Friday, 13 October 2017

Talks Belfast, Armagh, Lullymore, Kerry, Dublin; ISS; Close miss; Mayo DSF, DMD

Hi all,
1. NEXT IAA LECTURE,  Wed 18 October, 7.30 p.m"Space law: owning stars, mining asteroids and Asgardia"By Laura Keogh of InspireSpace. This fascinating talk will cover the traditional international legal regime, and then explain how it is beginning to change due to private entities and go on to explain what legal obligations would exist for a space nation under the current laws.
   With the ever-increasing pace of space exploration, and proposals for bases and mining on the Moon, capturing and mining asteroids, and eventually setting up bases on Mars, not to mention the new 'Space Nation Asgardia (of which I've been a member since May 2016; and twitter @AsgardiaSpace), just what are the national and international laws governing space?
NB: see the record  number of items under "Space" at Item 12 below
   Laura is a qualified barrister, with a passionate interest in space, so she is eminently qualified to tell us all about this intriguing topic.
Wed 18 October 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: Public Lecture, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, 13 October, 7 p.m.

"Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos" – Public talk by Visiting Professors Geraint Lewis and Luke Barnes. See  for details and booking.

3. ISS. The International Space Station continues its series of evening passes over Ireland until 14 October. It will then commence a series of morning passes on 30 October.  Details on the excellent free site
4. Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2012 TC4 made a close pass to Earth on 12 October. It passed about 27,000 miles from Earth at its closest; That's just outside the orbit of the geosynchronous satellites. Another way of looking at it is that it was just about 3.5 Earth diameters away! But what of the future? See I'll try to live life to the full until 2079 then!
5: Astronomy Evening, IPCC, Lullymore, Rathangan, Co Kildare, 14 October 8.0 -10.0 p.m. I will be presenting an astronomy evening at this dark sky site, with a lecture, a small display, and observing if clear. Details at
6. October 17, Bro. Guy Consolmagno, S.J., Director of the Vatican Observatory, will visit the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve on Tuesday, October 17th. 2017 and will deliver a public lecture at 8 p.m. in Colaiste na Sceilge Green Schools in Cahersiveen, co Kerry. See
7. DIAS Lecture, 19 Oct:  "Brave new worlds: the planets in our galaxy" by Professor Giovanna Tinetti, University College London.
The DIAS School of Cosmic Physics Statutory Public Lecture 2017 takes place on Thursday 19th October at 6:30pm in UCD. (Theatre C (O'Connor Theatre - Room H2.22), Science Hub, University College Dublin.  Admission is free but advance booking is required on eventbrite here.
8. Mayo Dark Sky Festival 27-29 October.  "Our Place in the Cosmos" A great line-up of speakers again this year . See 

Booking now open at

LATEST  Professor Brian Espey of Trinity College Dublin will give a talk on our dark sky heritage on Sunday at 12 noon in Mulranny.  Brian is a professor of astrophysics at Trinity College Dublin who has worked with both NASA and ESA. Since 2009 he has been working to raise awareness and to preserve our dark sky heritage. He has supported dark skies initiatives around the country, most recently that of the Mayo Dark Sky group.

   Also added to the programme is a second workshop by artist and astronomer Deirdre Kelleghan (Saturday at 2pm in Ballycroy).  This one is to complement the talk in Newport by Professor Susan McKenna-Lawlor on the Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P.  While Susan will be looking at the scientific discoveries of the mission (Saturday 3pm in Newport), Deirdre will help younger space enthusiasts learn about the comet by drawing it and also making little comet models for themselves.

Latest news: Norah Patten has brought the winning designs from the recent Project Possum Mission Patch design competition all the way to Florida!


With yesterday's budget announcement that Ireland is to join the European Southern Observatory ESO, Professor Michael Burton of Armagh Planetarium and Observatory will now include some slides in his presentation (Saturday 11:30am) to elaborate more on this, explaining what ESO is and what this latest development means for Ireland (including all the amazing telescopes that are available to use).
#mayodarkskyfestival #projectpossum #mulrannytourism #newportmayo #


9: Dark Matter Day: 31 October: This is a new event, aiming to raise awareness of the mysterious 'Dark Matter'. There will be a special show at Armagh Planetarium, and other events are being considered. Watch this space for updates. See


10. Europlanet Astrobiology Educational Video. Europlanet launched its latest video: Astrobiology: Life in the Universe. Are we alone in the Universe? You have probably asked yourself this question at some point. The video shows how planetary scientists are looking for signs of life on other planets, using our very own Earth as a laboratory.
And don't miss UNAWE's article providing more information and educational resources to use with the video and other fun educational activities here:  



International Observe the Moon Night: 28 October 2017, Location: All around the world, More Information: 


12. 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.
Tabby's star - the mystery deepens! But the article is misleading: a dimming of 1 or 2 percent in a period of months is not unusual at all! R CrB stars vary far more dramatically, in both speed and brightness change, than that! However, Tabby's star is not an R CrB type star. Nor is it unusual for rapid brightenings to occur - Dwarf Novae such as SS Cygni or U Gem do that far more dramatically too. And Chi Cyg, now approaching maximum, can vary by over 10 magnitudes in a period of a bit over a year! It's just that Tabby's star is not of any known type of variable star. NB, as well as the KIC Catalogue number, the star is also known as Tabby's star or Boyajian's star, after Tabetha Boyajian, the woman who first noticed its peculiar behaviour. Yes, but what is making it so hot? Even though it is so tenuous, it still must be getting heated by some energy source.
One of the brightest ever novae is discovered in the SMC 
Giant FAST telescope discovers 2 new pulsars
Doomsday, Apocalypse, Conspiracy Theories, UFOs etc
Earth & Moon  
Looking for giant exoplanets: search for a debris disk
Solar System:
Remote sensing for small bodies and dust 
Amazing Japanese woman's sunspot observations 
Good news. But the DM is still using an impossible image of Mars! - How can the night side of Mars be fully illuminated? It should be black, like the night side of the moons, which are correct. What sort of logic was behind that  image? 
Telescopes, instruments, techniques etc.
13. TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.


14. 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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