Friday, 14 October 2016

Events, Talks, ISS, Astronauts in Belfast, Universe x 10, Astrophotos, MUCH more

Hi all,


1. "aroundNorth" returns to Northern Ireland
  In March last year, Robert Jarvis together with the Armagh Observatory launched the first permanent installation of Robert's "aroundNorth" sonic-art installation (see and links therein). The installation plays a coded sound of the visible stars and those within some 150 light years of Earth, as they rotate around the North Celestial
Pole, a point in the sky that lies close to the pole star, Polaris. See for more information.
   Robert has brought a portable version of the installation back to Northern Ireland this week, and performances will be given from 6.00pm on Saturday 15th October in the evocative Neolithic site of the Beaghmore Stone Circles, roughly halfway between Cookstown and Omagh (see
   This performance, which is supported by Armagh Observatory and Planetarium
and the host organization, is free and everyone is welcome and very much
encouraged to attend.


2. IAA Public Lecture Meeting, 19 October;   Dr Morgan Fraser, Cambridge University / UCD: "Gaia: Mapping the Milky Way and Beyond from Space": GAIA is possibly the biggest development in astrophysics since the start of this millennium! This is a ,lecture not to be missed!
Abstract: Gaia is the European Space Agency's flagship mission for this decade, and is revolutionising our understanding of the Milky Way and beyond, by allowing astronomers to measure distances to a billion stars.
I will outline the Gaia mission, and some of the technology that makes this possible. As the first public Gaia data release was made in September 2016, I will highlight some of the key science results to
date, and discuss some of the things to look forward to from Gaia in the future. Finally, I will talk about the Gaia Alerts project, which uses Gaia data to find transients, and how amateur astronomers are getting
 7.30 p.m., Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB.

 Free admission, including light refreshments. Free parking on QUB campus after 5.30 p.m.


3. ISS. The International Space Station is visible during early evening passes over Ireland until Oct 19. Full details, and lots more, on the excellent free site


4 Astronauts Tim Peake and Tim Kopra.  The Ulster Hall in Belfast hosts an evening on October 18th with astronauts Tim Peake and Tim Kopra. See for more details. Book now if you want to go!


5. A HUGE, HUGE Universe! The universe is now thought to contain two trillion galaxies. An international team of astronomers, led by Christopher Conselice, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Nottingham, have found that the universe contains at least two trillion galaxies, ten times more than previously thought.


6. IFAS Calendar 2017

The FREE edition of the IFAS Calendar for 2017 is now available as a 735Kb pdf for download. It does not include the photos taken by IFAS members but these will appear in a printed edition of the calendar which will be available for purchase (details to be announced during October on the IFAS site The pdf contains extra pages with various useful tables of data. Grab your copy of the 2017 calendar now at


7. Exomars: Joint ESA-Roscosmos mission ExoMars will arrive in orbit around Mars on October 13th and deploy the Schiaparelli lander which will touch down on the surface of Mars on October 19th. See


8. AstroPhoto Exhibition. We're delighted to announce that all the local photographs in this exhibition will feature in a further series of exhibitions, at venues including Clotworthy House in Antrim, and the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn.  More details later. Free admission. A MUST SEE!




10. Spot Chinese Space Station, Tianggong-2 It may be possible to spot China's latest space station during one of its passes over Ireland. Tiangong-2 was launched on September 15th, marking the next phase of China's project to develop a permanently manned orbiting lab. Two taikonauts are scheduled fly to the station on October 16th for what is planned to be a 30-day stay. See for more info.

   Tiangong-2 will make a series of morning passes over Ireland for a few days beginning on October 14th. It may be possible spot the manned Shenzhou 11 in orbit after launch on Oct 16th as it chases the station before docking.


11. Mayo Dark Sky Festival, 27-30 October, Update Mayo Dark Sky Festival website They now have an official IDA Gold Tier Dark Sky Park award for this site in Mayo see

TIME TO REGISTER NOW: Time to pre-register for the upcoming Mayo Dark Sky Festival in Newport County Mayo 28-30 October! By pre-registering (no payment necessary) your itinerary, programme and tickets will all be ready for you at the Fast Track Desk in Hotel Newport before the start of the festival and can be done at


12. Science Week Ireland 13 - 20 November; see for more details.

13: Gravitational Waves; A New Astronomy, Monday, 21 November 2016 from 18:30 to 20:00 (GMT), Theatre D (ICON Theatre), UCD Science Hub, UCD, Belfield.

14. Fly A Rocket: The European Space Agency is looking for students for its new "Fly a Rocket!" programme. ESA's Education Office is looking for twenty students to participate in an online course about rocketry. Following completion of the course, the students will have the opportunity to take part in a full launch campaign at the Andoya Space Center in Northern Norway, and to launch a rocket. The course is aimed at younger university students, and it is accepting applications from education, media, and management students, showing that careers in the space sector do not necessarily require a detailed technical or mathematical background. Learn more about the program here:!_programme

15. ESO Astronomy Camp Date: 26 December 2016 to 1 January 2017; Location: Aosta Valley, Italy. More information:

16. IAA Subscriptions now overdue: You can pay by Paypal via the IAA website 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.

17: IAA NEW YEAR PARTY - 7 January. More details later.

18. Galway Astrofest, 28 January. Another top programme of events is already lined up. More details later, but save the date now.

19. The 2017 TSE in USA: Online course about 2017 Eclipse. On August 21, 2017, the United States of America (USA) will experience the first total eclipse of the Sun visible in the continental territory in almost 40 years. The total eclipse will only be visible within a narrow band, and everyone in North America located outside this band will see a partial solar eclipse. On 15 October 2016 the US National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is promoting the virtual conference "The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 — Are You and Your Students Ready for the Sky Event of the Decade?". This course is open to international participants for a fee. There is a free booklet (in PDF format) about the eclipse and safe viewing, from NSTA's recently published book Solar Science, and it can be found here:  . Find out more about this online course here:

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

21: Interesting weblinks:

ASTROPHYSICS: Second Ring found round Butterfly Nebula: Cue Queen: "I want to break free...."

Oxygen traces galactic evolution  

ALMA studies star formation

VISTA reveals hidden stars  


COSMOLOGY:  It would be very surprising if they didn't!

No sign of Sterile Neutrinos yet  



Solar wind effects on Earth's radiation belts  Good news. But, Oh Dear! There are no Komodo Dragons on the Galapagos Islands! Never were, almost certainly never will be! They are found on, surprise surprise, the island of Komodo in Indonesia, on the opposite side of the Pacific Ocean! I saw them there on the eclipse trip to Indonesia in March, and they are indeed fearsome beasts!



Two stars surrounded by THREE planet-forming discs  Interesting. But what would the climate be like on those worlds in the first place? Would it be stable enough in the short term (days to years) for intelligent life to develop?  

The death of a planet nursery?  


SETI:  and  But they will first go through the stage we are at now, where we recognise the dangers. So maybe they will avoid that result.  


SOLAR SYSTEM:  (BTW, D/M, the 'Death Star was actually fiction....)

Sounds of Jupiter's aurora  How can a canyon be massive? A canyon is basically an absence of mass, as it's an elongated hole in the ground. What's wrong with big, or huge, or even gigantic? What next - a "massive vacuum'???  



Space can damage your brain: , and  This is what I was referring to in my interview on U105 yesterday morning about Obama's plans to get humans on Mars by the end of the 2030s. Not good timing, as far as Obama's speech was concerned!  

New record rocket engine efficiency:  

This could also be a way to get rid of space junk: a satellite to sweep up pieces of debris, collect them & have them available for use in this propulsion system.

SUN, SOLAR EFFECTS:  Just one problem with this - the 11 year period is only an average - it can vary considerably on either side of that average, whereas the 11.07 years period is quite constant?


UFO's, Aliens etc  Which just goes to prove that the so-called 'impossible' crop circles are very possible indeed, especially if a couple of people work together. No need for Aliens at all!



Detecting Dark Matter


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


24. 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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