Thursday, 9 May 2013

Another fireball, CERN/LHC, Venus emerges, TV, IAA Solar Day & BBQ, Weblinks

Hi all,

1. ANOTHER BRIGHT FIREBALL, over England: Another bright fireball was seen and imaged last night, passing over SW and Southern England. No reports yet of any meteorite falls. There is some speculation that it might have been an unusually bright member of the Eta Aquarids meteor shower, which comprise particles from Halley's Comet. But until we have a better picture of the trajectory, we won't know for sure. If it was a piece from the comet, then we would not expect any meteorites. See:^headlines
2. CERN at QUB:  The exhibition and series of talks about CERN, the LHC, Higgs Boson etc, continues with a lecture tonight at QUB. Admission is free, but by ticket only. The exhibition is open 9-5 today, and 9 to lunchtime on Friday. Congratulations to Prof Alan Fitzsimmons and his team at QUB who did all the organising for this major event visiting Belfast. Details at:,384694,en.html#d.en.384694
3. Venus emerges to meet Jupiter and  Moon, and be joined by Mercury: Brilliant Venus is now emerging from Solar conjunction into the evening twilight. As it moves further out from the Sun, it will meet Jupiter, the second brightest planet, as it moves to pass behind the Sun. And they will be joined by a lovely crescent Moon, and later by shy twinkling Mercury, to form one of the loveliest conjunctions for many years.
   On the evening of 11 May, look for bright Venus low in the WNW twilight shortly after sunset. From Belfast, at 10pm BST, Venus will be 2deg 20' (almost 5 moon diameters) above the horizon, with a very thin crescent Moon 9 degrees to the left, at about 10.0 on a clock face from Venus. Then look for fainter Jupiter 9 deg above the Moon, at 11pm on a clock face.
   Next evening at the same time, the Moon will have moved to lie 5 deg left of, and a bit below, Jupiter, with Venus almost 20 deg below and right of the Mon.
   Then on 20 May, Mercury will start to creep out from the Sun's glare: at 22.10 BST it will lie just over 3 deg (6 Moon diameters) above the NW horizon, with Venus and Jupiter above and left of it. Then watch over the next week as they change their relative positions, including a lovely close equilateral triangle on 26 May. More details closer to that time.
4. Annual Solar Eclipse, Australia, 9-10 May. Following last year's Total Solar Eclipse, North Queensland will have an annular eclipse on 9 May (10 May local time). The track starts in Western Australia, moves into Northern Territory, then across Far North Queensland and out into the Pacific, where it crosses a few small islands. The track crosses that of last November's TSE in a remote area near the base of the Cape York peninsula. … Maximum duration on the mainland is 4m 40s, and longest on any of the islands is 5m 53s. Cairns will see an 89% partial eclipse.
5. GALILEO: "THE LIFE OF GALILEO", by Bertolt Brecht, in a new version by David Hare, will be performed by the Greenwood Players in St. George's Church, Belfast, 7.30pm, Saturday 11th May 2013.
This is part of the 14th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, 2nd--12th May 2013.
For tickets, see
For poster, see
For further information, see

6. TV:

A. "The SKY AT NIGHT" Stunning Saturn: With Saturn in our evening skies, the team investigate the storm that is still raging in the planet's atmosphere, and illustrate Saturn's 'opposition effect'.
Thu May 09 at 07:30pm BBC FOUR
Fri May 10 at 01:50am BBC FOUR
Sat May 11 at 11:10am BBC 2 Northern Ireland
Sat May 11 at 11:10am BBC Two HD
Sun May 12 at 01:05am BBC FOUR
The BBC1 and BBC2 programmes are shorter versions (20 minutes). The BBC FOUR transmissions are 30 minutes long.

B. BBC2, Sunday 12 May,
20.00: . The Challenger Disaster. On 28 January 1986, the Challenger space shuttle exploded 73 seconds after takeoff. This fact-based drama starring William Hurt shows how Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman carried out his investigation into the disaster. Director James Hawes (R) (S) (AD) (HD)  75893
9.30 The Fantastic Mr Feynman
Twenty-five years after his death, Richard Feynman is still regarded as one of the most influential, inspiring and iconic scientists of the 20th century. Now, in his own words and those of his friends and family, we hear a detailed account of the physicist's life and learn how he was also one of science's most captivating communicators. Director/Producer Christopher Riley (S) (AD) (HD) 18928 (Thanks to Peter Miller for those alerts)

7. IAA SOLAR DAY, CARNFUNNOCK COUNTRY PARK. We'll be holding another of these very popular solar days at Carnfunnock Country Park on the A2 Antrim Coast Road just a few miles N of Larne, on Saturday 15 June, 2 - 5 p.m. Solar telescopes, the biggest collection of sundials in Ireland, an astronomy exhibition, and of course the mobile planetarium with shows for young and old. More details later.
8. IAA MIDSUMMER BBQ: This will be held at about 5.15 p.m., immediately after our Solar day at Carnfunnock CP on Saturday 15 June: see above;
9. The ASGI Summer Meeting will be held in Trinity College, Dublin on Friday June 7th 2013. This date and venue have been chosen to coincide with the visit of the European Space Expo to TCD (see for more details). This is a professional level meeting, but members of affiliated societies, such as the IAA, are welcome to attend. But be warned: most of it is heavy stuff!
10.  Death of long-standing IAA member: It is with regret that we have learned of the sad death of one of our oldest members, Mr Hubert Hall, aged 90 years, on 16 April. Our sympathy and condolences to the family circle.
12. BCO: For information on events at Blackrock Castle Observatory, including the summer Space Camp, see
13. TWITTER: Follow the IAA on Twitter:  @IaaAstro

14. BBC THINGS TO DO WEBSITE: See the forthcoming IAA events on Look under 'Countryfile'.
15. 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 youYou can also make a donation via Paypal if you wish: just click on the 'Donate' button.  See also
Clear skies,
Terry Moseley

I'm now back on Twitter, after some temporary hiccups: @terrymoseley2


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