Thursday, 1 October 2015

Lectures, Eclipse, Astronaut at U/M, WSW, 67P latest, ISS, Conjunction, more

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
2. Total SuperMoon Eclipse, 27- 28 Sep: This eclipse was widely observed and imaged throughout Ireland. I got a lovely view from Dublin, and found it one of the darkest eclipses I've ever seen - between 1 and 2 on the Danjon scale
See photos on the IAA website And in case you didn't notice - the world didn't come to an end!
3. World Space Week event: Ulster Museum, Sat 3 October
NASA Astronaut Greg 'Box' Johnson will launch World Space week in N. Ireland at this event. He will be speaking at 12.30 and 2.30 p.m. Greg was the pilot on Shuttle flights STS-123 and STS-134 - see and
The IAA will be participating in this event; we will be in the Welcome Zone from about 11 a.m. We will have all the usual attractions - solar observing if clear, telescope display, meteorites to handle, exhibition of space & astronomy items. 'Telescope fixit service'. And of course our ever popular starshows in the Stardome portable planetarium, courtesy of Armagh Planetarium.
The talks will last approximately 45 minutes. It is a free event but booking is essential as places are limited. To book please visit the UM website. Early booking is recommended.
Suitable for age 8 upwards.
For further information please contact the Welcome Desk on 028 9044 0000 or email
If you have not registered your event, or you wish to edit your details, please go to:
WSWUK has a limited number of WSW2015 posters (FREE to registered event organisers) and other merchandise available to buy.
Registered events are entitled to a FREE WSW2015 poster, which can be:
Collected from The British Interplanetary Society HQ in Vauxhall, London.
or Delivered to your address (please advise by replying to this email).
Everyone is able to purchase:
Please register ALL space-related events that fall during the first half of October, on the Global calendar:
Contact: Victoria Southgate, UK National Coordination Manager, The British Interplanetary Society.,
6. ISS: It will start a new series of evening passes over Ireland on 5 October. details for your own location (and lots more) on the free site
7. 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.
8. "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 For location see As there is no free parking in the area, it would be a good idea to car-share where possible, or use public transport.
9. IAA Event at Portballintrae: Sat 31 October. More details later, but mark your diaries now.
10. 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.
11. IAA Telescopes for loan: The IAA has telescopes available to borrow, for any paid up member Enquiries to David Stewart or Andy McCrea

12. Interesting Weblinks
(now arranged by subject matter):
Earthlike planets may have magnetic shields
Solar System
Water on Mars A bit of an anticlimax - we were fairly sure of this for the last few years. It's good news, but we're a long way from seeing water that one could dip one's toe into, however briefly (or it would freeze!)
Astronauts physical performance after spaceflight Psyche is an intriguing object. It's in the Main Belt, Period 4.99 years, Mean dist 2.9 AU, Perihelion 2.513 AU, Aphelion 3.328 AU; e = 0.140, i = 3.095 deg, Mean Diam 186 km, Mass 2.27 x 10^19 kg, Vis mag 9.2 - 12.2. Ad it's thought to be about 90% iron!
If they ever want to land on it, no need to worry about harpoons (a la Philae): quite apart from its greater gravity, all they need to do is make the lander's feet magnetic! - It will stick like glue....
13.TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.
14. 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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