Sunday, 1 April 2018

Lecture; Tiangong to crash to Earth; Boon, not Blue, Moons; AGM, ISS, Inspire Space, Photos, etc

Hi all,
1. IAA LECTURE,  Wed 4 April, 7.30 p.m. Lecture on Gravitational Waves, by Dr Daniel Williams, University of Glasgow ..TITLE: "The Universe is full of noises: A new perspective from gravitational waves"
   This subject is one of the 'New Frontiers' of astronomical research, and the only way of studying the universe which is not part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum!
   Stop Press: A paper to be presented at EWASS next week shows that Gravitational Waves are produced at the centres of most galaxies! The report is embargoed until 3 April, so that's all I can say now!
   ABSTRACT: In September 2015 the Advanced LIGO detectors in the USA made the first detection of gravitational waves from two black holes colliding at close to the speed of light. This discovery was the first astrophysical result to come from a century of theoretical and experimental efforts to take the predictions of Einstein's General Relativity to build a new field of observational astronomy. In the past few years LIGO and other gravitational wave observatories around the world have continued to make new discoveries, including GW170817, the first detection of a binary neutron star coalescence, in August 2017, which was accompanied by observations from fifty electromagnetic observatories. In this talk I'll cover a little of the history of the development of gravitational wave astronomy (and the part that the University of Glasgow had in it), and give you an insider's view on the recent observations which we've made, and on what we believe the future holds for gravitational astronomy."
     Doors open about 7.10 pm. 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 4 April, 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. Tiangong-1 Re-entry. Latest prediction is sometime today or tomorrow.
3. No More 'Blue Moons': "Boon Moon' to replace Blue Moon for 2nd Full Moon in a month!
   There has been much debate and controversy among astronomers concerning the recent rise in the popular media about the use of the term 'Blue Moon' to describe the occasions when there is a second Full Moon in the same calendar month.
   In particular, there was a lot of hype about the fact that this year both January and March had two Full Moons.
   Of particular concern to astronomers was that the new use of the expression arose out of two mistaken interpretations, going back to an article in the Maine Farmer's Almanac (yes, really!) in the 1940s. Sky and Telescope magazine, which published the first misinterpretation, at least had the honesty to later publish a correction, but other popularisers either did not know of this, or did not accept it.
   Most serious astronomers don't accept the new interpretation, for several reasons
   * Confusion with the original meaning, which referred to the rare occasions when the Moon (not even necessarily a Full Moon) does actually appear blue because of the effect of tiny dust particles high in the atmosphere following major volcanic eruptions.
   * Two Full Moons in a calendar month can occur quite often, and there's nothing unusual or remarkable or different about them, any more than it's remarkable to have 5 Sundays in the same month.
  * We can also have two New Moons, or two First Quarters, or two Last quarters, in the same month, and no-one pays any attention.
  * It makes nonsense of the expression 'Once in a Blue Moon', meaning 'extremely rarely', as the new usage makes 'Blue Moons' quite common.
   * It is desirable to remove the confusion.
All agreed -
  -The current 'Blue Moon' meaning is confusing -
  - It's not blue
  - It changes the original meaning.
  - In January, the 2nd Full Moon coincided with a total lunar eclipse, in which the Moon appears red, so we had the ludicrous situation of a red Blue 'Moon'!
  - No particular colour is appropriate, e.g. Green Moon would make no more sense than Blue Moon
  - Blue has associations with unhappiness ('I'm feeling blue'…) which has no connection with a 2nd FM.
  - Blue does not convey the sense of it being an extra or additional FM
   So a new name has been proposed for the 2nd FM in a month – a 'Boon Moon'.
This has the following advantages
  - It suffers none of the drawbacks and disadvantages above.
  - It is neutral
  - It rhymes
  - It is easy to remember
  - Most importantly it conveys the sense of something extra or additional: 'boon' means a 'gift' or 'favour', i.e. the 'extra' Full Moon in a month.
4. IAA AGM & Lecture, Wed 18 April.
The AGM will comprise the usual reports, presentation of accounts, and election of President, officers, and other Council members. On previous occasions we have added other attractions such as a Bring & Buy sale, an Auction, and a short film. This year we are lucky in that the AGM coincides with a major solar conference being held by the Astrophysics Research Centre at QUB, and Prof Mathioudakis kindly suggested that one of the visiting experts would give us a short talk on a solar topic. For various time and logistical reasons that will be the first event of the evening, starting at 7.30 sharp. That will then be followed by the AGM itself, commencing at about 8.15.
   More details later.
5. ISS. A new series of evening passes over Ireland commenced on 25 March. Details as always are available free on, along with lots of other useful information.
6. Inspire Space Yuri's Night Event, April 12.
We are organising a Yuri's Night Party for April 12th in Dublin - dressing up is encouraged :) If you know anyone who would be interested please do let them know. Unfortunately we have to charge in for this event - the info and tickets can be found here: 
7. HEAVENS ABOVE PHOTO EXHIBITION at BCH. The IAA's highly rated astrophoto exhibition "Heavens Above" is now in the Tower Gallery, ground floor of the Tower Block, Belfast City Hospital, and will run there until 9 April. Thanks again to Bernie Brown for arranging this venue, and setting up. See
8.  European Week of Astronomy and Space Sciences (EWASS2018).  This will be in Liverpool, from 3 to 8 April 2018. See and
9. Yuri's Night,  Date: 12 April,  All around the world. More information:
10. COSMOS 2018, Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone, 13-15 April. More details soon on.
11. Global Astronomy Month, April 2018
Date: April 2018. Location: All around the world. More information: 
12. Earth Day: 21 April
13. Tallaght IT has now rescheduled their "The Citizen and Space" evening for April 25th.
14, International Day of Light – Call for astronomy programs
UNESCO will inaugurate the first International Day of Light at their headquarters in Paris, France, on 16 May 2018. The many events taking place worldwide on this day aim to raise awareness of both the many ways that light impacts modern society, and of how advances in light-based science and technology can help us achieve educational and sustainable development goals. In addition to encouraging you to take part in these events, we're calling out to all organisers of astronomy-related events around the world so we can highlight your activities through our channels. If you're planning any International Day of Light activities related to astronomy, please let us know via
15. National Schools' Observatory  Inquiry-Based Science Projects for Astronomy Students
Launched in 2004, the National Schools' Observatory (NSO) provides free access to the two-metre Liverpool Telescope for school students and teachers throughout the UK and Ireland, and reduced access to anyone worldwide. It currently has over 4,000 users regularly engaging with the website resources and over 125,000 telescope observations requested since inception. As part of these resources, the NSO has developed an extended research activity on open clusters providing students with background material, research-grade data and instructions allowing them to produce their own Colour-Magnitude (or Hertzsprung-Russell) diagrams. Students are then encouraged to upload and discuss their results within a forum.  Find the start page of the activity here
16. Globe at Night Campaigns
Globe at Night is an international citizen-science campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure night-sky brightness and submit their observations. It's easy to get involved—all you need is a computer or smartphone. Don't miss any of the ongoing Globe at Night 2018 campaigns at
17. International Day of Light: 16 May 2018. Around the world. More Information: A good opportunity to highlight (!) light-pollution! And promote Earth Hour as well.
Register your event by filling out the form:

18. Solarfest, Dunsink Observatory, Dublin, 15-17 June (main event on 16th)
19. IAA Midsummer BBQ, 23 June (tbc)
20. Asteroid Day: 30 June 2018: Around the world More Information:
21. International Planetarium Society,  1–6 July 2018, Toulouse, France. More Information:  
Advance Notice:
22. 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: 
23. Festival of Curiosity, Dublin: 19 – 22 July.
24. SOLAR ECLIPSE CONFERENCE, 2018. We are happy to announce that it's now possible to register for the
Solar Eclipse Conference 2018 which will take place from August 2nd to August 5th in Genk (Belgium)!
Those who decide now can enjoy an early bird discount (€ 190,- instead of € 220,- for the full congress). Day tickets are also available (€ 75,00 per day).
   We've also got 5 partner hotels. Book your stay by clicking on the link on our website and receive the special SEC2018 rate.
   To view the lecture schedule or to purchase tickets, please visit our web site: <>.
25. 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!
26. World Space Week 2018: 4-10 October 2018: 

27.  International Observe the Moon Night: 20 October 2018:  
28: Mayo Dark Sky Festival, 2-4 November FACEBOOK:
29. 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]
30. 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: 
31. 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.
Computer searches telescope data for evidence
Elon Musk's vision for colonising Mars
Telescopes, Instruments etc.
33. 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 .
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

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