1. IAA Public Lecture Meeting, Wed 29 March: "The Euclid Mission: finding out what Dark Matter and Dark Energy really are", by Dr Henry Joy McCracken,
"The nature of dark matter and dark energy remains one of astronomy's most profound mysteries. Scheduled for launch in 2020, ESA's Euclid satellite will map precisely the distribution of dark matter in the Universe and provide the most accurate measurement yet of the cosmic acceleration. Taken together, these two observations will provide a stringent test of our cosmological model. In addition, Euclid will provide an unprecedented legacy of high-resolution imaging over tens of thousands of square degrees of sky. In my talk I will describe the Euclid mission and the challenges of realising such a precise experiment."
TIME: 7.30 p.m., Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB.
Free admission. Free parking on QUB campus after 5.30 p.m. http://irishastro.org.uk/
2. COSMOS 2017: 31 March to 02 April. Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone. Programme
details are at http://www.cosmosstarparty.ie/
3. RGO Astrophotography contest.
With weeks left until submissions close for the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest, the Royal Observatory Greenwich has released images of some of the entries.
4. Watching Venus pass through Inferior Conjunction (I/C) on 25 March! Partial success! In spite of 'nominally' clear skies on both the 23rd and 24th, there were layers of thin cloud down at the W horizon. But as we were looking through those layers almost edge-on, they were thick enough to block any view of Venus from my observing location N of Belfast. However I did succeed the next morning, but only by climbing up a stepladder on my patio to see over the high back hedge and neigbouring houses to the East. I spotted it in 10x50 binocs, and could just barely see it with the unaided eye for a minute or so. But a photo was impossible - you can't balance a tripod on top of a stepladder. However, IAA President Paul Evans got quite a good shot from Larne that morning. I was hoping for another chance on the evening of the 25th, but the cloud was even thicker.
You can still see it, with difficulty and binoculars, in the mornings before sunrise, for another week or so at least.
From Belfast, here's the altitude of the Sun BELOW the horizon when Venus attains 3 degrees ABOVE the horizon in the mornings, on the following dates:
5. Heavens Above: AstroPhoto Exhibition in Downpatrick.
The superb exhibition of locally taken astro-photographs, which had very successful runs in the Linenhall Library In Belfast, and Clotworthy Arts Centre in Antrim, and the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn has transferred to the St Patrick's centre, Downpatrick, and runs there until 31 March.
There are also 5 movies, covering solar eclipse, auroras and conjunctions, playing on a loop all day and now also viewing in the Centre reception.
Thanks again to Bernie Brown for setting this up.
6. ISS. The International Space Station will commence a series of evening passes over Ireland on 28 March, just in time for COSMOS. Details as always on the excellent free site www.heavens-above.com. This site also has general information on most things visible in the night sky, including comets, and now solar eclipses.
7. BBC Stargazing Live, from Australia. 8 p.m., 28 - 30 March. Presented by B COX, presumably because his name is the same upside down!
8. Light Pollution Campaign Survey: Sinead Allen, a student in at the Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork and a member of the Cork Astronomy Club, is developing an exhibition to educate the public on the issue of light pollution as part of her college project. She is collecting relevant data, regarding historical, environmental and societal impact. The aim is to include contributions from individuals and groups with particular interest in the topic. It would be greatly appreciated if the short survey accessible at the following link could be filled out by recipients of this bulletin.. https://goo.gl/forms/
9. AstroCamp 2017 The European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) are collaborating to support AstroCamp 2017, an astronomy-focused summer academic programme for secondary school students. The Summer AstroCamp 2017 will be held from 6 to 20 August in northern Portugal, at the Centre for Environmental Education and Interpretation of the Corno de Bico Protected Landscape. The applicant with the best application from one of ESO's Member States who is eligible to apply will win a bursary offered by ESO that will cover the camp fee.
Read more http://www.eso.org/public/
10. IAA AGM + Telescope Auction + Bring & Buy + Fix my 'scope! 12 April
The IAA AGM will be held in the usual venue at QUB at 7.30 p.m. Details are in an insert with the latest Stardust, which you'll get shortly. After the official business we will be having -
* An auction of surplus IAA telescopes, of all sizes up to a 200mm equatorial reflector. Also lots of ancillary equipment. No reasonable offer will be refused, so this is your chance to pick up a real bargain.
* A bring and buy sale - bring along any of your own surplus gear, DVD's, books & magazines etc, and sell at whatever price you'll accept. For buyers, there are usually some good bargains here too.
So bring plenty of cash and change in notes, £1, £2, 50p's etc.
* If you already have a telescope, but are not sure how to use it, or you think something may be wrong with it, bring it along (if it's portable) and ask our experts for help.
11. Backyard Worlds: Planet Nine. Backyard Worlds is hoping to discover a large planet at the fringes of our solar system — a world astronomers call Planet Nine. But Backyard Worlds need your help! Finding such dim objects requires combing through images by eye, to distinguish moving celestial bodies from ghosts and other artifacts. So come and join the search — there are many images to look through. In the end you might discover a rogue world that's even nearer to the Sun than Proxima Centauri! Discover more about the project and how to contribute here: https://www.zooniverse.org/
12. Blackrock Castle Observatory Space Camps, July 10 - 21
Book your space camper in for a fun filled week of space and science activities.
Join us each day from 9:30 to 12:30.
Week 1 | July 10 - 14 | suitable for ages 7 to 9
Week 2 | July 17 - 21 | suitable for ages 10 to 12
The cost for each Space Camper is €95 per child which includes 1 week of Space Camp, Space Camp t-shirt & all activity materials.
Payment must be paid before your chosen Space Camp begins. 10% Discounts apply for members and siblings attending.
13. Heavens Above has new solar eclipse feature:
Heavens-above.com has a new feature on solar eclipses, from 1900 to 2100. They are grouped in thumbnail maps covering 3 year periods, thus the opening page lists those from 2017 to 2020. You can select other dates from the arrows beside the year date.
14. Total Solar Eclipse, USA, 21 August: Lots of people are asking about seeing this eclipse - the most accessible one for many years to come. See http://eclipsewise.com/solar/
For information about the eclipse see also 365 Days Of Astronomy: It's time for Totality 2017 | 365 Days of Astronomy and https://www.sciencedaily.com/
The weather prospects are much better on the West side of the Mississippi - see: http://eclipsophile.com/wp-
15: FUTURE EVENTS ALERT:
* Global Astronomy Month: April 2017. More information: http://www.
* Earth Day / March for Science, April 22: In view of the latest attacks on science, this would be an opportunity to stand up and show support for science and scientists. It is hoped that something will be organised locally, in both Belfast and Dublin. More later. https://www.facebook.com/
* Solar Day, Dunsink Observatory: 17 June.
* Starmus Festival IV: Life And The Universe: 18–23 June 2017. Location: Trondheim, Norway. More information: https://www.starmus.com/
* IAA Midsummer BBQ event. 24 June.
* European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS): 26–30 June 201,: Prague, Czech Republic. More information: http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2017/
* Asteroid Day: 30 June 2017. Location: Around the world. More Information: http://asteroidday.org/
* ISSP: Major Event: The International Space Studies Programme (ISSP) will be coming to Ireland this year. It will be based at Cork Institute of Technology, running from 26 June to 25 August.
* International Symposium on Astronomy and Astrobiology Education: 3–8 July 2017; Utrecht, Netherlands. More Information: http://ise2a.uu.nl/
* IAA Solar Day, 6 August, WWT, Castle Espie, 2 - 5 p.m.
* 36th International Meteor Conference, in Petnica, Serbia, from September 21 to 24, 2017. For details contact the Local Organizing Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
* International Observe the Moon Night, 28 October 2017. More Information: http://observethemoonnight.
17: Interesting Weblinks: (Disclaimer - Use of material herein from various sources does not imply approval or otherwise of the opinions, political or otherwise, of those sources). NB: If the title in the weblink does not indicate the subject matter, I give a brief simple intro before the link. I may also comment about the link afterwards.
19. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://documents.irishastro.
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.