Saturday, 30 July 2016

Photo Exhib launch, IAA at WWT, Perseids & BBQ, INAM, Silent Valley, Mayo DS

Hi all,
1. Launch of AstroPhoto Exhibition, Linenhall Library, Belfast, 2 August. We're delighted to bring to Belfast the amazingly popular and successful astrophoto exhibition that featured recently in the Botanic Gardens in Dublin. This will run until 30 September. Free admission. A MUST SEE!
The photos in this exhibition are of outstanding quality. There are 60 'standard' mounted prints, approximately A3 size, together with another 5 'specials' by Tom O'Donohue (who gave us a superb talk on his work last year), 3 of which are about A2 size, and 2 are of roughly A0 size - these will leave you open-mouthed in amazement!
They were all taken by Irish amateur astronomers (including many from N.I.) with their own equipment, although some were taken abroad to get better views of objects at more Southerly declinations.
This exhibition was largely the brainchild and work of John Dolan of the IAS in Dublin, and was jointly sponsored by the IAS and IFAS, with valuable support from Canon Ireland.
Various members of IAA Council have been involved in planning and bringing the exhibition to the Linenhall Library, but particular thanks must go to Bernie Brown, who has done most of the planning and a lot of the actual hard work!
Various hardware items associated with astrophotography will also be on show at the launch, and there will be short talks by people involved in the imaging and the curation of the Linenhall exhibition at 12.30, 1.30 and 2.30 p.m. Some IAA members will be available at certain times during the period from Launch to 30 September to talk about the exhibits to visitors. More details on the IAA website.
You really should see this exhibition, and persuade your friends to go along too.
2. IAA Solar Day, Castle Espie (near Comber), 7 August, 14.00 - 17.00: This will follow our usual very successful format: solar observing using various safe equipment and techniques; exhibition of telescopes and other items, space memorabilia and meteorites, and of course the ever popular starshows in the mobile Stardome, loaned courtesy of Armagh Planetarium, to whom our thanks are again due.
3. PERSEIDS OBSERVING & BBQ + Possible Outburst, 11-12 August.
The IAA will hold another Perseids observing and BBQ event at Delamont Country Park, between Killyleagh and Downpatrick. The normal Perseids maximum, with a ZHR of about 80, is predicted for the morning of 12 August at about 08h, but an additional brief minor outburst of meteors caused by the Earth passing through several overlapping recent debris trails from Comet Swift-Tuttle is predicted by Dr David Asher and Dr Tolis Christou of Armagh Observatory for around midnight on the 11/12th. This could produce meteor rates of up to 200 per hour.
The moon will be just past First Quarter, but will be quite low by the time of the expected outburst, so it could be worse!
If you want to go for the BBQ, suggested arrival time is about 8 p.m., eating from about 8.30 p.m., finish and clear up by about 10 p.m., ready to observe by about 10.30 p.m. Bring your own BBQ if you have a portable or disposable one; if not you can usually get cooking space on someone else's. Bring your own food, drink (preferably NOT alcohol, or certainly not very much!), BBQ cutlery if you have it, cooking, eating utensils, plates etc. There are picnic tables at the site.
Also bring a reclining chair or lounger, or a mat with a waterproof backing, to give comfortable viewing conditions.
Telescopes will also be available for observing the moon in twilight, and Saturn and Mars although both will be rather low in the sky.
Of course if the weather is very bad we'll have to cancel, or postpone to the next night (missing the outburst, but still getting good 'normal' Perseid rates). Check the IAA website for latest details on whether we're going or not.
If you can't get to Delamont, observe from your own nearest dark-sky location.

The shower actually begins in late July with just a few meteors per hour, with hourly rates slowly increasing from then until the maximum, then decreasing more rapidly until the shower ends about 21 August, so in a clear dark sky you can expect to see some Perseids any time during the first 3 weeks of August. As the Moon will be less of a problem before maximum, you should see a good display late in the evenings any time from about 5-6 August onwards.

I値l also include any further info in the next email bulletin.

The Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) is the rate which would be seen by an experienced observer, in a VERY dark sky, and with the radiant in the zenith: actual observed rates very rarely reach the nominal ZHR for various reasons.

Photography: If you have a digital SLR which can give longish time exposures, and you can manually focus it on infinity, and adjust it to a high ISO (film speed equivalent), you can image meteors with a bit of luck. Make a suitable lens hood, or heater, to prevent dew on the camera lens. You'll also need a long time exposure option, or a locking cable release (plus a spare one), and a tripod.

Point the camera about 50 up in the sky, about 40 from the radiant, for best results. Consult your camera handbook, or experiment with exposures, until the sky fogging becomes too severe.

4. INAM 2016, UCD, 7-9 Sep: The 3rd Irish National Astronomy Meeting (INAM 2016) will be held between Wednesday 7th and Friday 9th September 2016 in UCD. Currently it is expected that the meeting will consist of themed science sessions over two full days, Thursday 8th and Friday 9th, with a welcome reception the evening of 7th and conference dinner on Thursday 8th.
NB, this is a professional level event, but members of societies affiliated to the ASGI, such as the IAA, are welcome to attend.
5. Stargazing at Silent Valley, Mourne Mountains, 8 October: The IAA has ben invited back to this really dark sky site for another stargazing evening. There are also predictions of an outburst of the Draconid Meteors that evening. More details later.
6. Mayo Dark Sky Festival, 27-30 October
Ronan Newman asked me to mention this new link to the Mayo Dark Sky Festival website They now have an official IDA Gold Tier Dark Sky Park award for this site in Mayo see

7. IAA Telescopes for loan: The IAA has telescopes available to borrow, for any paid up member Enquiries to David Stewart or Andy McCrea

8. Interesting Weblinks. (held over to next issue)

9. TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.

10. 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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