Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Lectures, Comet, ISS, Astrophotos, Fireball, Tim Peake, A.P. Xmas show, 67P etc

Hi all,
1. IAA Lecture Wed 2 December, 7.30 p.m. "The Rosetta Mission and its Lander Philae", by Prof Susan McKenna-Lawlor (NUIM, and STIL).
We are delighted to welcome back Susan, who is an absolute phenomenon in the history of Irish involvement in space research. She founded Space Technology Ireland Limited in the Sixties, flying research equipment on early Russian space probes, and has been working actively in the field ever since!
The topics covered in this talk will include: an account of the ten year Cruise Phase of the Rosetta Mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and what was learned along the way. the rendezvous of Rosetta with comet 67P/C-G; the deployment of Philae and its landing on the cometary surface; results obtained during the surface campaign and what is happening now.
VENUE: Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics building, QUB. Free parking on Campus after 5.30 p.m. Admission free, including light refreshments.


2. DIAS lectures in Dublin celebrate 75th anniversary: See https://dias.ie/dias75: Highlights are: "Celts in the Cosmos", by Prof Werner Nahm (DIAS), 3 December, and "Mathematics vs astronomy in early medieval Ireland" by Dr Immo Warntjes (Queen's University Belfast), 11 December. Admission free but advance booking is necessary.

3. ISS. Will start a new series of evening passes over Ireland on 6 December. Details at www.heavens-above.com
The ISS has just celebrated 15 years of continuous human presence in space See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3300453/Space-station-marks-15-years-nonstop-human-presence.html, and make sure to watch the video!
4: Comet is almost at Naked-Eye Visibility Comet Catalina has been visible in S. latitudes for some time, and is now heading North, and is just visible from Ireland, though better into mid December, though it is gradually fading.
Keen observers with a good E horizon should be able to spot it given clear skies, and when the Moon is out of the way.
5. Breakthrough by QUB Solar astronomers:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151116112459.htm. Congrats to David Jess and Mihalis Mathioudakis, both of whom have given us great lectures
6. Calling all Irish Astrophotographers
Calling all astrophotographers. Here is an opportunity for astronomers in Ireland to showcase their work to the public. The IAS and IFAS have organised a special exhibition to showcase the work of Irish backyard astronomers. The exhibition is taking place in the Botanic Gardens, Dublin from February 2nd - 21st. More details here: http://www.irishastronomy.org/index.php
You can submit your images and relevant details to skyimagebotanic@gmail.com
7. Major Leonid Fireball
Martin McKenna reports (edited): I saw a major Leonid fireball on Nov 18th/19th, here's a copy of what I wrote on facebook...
What an epic fireball last night!!! - At approx 01.50 UT we were facing north when the entire sky lit up vivid blue from somewhere behind us, we instantly thought it was close lightning as the light was phenomenal, we turned around and realised with shock that it had been a Leonid Fireball. We could see a 25 degree long straight edged glowing orange train with glowing orange 'head' sitting stationary among the stars between Orion and Lepus and as we watched the train faded which was then replaced by a vivid smoke trail which manifested to the naked eye and as we watched it changed shape as the upper atmospheric winds deformed its profile into various shapes like an orange comet with S and N pointing 'tails' and a letter 'Z' among the stars, this naked eye smoke trail was visible for 10 min's however we suspect that with a camera it may have been visible for 20 min's. Based on the shocking brightness of this event we believe this fireball must have been considerably brighter than a full moon!!. If only I had been shooting Orion with my 2nd camera and I would have had the entire spectacle to show you, but a hard earned lesson it was - always trust your instincts. Best Leonid fireball I have seen since 2008 at the very least, it was so bright I immediately began recording with my mobile phone voice recorder as I was expecting to hear audio phenomena or sonic booms from the entry, What a show!!! This was found on youtube which may have been the same event. https://youtu.be/WLzGTcwApSI
8. Tim Peake to become First British Astronaut since Helen Sharman, on 15 Dec:
I wonder is it coincidence that he's from Chichester, the city nearest to Patrick Moore's home in Selsey. Chichester is also the location for the Sir Patrick Moore South Downs Planetarium, which I'm sure Tim would have visited.
9. Star of Bethlehem Show at Armagh Planetarium: Journey back more than 2000 years to Bethlehem, and seek to discover an explanation for the star the Wise Men followed to find the baby Jesus in "Mystery of the Christmas Star".
The Star of Bethlehem is an iconic astronomical event whose true origin remains unknown even today, in spite of years of speculation and research. The show will guide the viewer through some of these investigations and the most likely causes of this interesting cosmological object which was remarkable enough to make the wise men travel across the desert from Babylon to Bethlehem to see the new born baby.
You will also explore possible dates for the birth of Christ and look at the historical records of significant astronomical events which occurred at this time.
The show opens on Tuesday 1 until Wednesday 23 December 2015.
Show Times:
Monday – Friday (1-18 Dec) at 2pm
Saturday/School Holidays at 1pm and 4pm
Evening shows every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1-17 December at 7:30pm
Tel - 028 3752 3689 to pre-book your seats
(N.B. For the best analysis of the origin of the Star of Bethlehem story, I recommend "The Star of Bethlehem" by IAA member David Collins, pub by Amberley, 2012, ISBN: 978 1 4456 0675 0, which examines very thoroughly all the possible explanations, including planetary conjunctions; occultations; Venus; variable stars; novae and supernovae; comet Halley and others; comets in outburst like Comet Holmes in 1892, 1893 and 2007; Moon, Sun & eclipses; meteors, meteor storms, meteorites & asteroids; and other possible phenomena. Of course, he examines in considerable detail the varying Biblical narratives and their discrepancies, and various possible chronologies, as a starting point.. He also looks at prophetic, social and historical aspects in detail. I won't spoil the story by revealing his conclusion.
(I have to declare an interest, as I'm mentioned in the acknowledgements, but I would not recommend it if I didn't think it was the best and most comprehensive account yet. and I have no financial interest whatsoever.)
10. Comet 67-P and PHILAE
Revised shape for comet: http://mattias.malmer.nu/67pc-g-shapemodel/ I also updated my "Rosetta Now" page to use the new model: http://mattias.malmer.nu/rosetta-now/
11. New Horizons, Pluto & Charon
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap151125.html Moseley's new Pluto Hypothesis: Pluto was created specifically for the bewilderment of planetary astronomers!
12. 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

13. Interesting Weblinks
(arranged by subject matter):


Collapsing stars, hypernovae and GRBs http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151130125246.htm

Black Hole swallows star http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151127101721.htm


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3336820/Are-mystery-signals-messages-ALIENS-Strange-radio-waves-coming-distant-planet-say-scientists.html (No!)

Cosmic superaccelerators http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151126104209.htm

The birth of monster galaxies http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151118070758.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

Cool dim dwarf is magnetic powerhouse http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151119112749.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

Mystery star dimming - common sense at last: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151125084108.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29 However, it's a huge comet, or swarm of comets, that would block 20% of a star's light!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3334773/The-hottest-star-Super-bright-white-dwarf-edge-Milky-Way-42-TIMES-hotter-sun.html If that photo is the LMC, it's in an unusual wavelength, and even then it seems to be the wrong shape.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3333595/Giant-red-star-sheds-30-times-mass-Earth-year-thanks-enormous-dust-grains.html Interesting. But you can't just call the star "Canis" (Latin for dog)! If you want to shorten the name, you could just say "VY".

Gravitational lensing creates Cheshire Cat group of galaxies http://earthsky.org/space/the-cheshire-cat-group-of-galaxies?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=8a04a4c77b-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-8a04a4c77b-394571661

http://earthsky.org/space/zombie-star-eats-an-asteroid-sdss-j12281040?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=9655f39cf7-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-9655f39cf7-394571661 The worst of dumbing-down - a 'Zombie star'? Firstly, there are no zombies. And even if there were, they're dead so they don't eat anything. What's happening to science journalism?


Gravitational waves remain elusive http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150131111007.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fspace_time+%28Space+%26+Time+News+--+ScienceDaily%29

Challenging the foundations of physics: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151120094456.htm

Texas HET telescope to explore dark energy http://earthsky.org/space/texas-telescope-to-explore-dark-energy-hetdex?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=6caf5a5a26-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-6caf5a5a26-394571661



A nearby Dark Matter galaxy? http://earthsky.org/space/a-nearby-dark-matter-galaxy-triangulum-ii?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=8a04a4c77b-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-8a04a4c77b-394571661

http://earthsky.org/space/dark-matter-hairs-filaments-streams-gary-prezeau?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=8a04a4c77b-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-8a04a4c77b-394571661 and http://www.aol.co.uk/video/hairy-dark-matter-could-be-surrounding-our-earth-519275018 The Moon should also produce such 'hairs', at about the distance of the Earth from the Moon's surface. So why haven't we detected them?


http://travel.aol.co.uk/2015/11/29/american-airlines-plane-diverts-heathrow-windshield-shatters-mid-flight/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cuk%7Cdl6%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D406655 That looks like a small sharp impact - what could have caused that at cruising height of around 36,000 ft? Possibly a small falling meteorite? At that altitude a pebble sized meteorite (from a possible mid-air disintegration of a larger body?) would be falling at terminal velocity, so would not have been seen as a fireball. It's bound to happen sooner or later.
Solar System
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3333920/How-moon-got-tilt-Ancient-debris-knocked-satellite-strange-orbit-explains-solar-eclipses-rare.html Once again the caption to the penultimate photo is wrong: it should refer to the Moon's 'Far Side', not 'Dark side'.
http://www.spaceanswers.com/space-exploration/20-inspirational-space-quotes-you-need-to-know/ I'm surprised and disappointed in Picasso. Maybe he just didn't like being upstaged!
Amazing videos: they are huge, be patient, the downloading takes time. UFO near Sun? http://www.zam.fme.vutbr.cz/~druck/Sdo/Pm-nafe/0-info.htm
Obviously it's a Chevrolet..... Seriously, that's just a still image, which tells us very little. The apparent motion is simply the image being panned across the screen. It's probably an image defect.
Telescopes, Equipment, etc
UFO's etc
14.TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.
15. 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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