Monday, 22 May 2017

Comet, ISS, Armagh & Dunsink public events, library events, IAA BBQ, NLCs, NASA

 Hi all,
1. Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson.  This moderately bright comet, currently in Bootes, may reach mag 6 at best in the next week. With a hyperbolic orbit, this is your only opportunity to see it, as it will 'never' return to the inner solar system See and Heavens Above,,  also gives its position for any date and time.
2. ISS. The ISS continues its series of morning passes over Ireland. As the nights shorten, this series will continue until it merges seamlessly into a series of evening passes, which will continue until June 7! details for your own location, along with lots of other useful information, on the excellent free site
3. Beyond Limits: An Imaginative Discussion with Dr Sally Walmsley and Professor Mark Bailey, 23 May
Tuesday 23 May 2017, 6.00 pm to 7.15 pm; Armagh County Museum, The Mall East, Armagh, BT61 9BE
   Writer, composer and sound artist, Dr Sally Walmsley has recently completed a Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence at Armagh Observatory exploring the overlap of art, science and technology in the international research world of the astronomer. Her work on the project is currently being showcased at Armagh County Museum in an interactive display.
   On this one-off event, Sally Walmsley will appear alongside her installation at the museum and discuss the use of imagination in creating art and craft in its many forms. She will compare this use of creative thinking to that used by the scientific researcher as demonstrated by the world class astronomers in Armagh and the work that they do. Sally will be joined by Professor Mark Bailey, Emeritus Director of Armagh Observatory, who will give a unique insight into the role of imagination in astronomical research. 
   The event will be an interactive discussion on the importance of imagination in pushing boundaries, whether in research, creative practice or business. 
Please register your interest by going to the following link:
4. Dunsink Observatory Public Open Night Wed 24th May "Talk About Stars and Telescope Evening!" Event at 7.30pm


It's Free!

  • Time: Event starts @ 19.30 hrs AND duration of talk approximately one hour
  • Time: Gates Open @ 19.00 hrs
  • Parking: free of charge and plenty of free parking available
  • Venue: DUNSINK OBS, Dunsink Lane, Castleknock, Dublin 15 - Off the Navan road only, up by the Travel Lodge @ the Auburn Traffic Light Intersection on the Navan Road before the M50
  • There will be telescopes on site to view the evening sky weather permitting. NOT SUITABLE for anybody younger than 12 years of age.
  • E-tickets (To your e=mail provided) will be sent to you for this event on or before Monday 22nd of May 2017 Maximum number of tickets allowed per booking (four). PLACES ARE LIMITED.
  • The rest of Dunsink Obs will be open during these evenings, for example the SOUTH DOME and other exhibits on the ground floor of Dunsink Obs will be open the whole evening. There will be telescopes on site to view the evening sky weather permitting.
  • Note: Contact details are given below.
  • Hilary O'Donnell/Sullivan, Astrophysics and Astronomy Section, School of Cosmic Physics, 
    Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies 31 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, Ireland, Telephone + 353-1-662 13 33, Mobile +353 (0) 87 629 4966 Fax + 353-1-524 23 02. E-mail
  • 5. Armagh Planetarium: Night Under the Stars, May 26:
    For the first time Armagh Observatory and Planetarium is planning a fun 'Night under the Stars' event that can be tailored for what you want. You will have four options to choose from on the night from the following:
    • A tour and show at the planetarium 
    • A tour of the Astropark and Observatory grounds
    • A screening of the movie Armageddon U15
    • A screening of the movie Night at the Museum PG (this will include a surprise visit from Rex the Dinosaur!)
    • Pre-booking is essential -
    6. Space Display, Belfast Central Library, June - August. The IAA has been asked to contribute to a display of space-themed items at Belfast Central Library, in Royal Avenue, running through the summer. If you have anything you would like to lend for display, in secure locked cabinets of course, please let me know asap..


    7. IAA BBQ. The IAA's midsummer BBQ will once again be held in the grounds of Armagh Planetarium, on Sat 24 June, courtesy of Prof Mike Burton, Director of the Observatory and Planetarium. Plans are to start at about 2.00, tour the grounds, and see one of the new shows, "Black Holes" at 4.00 p.m. There will also be a new item: comprising a competition testing your astronomical knowledge and powers of observation, with various prizes! More details later, but keep the date free.


    8. NLCs This is the start of the season to see these beautiful and mysterious high-altitude Noctilucent Clouds, thought to be caused by meteoric dust high in our atmosphere. Look low down in the Northern sky, just as the brightest stars become visible.


    9. Cassini This amazing Spacecraft exploring Saturn and its system, continues its series of amazing and hazardous dives through the gap between Saturn and its rings on 26 April. Watch out for more amazing images coming back.


    10. NASA Image and Video Library
    NASA has launched a new resource to help the public search and download images, videos and audio files by keyword and metadata. The new NASA Image and Video Library allows users to search, discover and download 140 000 NASA images, videos and audio files from across the agency's many missions in aeronautics, astrophysics, Earth science, human spaceflight and more.
    Official press release
    here and go to the official website: 


    11. Solarfest, Dunsink Observatory: 17 June: This annual celebration of our nearest star, timed near the summer solstice, will be held again at Dunsink, Castleknock, North Dublin. More details of the programme later.


    12. Summer Solstice at Beaghmore Stone Circles, Co Tyrone: Celebrate the Summer Solstice on June 21 with a varied programme of events organised by Mid-Ulster District Council, commencing at 6.30 p.m.. There will be observing if clear, talks on the archaeoastronomy of the stone circles and other entertainment. Free. More details in next bulletin.


    13. Space 360. "Space 360" is a series of stunning 360° videos from the International Space Station (ISS) that provide an immersive experience of life in orbit. The project features the first-ever 360° videos filmed from low Earth orbit, footage captured by Russian cosmonaut Andrey Borisenko. "Space 360" is part of a collaboration with the Russian space agency Roscosmos, rocket and space corporation Energia, and TV network RT.
    You can find more information on the project by exploring the official "Space 360" website:

    14. IAA Photo Exhibition "Heavens Above" & public outreach event, Bangor 3 July.  On Monday 3rd July the Irish Astronomical Association (IAA) will launch "Heavens Above", an exhibition of astonishing photographs of the sky taken exclusively by members of the Association in the Bangor Carnegie Library. The exhibition will run to 29th July. There will also be a public lecture, and solar and possibly lunar viewing, weather permitting.


    15. 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


    16. 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:


    17. 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.

    Please call us on 021 4326120 or email to book. For more information see



    * Starmus Festival IV: Life And The Universe:  18–23 June 2017. Location: Trondheim, Norway. More information: 

    * European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS): 26–30 June 201,: Prague, Czech Republic. More information: 

    * Asteroid Day: 30 June 2017. Location: Around the world. More Information: 
    * 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. NB  Buzz Aldrin will be there for the opening ceremony. There will be many events open to the public, they'll all be advertised on the SSP17 website if you can keep an eye on that for dates and tickets.

    * International Symposium on Astronomy and Astrobiology Education: 3–8 July 2017; Utrecht, Netherlands. More Information: 

    * IAA Solar Day, 6 August, WWT, Castle Espie, 2 - 5 p.m.

    * NEXT LECTURE: The first lecture of the new IAA season will be on Wed 20 September 7.30 p.m., Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB. Free admission.  Free parking on QUB campus after 5.30 p.m.

    * 36th International Meteor Conference, in Petnica, Serbia, from September 21 to 24, 2017. For details contact the Local Organizing Committee at 

    * International Observe the Moon Night, 28 October 2017. More Information: 


    19: 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.
    Mapping supermassive Black holes in the distant universe 
    Earth & Moon  
    Total Solar Eclipse Guide free on Amazon until Tuesday 23rd 
    Icy ring round Fomalhaut's planetary system 
    Solar System:
    Mars Opportunity Rover starts exploring Perseverance Valley 
    History of Titan's landscape resembles that of Mars, not Earth
    First direct measure of magnetic fields in upper solar atmosphere 
    20. TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.


    21. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION: 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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