Saturday, 13 May 2017

ISS, Meteors vid, Space Display, IAA BBQ, NLCs, Cassini, Space record, Solarfest

Hi all,

1. ISS. The ISS has just started another 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  


2. Eta Aquarids from Oz


3. 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. More details in next bulletin.


4. 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.


5. 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.


6. Cassini This amazing Spacecraft exploring Saturn and its system, has made a close pass over Titan, Saturn's largest moon, and the first of a 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.


7. Jupiter at Opposition. Jupiter was at opposition on 7 April, so it's still well placed for observing, in Virgo. it's the brightest object in the night sky after the Moon, so you can't possibly miss it.


8. New Space Record for USA: NASA Astronaut Fischer and Cosmonaut Yurchikhin have joined Nasa's Peggy Whitson, Russia's Oleg Novitskiy and France's Thomas Pesquet on board the ISS.

Ms Whitson, the first woman to command the International Space Station, has now spent over 540 days in space - more time than any other American astronaut. At 57, Ms Whitson also is the oldest woman in space. She plans to returns to Earth in September.


9. 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: 


10. 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.


11. 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:

12. 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.


13. 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


14. 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:


15. 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: 


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.
   Intergalactic gas ripples in the cosmic web 
Best combined wavelength view of Crab Nebula 
Hey guys, it's obvious! This is many levels above a Dyson sphere - it's even above a Kardashev* Level 3 civilization - probably a Level 4, where they are extracting the energy of whole clusters of galaxies, or maybe even superclusters. So that's why that region is cooler. Mind you, it's only 0.00015 degrees cooler, so they're definitely not a Level 5! Simple, eh? *Not to be confused with Kardashian - which is unlikely anyway, when used in the context of civilization.
Earth & Moon  
TCD study shows that Giant meteorite impacts trigger lasting volcanism, and
Deep burial of Earth's early organic carbon. 
So they were living here when the only other form of life on Earth was slime? And so is that what they ate? But although they were an advanced civilisation, they couldn't genetically engineer a potato, let alone a nice tasty chicken. No wonder they moved off somewhere else!   Also, it's unlikely that any catastrophe would wipe them out entirely, without also wiping out all other life, yet we see that life on Earth here has survived continuously for billions of year. The other big problem with this theory is the timescale - could life have evolved from the simplest form to an advanced technology within the first 3 billion years or so of Earth history? See 
Earth rotation speed to test General Relativity 
How close would a supernova cause mass extinctions on Earth? 
Exoplanets: Patrick Moore asked me to take photos of Epsilon Eri, and Tau Ceti, as the two nearest sunlike stars, way back in the Sixties for a magazine article. I strapped my Minolta SRT-101 35mm SLR, loaded with Tri-X (or HP5?), to the top of the tube of the 10" refractor at Armagh Observatory, and hand-guided using the main telescope for exposures of about 10-15 minutes at F1.7.  They came out OK!
Primitive atmosphere discovered round a 'Warm Neptune'
SETI: Of course, they all speak English - they've been watching Star Trek for years!
Solar System:
Cassini brushes by Titan before ring-dive: 
Space: Well done Peggy! NB, she will be returning to Earth in September after a total of 665 days in space. Not 666! NASA - superstitious? Of course not.....
Cassini back in contact after ring-plane dive - That's the least of their problems, as I've pointed out before. I won't be buying shares in any of them!. Aha! They're not superstitious after all: they're giving her an extra day, so her total will be 666 days in space!
18. TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.


19. 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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