Saturday, 3 February 2018

Lecture, Mars mission, IOP, ISS, NISF, Ian Elliott book, COSMOS, MDSF date, Future events

Hi all,
1. IAA LECTURE,  Wed 7 February, 7.30 p.m. "Exploring the end of the 'Dark Ages'. By Dr Stephen Wilkins, University of Sussex .  
   "In the early Universe the only source of light was that left over from the big bang. As the Universe expanded this light was shifted out of visible wavelengths and the Universe entered the (cosmological) dark ages. The dark ages were brought to an end by the formation of the first stars and super-mass black holes a few hundred million years later. As these first stars died in supernova explosions they likely enriched their surroundings with the heavy elements, ultimately allowing the formation of rocky terrestrial planets and even life. 
   Thanks to the finite speed of light, as we look further away we see the Universe as it appeared in the past. Using the Hubble Space Telescope we have now identified galaxies present only a few hundred million years after the big bang, though we have not yet found examples of the first stars and galaxies to form. This final gap will hopefully be filled by the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, due for launch in mid-2019."
    Doors open about 7.15pm. There is free parking available on the campus in the evenings. Admission Free, including light refreshments. We are located in the Bell Theatre, Department of Mathematics and Physics, QUB
Wed 24 January, 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.
(Thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for facilitating this lecture)
2. Cars to Mars! Falcon Heavy to launch to Mars on Feb 6.
Elon Musk plans to launch his Tesla roadster to Mars on 6 Feb. A gimmick? - Surely not!
3. IOP Spring meeting, 3 March, in Limerick.
The annual Spring Meeting of the Institute of Physics in Ireland will be held on Saturday 3 March 2018 in the Limerick Strand Hotel.
The theme of the meeting is 'Sensing the Universe' and includes talks, the Rosse Medal competition for postgraduate communication, an exhibition on the Tactile Universe, a comedy spot and a prize for the best physics image.
The event gives an opportunity to meet colleagues from across the physics community in Ireland.
Students from colleges outside Limerick taking part in the Rosse Medal Competition may apply for a travel bursary of €50. The deadline for abstract submissions is 2 February 2018.

Registration is now open at:

4. ISS.  The current series of evening passes will continue until mid-February.  Details for your own location, along with lots more information such as Iridium Flares, at
5. NI Science Festival, 15 – 25 February
Highlights from our point of view is the appearance by astronaut, Chris Hadfield. See the full programme at Here are some events of interest. Some are free, but all require pre-booking via the above website, except where noted.
15 - 25 Feb: Museum of the Moon, W5, 10.00 – 17.00.
15 – 25 Feb. Shooting the Stars Exhibition, Garden of Reflection, L/Derry, 10.00 – 16.00
15 Feb: Curious Eyes in the Sky, Ulster Museum, Belfast, 13.00 -14.00.
15 Feb. An Evening with Chris Hadfield, SSE Arena, Belfast, 19.30 – 21.00
16 Feb. Immersed in Space, QFT, Belfast. 18.00 – 20.45
17 Feb: Life as an Astronaut, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, 11.15 – 12.30.
17 Feb. Mission to Mars, Nerve Centre, L/Derry, 12.00 & 14.00
17 Feb, The Farthest, QFT Belfast, 18.00 – 20.00
17 & 18 Feb: Life through a lens, W5, Belfast, Free with entry to W5.pre-book at 028 90467790.
18 Feb: Chelyabinsk - Meet the Meteorites: Ulster Museum, 13.00 – 16.30
20 Feb: Stargazing Open Night, AOP Armagh, 19.00 – 21.00
20 Feb: Last Man on the Moon, Strand Arts Centre, Belfast, 20.00 – 21.30
23 Feb: Cosmic Cuilcagh, Marble Arch Caves Visitors Centre. Stargazing plus alternative presentation if cloudy. Presented by Terry Moseley (who he?
24 Feb: Look Up with Simoln Watt, Black Box, Belfast, 13.00 & 15.00
24 Feb: Life as an Astronaut, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, 11.15 – 12.30.
25 Feb: A Celestial Journey, Nerve Centre, Magazine St, L/Derry. 11.00, 13.00, 15.00 & 16.30
6. Memorial Book for the late Dr Ian Elliott – special offer to IAA members.
Charles Mollan, one of the country's foremost science historians, informs me of the following book, which he has worked on and completed as a tribute to the late Dr Ian Elliott, whom many will know from his work at Dunsink. 'William E. Wilson (The Work and Family of a Westmeath Astronomer', by Ian Elliott and Charles Mollan. The book is Number 5 in the RDS Science and Irish Culture Series.    The book has been published and will be launched at the RDS on 15 February. The launch will follow an astronomical lecture by Prof Jim Bennett (who wrote the definitive history of Armagh Observatory to mark its bicentenary) which may be of interest to your history-minded members. Details can be seen at the website :  (Wilson was a leading Irish astronomer in the 19th century, and built Daramona Observatory in Westmeath. T.M.)
   While the retail price of the book is €30, IAA members can have copies for €20 each, if they can pick them up either from me at the address below, or from the RDS Library. Charles Mollan, 17 Pine Lawn, Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock, County Dublin, A94 X956; Tel 01 2896186; Mobile 086 8144570; E-mail:  Copies can be ordered from me, but unfortunately I'll have to charge postage to the €20 cost (€8 for 1 copy, €9 for 2, and €11 for 3). NB: I hope to attend that lecture, so if anyone wants me to collect a book for them, I can then bring it to an IAA meeting in Belfast, saving you the postage! But I will require full payment in advance – see me at the meeting on 7 February. T.M.)
7. COSMOS 2018, Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone, 13-15 April.
8. Advance Notice: Mayo Dark Sky Festival, 2-4 November  WEB:          FACEBOOK:
9. Irishman to head American IOP WASHINGTON, D.C., January 31, 2018 -- The American Institute of Physics (AIP) announced the hiring of a new CEO today. Experimental physicist Michael H. Moloney was selected by an AIP executive search committee and unanimously approved by AIP's board of directors. He will assume the role March 5, 2018. Moloney holds a doctorate in experimental physics from the University of Dublin, Trinity College in Ireland, and he becomes the ninth executive to lead AIP. He previously held the position of Director for Space and Aeronautics at the Space Studies Board and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
*IAU C1 Exobiology WS - Astrobiology Introductory Course'18, 4-10 March. The third session of the Astrobiology Introductory Course will be held from 4 to 10 March 2018 at the Ornithological Reserve of le Teich (33, France). Courses are designed for students preparing their PhD thesis in Astronomy, Geology, Chemistry, Biology, or History/Philosophy of science and any students wishing to acquire interdisciplinary training in astrobiology to complete their initial training and to be able to address questions about the origins of life, its terrestrial evolution, and its distribution in the Universe. The deadline for applications is January 15th, 2018. For program and registration, please see the website: 
*European Week of Astronomy and Space Sciences (EWASS2018).  This will be in Liverpool, from 3 to 8 April 2018. See and
* International Day of Light, 16 May 2018.    Plan ahead and register your event in the official International Day of Light 2018 calendar! Following the highly successful International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies in 2015, May 16th, the International Day of Light, will provide an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of the central role that light plays in the lives of the citizens of the world. The broad theme of light allows many different sectors of society to participate in activities to raise awareness of science and technology, art and culture, and their importance in achieving the goals of UNESCO — education, equality and peace. 
   A good opportunity to highlight (!) light-pollution! And promote Earth Hour as well.
Register your event by filling out the form:
* International Planetarium Society,  1–6 July 2018Toulouse, France. More Information:  
* Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education (RTSRE) & InterNational Astronomy Teaching Summit Conferences, 23-27 July 2018. The 2nd annual Conference on Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education (RTSRE) will be held in Hilo, Hawai'i from July 23-25, 2018. This conference series focuses on building a sustainable community around the educational, technical, and student research uses of robotic telescopes. The conference will be co-located with the interNational Astronomy Teaching Summit (iNATS) from July 25-27, 2018 providing worldwide networking opportunities and hands-on workshops designed to expand educators' teaching strategy toolkit designed for innovative astronomy professors, teachers, and outreach professionals.  Find more information here: 
Inspiring Stars—the IAU Inclusive World Exhibition, 20-31 August 2018
"Inspiring Stars" will be an itinerant international exhibition promoted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to disseminate world efforts on inclusive research and outreach activities in astronomy. This inclusive world exhibition by showcasing assistive research tools and best inclusive outreach practices intends to broaden the horizons of children, parents, teachers and astronomers—everybody can become a scientist (astronomer)—inspiring the love for science in young people's minds. 
The exhibition will premiere during the IAU General Assembly 2018 in Vienna, from 20–31 August and will be shown around the world. Stay tuned as we keep you posted on all the progress of this IAU not-to-be-missed project for 2018! 
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 Gonz├ílez, the IAU100 Coordinator at: rivero[at]
Mayo Dark Sky Festival, 2-4 November  WEB:         
 11. 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.
HST discovers red & brown dwarfs, exoplanets, & a 'free' 'binary planet' in Orion Nebula
   QUB scientist produces mini-GRB in lab:
   Stellar and solar magnetism reconnection mystery
   Unexpected molecules found in Black Hole winds
Then watch it again. And again. When you get used to locating the zoom-in area, watch how more stars just keep on coming, and coming, and coming into view, e.g. just above left of the bright blueish nebulous star. Amazing.
   Overabundance of very massive stars in the Tarantula Nebula Note some of the local authors: Phil Dufton, Gros Grafener, Danny Lennon and Jorick Vink, all associated with either AOP or QUB. NB, the term 'massive' here actually means what it says, unlike the appalling ubiquitous usage of it now to describe just about anything. I've even heard Wm Crawley talk about a 'massive idea'!
Found: one of the first stars in the Milky Way:
Twisted serpentine emission from galactic jet NB: one of the authors is Brian McBreen
Looking for Dark Matter with oldest stars
Earth & Moon  
Major comet impacts caused huge fires at end of last ice age I note that Prof Bill Napier, ex-Armagh Observatory and twice lecturer to the IAA, is one of the authors. I wonder if there is any record of such a major event in any culture's oral folklore?
   Proposed upper limit for definition of planets
   Atmospheric diseliquilibrium could signify life on exoplanets
Exoplanets discovered in a distant galaxy. Yes, you read that right!
Solar System

Europa's surface my be slushy

SPACE And if you don't like Marmite, you're not going to like this!
Turning astronaut's human waste into food.
Telescopes, Instruments, Techniques
   Methanol reveals magnetic fields in space
   NASA poised to announce major imaging breakthrough

12. 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