Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Perseids, Public lecture, ISS, Rosetta @ comet, INAM, Sun at WWT, Newgrange, etc

Hi all,
The Perseids are one of the best, and usually the most popular, of the annual meteor showers. The shower got underway at the beginning of August, and peaks on Aug 12 or 13: this year it's at 0h on the 13th. Normally that would give us ideal observing conditions, but this year the view will be spoiled by a bright 'SuperMoon', just past Full.  But on the night of maximum it will still be worth looking, even though all but the brighter meteors will be drowned out by the moonlight - try to get a view of the sky where the Moon is hidden by trees or a building etc.
   The radiant will be high in the sky late in the night, near the famous Double Cluster in Perseus, but you can see the meteors in any part of the sky. Usually it's best to look at an area about 50 degrees above the horizon, and about 50-60 degrees from the radiant - avoiding direct moonlight if you can.
  The shower persists to about August 16/17, but with gradually declining rates. On the succeeding nights (13/14, 14/15 and 15/16) it would be worth looking in the brief but lengthening interval between the end of twilight, and Moonrise.
   TM on Radio Ulster, "Good Morning Ulster": I was interviewed at home this evening by Megan McKay about the Supermoon, ISS and Perseids, which should go out on Monday morning at about 07.50. We got a lovely view of the 'Supermoon'; then the ISS, preceded by the ATV-5 Supply Craft about 6 degrees in front of it. We didn't wait for the sky to get dark enough for any Perseids, but that was pretty good seeing that it had rained hard all day up until about sunset!
2. Free Public Lecture in TCD: Prof Paul Roche
Attendance is free, but you must register to attend.
ASGI is pleased to announce that Professor Paul Roche (University of South Wales) will give a public lecture at 7.30pm on Thursday August 14th in the Joly Lecture Theatre in the Hamilton Building of Trinity College Dublin: "Seeing stars: Science and Education with big telescopes"
    Prof. Paul Roche has spent over 20 years researching massive stars, neutron stars and black holes, as well as working in astronomy education, outreach and science communication. He has presented a number of TV programs including BBC2's 'Final Frontier' and 'All Night Star Party'. Professor Roche is the Director of the Faulkes Telescope Project that provides school access to astronomical telescopes. He is space ambassador for Wales and the 'UK National Schools' Astronomer. His talk will address discoveries at the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
  The event is free and open to the public and doors open at 7:00 pm
 The venue has limited seating so if you are planning to attend the public lecture we ask you to please register online using the following form: http://inam2014.com/public-lecture/ 
3. ISS VISIBLE AGAIN: The ISS is now visible in evening and morning skies, until mid-August. From then, it will be visible in evening skies until 21 August.
4.  ROSETTA NOW AT Comet C-G. The Rosetta spacecraft has now rendezvoused with Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. After studying the 'binary' surface in more detail, it will land a probe on the surface. Watch out for some amazing photos. 
  For the latest up-to-date news as it is released, see http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/ 
  See also recent stories: http://www.space.com/26716-rosetta-spacecraft-comet-orbit-arrival-explained.html?cmpid=558122 But it's not Comet Wednesday, it's Comet Churyumov Gerasimenko.... Would it really be too much trouble to put in that little preposition "on"? 
5. Major astronomy event in Dublin, INAM: 13-15 August: REGISTER NOW:
You should register even if you only want to attend the public lecture.
Details: This year the ASGI is proud to announce the first Irish National Astronomical Meeting (INAM:2014), celebrating the 40th anniversary of the ASGI, and spanning 3 days. This will represent the new format of the future ASGI meetings, with more focused sessions, chosen by the Irish Astronomical community, aimed at developing meaningful and long-lasting collaborations and friendships. 
* We invite you to join us at the Hamilton Conference Centre on the main Trinity College Dublin campus, between August 13th – 15th.
* Full details are at the meeting website www.inam2014.com, but we highlight some key points here:
* Deadline for registration is 13th July 2014. There is no registration fee.
* Abstract submission and registration are handled on the website.
* The website provides information on travel and accommodation options.
* The ASGI intends on awarding a number of small grants of approximately €100 (or equivalent in GBP) to help support travel/accommodation costs of PhD students and young researchers from outside the immediate Dublin area.
* In addition to the scientific programme of 5 thematic sessions, the meeting will also feature an evening public lecture by Professor Paul Roche (University of South Wales) (see above), a conference dinner, and the inaugural INAM football tournament!
Register at http://inam2014.com
   NB: This is a professional level event (apart from the public lecture), so be prepared from some fairly advanced maths and physics! T.M.
6. IAA Solar Day, WWT, Castle Espie. We will be holding another one of these very popular events on Sunday afternoon, 17 August, from 2.00 to 5.00. We will have solar observing (if clear), telescope displays, exhibition, meteorites, and of course the ever-popular starshows in the mobile stardome, courtesy of Armagh Planetarium. Book your attendance at the starshows at the WWT website.
7. Special IAA Event at Newgrange for Heritage Week, 31 August: The IAA is privileged to have been invited to run a unique observing event at Newgrange World Heritage Site to mark the end of Heritage Week in Ireland. We will have telescopes at the actual Newgrange Mound to observe the sky, which as far as is known has never been done before. In the event of bad weather, visitors will be given a special tour inside the Newgrange Mound. Details and booking must be made direct with Bru Na Boinne, at http://www.worldheritageireland.ie/bru-na-boinne/visitor-information/  See also http://www.meath.ie/Tourism/Heritage/HeritageSites/Newgrange/
 More details on times, access etc, in next bulletin.
8. ASTROARCHAEOLOGY TRIP TO NEWGRANGE and KNOWTH: Following the success of last years' trip, Stranmillis University College Institute of LifeLong Learning have asked to run another one, on 11 October, but this time including a visit to the Knowth Tomb as well. It has the largest collection of Megalithic art anywhere in Europe in one single site, some of which is reckoned to be astronomical. Booking for thus very popular, non-technical trip, is via the Stranmillis website www.stran.ac.uk, or go direct to http://www.stran.ac.uk/media/media,456138,en.pdf and scroll down to p. 23, or pick up a brochure from Reception.
9. The Skelligs Star Party 2014, Taking place from Skelligs Lodge, Ballinskelligs Co Kerry on Aug 22nd to Aug 24th. Chosen as it is within the Kerry Dark Sky site.  Meeting Friday 22nd Aug at Skelligs Lodge from 7pm.… Here is the link to Skellig Lodge: http://www.skelliglodge.com/
We will have a few speakers and workshops on Saturday 23rd Aug from 1pm.…
Stephen Kershaw of Ktec Telescopes plus Carl O'Beirnes of Scopes and Space
Will be bringing a few astronomy goodies for us all to drool over.
I have set up a few events pages here are the links: https://www.facebook.com/events/892995947383034/?fref=ts
Kind Regards, Roy Stewart
10. EXCLUSIVE: Visit to Andor Technology Camera Facility, 13 September: The IAA has arranged a special visit to the Andor Technology Camera manufacturing facility in Belfast. As many of you will know, Andor make some of the best - in many cases the best - high-end digital cameras in the world. They are used in every scientific application imaginable, including of course astronomy, and they can be found in many of the world's top observatories, and in spacecraft. They are also moving into the range of amateur astronomers, having recently acquired Apogee Instruments. Thanks to Dr Andy McCrea we have arranged a free special visit for IAA members, and friends, to this facility, on Saturday 13 September.
Provisional Programme:
1200 Meet in Andor Reception
Introductory welcome and short talk
Lunch (Free, provided by Andor) in their canteen
Tour of the Clean Room and factory assembly floor
Talks on the range of cameras and their applications
Talk on solar astronomy imaging using Andor cameras by Prof Mihalis Mathioudakis of the Astrophysics Research Centre in QUB (link from QUB/ Professor Smart)
Q&A Discussion
Finish - say 1530
  This is an exceptional opportunity to see and learn all about the latest developments and future plans for top class astronomical imaging equipment. Andor will also be interested in feedback from expert amateur users of digital imagers, so this is your opportunity to let them know what YOU would like to see available.
   Spaces are limited, so you must register your intention to attend. Please send your name and contact details to Dr Andy McCrea (of North Down Telescopes: email s.mccrea980@btinternet.com) to ensure that you get a place, and mark your diaries now!
11.  PhD studentship at NUIM: Funded PhD Studentship: Technology development for the next generation CMB and Far IR space satellites
   Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in the Terahertz Space Optics group of NUI Maynooth to work on the development of efficient antennas for the next generation of Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Experiments and far IR astronomical receivers, funded through a European Space Agency programme.
   The Terahertz Space Optics group at NUI Maynooth (Experimental Physics Department) undertakes research in the area of millimetre‐wave and terahertz optics for astronomical instrumentation. The group is involved in both space and ground‐based projects with research focussed on optical design and electromagnetic analysis techniques for CMB and far IR science missions.
   Applicants should normally hold, or expect to obtain, a good undergraduate degree in Physics, and have a high level of proficiency in programming and a good knowledge of optics and electromagnetism.
   More information on the research carried out in the Experimental Physics Department of NUI Maynooth can be found at: https://www.nuim.ie/experimental-
12. IAA ASTRONOMY VISITS - PLANS: As part of our 40th Anniversary celebrations, we are planning at least one astronomical trip to either GB or Paris. This is a preliminary enquiry to assess where the main interest would be. The options are broadly as follows: They would be in the form of a long weekend trip (Friday - Sunday, or Saturday to a BH Monday, or possible Friday to Monday)
1. GB Trip A: Visit to Jodrell Bank, The National Space Centre at Leicester, and possibly either the Spaceguard Centre in Wales or the astronomy centre at Cambridge.
2. GB Trip B: Visit to the historic Greenwich Observatory, Science Centre and Planetarium in London + a visit to the Royal Greenwich Observatory site and Science Centre at Herstmonceux in Sussex, + a visit to the South Downs Planetarium in Chichester (headed by Dr John Mason)
3. Trip to Paris: Visit to Paris to see the historic and still functioning Paris Observatory (made famous by Flammarion & others), and the Meudon Observatory near Versailles, just outside Paris: this hosts the famous 33" 'Grand Lunette' Refractor, the 3rd largest refractor in the world, and the largest outside the USA.
   If you are interested in any of these trips, please let me know by return, indicating them in order of preference.
13. INTERNATIONAL METEOR CONFERENCE, 2014  Thursday September 18 till Sunday 21 September 2014, Giron, France. Giron is a small village located in the south of the Jura Mountains close to Geneva. The region is easily reachable by air (Geneva or Lyon airport), by train (TGV high speed train from Paris and InterCity trains from Geneva railway station) and by car (highway A40 Lyon-Chamonix). Part of the attraction for this event is that a free visit to CERN is included in the price! See http://www.imo.net/imc2014.
 After 30 June you will not be able to book extra nights before or after the IMC via the LOC. After 30 June extra nights should be booked on your own behalf.
Galway Astrofest: Feb 21, 2015, Theme: "New Worlds - New Horizons" Excellent speaker line-up already!  See http://galwayastronomyclub.ie/
 COSMOS: April 17th to 19th 2015, Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone.
16. TWITTER: Follow the IAA on Twitter: The account is now operational again as before: @IaaAstro.

17. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is easy: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://documents.irishastro.org.uk/iaamembership.doc
    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 www.irishastro.org
Finally, in tribute to the late great John Dobson, a quote from him which is typical of the man, and very appropriate:  "If you figure something out for yourself, it doesn't make no never-mind who figured it out first, it's yours."
Clear skies,
Terry Moseley

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