Saturday, 17 October 2015

Lectures, Orionids, Workshop, ISS, Conjunction, Martian, Close-miss, Books etc

Hi all,
1. IAA LECTURE: Wed 21 October, 7.30 p.m., "The Astronomer Astronauts", by David J Shayler, FBIS. This talk will cover the roles of the astronauts who were also full-fledged astronomers, an aspect not often considered.   David J Shayler is an acknowledged authority on all aspects of manned spaceflight, with 20 books and many articles to his credit. Biography:
Spaceflight historian David J. Shayler, FBIS (Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society - or as Dave likes to call it - Future Briton In Space!) was born in England in 1955. His lifelong interest in space exploration began by drawing rockets aged 5 but it was not until the launch of Apollo 8 to the moon in December 1968 that the interest for human space exploration became a passion. His first articles were published by the British Interplanetary Society in the late 1970's and in 1982 he created AstroInfo Service ( to focus his research efforts. His first book was published in 1987 and now has over 20 titles to his name including works on the American and Russian space programmes, the topics of space walking, women in space, and the human exploration of Mars.

In 1989 he applied as a cosmonaut candidate for the UK Project Juno programme with the Soviet Union (now Russia). The mission was to spend seven days in space aboard the space station Mir. Dave did not reach the final selection but progressed further than he expected. The mission was flown by Helen Sharman in May 1991. In support of his research Dave has visited NASA in the United States and the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Russia, where visits to space training facilities and handling real space hardware has provided a valuable insight into the activities of a space explorer and the realities of flying and living in space. He is a friend of many former and current astronauts and cosmonauts, some of whom have accompanied Dave of visits to schools across the country. For over 20 years Dave has delivered space presentations and workshops to children and social groups across the UK. This lecture is part of the IAA's contribution to World Space Week

VENUE: Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics building, QUB. Free parking on Campus after 5.30 p.m. Admission free, including light refreshments.

2. Orionid Meteors this weekend.
The Orionid meteor shower peaks this weekend from October 17-21. This famous shower is caused by tiny particles of Halley's Comet streaking through the Earth's upper atmosphere. Under best conditions observers can see between 15-20 meteors an hour. Orionids tend to be quite bright on average, and very fast. The moon will set around midnight, giving good conditions thereafter. The radiant is in the NE of Orion, at the top of his 'club', mot far from the 'feet' of Gemini.
Monday, October 19 at 7:30pm, NUI Galway, Room AC 220. see
4. ISS: Continues its series of evening passes over Ireland until 23 October. Details for your own location (and lots more) on the free site
5: Planetary conjunction.
See Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Regulus in a lovely conjunction in the early dawn sky, until 28 October. In particular, watch brilliant Venus pass close 'below' bright Jupiter on the 25th-26th. The separations will be: 25th = 1 deg 10', 26th, 1 deg 3'. That's over 2 moon diameters, so it will be pretty to see, but by no means a 'double planet' as described by one writer.
Full details are in STARDUST.
6. Pluto and Charon latest;
8. Asteroid to have close miss with Earth;

A just-discovered asteroid about 300 meters across (H=19.8), named 2015 TB145, will come very close to the Earth in late October. Only one object of that size is known to have ever come closer to the Earth (H=19.4) asteroid 2004 XP14 in 2006 at 1.16 LD,

The closest approach will be 1.26 lunar distances (485,000 km). The orbit is still uncertain, but it will likely brighten to about magnitude 10 or brighter on afternoon of October 31, then at declination +45. Magnitudes in the hours before closest approach:
29/10/2015 18 UT: 14.3
30/10/2015 00 UT: 14.0
30/10/2015 06 UT: 13.6
30/10/2015 12 UT: 13.2
30/10/2015 18 UT: 12.7
31/10/2015 00 UT: 12.0
31/10/2015 06 UT: 11.2
31/10/2015 12 UT: 10.2
31/10/2015 18 UT: 12.2

It will already be very close to the Sun on evening of October 31, making it unobservable.

9. 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, 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]
10. 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
Best regards,The IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach team
12. Vote for name for 51 Pegasi b

Celebrate 51 Pegasi b's 20th anniversary by voting for its new name

October 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the announcement of the discovery of 51 Pegasi b; the first exoplanet to be discovered orbiting a Sun-like star. This is an exciting opportunity to celebrate the many discoveries that have been made since then. 51 Pegasi b is also one of the planets awaiting a new name as part of the IAU's NameExoWorlds contest. NameExoWorlds has been running since August, and the number of votes for the submitted name proposals have gathered more than 300 000 entries from all around the world. If you still haven't voted, don't miss this great opportunity, and vote before the closing date of 31 October.

You can find the details of the contest here:

13. "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.
14. 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.
15. DIAS lectures in Dublin celebrate 75th anniversary: See Highlights are: "Einstein's Universe: Relativity and the Big Bang" by Dr Cormac O'Raifeartaigh (WIT); "100 Years of Einstein's Gravity but where are the Waves?" by Prof Mike Cruise (University of Birmingham); "Celts in the Cosmos", by Prof Werner Nahm (DIAS), and "Mathematics vs astronomy in early medieval Ireland" by Dr Immo Warntjes (Queen's University Belfast). Admission free but advance booking is necessary.
16. IAA Telescopes for loan: The IAA has telescopes available to borrow, for any paid up member Enquiries to David Stewart or Andy McCrea

17. Interesting Weblinks
(now arranged by subject matter):
Astrophysics see also the first links at Exobiology below.
Exobiology, E-T:
Solar System
Possible mission to the 'Trojans'.
UFO's etc
19. 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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