will not have received the last issue of STARDUST. You can do this easily online:, or via, or download a form.
Amazing timelapse video shows streaking stars in photos taken from International Space Station:
I don't know how the following would operate in Ireland, as only the extreme S tip of the island has the ISS flying 'overhead'; but maybe they allow a bit of extra latitude:
Treat the following article with caution, until we have more information! But still, it looks very promising!
9. TWITTER: Follow the IAA on Twitter:  @IaaAstro

10. BBC THINGS TO DO WEBSITE: See the forthcoming IAA events on Look under 'Countryfile'.
11. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is easy: 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
Finally, may I wish you all a very happy and peaceful New Year.
Clear skies,
Terry Moseley


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