Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Lecture, IAA @ Benburb, AGM, COSMOS, Mercury Transit, Solarfest, IAA BBQ

Hi all,
(Back again after a very successful trip to Indonesia to see the Total Solar Eclipse.)
1. IAA Lecture Wed 30 MAR, 7.30 p.m. "An Emerging Cosmic Perspective", by Kevin Nolan, DIT, The Planetary Society. We are delighted to welcome well-known astronomy populariser and author Nick Howes to talk to us on our new view of our place in the universe.
Kevin is a lecturer at DIT; the Irish representative for The Planetary Society; and author of "Mars: A Cosmic Stepping Stone".
Lecture Synopsis -
"An Emerging Cosmic Perspective" looks at some of the most recent images from The Hubble Space Telescope and ESO, including the 8-GigaPixel image of the centre of the Milky Way and the 1-GigaPixel HST image of M31. We'll examine what such images reveal about the Universe and how they are rapidly changing our perspective on the Universe. We will also look at their limits, pointing the way toward new capabilities in astronomical observation. This is a highly visual talk, suitable for non-experts and experts alike."
VENUE: Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics building, QUB. Free parking on Campus after 5.30 p.m. ALL WELCOME: Admission free, including light refreshments.

2. IAA at Benburb Castle, Sat 9 April, 7.30 p.m. The IAA has been invited to hold another one of our ever-popular public astronomy events at a new venue, Benburb Castle, Co Tyrone. We will have observing (if clear) of a lovely young crescent Moon, magnificent Jupiter, and maybe even glimpse the innermost planet, elusive little Mercury. Plus of course all the usual Deep Sky Objects visible in this darks-sky location.
There will also be a very good pass over by the brilliant ISS.
Benburb Castle is just S of the main street, the B128, in the village of Benburb. The B128 runs from Blackwatertown to Aughnacloy, and Benburb is just a few miles west of Blackwatertown, NW of Armagh City.
The entrance to the Castle from the B128 was misleading the last time I was there- it took you into the Priory instead! So to be sure, note this: the entrance drive is just West of the junction between the B128 and the B130 from Benburb to Dungannon. Thus, if coming from Blackwatertown, enter Benburb village along the B128 and look out for the junction with the B130 to the right. The entrance to the castle is the next entrance on your left.
GPS: The entrance to the Castle off the B128 is at N 54d 24' 43"; W: 6d 44' 46".
The 'Castle' itself (more of a collection of fortified houses, really) is at N 54d 24' 36"; W: 6d 44' 45".
Tea and coffee etc will be provided.
3. IAA AGM, 13 April, 7.30 p.m.: The AGM will be held in the usual venue, the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB. As well as the usual business of officers' reports and elections, we will have reports on the great success of members' viewing and photos of the Total Solar Eclipse in Indonesia on 9 March, by Andy McCrea, Kate Russo, and myself, plus a look ahead to the next one in the USA in August next year.
4. COSMOS 2016: April 15 - 17, Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone.
Speakers so far: Prof Mark Bailey, Director Armagh Observatory; Damien Peach (astrophotographer extraordinaire); Dr Linda Spilker (Programme Manager, Cassini Mission, JPL / NASA); Dr Tom Spilker (Rosetta Science Team Co-Investigator, JPL / NASA), and others to be confirmed.
5. Transit of Mercury, 9 May: The IAA will be holding at least one public observing session for this rare event, which will be visible from 12h 12m to 19h 40m, BST. Venue to be announced; possibly at QUB.
6. Solarfest, Dunsink Observatory, Dublin: Sat 11 June. More details next time.
7. IAA Midsummer BBQ: 18 June. Venue and details TBA.
8. 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

9. Interesting Weblinks
Held over to next issue.
10. TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.
11. 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