Thursday, 26 March 2015

Radio, IAA at Bangor, Lecture, eclipse reports, ISS, Fireball, Courses, Sir PM

Hi all,

1: Radio program on local woman astronomer:  Unsung astronomy heroine Annie Maunder, who was born in Strabane, and attended Victoria College in Belfast, is the subject of a half-hour programme on Radio Ulster this evening (Thursday), at 7.30 p.m. Entitled "The Lady Computer of Strabane", it features her major role in astronomy at Greenwich, including her work with her husband, EW Maunder, on the Maunder Minimum, and her pioneering work on solar eclipse photography. QUB astronomer Dr Ryan Milligan and I are interviewed as part of the programme. It's well worth listening to, or recording.

2. IAA Event at Bangor, 27 March, 7 p.m:   Stars and Mars, Moon, Venus and Jupiter @ Night at The Museum 

See North Down Museum Come Alive at Night!

Bring along your telescope and get some expert advice.

Observing highlights will be a spectacular First Quarter Moon, plus Jupiter and its moons, Venus, Mars, the Pleiades and lots of other stellar wonders.

Inflatable indoor star dome (no extra charge)

Meteorites on display.

Only £1:00 per person admission.

Coffee Cure @ The Museum will remain open until 9:00pm.

For further information telephone  028 9127 1200

3. IAA LECTURE: Next IAA public lecture:  April 01, 7.30 p.m. by Kate Russo, Andy McCrea and IAA Members: "The Great Solar Eclipse of March 20th". 
Since Kate Russo and I were beaten by clouds in the Faroes, there will be a slight change in presentation compared with the planned format. I'll not be presenting at all, but Kate will give an account of our experience in the Faroes, and Dr Andy McCrea who was lucky enough to get a last minute cancellation for a seat on a high altitude jet flight to see it, will give his account & show his amazing photos.
  Then there will be short presentations by other IAA members who led or helped at our local events, all of which had at least some success, and some were really good!
      The lecture is free and open to all, including free refreshments. Venue: 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.
4. ISS The ISS continues its series of morning passes over Ireland. Full details for your own location, along with lots of other up to date astronomical information, on the excellent FREE site Also try the ISS Spotter by Mediapilot 

5. Bright Fireball over Portadown: James O'Neill spotted a very large bright light from his bedroom window in Portadown, moving across the sky heading north at 1.18am on 25/03/15. Did anyone else see this?
6. Course on Newgrange at QUB, 28 March.

Dr Patrick McCafferty will be giving a 1-day course on Newgrange on Saturday 28 March from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm - as part of Queens University Belfast's Open Learning programme. It's called 'Solving the Mystery of Newgrange'. The course can be booked on-line:
7. Radio Play on Patrick More & start of Sky At Night, 30 March:
BBC R4 will broadcast a 45-minute afternoon play on Patrick Moore and the start of The Sky at Night programme in 1957. It's at 14.15 next Monday 30 March. See
(Thanks to Danny Collins for the alert)
8. Easter Events at Armagh Planetarium: Monday 30 March-Saturday 11 April *(Please note we are closed on Sundays and Friday 3rd April)
Times: 10am-5pm.  Digital Theatre Shows playing at 11, 12, 1, 2, 3 & 4pm
Cost: Workshops are free*   *Normal Admission applies to Digital Theatre showsFor more information call us on 02837 523689 or
Pre-booking essential for Digital Theatre shows

9. Petition for Ireland to join ESO:
The UCD Physics Society has started a petition for the Government to apply for Ireland to jon the European Southern Observatory:
All recipients are encouraged to sign. (Per Prof Lorraine Hanlon)
10. IAA Observing Nights. 
There will probably be a change of location for the next session, so watch this space. These very popular weekend observing sessions have recommenced, with the nights of April 10 - 11 as next option.  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.…
11. IAA AGM. The IAA's AGM will be held on 15 April. Details were sent out with the last email bulletin.
12. COSMOS: April 17th to 19th 2015, Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone.
Speakers include - Professor John Zarnecki, Director, International Space Science Institute, Switzerland.
- Mr. Brian Harvey, Spaceflight Writer and Broadcaster.
- Mr. Nick Howes, Astronomer and Freelance Science Writer.
- Ms. Kate Russo, Author, Psychologist and Eclipse Chaser.
- Mr. Keith Geary, Astronomer and Astrophotographer.
- Mr. Steve Richards, Author, Astronomer and Astrophotographer.
- Ms. Deirdre Kelleghan, St. Cronan's Stargazers and Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies.
- Mr. Emmett Mordaunt, Midlands Astronomy Club.
   The programme also includes an all-inclusive trip on Sunday morning to Birr Castle and stand in the shadow of the Leviathan, once the world's largest telescope.

13. ARCHAEOASTRONOMY TRIP TO NEWGRANGE and KNOWTH, 9 May 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.

14. IAA Telescopes for loan: The IAA has telescopes available to borrow, for any paid up member  Enquiries to David Stewart or Andy McCrea
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.
16. Interesting Weblinks: I STILL don't see how this proposed mission is more than peripherally relevant to landing a manned craft on Mars! Can anyone elucidate?
UK to bid for HQ of world's largest telescope. see 
17.  TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.
18. 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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