Wednesday, 27 March 2013

PanSTARRS seen, IAA Lecture, Armagh event, Globe at Night, COSMOS, Weblinks

Hi all,
1. Update - COMET PanSTARRS
   Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2011 L4) is now
visible from our latitudes. Some local observers got their first glimpse on Tuesday evening: I missed it then as I was giving one of my Stranmillis lectures.
   But I saw it earlier this evening (Wed) from Boghill, about 12m North of Belfast, along with Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, David Stewart and Ken Doyle.
   However, it was rather disappointing, to say the least. I would estimate the magnitude as +3, but that was not as bright as you would think, as it was low down in fairly bright twilight. It was visible in my 10x50 binocs, and a bit better in my 30x80s, but I couldn't see it without optical aid. Ken said he could see it naked eye, so I went to the car to get my specs, but by the time I got back the comet was sinking into a bank of haze. It was noticeably yellow, and I could see a tail of about 30 - 40 arcmins pointing up and to the left. There are photos by various IAA members on the IAA website:, and but don't expect another Hale-Bopp. 
   It may get easier to see as it moves higher up and into a darker sky, but it is expected to get fainter at the same time, so it's hard to predict.
    It may be too early to label it 'Down The PanSTARRS', but it's certainly not an easy comet from here, so far. I would rate it at only about 14th or 15th on the list of the best comets I've seen.
    Visit for images, sky maps and observing tips.
The following site gives good viewing information for our latitude:
And this is an excellent guide to observing comets in general:
 Good luck, and send in all your reports and images to me and to
2.  IAA LECTURE: The next IAA public lecture will be on Wednesday 20 March, at 7.30 p. m.
It will be given by Andrew Dennis of Andor Technology: The title is "Andor and Cutting Edge Astronomy".
   Andor, a Belfast company, is one of the world's leading designers and makers of advanced digital cameras, which are used in some of the world's leading astronomical imaging systems, both on Earth and in space. We are delighted to have this presentation by an expert from the company.
Synopsis: I will spend a couple of minutes discussing the types of cameras we make and where the company came from (QUB Physics), but the bulk of the presentation is focussed on the interesting applications where our cameras are employed, these include:
 Lucky Imaging
 Hunting for Extra Solar Planets using various techniques
  Andor's involvement in the development of the Curiosity (Mars) Rover
 The Sofia Flying Telescope (it's a 14 tonne telescope in a Boeing 747) 
 Adaptive Optics 
 Tracking space junk, mapping the Kuiper belt and tracking comets.
  And a few other things
       Admission is free, including light refreshments, and all are welcome.
This lecture will as usual be in the Bell Lecture theatre, Physics building, main QUB Campus.
3. Armagh Observatory Public St. Patrick's Day Event
The Armagh Observatory and the Armagh Public Library are working together on St. Patrick's Day to provide an afternoon of guided tours and participative events as part of Creativity Month and of the St. Patrick's
Day celebrations in St. Patrick's City of Armagh. 
   Those with an interest in astronomy may have a tour of the Armagh Observatory's Human Orrery, just south of the main Observatory building, and a tour of the Astropark.  These tours will begin at 2.00pm and 3.15pm respectively. From 3.15pm to 4.00pm, there will be a guided tour of the Observatory's Astropark, led by one of the astronomers. (
   If the sky is clear, there will be stargazing and views of Comet PANSTARRS at No 5 Vicars' Hill, beginning at 6.45pm.
   Attendance at these St Patrick's Day events, part of DCAL's Creativity Month, is free, but to help us gauge interest please contact the Armagh Observatory in order to obtain tickets. lease write, telephone
or e-mail: Mrs Aileen McKee, Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG; Tel: 028-3752-2928; Fax: 028-3752-7174; e-mail:
4. Join the World-wide GLOBE at Night 2013 Campaign
 What would it be like without stars at night? What is it we lose? Starry night skies have given us poetry, art, music and the wonder to explore. A bright night sky (aka light pollution) affects energy consumption, health and wildlife too. Spend a few minutes to help scientists by measuring the brightness of your night sky. Join the GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaign ( The third campaign started March 3 and runs through March 12.
More information:
GLOBE at Night is a world-wide, hands-on science and education program to encourage citizen-scientists world-wide to record the brightness of their night sky. During five select sets of dates in 2013, children and adults match the appearance of a constellation (Orion or Leo in the northern hemisphere, and Orion and Crux in the southern hemisphere) with seven star charts of progressively fainter stars ( Participants then submit their choice of star chart at with their date, time and location. This can be done by computer (after the measurement) or by smart phone or pad (during the measurement). From these data an interactive map of all world-wide observations is created ( Over the past 7 years of 10-day campaigns, people in 115 countries have contributed over 83,000 measurements, making GLOBE at Night the most popular, light pollution citizen-science campaign to date ( The GLOBE at Night website is easy to use, comprehensive, and holds an abundance of background information ( and Guides, activities, one-page flyers and postcards advertising the campaign are available at Through GLOBE at Night, students, teachers, parents and community members are amassing a data set from which they can explore the nature of light pollution locally and across the globe. The remaining GLOBE at Night campaigns in 2013 are: March 31 - April 9, and April 29 - May 8. Make a difference and join the GLOBE at Night campaign.
Constance E. Walker, Ph.D. Associate scientist & senior science education specialist, NOAO;
Director, GLOBE at Night campaign (
National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO)
950 N. Cherry Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85719 USA
5. COSMOS 2013: The next COSMOS star party will be held at Tullamore on 12-14 April. Speakers so far confirmed: Sara Beck of the American Association of Variable Star Observers from Boston, USA; Prof. Ian Morison, former Gresham Professor of Astronomy, Gresham College, London; Simon Jeffrey, Research Astronomer at Armagh Observatory; Declan Molloy, Midlands Astronomy Club; Simon Todd, renowned Irish astrophotographer; Dave McDonald, IFAS Chairperson and renowned asteroid hunter. And more still to be announced!
7. TWITTER: Follow the IAA on Twitter:  @IaaAstro

8. BBC THINGS TO DO WEBSITE: See the forthcoming IAA events on Look under 'Countryfile'.
9. 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
Clear skies,
Terry Moseley


Anonymous said...

you are in point of fact a excellent webmaster. The web site loading speed is amazing.
It sort of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick.
Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you have performed a fantastic process on this subject!

Check out my site: Raspberry ketone diet

Anonymous said...

A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment.

I think that you should publish more about this topic, it might not be
a taboo subject but usually people do not discuss such topics.
To the next! Cheers!!

Here is my web page - faraday flashlights

Anonymous said...

These are really wonderful ideas in regarding blogging.
You have touched some good factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.

My site -

Anonymous said...

I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website
yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
Plz answer back as I'm looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. kudos

Also visit my web-site ::

Anonymous said...

Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful
& it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like
you aided me.

Feel free to surf to my blog :: goodwill online store

Anonymous said...

Heya are using Wordpress for your site platform? I'm new to the blog world but I'm trying
to get started and set up my own. Do you need any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
Any help would be really appreciated!

Here is my blog post -