Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Lecture, Conjunction, Great space images, Irish astrobooks, ISS, Name exoworlds

Hi all,
1. IAA LECTURE: Wed 07 October, 7.30 p.m., "Our Sun: Friend or Foe?", by Terry Moseley. Change of lecture. Unfortunately John Flannery has had to postpone his talk due to work commitments; we hope to have him on a future date. Instead I will give the above talk, based on the one I gave at the Astronomy Festival at the old RGO at Herstmonceux last month. Synopsis:
"We take the Sun, our own star, for granted. Without it, life as we know it would be impossible on Earth. And of course it has lots of other benefits, ranging from Solar Energy to lovely sights such as the aurorae, rainbows and magnificent sunsets.
But it's actually a huge seething cauldron of superhot plasma, powered by incomprehensibly powerful nuclear reactions in its core. And it's not entirely static or stable, and when things happen on the Sun, they can have very serious consequences for us on Earth.
This talk will look at all the benefits we get from the Sun, and contrast them with the known and possible dangers, answering some common questions such as How long will it shine? What happens if it gets hotter? Will it expand and engulf the Earth? Will it explode like a nova or supernova?"
VENUE: Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics building, QUB. Free parking on Campus after 5.30 p.m.
Admission free, including light refreshments.
This lecture is part of the IAA's contribution to World Space Week (see below)
2. World Space Week event: Ulster Museum, Sat 3 October
NASA Astronaut Greg 'Box' Johnson launched World Space week in N. Ireland at this event. A very successful event, with over 2,000 attending. The IAA ran a series of shows in the Stardome, provided by Armagh Planetarium, and we also had a display of telescopes, photos etc, and Tony's ever popular virtual reality Oculus Rift. Congrats to Robert Hill for being the main organiser, and for Geraldine Macartney at UM for all the local arrangements.
3: Planets & Moon conjunction.
From Oct 8 to 11, watch the waning crescent moon join Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Regulus in a lovely conjunction in the early dawn sky.

Then from 12 October to 28 October, that grouping continues, but without the Moon.

Full details are in STARDUST.
4. Pluto and Charon latest;
5. Irish Astronomy Books Launch
From Julie Ormonde, manager of the Kerry Dark-Sky Reserve:
Just letting you know that on Friday 25th September I launched a crowd-funding KICK-STARTER campaign to get Ireland's TWO Astronomy themed books published. Research shows that these may well be the first Irish Astronomy books (or at least Irish Authored) ... so am very excited about that.
The total needed to be raised is e6,700 in 40 days. NO MONEY is taken from anyone's account until ALL the money is raised, this protects the sponsorer. If the target cost isn't raised in the allotted time then these 2 books wont be published in the foreseeable future. PLEASE can you help by mentioning the campaign on all your media....computer, blog, email etc Acknowledgement of your help will be mentioned in the books.....Thank you so much. Julie 087 7845688
[I don't include images in these bulletins, as some servers block them, but I will gladly forward Julie's email with full details of the books to anyone on request. Terry M]
6. NameExoWorlds Contest, organised by the IAU, will end on Oct 31. This public voting for the 20 planetary systems comprising 15 stars and 32 exoplanets decides the names for these selected stars and exoplanets. The clubs and/or non-profit organisations that win ExoWorlds will receive a commemorative plaque and will be eligible to propose a name for a minor planet (subject to the usual rules for minor planet naming).
Astronomy clubs and non-profit organisations from 45 countries submitted 247 proposals for the names and so far the contest received more than 300 000 votes, becoming one of the largest outreach astronomy projects in the world. We, at the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach, would like to thank everyone that supported NameExoWorlds and to all participating institutions that sent special videos stating why their name proposals should win.
If you haven't voted yet, we urge you not to miss this chance.
And if you need any support from our team just let us know via outreach@iau.org.
Best regards,The IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach team
8. ISS: Starts a new series of evening passes over Ireland on 5 October. details for your own location (and lots more) on the free site www.heavens-above.com
9. Planetary Conjunction, 9, 10 & 11 October: On the mornings of 9, 10 and particularly the 11th of October, there will be a lovely conjunction of Mercury, the waning crescent moon, Jupiter, mars and Venus, in the early dawn twilight. They will be spread over an arc of only 29 degrees of sky (a little more than the length of the 'Plough / Big Dipper'. That's the order they will appear in, moving out from the Sun. Mercury will be lowest with the others a bit higher up and to the right.
Look from about 06.35 to about 07.00.
10. "Earth's Place in Space: Discovering Our Celestial Heritage" Intergenerational Talk at PRONI, Thursday October 22 2015, 7.00 p.m., by Prof Mark E. Bailey, Director, Armagh Observatory. FREE ADMISSION.
Summary: Astronomy is the oldest science, with links stretching back more than 5,000 years to the construction of monuments such as Stonehenge and Newgrange, many of which contain remarkably precise astronomical orientations and alignments. This illustrated talk, which is linked to the Armagh Observatory's set of "From Earth To The Universe" (FETTU) posters, will take you on a journey in space and time from our Earth, through the Solar System, past nearby stars and our own Milky Way Galaxy, to the most distant parts of the known Universe until we reach the "Big Bang", the start of our known Universe some 14 billion years ago. The talk will also cover the work and recent discoveries of the Armagh Observatory; the principal components of our Solar System; and the sizes and relative distances of the planets and nearby stars.
PRONI is the Public Records office of N. Ireland, situated in Belfast's Titanic Quarter. For directions see http://www.proni.gov.uk/index/visiting_proni/getting_here.htm. For location see http://www.proni.gov.uk/updated_location_map.pdf. As there is no free parking in the area, it would be a good idea to car-share where possible, or use public transport.
11. Event at Portballintrae: Sat 31 October. This local community event has been canceled, so the IAA will not be required.
12. Public Lecture, Ulster Museum, Tues 3 Nov, 7.30 p.m. Dr Mike Simms: "Elements in Space". Free, but places must be booked in advance at the U/M website.
13. IAA Telescopes for loan: The IAA has telescopes available to borrow, for any paid up member Enquiries to David Stewart david.stewart22@ntlworld.com or Andy McCrea s.mccrea980@btinternet.com

14. Interesting Weblinks
(now arranged by subject matter):
50th anniversary of Black Hole singularities http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151001125846.htm
The 1919 measurement of gravity bending light http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0264-9381/32/12/124001
UNAWE International Workshop, Date: 5–9 October 2015, Location: Leiden, The Netherlands
More information: http://www.unawe.org
Exobiology, E-T:
Solar System
ESO Astronomy Camp ESO Astronomy Camp: Date: 26 December 2015 to 1 January 2016
Location: Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley, Saint-Barthélemy, Nus, Italy
More information: http://www.eso.org/public/announcements/ann15038/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3256817/The-igloo-s-world-Martian-ice-house-wins-Nasa-contest-create-habitat-humans-red-planet.html But if it gets hit by even a small meteorite? - Shatter! But at least it would provide shielding from lethal radiation, which is more than the canvas skin of the 'Hab' module in "The Martian" would do! (For a book which goes into amazing technological detail in other respects, it's surprising that it gets that, and some other fundamental points, very wrong!)
Telescopes & technology
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3256130/Will-Super-Hubble-finally-alien-life-Massive-39-foot-wide-space-telescope-proposed-high-definition-view-universe.html What's special about '39'? This scope will have an aperture of 39 feet, while the E-ELT will be 39 meters across. Coincidence, I suppose.
UFO's etc
That is the low Sun reflecting off the contrail of a distant high altitude jet which is flying away from the camera. The pink / orange colour comes from the fact that the Sun is so low down, just below the horizon, so it's just normal 'sunset' colouration.
No UFO, not even a mystery! If the 'experts' haven't worked that out, they're not very expert!
15.TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.
16. 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 you. You can also make a donation via Paypal if you wish: just click on the 'Donate' button. See also www.irishastro.org.
Clear skies,
Terry Moseley


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