Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Lyrids, IAA Council & Award, COSMOS report, Brian Boru @ AO, N'grange, Solarfest

Hi all,
1: Lyrid Meteors tonight & tomorrow night: The Lyrids are not one of the year's best showers, but for observers in our latitudes they are the best shower in the long 'Spring Gap' between the Quadrantids in early January and the Perseids in August. There are other showers in that period, but they are either very minor, or affected by the long summer twilight, or only visible briefly low in the pre-dawn sky. They originate from Comet Thatcher, and some experts predict a slightly better than usual display this year - maybe 25-30 per hour in good conditions. The radiant is near Vega, but they can appear anywhere in the sky. Maximum is predicted for around 24h BST on April 22/23, and the 4-day old Moon will not be a problem, so the prospects look quite good.
2. IAA AGM: New Council elected. President: Paul Evans; Vice Presidents: Danny Collins, Andy McCrea; Secretary: Tony Kempston; Treasurer: David Collins; Membership Secretary: Brian Beesley; Editor of Stardust: Andy McCrea; Webmaster: Paul Evans; PRO & Meetings organiser: Terry Moseley
3. Fitzgerald Award: this award, made by the IAA Council not more than once per year, "For Outstanding Service to the Association" was given at the AGM to Tony Kempston, for many years service in various ways, including most recently for serving as secretary. Many congratulations to Tony.
4. Another great COSMOS: Congratulations to MAC for yet another superb COSMOS star party last weekend in Athlone. There were excellent speakers; 2 clear nights for observing; an enjoyable coach trip to Birr Castle to see the great Leviathan, the Rosse radio solar observatory; and the site for the ILOFAR radio telescope if it gets the funding. There was a superb main prize in the raffle, donated by KTEC Telescopes; some great craic at the quiz after a lovely dinner (won yet again by Patricia Carroll & her team!) Finally, there was some great fun with Bob Campbell's formidable 4-way rocket launcher, with Angela O'Connell's rocket performing best (did I mention that I made it....?) Thanks and well done to all, particularly Seanie Morris, Jason Fallon & Declan Molloy.
5. "A Glimpse into Brian Boru's World at Armagh Observatory" - Wednesday 29 April 2015
Please see appended a note from Professor Mark Bailey who would like to draw your attention to an event that will take place at the Armagh Observatory on Wednesday 29 April 2015 at 2pm. The event is part of the Brian Boru Festival that will be held in Armagh from Tuesday 28 to Wednesday 29 April 2015. Further information and tickets for the event can be obtained through links from the festival website below:
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. Like the last one, this 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.
7. SOLARFEST 2015: Saturday 20 June, Dunsink Observatory, Dublin. Details tba.
8. 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.
10. Interesting Weblinks: I've been saying this might be the case for years! NB, the two photos of M101, with the optical one on the Left (not right as in the text) are at slightly different scales, and orientations. The Swift image (on the right) is rotated about 15 degrees anticlockwise compared with the optical photo. The comet is often compared to a duck in shape. But judging by the position on the duck's anatomy, that's not a burp.....!
How does light use up more energy to enter & cross an area where the density of matter is lower? Should it not be the opposite?
Monster stars in early universe: (embargoed until 06.00 on 22nd)
11. TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.
12. 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. You 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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