Saturday, 10 November 2018

Lecture, Observing, Star Tracker at AOP, Nominate John Bell, Win Zero-G flight, ISS, MDSF, Photo Exhib, Astro films, more

Hi all,
 
1. IAA Public Lecture: "Amateur Observations of Meteors."  14 November, By Michael O'Connell).
   Michael, a former chair of the Irish Federation of astronomy Societies, is an experienced amateur observer and photographer in several fields, including solar and meteor studies.
   This talk outlines where meteors are from, why we have meteor showers and how to observe them.
Michael describes the meteor science that amateur astronomers can play an active role in.  
In particular, the talk outlines how to detect meteors using visual techniques, with cameras and via radio.
The talk also outlines why it's useful to observe meteors as part of a group effort.
Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB, 7.30pm
All welcome. Free admission, including light refreshments.
 
2. IAA Observing Nights, Delamont Country Park, Killinchy, Co Down,
Fri 9 or Sat 10 November. Check the IAA website at 6 p.m. on those days to see if the event is going ahead that night or not.
 
3. Armagh Planetarium StarTracker Evening Tuesday 13 November, 6.30pm - 9pm
Enjoy a brand new Digital Theatre show "The Sun: Our Living Star" and weather permitting be fascinated by the views of the Night Sky and the Moon through our 12 inch telescope. There will also be astronomy talks in our Copernicus Hall.
Spaces are limited so pre-booking is essential for this event.
6.30pm: Doors Open
7.00pm: Astronomy Talk
7.30pm: Digital Dome Show "The Sun: Our Living Star"
The Sun has shone on our world for four and a half billion years. The light that warms our skin today has been felt by every person who has ever lived. It is our nearest star and our planet's powerhouse, the source of the energy that drives our winds, our weather and all life. Discover the secrets of our star in this planetarium show and experience never-before-seen images of the Sun's violent surface in immersive fulldome format.
Stargazing throughout the evening weather permitting
9.00pm: Event close
*Purchase a dome show ticket and enjoy a complimentary tea/coffee and traybake.
Please call 028 37523689 for more info or book online via www.armaghplanet.com
 
4. Nominate a scientist to feature on the new Bof E £50 note. The person nominated must be British and deceased, which rules out local superstar Jocelyn Bell Burnell, but QUB is supporting the nomination of John Bell, after whom the lecture theatre in which the IAA holds its meetings is named  You can vote, within the next 5 weeks, at https://app.keysurvey.co.uk/f/1348443/10fc/
 
5. Win A Zero-G Flight
Inspire Space (fronted by among others, Dr Laura Keogh who gave us a great lecture last year, and Dr Norah Patten, who will be talking to us next spring) are promoting an amazing raffle. Unfortunaterly it's only open to residents of ROI for legal reasons.
   Fly like a superhero and float like an astronaut! All you have to do is buy a raffle ticket! Only 999 raffle tickets will be sold so be quick – a perfect Christmas present for anyone interested in space, weightlessness or flying! **Closing date to buy tickets is 29 January 2019 and the draw will take place on 31 January 2019**
6. ISS. The ISS continues its series of morning passes until 13 November. It will than commence a new series of evening passes on 26 November. Details for your own location, and lots more info on space and astronomy, on www.heavens-above.com
 
7. Mayo Dark Sky Festival.
This was even better than last year's event, and that one was a hard act to follow. The speakers were excellent, and the organisation was top class. Although it was too windy for telescopic observations, we got some really dark clear skies after the superb dinner on the Saturday night. And they had double the attendance of last year! This event goes from strength to strength, and is well worth the journey.
   Congratulations to Derek, Fiona and Georgia (in alphabetical order, as I wouldn't dare try to attribute order of importance!)
 
8. Images of Starlight Exhibition opens November 11
The second IAS Images of Starlight exhibition will be held in the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin, for 3 weeks from November 11th:  More details at www.irishastrosoc.org where you'll also find other events listed. Telescope viewing nights at the Gardens are on Nov 20th and 21st.
 
9. Space and Astronomy films in Dublin. The last three of the four films being shown weekly in November as part of Christ Church Cathedral's candle-list film series will be: Nov 12th, "A Brief History of Time"; Nov 19th: "Nostalgia for the Light"; Nov 26th: "The Farthest". All take place in The Music Room at Christ Church, start at 6:30pm, and admission is free.  
 
10. Science Week Open Night at Blackrock Castle Observatory, Friday 16th November
Join us at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory for an Open Night during Science Week 2018. This night promises to be fascinating and fun; with everything from entertaining workshops, to engaging lectures with our special guests Prof Robert Walsh and Dr Kevin Mitchell, there will be something for all ages and interests.
For more hands-on educational fun, there will be a Gravity Well, a Soma Cube, and a Light Wall to explore!
Our friends at Cork Astronomy Club will be on site for Stargazing and more*.
All this plus more educational and interactive exhibits await you at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory. There's a scientist in all of us, so come let yours out!
*Stargazing, as always, will be weather dependent.
Full details here: Science Week Open Night
 
11. Armagh Observatory and Planetarium: Georgian Day Tours, Saturday 24 November 2018
12noon & 2pm
Follow the Christmas Star during a tour of Armagh Observatory and Astropark. The Observatory building, the Human Orrery and the Astropark are included as part of the tour. You will hear about the Observatory's history, its current scientific research and its programmes of Science. Above that journey back in time and learn about the star the Wise Men followed to find Baby Jesus.
Tour Times:
12noon Tour (with 2pm Dome show if buying combo ticket)
2pm Tour (with 4pm Dome show if buying combo ticket)
Prices:
Tour Ticket: Observatory Tour with Tea/Coffee and Mince Pie is £10.00
Combo Ticket: Observatory Tour with Mystery of the Christmas Star Dome show with Tea/Coffee and Mince Pie is £15.00
 
12. Armagh Planetarium: "Mystery of the Christmas Star" Dome Show Returns, Sat 24 November
Join Armagh Planetarium this Christmas as we journey back more than 2000 years to Bethlehem, and seek to discover an explanation for the star the Wise Men followed to find the baby Jesus in "Mystery of the Christmas Star".  
   The Star of Bethlehem is an iconic astronomical event whose true origin remains unknown even today, in spite of years of speculation and research. The show will guide the viewer through some of these investigations and the most likely causes of this interesting cosmological object which was remarkable enough to make the wise men travel across the desert from Babylon to Bethlehem to see the newborn baby.  You will also explore possible dates for the birth of Christ and look at the historical records of significant astronomical events which occurred at this time.  This modern retelling of the Christmas story in our digital theatre will charm and captivate audiences.
The show opens on Saturday 24th Nov 2018 until Saturday 5th January 2019.
Show Times:
Tuesday – Friday at 2pm
Saturday/School Holidays at 2pm and 4pm
 
13.  Participate in the 100 Hours of Astronomy Global Project
In 2019, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will celebrate its 100th anniversary (IAU100) and to commemorate, we will organise a year-long celebration to increase awareness of a century of astronomical discoveries as well as to support and improve the use of astronomy as a tool for education, development and diplomacy.
   The 100 Hours of Astronomy will be the kick-off worldwide event of IAU100 and will be composed of a broad range of activities aimed at involving the public. 100 Hours of Astronomy will take place over four days and nights, from 10-13 January 2019, with amateur and professional astronomers, astronomy enthusiasts and the general public invited to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for the Universe. Hundreds of local events are being planned by science facilities and astronomy enthusiasts around the world, including telescope observing sessions, exhibitions, lectures, art projects, classroom projects, field trips, special shows and more. In many countries, there will be public lectures by specially selected speakers, experts in astronomy, keen to participate in this planet-wide venture.
   It is only a few months before the yearlong centennial celebration of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will take place. As a big kick-off event, the global project 100 Hours of Astronomy is organised to take place 10-13 January 2019. Everyone around the globe can participate in this joint effort to bring astronomy to the general public.
   Find more: https://www.iau-100.org/participate-100-hours-of-astronomy 
 
14. APOLLO 8 remembered. This is an excellent video tribute, just coming up to the 50th anniversary in December.   This flight will be the subject of our lecture on December 12.
 
15.  Advance Notice The Galway Astronomy Festival takes place on Saturday January 26th, 2019.
The festival will take place in our new venue, The Harbour Hotel, New Docks Road, Galway.
 We were very happy with last year's festival and hopefully this coming year's festival will be equally successful.
16. Centenary of IAU in 2019:  IAU100: Uniting our World to Explore the Universe
In 2019, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will celebrate its 100th anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, the IAU will organize a year-long celebration to expand awareness of a century of astronomical discoveries as well as to support and improve the use of astronomy as a tool for education, development, and diplomacy under the central theme "Uniting our World to Explore the Universe". The celebrations will stimulate worldwide interest in astronomy and science and will reach out to the global astronomical community, national science organizations and societies, policy-makers, students and families, and the general public.
   For any inquiries, please contact Jorge Rivero González, the IAU100 Coordinator at: rivero[at]strw.leidenuniv.nl
17. Starmus V — Star-studded Lineup for 2019  
Created by Garik Israelian, a researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC), the Starmus Festival is a combination of science, art and music that has featured presentations from astronauts, cosmonauts, Nobel Prize winners and other prominent figures from science, culture, the arts and music. Now celebrating its fifth year, and timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings, Starmus V will take place in Bern, Switzerland, from 24 to 29 June 2019. The IAU is a partner organisation of Starmus and among the confirmed speakers will be IAU Secretary General, Piero Benvenuti, and IAU President-elect, Ewine van Dishoeck.  IAU announcement: https://www.iau.org/news/announcements/detail/ann18007/ 
 
18. 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.
ASTROPHYSICS
Gamma rays from a microquasar puzzle astronomers https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181004131810.htm
Cosmic fountain's clues to galaxy evolution https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181106103840.htm
The oldest star in the galaxy; nearly as old as the universe? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181105160900.htm
Producing magnetic field lines in deep space – just wiggle https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181105143114.htmb
 
COSMOLOGY
Cosmology theories challenged by galaxy observations https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181004131828.htm
 
EARTH & MOON
Earth's dust cloud satellites confirmed. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181026102622.htm
 
EXOLIFE
Laser signalling our presence to other stars  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181105132859.htm   It would be simple to send flashes to represent the first prime numbers, (1, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, etc) – but would they be using the decimal system?
 
EXOPLANETS
 
IMAGES
 
SETI
 
SOLAR SYSTEM
  Chemicals in Saturn's rings affect its upper atmosphere https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181004143937.htm
   Evidence of outburst flooding on Mars https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181105132920.htm
 
SPACE
   https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techandscience/cosmonaut-brains-show-space-travel-causes-lasting-changes/ar-BBOV1OI?ocid=spartandhp Why are they not planning and designing a rotating spacecraft, as per "2001, A Space Odyssey"? It's just rocket science!
 
SUN
Borexino detector sheds light on Solar neutrinos https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181105105211.htm
 
TELESCOPES, EQUIPMENT, Etc
 
19. IAA subscriptions for the coming year were due on 1 September. A reminder was included with the latest issue of Stardust, which all members should have received.
 
20. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION. This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://documents.irishastro.org.uk/iaamembership.doc
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 .
 
The Irish Astronomical Association is registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC 105858
 
DISCLAIMER: Any views expressed herein are mine, and do not necessarily represent those of the IAA.
 
Clear skies,
Terry Moseley

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

New lecture Tuesday, IAA lecture Wednesday, First Man, 100 hours of astronomy, much more...

Hi all,
 
1. NEW "Satellite Top Trumps". A public lecture by Dr Charlotte Bishop, Tuesday 16 October, David Keir Building, Stranmillis Road / Malone Road, Belfast, 5.30 pm. for 6.00 p.m. Free admission. Room BKB OG/012
. Refreshments: 5.30
  Lecture 6.00
  Questions 6.45
  Drinks reception 7.00
  Close 8.00
Satellites have taken images of the Earth for over 40 years, but what can satellites do for you? This presentation will take us back to 1977 and the start of the Landsat series (now on its 8th satellite), right up to the present day and beyond. The talk will examine some of the challenges and opportunities within the space sector that have led to fantastic missions providing valuable information to support oil&gas, mining, engineering and environmental sectors.
   Dr Bishop is a specialist in remote sensing with over 12 years experience working in geospace. She is currently Project Manager and Optical Specialist at Kongsberg Satellite Services in Norway where the company boasts the world's largest groundstation network and provides multi-mission satellite data and services for a range of sectors
   She is an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, and sits on a number of committees including the Oil&gas Earth Observation Committee. In 2017 she was elected the first female chair of the Geological Remote Sensing Group of the Geological Society and Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society.
   She is an excellent speaker, and the talk will be profusely illustrated.
ALL WELCOME.
 
2. IAA Public Lecture: "Probability of a Doomsday Solar Superflare: Fact or Fiction?"  17 October, 19.30 By Prof Gerry Doyle, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium.
   One of the popular-level lectures I occasionally give is entitled "Our Sun: Friend or Foe?". The latter option is based largely on the so-called Carrington Event, when a major solar superflare in the 19th century caused havoc to the then widely used telegraph system. If such a superflare were to strike Earth today, the consequences would be a thousand times worse. Prof Gerry Doyle, whom we are delighted to welcome back for another IAA lecture, is the head of solar research at Armagh Observatory, and an expert on the topic. This talk promises to be both timely and informative.
SYNOPSIS: The first part of the talk is on solar flares, how they occur, their energy, etc . Then I go into stellar flares and show data from the Kepler space telescope on flares from solar-like stars and discuss whether such super-flares could occur on the Sun. I include spot data over the past 300 yrs, what is happening now, predications for the next cycle, how a super-flare could occur on the Sun, plus observations from 900 yrs ago.
   Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB, 7.30pm
All welcome. Free admission, including light refreshments.
 
3 .  "FIRST MAN" on general release from Fri 12 October. This film about Neil Armstrong and the first Apollo Moon landing, starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, directed by Damien Gazette, is well worth seeing.
 
4.  Participate in the 100 Hours of Astronomy Global Project
In 2019, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will celebrate its 100th anniversary (IAU100) and to commemorate, we will organise a year-long celebration to increase awareness of a century of astronomical discoveries as well as to support and improve the use of astronomy as a tool for education, development and diplomacy.
   The 100 Hours of Astronomy will be the kick-off worldwide event of IAU100 and will be composed of a broad range of activities aimed at involving the public. 100 Hours of Astronomy will take place over four days and nights, from 10-13 January 2019, with amateur and professional astronomers, astronomy enthusiasts and the general public invited to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for the Universe. Hundreds of local events are being planned by science facilities and astronomy enthusiasts around the world, including telescope observing sessions, exhibitions, lectures, art projects, classroom projects, field trips, special shows and more. In many countries, there will be public lectures by specially selected speakers, experts in astronomy, keen to participate in this planet-wide venture.
   It is only a few months before the yearlong centennial celebration of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will take place. As a big kick-off event, the global project 100 Hours of Astronomy is organised to take place 10-13 January 2019. Everyone around the globe can participate in this joint effort to bring astronomy to the general public.
   Find more: https://www.iau-100.org/participate-100-hours-of-astronomy 
 
5. NEW.  APOLLO 8 remembered. This is an excellent video tribute, just coming up to the 50th anniversary in December.   This flight will be the subject of our lecture on December 12.
 
6. NEW. Images of Starlight opens November 11
The second Images of Starlight exhibition will be held in the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin, for 3 weeks from November 11th. More details later.
 
7. NEW. IAA at Portballintrae, Stardome, Sat 27 Oct. more details of this public event next time.

8.  International Observe the Moon Night: 20 October 2018: http://observethemoonnight.org/ . With all due respect to the organisers, this is a bad date, for the following reasons
   (1). It will be 85% illuminated, well past the optimum of around 50% (First Q). Very little of the spectacular FQ terminator detail will be visible.
   (2) The Moon will be quite low down in the sky for higher N. latitudes, such as UK/Ireland and the rest of N Europe. This results in poorer atmospheric seeing, and a reduced period of visibility.
   (3) Although the main focus is obviously on the Moon, an almost full moon makes the sky so bright that it's very bad for viewing other celestial treats which may be on view.
   (4) Autumn in the N. Hemisphere generally is the worst time of year for viewing the Moon, because of the angle of the ecliptic to the horizon. This may not be so much of a problem at the lower latitudes of the USA, but there are astronomers in other parts of the world too!
   (5) N. Hemisphere Spring is much better, as the waxing Moon is at a much higher altitude, and visible for longer each night.
   (6) If you think I'm biased against the S. Hemisphere, I'm not: firstly, there are very few people living in high S latitudes, where the March or April FQ Moon would be at a low angle for them. Only the S tip of S America would be affected, and it has a very low population. And in any case, many more people live in the N. Hemisphere.
   How about a campaign for a change of date to March? Next year, 16 March would be the best option for a Saturday: the moon will be 76% illuminated – more than ideal, but much better than the date chosen for this year!
 
9. ISS. The ISS will commence a new series of morning passes on 28 October. Details for your own location, and lots more info on space and astronomy, on www.heavens-above.com
10. Armagh Observatory and Planetarium events
   TODDLER TAKEOVER TUESDAY, at the Planetarium, October 23. There will be plenty to do for little ones - stories, songs and arts and crafts (all with a Space theme of course!)  Next session: 23 October, Time: 1.15pm - 1.45pm, Price: £2 per child. Booking required.

   Halloween Half-Term

Mon 29 Oct - Fri 2 Nov 2018. Dome Theatre Show Programme: Open 10am-5pm
More show information and to book online: https://armaghobservatoryplanetarium.ticketsolve.com/shows
Weather permitting we will be launching rockets and will have a super space-themed craft activity for the children. Spend your half-term with us!

   Murder Mystery at Armagh Observatory, Tuesday 30 October. Scandal, jealousy, anger and revenge are thick in the air and murder is just around the corner on Tuesday 30 October at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium.

* If you fancy yourself as a bit of a sleuth and think you can solve our out of this world mystery, then join us and put your powers of deduction to the test.
* Session Times: 7pm & 9pm. Price: £25 per person. Duration: Approx 2.5hrs

* Light refreshments will be served 30mins before the event begins

* A Dome show and short tour of the Planetarium and Observatory are included

* Adult Only Event

* While we make every effort to accommodate wheelchair users and others with mobility issues, by virtue of the nature of the building, the Observatory is accessed by steep narrow stairs

 
11: Mayo Dark Sky Festival, 2-4 November  
* The latest speaker to be added to our programme is ÉANNA NÍ LAMHNA, renowned botanist and broadcaster, who will give a talk on Nocturnal Animals
* Childrens Workshop added to the line-up - The GREAT EGG-DROP CHALLENGE! (Children will work in teams to design and build a device that can keep a raw egg intact when dropped from a height)
* KTEC TELESCOPES will have a selection of telescopes and accessories on display at the festival and will be on hand to answer your questions
* Tickets go on sale online 30th AUGUST (we will send you the link on or before that date)
* Thanks to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), we will be running a FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE between the festival venues over the weekend of the festival
* CHILDREN UNDER 16 will be admitted FREE to all events
With lots more speakers and events to come, please do keep a close eye on our website for regular updates
- www.mayodarkskyfestival.ie <http://www.mayodarkskyfestival.ie>
 
12.  Advance Notice The Galway Astronomy Festival takes place on Saturday January 26th, 2019.
The festival will take place in our new venue, The Harbour Hotel, New Docks Road, Galway.
 We were very happy with last year's festival and hopefully this coming year's festival will be equally successful.
13. Centenary of IAU in 2019:  IAU100: Uniting our World to Explore the Universe
In 2019, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will celebrate its 100th anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, the IAU will organize a year-long celebration to expand awareness of a century of astronomical discoveries as well as to support and improve the use of astronomy as a tool for education, development, and diplomacy under the central theme "Uniting our World to Explore the Universe". The celebrations will stimulate worldwide interest in astronomy and science and will reach out to the global astronomical community, national science organizations and societies, policy-makers, students and families, and the general public.
   For any inquiries, please contact Jorge Rivero González, the IAU100 Coordinator at: rivero[at]strw.leidenuniv.nl
14. Starmus V — Star-studded Lineup for 2019  
Created by Garik Israelian, a researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC), the Starmus Festival is a combination of science, art and music that has featured presentations from astronauts, cosmonauts, Nobel Prize winners and other prominent figures from science, culture, the arts and music. Now celebrating its fifth year, and timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings, Starmus V will take place in Bern, Switzerland, from 24 to 29 June 2019. The IAU is a partner organisation of Starmus and among the confirmed speakers will be IAU Secretary General, Piero Benvenuti, and IAU President-elect, Ewine van Dishoeck.  IAU announcement: https://www.iau.org/news/announcements/detail/ann18007/ 
 
15. 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.
ASTROPHYSICS
 
EXOPLANETS
 
SOLAR SYSTEM
 
SPACE
 
TELESCOPES, EQUIPMENT, Etc
 
16. IAA subscriptions for the coming year were due on 1 September. A reminder was included with the latest issue of Stardust, which all members should have received.
 
17. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION. This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://documents.irishastro.org.uk/iaamembership.doc
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 .
 
The Irish Astronomical Association is registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC 105858
 
DISCLAIMER: Any views expressed herein are mine, and do not necessarily represent those of the IAA.
 
Clear skies,
Terry Moseley