Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Lecture, Venus close to Saturn, Comet easier, S-L, Galway SP, Big Dunsink event

Hi all,
1. IAA Lecture Wed 6 January, 7.30 p.m. " The Centaur threat to Earth, + When Earth encounters interplanetary matter: Bananas, Wings and Totoro", by Dr David Asher, Armagh Observatory).
"As shown on the IAA website, I got on to BBC World just before Christmas, when my co-authors and the Royal Astronomical Society decided to do a press release about our recent paper. This work reviewed the giant, cometary objects called centaurs and the long term threat they pose to Earth when they enter the inner solar system and gradually disintegrate. So this talk will be partly that, and partly what I was originally going to talk about when I sent Terry the title three months back. Fortunately there's a
significant overlap between the two."
We are delighted to welcome back David as a speaker; he also has given us some fascinating lectures over the years, with intriguing titles, and this one is no exception!
David is an expert on the dynamics and orbits of objects in the Solar System, and how they interact with each other and the Earth.
VENUE: Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics building, QUB. Free parking on Campus after 5.30 p.m. Admission free, including light refreshments.


2: Venus very close to Saturn, Jan 8-9

On the morning of Jan 8, Venus will lie just 1 degree above left of Saturn.

Next morning (Jan 9), as they rise at about 06.00, Venus will be only about 7' (less than a quarter of a Moon diameter) left of Saturn. As they rise higher the separation will gradually increase, to over 10' at 07.30. Try to spot Titan, mag 8.8, on the opposite side of Saturn, as they rise a bit higher (if Venus is at 9 o'clock from Saturn, Titan will be at about 2 o'clock). Venus will be 63 times (4.5 magnitudes) brighter than Saturn, and 100,000 times (12.5 magnitudes) brighter than Titan!


3. Comet is visible in binoculars Comet Catalina is now higher up in the morning skies, and will soon be circumpolar. Andy McCrea in particular has been getting some nice images - see the IAA website. As it gets higher, now in Bootes, it's in a darker sky, though it is gradually fading. It had amazing double tail structure, see this fabulous photo:

4. Stargazing Live, BBC2 12-14 Jan: Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain will be presenting Stargazing Live on 12-14 January, but there are no local activities this year. Paul Evans has pointed out that my last email stating that BBC NI had decided not to proceed is misleading: Apparently S-L has now become just one centrally produced programme, from Salford, and no funding is available for any of the other regions to do their own local version.
Astronaut Tim Peake will be on S-L - by video of course!
5. Stargazing at Armagh Planetarium, 12 Jan
To experience the marvels of the Universe you should see them for yourself with your own eyes. Armagh Planetarium will be hosting another public telescope viewing session as part of our programme of free Open Nights on Tuesday 12 January 2016. We are excited to say that this is perfectly timed for the return of BBC Stargazing Live!
Visitors will be fascinated by the views of the spectacular winter constellations, Taurus and Orion and deep sky objects through our 12 inch telescopes.
The observing session will be held at the Planetarium and there will also be a free presentation of a spectacular Digital Theatre show at 7.30pm.
We hope to observe from 7.00pm to 9.00pm. If you would like to join in please be aware that observing can be done only if the sky is clear, the telescope cannot see through cloud and rain! The Digital Theatre show will go ahead regardless of the weather. Also dressing warmly is essential! If you already have a telescope or binoculars you are welcome to bring them with you for your own use.
If you are interested in participating please phone to book your place on 028 37 523689.

6: Galway Astronomy Festival 30 Jan 2016
Beyond Earth - Dangers from the Cosmos
Following on from a very successful event earlier last year, the Galway Astronomy Festival returns to the Westwood House Hotel on Saturday, January 30th 2016. This years theme looks at dangers posed to the Earth and other planetary bodies from the likes of Comets, Meteors showers and the Sun, while also looking at how amateur astronomers can contribute to their research with real scientific observations. Finally we will look at the natural effects of Solar Flares with the beauty of the Aurorae from Arctic latitudes.
Nick James (British Astronomical Association)
Professor Alan Fitzsimmons (Queens College Belfast)
Professor Mike Redfern (NUI Galway)
Eamonn Scullion (Trinity College Dublin)
More to be confirmed,
7: Advance Notice: IAA + IAS/IFAS event, Dunsink Observatory, 13 February.
A major event is being arranged jointly by the IAA and other Irish amateur astronomy groups for Saturday 13 February at Dunsink Observatory, Dublin. More details to follow, but keep the date free.
8: Safety in Solar Observing: Everyone should watch this video, and spread the word: http://tinyurl.com/pvxbwfj
9. 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.
You are invited to submit an image to go on national display at the Botanical Gardens, Dublin next February 2016!
Here is an opportunity for astrophotographers in Ireland to showcase their work, presenting the wonders of the Cosmos at the Botanical Gardens in an exclusive exhibit in a collaboration between the Irish Astronomical Society (www.irishastrosoc.org) and the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies (www.irishastronomy.org), which includes members of its member clubs.
The Details: Irish astrophotographers are invited to submit an image to be showcased to the public as part of a display highlighting the wonders of the Universe for a limited time from February 2nd to 21st 2016. The Botanical Gardens in Dublin has freely allowed the use of their lobby to display 100 images mounted for display, and incorporate additional items like (a limited number of) telescopes, large format poster displays and more.
The Criteria: Your photo can be submitted in digital or printed format. The following are guidelines:
1. Digital prints must be at 300dpi and in its largest format aspect ratio.
2. TIFF format is preferred, or high resolution (300dpi) JPEG is also allowed (RGB or CMYK is allowed).
3. Physical prints must be of a high quality (uncurled or folded) and can have a gloss or matte finish. Do not send mounted prints.
4. All photos will be fitted in an A3 mount and frame, and therefore may be subjected to cropping, if necessary.
5. All images submitted MUST have information about how the image was taken (equipment, location, software and techniques used, etc.), information about the object(s) shown, and the photographer's information.
6. Please Note - If submitting a printed photo, it cannot be returned.
Interested? Digital images can be sent via email to skyimagebotanic@gmail.com as an attachment (do not include off-site links to images), while postal images are to be sent to Botanical Exhibition ℅ Seanie Morris, Anstee, Daingean Road, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
CLOSING DATE: All considerations must be received by Friday January 8th 2016.
More details here: http://www.irishastronomy.org/index.php
You can submit your images and relevant details to
10. 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

11. Interesting Weblinks
(arranged by subject matter):


Measuring surface gravity of distant stars: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3383596/How-weigh-stood-sun-Astronomers-discover-measure-pull-gravity-distant-stars.html Have they allowed for the weight loss you would suffer from a certain degree of sweating? and


FRBs are better test of relativity: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104080720.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

Rotational clocks for stars, and Sun's magnetic field http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104125350.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29 and




http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3383605/Periodic-table-s-seventh-row-finally-complete-Four-elements-permanently-added-plug-chart-s-gap.html. Now if I had been creating the universe, I would have designed the elements in such a way that there's no need for the out-take of the rest of the actinides and lanthanides from the table!


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3384551/The-infrared-space-telescope-save-Earth-Neocam-allow-researchers-spot-millions-asteroids-heading-gets-funding.html If an object of the size shown (approx 2,700m across!) had hit Earth 65m years ago, there would be NOTHING left alive now. That object is much bigger even than Ceres, the largest of the classical asteroids (now a dwarf planet), and it's even much bigger than our own Moon.
The object that wiped out the dinosaurs (or helped to do so) was probably less than 100th that diameter, and therefore no more than about 1/10,000 in volume.
Some so-called scientific illustrators really have very little idea about some of what they do.
Wish him luck. The chances are very small, but not negligible, that an astronaut will be killed some day by a piece of space debris or a meteoric particle, during a space walk. The 'debris' sequences in the film Gravity were ridiculously OTT, but nevertheless the risk is there.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3383610/Will-astronauts-living-Moon-2030-European-Space-Agency-leading-plans-3D-print-Lunar-Village.html I think ESA has got this right. You could also build a large and stable optical telescope on the far side, or near the limb as seen from Earth, although it would only be usable during lunar night. Mars should certainly be our next target for a manned base after the Moon, but you have to learn to walk before you can run.
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/09/30/killer-asteroid-defence-satellite-loses-nasa-funding_n_8221224.html Yet another wrong image of an asteroid trailing flames while still out in space.
UFO's etc
'They' invented mobile phones (admittedly very primitive ones!), but only had cuneiform writing????
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3302379/Visit-Martian-zoo-bears-crabs-penguins-animals-spotted-red-planet.html And the most amazing thing is that the 'creatures' they spot have a greater intelligence than the people that 'see them' and allege a cover up .......
12.TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.
13. 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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