Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Lectures, TV, ISS, Mayo DSF, IFAS, Photo Exhib, SWI, Fly rockets, ESO, IAA/NYP

Hi all,


1. IAA Public Lecture Meeting, 2 November;  "How We Tell The Time", by Dr David Malone, NUIM. The connection between astronomy and time is as old as astronomy itself, since the day and the year are determined astronomically, and the month has an obvious astronomical connection. But do you know that there are 5 different times for the length of a month, and of a year? And at least 20 different ways of measuring time itself? (AST, ET, DST, GMAT, GMT, GST, JD, LST, LST(2), MJD, MST, ST, TAI, TCB, TDB, TDT, TT, UT, UT1 and UTC. And you also have to allow for Delta T! And measurements must be made with respect to ICRF2 And, of course, it's all relative! 

  But don't worry - the talk won't be addressing all those, and it will be at a simple and popular level.

  Why are there so many different 'types' of time, what are they used for (some are now obsolete, BTW), and how do we measure time anyway?

   This lecture will throw some light on something we take for granted, but is in fact far from simple!

SYNOPSIS:  Knowing the date and time is a question that is tightly tied up with astronomy, combined with some history, politics and a bit of physics. This talk will give a summary of how the calendar and clock we have today has changed from ancient times right up to 2016.

   TIME: 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.


2. TV Interview

I found out about this too late to circulate it in time, but you may be able to source it somehow -

Sat 29 Oct; NVTV (channel 7); 20:45-21:15: Behind the Science: Geoff McGimpsey talks to the former director of Armagh Observatory, Professor Mark Bailey. Thanks to Peter Millar for the alert - not his fault I didn't get it in time, as I was away in Mayo!

3. ISS The International Space Station will commence another series of morning passes over Ireland on Nov 3, continuing until Nov 20. Details for your location, along with lots of other useful information on space and astronomy on the excellent free site


4. Mayo Dark Sky Festival, 27-30 October Congratulations to Ronan Newman of Galway Astronomy Club for arranging an excellent collection of speakers and topics at this event; and to Fiona Hopkins for looking after the arrangements and logistics in Newport; it was an excellent event, and well attended by both visiting amateur astronomers, and locals. Congrats also to Georgia McMillan for getting the Dark Sky Park initiative under way and seeing it through to completion. Thanks also to Stephen Kershaw of Ktec Telescopes who donated a telescope as the major prize for the raffle.

   We had  a dry weekend from Friday evening to Monday morning, and some Sun during the day, but unfortunately not enough clear sky at night to enable us to appreciate just how dark the skies are there.


5. Causeway U3A Astro Interest Group Lecture: "Our Sun: friend or Foe?" by Terry Moseley. Agherton Parish Centre, Portstewart, 2 p.m., Monday 7 November. Open to non AIG members for £3.00 - payable at the door.  Non members only - please email ( by Thursday 3rd November if you plan to attend.

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. AstroPhoto Exhibition, Antrim, 9 November. 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.  

The Clotworthy Arts Centre will be hosting the event from 9 November until 3 December. Free admission. A MUST SEE!


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

9: 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.

10. 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

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

12. IAA Subscriptions now overdue:  Your Last chance to pay! Any members who have not renewed their subscriptions by the time the next issue of STARDUST is being sent out will be deemed to have lapsed, and will not receive that or any further issues. 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.

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

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

15. FUTURE EVENTS ALERT: Note the dates:

COSMOS 2017: 31/3 to 02/04. Athlone.

SSP: Major Event: The International Space Studies Programme (SSP) will be coming to Ireland next year. It will be based at Cork Institute of Technology, running from 26 June to 25 August.

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

17: Interesting Weblinks


A dying star's 'ghostly' glow Science subordinated to Hallowe'en nonsense via the added green ghoulish glow. Not that ghouls, or ghosts, are green or any other colour: they are figments of the imagination.

'Pumpkin stars', FCOL!;

Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays 

'Heartbeat stars' unlocked 

Unexpected giant halos round distant quasars 

Young stellar system caught forming close multiples 

Cosmic horseshoe is not lucky beacon


COSMOLOGY: Not bad going, if correct! The expansion was not in question, just whether that rate was accelerating or not.



Catalog of known NEOs tops 15,000! 

Why does Earth have regular ice ages? 





Recent lava flows on Venus 

The effects of pressure in Mars' core I don't think that peanut butter and jelly go together any better than oil and water!

Origin of Saturn's rings 


Telescopes, equipment, etc: A minor detail, but it's obvious even from the map that La Palma is not the most Westerly of the Canary Islands - that distinction belongs to Gomera, lying further South and West than LP.
UFO's Aliens, Conspiracy Theories, etc: 
Well, Mr Scott C Waring, you're wrong on both counts! Meteors CAN appear green, as can space debris, and in fact their tracks ARE essentially straight, as they are still traveling at hypervelocity while they are incandescent. It's only when they slow down enough to stop incandescing that they start to follow a ballistic trajectory, and fall in a curve towards Earth in the same way as a cannon ball fired from a cannon. But at that stage they are not visible, unless you happened to be within a few hundred meters of one.
   And the relevant experts are NOT baffled - they have already said it's either a fireball or space debris.

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


19. 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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