Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Lecture tonight, Asteroid near-miss, Dublin events, ISS, Taurids, SUN in HD, SWI

Hi all,
1. IAA Lecture Wed 4 November, 7.30 p.m. "Anazoeing Mars ", by Dr Maria Cullen. Anazoeing Mars - the revitalisation, or re-lifeing, of a planet. Ana- = re- and zoe = all life; Anazoeing - a Greek-based term to describe the act of bringing Mars back to life, based on its own biota, through tending it to ameliorate the potential for human occupation of Mars into the future. Mars today presents a very hostile suite of environments for humans. As we grow in our understanding of Earth we realise that certain forms of life can exist in challenging places and can adapt to these settings in diverse ways. As our knowledge of Mars improves, we begin to identify potential niches for life there. We are posing fresh questions about life itself and potential ecophysiological windows of opportunity.
With the initiation of human exploration of Mars, the building of biomes and the anazoeing of a "dead", or "mostly dead" planet, we will learn more about the fragility of life and the resilience of life, in a wider planetary setting. Technological developments, new insights and organizational advances will help us to address threats of our own making to life on our home planet.
This lecture will take stock of what we know so far about the Martian environment. It will review the proposals suggested to anazoe or re-initiate life on Mars so that humans can live and work there in increasing comfort and safety. There will be some discussion of the technological and ethical challenges involved when attempting to work with Mars-life if it currently exists or to kick-start life and to tend it in a direction that would suit us on another planet!

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

2. RIA Lecture, 4 Nov, QUB, Quantum Computing: Civilization's next big revolution? NB: This lecture starts at 5.30 for 6.00, so you can go to that, and then just down the road for our IAA lecture above. Both free - the best deal in the universe!
Quantum computation could revolutionise the information age and trigger as big an impact on society as the conventional computer. It promises to transform not just science and technology but our very understanding of reality. To honour the profoundly significant discovery made by Belfast scientist John S Bell, on 4 November 51 years ago - known as Bell's Theorem - The Royal Irish Academy and the Chief Executives' Club at Queen's have invited Eric Ladizinsky to give the inaugural John Bell Day lecture.
At key points in human history, civilization took a leap forward because people discovered a new way of harnessing nature. Tool making, farming, the industrial revolution, and the information age were all triggered by the discovery of new ways of manipulating nature. By harnessing the Alice in Wonderland like effects of quantum physics, Quantum computers could help realize true artificial intelligence, offer insights into nanotechnology, teleportation and time travel, change the way chemists and biologists study the molecules of life and design drugs, and break supposedly unbreakable secret codes… tasks well beyond the capabilities of any classical supercomputers.
The D-Wave Systems Inc team, based in Vancouver, has created the first, special purpose quantum processors in a scalable architecture. D-Wave's exciting, first generation quantum processors, now being explored by Google and NASA, as well as Lockheed and the University of Southern California, may, in just a few short years, exceed the capabilities of existing classical computers.
In this lecture, Eric Ladizinsky, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at D-Wave Systems Inc will outline the basic ideas behind quantum computation, summarise D- Wave's unique approach, and provide answers to some frequently asked questions about quantum mechanics, quantum computing, and D-Wave quantum computers.
Prior to his involvement with D-Wave, Eric Ladizinsky was a senior member of the technical staff at TRW Inc's Superconducting Electronics Organization, where he contributed to building the world's most advanced Superconducting Integrated Circuit capability, intended to enable superconducting supercomputers to extend Moore's Law beyond CMOS. He has a BSc degree in Physics and Mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles and is an Adjunct Professor of Physics at Loyola Marymount University.
Refreshments will be available from 5.30pm, before the lecture.
Please confirm your attendance with Brenda Carabine Tel: 028 9097 1153
"Evolving Quantum Computers"
Eric Ladizinsky, Co-founder and Chief Scientist, D-Wave Systems Inc
(Vancouver, Canada)
Wednesday 4 November 2015
5.30pm Pre-lecture Reception: 6pm Lecture
Riddell Hall, 185 Stranmillis Road.
Queen's University Belfast


3. DUBLIN, 5 Nov:The above lecture will be repeated the following evening in TCD:

Thursday 5 November 19:00, Edmund Burke Theatre, Trinity College Dublin. Book tickets via the RIA at 19 Dawson Street, Dublin, D02 HH58, Ireland. Switch: +353 1 6762570 Tickets are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.
4. The Asteroid 'near miss'. This was never in danger of hitting us, but with a diameter of about 2,000', or 600m, it would indeed have been a major catastrophe if it had done so. A warning that the dangers are very real, especially as we had so little warning. If it had been on a collision course, we would have had NO chance to deflect it. And it wasn't a skull after all! and
Some experts are saying it is in fact a dead comet
5. Astronomy Film premiere in Dublin, 8 Nov;
STAR* MEN is presented in collaboration with the Irish Film Institute and will take place on Sunday 8th of November at 14:00 at the Irish Film Institute.
Four older men make a return road trip through the American Southwest. However, these are no ordinary men; embarking on a journey they had originally traveled some 50 years before as excited young scientists, Roger, Donald, Nick and Wal are four astronomers who went on to become highly influential in the field of astronomy during its most productive period. Traveling alongside, documentary filmmaker Alison E. Rose creates an evocative portrait that captures the men as they reflect on friendship, their work, how they perceive the universe both now and heretofore, how they regard life and death.
Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion with leading space experts on some of the advances in astronomy as raised by the film.
IFI Members: Adults €7.60 / Students €5.90; Non-IFI Members: Adults €8.60 / Students €6.90. Please click here to book tickets.
6. ISS. Will star another series of morning passes over Ireland on 5 November. Details at
The ISS has just celebrated 15 years of continuous human presence in space See, and make sure to watch the video!
7. Taurid Meteors: The Earth is now passing through a stream of debris from Comet Encke, source of the annual Taurid meteor shower. You can see up to about 10 Taurids per hour in good dark skies & favourable conditions for the first 10 days or so of November. There are two radiants, bot fairly near Aldebaran. The shower is noted for a higher than usual proportion of fireballs.
8: Amazing HD video of the Sun in action! - a must watch!
Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, the NASA Geeks have varied the orientations of different segments. Usually N is at the top, as you would expect, but sometimes it is at the left, so the Sun appears to be rotating from the bottom of the screen to the top.
Even worse, they sometimes have it rotating around the centre of the screen, as if you were looking down on one of the poles. But that's impossible, as the SDO spacecraft can't fly over the poles! Also, you don't get sunspots etc at the poles. Weird, and very misleading.
9. Science Week Ireland events. See
10. SWI at BCO, Cork.
11. Amazing Apollo Mission Photos! All the photos have now been archived and released. see Of course this still won't convince the weirdos who think that every Apollo mission was faked! And also expect others to trawl through them looking for odd reflections, blurred images etc, and claiming that they are UFOs which NASA is keeping secret.
WTF of course stands for 'Where To Fall?' and not what you originally thought!
13. Comet 67P - latest
A final attempt to contact the Philae lander will be made on Nov 7, but don't be too hopeful.
Astronomy & Astrophysics has a summary of the latest findings on Open Access at
The Rosetta Mission will end when the spacecraft is gradually spiraled down closer and closer to the comet, ending with a gentle crash landing:
14. 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.
15. IAA Telescopes for loan: The IAA has telescopes available to borrow, for any paid up member Enquiries to David Stewart or Andy McCrea

16. Interesting Weblinks
(arranged by subject matter):


Bad reporting! They really do need to do a common sense check - they say that the asteroid which hit the Moon was 131 feet across, yet only weighed 88lbs! Even if it was made of expanded polystyrene, it would weigh a lot more than 88lbs! (The original report from Huff Post said it weighed 880 lbs, and made a crater 131 feet across, not that the object was 131 feet across)
Gaps in circumstellar rings don't mean planets?
Solar System
Space Why such a long timeframe? - America did it in 8 years, starting from scratch! So why should it take Russia 14 years, when it has already been done, 45 years ago? They already have the rockets, the docking experience, all the technology. They have already soft landed various rovers on the Moon. They just need to design and build this craft.
Some errors in the text and captions here, but still may be of interest
Sun & Solar effects
Telescopes & Instruments;
UFO's etc
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 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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