Wednesday, 26 November 2014

IAA Dinner, Lecture, Sl Gullion event, ISS, DCP, Rosetta, Xmas at AP, Faroes TSE

Hi all,
1.  IAA 40th Anniversary Dinner: 28 Nov. Maynard Sinclair Pavilion, Stormont Estate.  Bookings for this event are now closed. There has been a great response with 55 booked & paid.
Start time: 7.30 for 8.00
Directions: The MSP is in the Stormont Estate, with its own access directly off the Upper Newtownards Road.
1. Going from Belfast towards Dundonald: Go past the main entrance to Stormont, (.e. the Prince of Wales Drive, with the big ornamental gates, leading to the long straight driveway up to Parliament Buildings). Just after that, go through TWO sets of traffic lights in fairly quick succession. Then take the SECOND entrance on the left, signposted "Pavilion Complex." It's just on a slight right hand bend.
2. Coming from Dundonald towards Belfast: Go past Knock Golf Club and the Stoney road junction traffic lights. Go on past the old entrance to Dundonald House (big black gates, now permanently closed). Then take the next entrance on the right.
   This entrance is at N 54d 35' 42"; W 5d 49' 48".
3. Then proceed a few hundred metres to the car park area 54d 35' 48", W 5d 49' 51". You can proceed on a bit further past the open triangular area: there are more car park spaces on the left If that area is full, drive back out towards the main road, and you'll find an overflow car park area on the left just before you reach the road.
4. The Pavilion itself is on the left of the car park area as you drive into it, up a short inclined driveway. Location: 54d 35' 48", W 5d 49' 55".
5. Anyone with a blue badge can park just outside the Pavilion by going up this driveway. Anyone with lesser mobility problems can be dropped off in this area, with the car returning to the main car park area..
6. SEATING: Official Guests will be at a 'Top Table'. there will be 7 round tables, seat at your own preference.
7. WINE: A selection is available to be ordered as you wish at your table; house wine plus a selection of branded wine, all at members preferential prices. It would be VERY HELPFUL if you could pay cash for any drinks you order!
2. IAA LECTURE: The next IAA public lecture will be on Wednesday 3 December, at 7.30 p.m. It will be given by Prof Tom Ray, of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Title:  "The Einstein Lens and a Tale of Two Eclipses."

   This lecture will present some exclusive new findings about the trips that were made to various parts of the world to observe the Total Solar Eclipse in 1919: the first attempt to check the predictions of General Relativity. see

There are two important local connections –

1. The telescope lens, which was made in Ireland; and 2. The astronomer who led the expedition to Brazil was Andrew Crommelin, born in Cushendun, Co Antrim, and son of the family who gave their name to NewtownCrommelin in Co Antrim! See  Andrew Crommelin was a noted cometary astronomer, and one of only 4 people who have a comet named after them although they did not discover it:

  You will have a chance to see the telescope lens that proved Einstein's theory of Relativity was correct! And it was made in this Island!

   NB: We are aware that there had been problems hearing the speaker from the back of the lecture theatre, partly due to the noise from the twin data projector cooling fans. At the last lecture all the speakers used a mike and the PA system, which seemed to solve the problem. We will ensure that all future speakers use a microphone to prevent this problem recurring.
  This lecture will as usual be in the Bell Lecture theatre, Physics building, main QUB Campus.
   The lecture is free and open to all, including free refreshments. Venue: the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast, at 7.30 p.m. 
   Thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for help in hosting these lectures.
3: Public Astronomy Night at Slieve Gullion, Sunday 30 November 
The IAA will be holding another public astronomy outreach event, this time at a new dark sky venue, the visitor's centre at Slieve Gullion Forest Park, near the village of Meigh, SW of Newry. 
VENUE: Visitors Centre, Slieve Gullion Forest Park. Signposted off B113 from Newry to Forkhill, past the village of Meigh. It has nice dark skies. The entrance is at N 54 deg 6' 36.5"; W: 6 deg 24' 19"
Café in the VC for hot refreshments. Come along if you can, bring a portable telescope if you have one   This event will begin at 6.00, and finish by about 9.30 - 10.00, depending on weather.
We will have our usual selection of telescopes and binoculars for observing (or on display of cloudy), an exhibition including meteorites, and a public lecture.
   All are welcome, and admission is free.
   Hot refreshments will be provided.
4. IAA SUBSCRIPTIONS: Subscriptions for the current year (2014 - 2015) are now overdue. If you do not renew your subscription, your membership will cease, and you won't get the next copy of our excellent magazine, STARDUST. See last item below for details of how to pay.
5. ISS: The International Space Station is just finishing a series of morning passes over Ireland, and will commence a new series of evening passes on 5 December. See for details for your own location.

6.  IAA Observing Nights at Delamont Country Park
These very popular weekend observing sessions have started again with some very successful viewing. Delamont is well signposted off the A22 just South of Killyleagh, (North of Downpatrick) Co Down. They are suitable for anyone, but are aimed especially at beginners.
We bring our own large telescopes; bring your own if you have a portable one.
  The events work like this: If it's clear on the Friday night, the event goes ahead. If not, we try again on the Saturday night. If both are cloudy, we try again on the following weekend, same procedure. To check if it's going ahead, check the IAA website: up to 6.0 p.m. on each day, and for dates for next session: If cloudy, we'll try again on the next date on the list.…
7. ROSETTA Mission to Comet 67-P See:
8. Xmas shows at Armagh Planetarium. Join Armagh Planetarium this Christmas as we journey back more than 2000 years to Bethlehem, and seek to discover an explanation for the star the Wise Men followed to find the baby Jesus in "Mystery of the Christmas Star".  
  The Star of Bethlehem is an iconic astronomical event whose true origin remains unknown even today, in spite of years of speculation and research.  The show will guide the viewer through some of these investigations and the most likely causes of this interesting cosmological object which was remarkable enough to make the wise men travel across the desert from
Babylon to Bethlehem
to see the new born baby.  
   You will also explore possible dates for the birth of Christ and look at the historical records of significant astronomical events which occurred at this time.
 The show opens on Monday 1 until
Tuesday 23 December 2014
 Show Times:
Monday – Friday (1-19 Dec) at 2pm
Saturday/School Holidays at 1pm and 4pm
Evening shows every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2-18 December at 7:30pm

Booking is essential


9. FAEROES ECLIPSE TRIP: The next Total Solar Eclipse visible on Earth will be on 20 March, 2015. This total eclipse track will only cross land on Earth in two places: the Faeroes, and Svalbard in the far North Atlantic. IAA member and eclipse author Dr Kate Russo will be leading a tour to observe this eclipse in the Faeroes. I have the honour to be the 'eclipse/astronomy/aurora expert' on the trip, on which we hope to be able to get good views of the aurora as well as the eclipse itself. See You can also find out more details on the eclipse blog site:


10. UKSEDS National Conference: The 27th Annual UKSEDS National Student Space Conference will be held on the weekend of 28 February - 1 March 2015, and hosted by Surrey EARS at the University of Surrey. Early bird tickets are now available. 

  The UKSEDS National Student Space Conference is the premier event for space students, bringing together students, academics, and professionals from across the country to share knowledge of space, discuss the challenges facing the sector, and to create new links between groups. It features talks by leading space science and industry figures, a careers fair, and opportunities to take part in discussions and networking events.

  The Conference is run and organised by UKSEDS, the UK's student space society, which unites space-enthusiasts at universities across the country. A different UKSEDS branch hosts the conference each year, and next year it will be hosted by Surrey Electronic and Amateur Radio Society (EARS), at the University of Surrey. UKSEDS' founding conference was held in 1988 at the Science Museum, London, making this year's event our 27th.

  There are expected to be upwards of 200 attendees, primarily undergraduate and graduate engineers and scientists with a strong interest in the space industry who are looking to learn more about space projects and potential employers. 

  Special early bird rate tickets are now open on our conference minisite at and will be available until 31 December. One-day tickets, and tickets for the evening social will become available after that point. Your ticket grants you access to the conference and includes lunch. Saturday tickets include the evening networking reception.

   We also offer a number of different sponsorship packages which can be tailored to your requirements. These include having a stand in our exhibition hall, presenting a talk as part of the conference, sponsoring coffee, lunch, a networking reception, or an evening social event. If you are interested in exhibiting or sponsoring contact Due to the nature of some of these opportunities we are only able to offer a limited number, so please get in touch soon to avoid disappointment.   Meanwhile follow the hashtag #NSSC15 on social media and join our Facebook event here.

CONTACTS: Ryan Laird, Vice-Chair of UKSEDS

11. ARCHAEOASTRONOMY TRIP TO NEWGRANGE and KNOWTH, 2015, These trips have proved so popular that as soon as I got back from the last one, Stranmillis University College Institute of LifeLong Learning asked me to lead another one next spring!  Like the last one, the next trip will include 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 will open later, but if you want to go, note the date in your diary: Sat 9 May. More details when the new brochure comes out.

Galway Astrofest: Feb 21, 2015, Theme: "New Worlds - New Horizons" Excellent speaker line-up already!  Latest news on speakers: To provide detailed insight into space missions one of the agency's senior scientific advisors;  Professor Michael Perryman will talk about the GAIA mission, while Professor Susan McKenna Lawlor will look at the Rosetta Comet mission for which her team built an instrument for the Philae lander.  See Check for latest updates.
 COSMOS: April 17th to 19th 2015, Shamrock LodgeHotel, Athlone.
Skelligs Star Party: 14-16 August, Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry.  This is a Gold Medal winning Dark Sky site.  see
AI 'Star-B-Q': 15 August, An Tochar GAA Grounds, Roundwood, Co.Wicklow.


13: Interesting Weblinks: The obvious question is "Why would you want to?" As the Sun warms, Venus will get even more inhospitable. 
Halfway, starting from where? Starting from the first use of tools? - OK. Starting from the first Chinese rockets 1500 years ago? Maybe.  Starting from the Wright Bros? - Could be argued. Starting from Yuri Gagarin? Possibly. Starting from Apollo - definitely not, IMHO!
The people at UFO Sightings Daily are seriously deficient in one or more of the following
1. Intelligence - if they really believe what they are putting out
2. Integrity - if they don't actually believe it, but promote it anyway
3. Self-respect - as for No 2.
4. Shame - they never admit it when they are proved wrong. By the time anyone digs them up, there won't be any DVD players, so they had better bury one, plus instructions, too! 
14. TWITTER: Follow the IAA on Twitter: The account is now operational again as before: @IaaAstro.
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

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