Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Lecture tonight, new IAA Council, Fitzgerald Award, Gaia, ISS, Star Wars Day, Solarfest, BBQ, Forthcoming events

Hi all,
1. New: Public Lecture: 'Marvelling at the Skies: Anglo-Saxon Comets and the Quest for Planet 9', given by Dr Marilina Cesario and Dr Pedro Lacerda, 2 May, 7.00.

We are delighted to invite you to the opening public lecture 'Marvelling at the Skies: Anglo-Saxon Comets and the Quest for Planet 9', given by Dr Marilina Cesario and Dr Pedro Lacerda (Queen's University Belfast) in the Lecture Theatre in the Ulster Museum, at 7pm on Wednesday 2 May. Canapés and wine will be served at the reception which will follow at 8pm in the Belfast Room of the Ulster Museum.
   This event accompanies the official launch of the photo exhibition 'Marvelling at the Skies: Comets through the Eyes of the Anglo-Saxons', which will continue in the Belfast Room (Ulster Museum) until Sunday 3 June.
   This exhibition features photos of comets by several IAA members
   Admission to the event is free, but please do register online at Eventbrite.
   For further information, please see or email us at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible!
Marilina Cesariom, Crossing Frontiers Research Network
2. IAA AGM  - New Council, Fitzgerald Award
At the AGM the IAA elected Mr Brian Beesley as the new President, after Paul Evans stood down having completed his maximum of 3 consecutive years. Thanks to Paul for leading the Association so well during a period of steady growth and constant activities. Brian has been a member for very many years, and in fact served as President for two years back in the last millennium!
   Other Council members remain as before, except that Paul now just holds the post of webmaster, and we also welcomed Mr Adam Jeffers via formal election, after his so-option during the previous year..
Fitzgerald Medal Award: The Council unanimously agreed to present the Fitzgerald Award medal to Bernie Brown. It's awarded not more than once per year to a member "For outstanding service to the Association". This award recognised Bernie's major contribution to compiling, curating, organising venues and hanging the IAA's very successful "Heavens Above" photo exhibition at various venues over the past two years. This exhibition of high quality astrophotos by IAA members opened in the Linenhall Library, and also exhibited in other venues in Belfast and other towns and cities in the Province. It was a major effort, and was uniformly very highly praised at every location. Well done Bernie, and well deserved.
3. What astronomy outreach is all about!
5. Jupiter's Great Red Spot:'s-iconic-red-spot-is-shrinking-what-could-happen-next/ar-AAw9Z9c?ocid=spartandhp The video and illustrations (not the photos) in this are so bad that it's educational spotting them! An honourable mention to whoever points out the most errors or faults!
6. ISS The ISS will commence a new series of morning passes over Ireland on 6 May, and this will later transition into evening passes which will continue until 6 June.
7. HEAVENS ABOVE PHOTO EXHIBITION. The IAA's highly rated astrophoto exhibition "Heavens Above" has finished its final and very popular run at Belfast City Hospital. Thanks again to Bernie Brown for arranging all the venues, and setting them up. Some of the photos will soon be on permanent display in the Astrophysics Research Centre in QUB, and we hope to find suitable permanent locations for the others. More information when available.
8. STAR WARS DAY: 4 May.
9.Dark Skies project: deadline 11 May
Dark Skies Rangers Contest: Creating awareness about the importance of the protection of our dark skies is the main goal of the Dark Skies Rangers project, a joint effort from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (USA) and NUCLIO (Portugal). The project runs two contests annually where students (ranging from 5 to 10 years old) around the world are invited to think creatively about light pollution and submit drawings to raise awareness. The submissions must be sent by 11 May 2018. Find out more about the project here:
10. 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
11. 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
12. 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
13. 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:

14. Solarfest, Dunsink Observatory, Dublin, 15-17 June (main event on 16th)
15. IAA Midsummer BBQ, 23 June (tbc)
16. Asteroid Day: 30 June 2018: Around the world More Information:
17. International Planetarium Society,  1–6 July 2018, Toulouse, France. More Information:  
Advance Notice:
18. International Science Engagement Camp (ISEC), 6-22 July 2018
Barcelona, Spain. More Information: 

19. Festival of Curiosity, Dublin: 19 – 22 July.
20. 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: 
21. 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: <>.
22. 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! 
23. The professional astronomy conference European Planetary Science Congress 2018 (EPSC) will be held from September 16 to September 21, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. This yearly conference gives an inspiring insight of the latest discoveries and the current status of Solar System astronomy and planetary science and welcomes the participation of amateur astronomers.
In particular the AM1 session "Professional-amateur collaborations in small bodies, terrestrial, giant and exo planets studies" and the AM2 session "Juno Ground-Based Support from Amateurs" are organized by amateur astronomers together with professionals and are open to presentations by amateurs. We invite you to actively participate to these sessions by contributing a paper (fill in the abstract submission form in the  "Amateur Astronomy" program group, deadline May 16th, 2018) and/or to exchange views and ideas with other amateur and professional astronomers. Contributions will be oral talks and poster contributions. The language at the meeting will be English for all presentations.
Please note that this year EUROPLANET-2020 will provide budget to support amateurs from European countries. This budget will be allocated to in priority to active contributors (with oral or poster contributions, selected considering their scientific value and promoting diversity of participants from different countries). Depending on the budget left, amateurs only attending to the conference could also be (partially) funded (if you are interested, please let me know).
Please feel free to circulate this message to all those who might be interested in the event. Looking forward your contribution or participation, Marc Delcroix and Ricardo Hueso, SOC members of EPSC2018 AM program
24.  Space Generation Congress (SGC): 27-29 September 2018: Bremen, Germany  
More Information: 

25. International Astronautical Congress. 1 – 5 October 2018.  Bremen, Germany 
More Information:
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.
Telling different gravity theory Black Holes apart
Galaxies grow bigger and puffier with age But surely they should be visible via gravitational lensing effects? And any that are passing through the disc should reveal their presence by disturbing the motions of nearby stars, which should show up in Gaia data. We should certainly be able to detect any that surround the Andromeda Galaxy by such effects.
Magma Ocean gave the early Moon its strong magnetic field
Yellowstone provides a guide to search for life on Exoplanets
How primitive life may have started in space
Using DARKNESS to search for ExtraSolar Planets
FILM I agree about Gravity! Quite apart from the underwear, the space debris scenes were ridiculously OTT, and worst of all, it showed Clooney 'falling' away from rescue, even though initially there was no relative motion! – If two bodies are orbiting together at the same speed and in the same direction, they will stay that way almost indefinitely.
Light Pollution Brochure. This IAU OAO publication is a compilation of relevant findings in the area of light pollution and dark skies awareness. The information for the brochure was gathered under the umbrella of the Cosmic Light programmes, coordinated by the IAU during the International Year of Light 2015 (IYL2015). The goal of this brochure is to raise the profile of recent advancements in our understanding of light pollution, in particular regarding the use of LEDs, to support the astronomy community in disseminating measures to protect dark skies and increase public awareness of light pollution research.
Download the brochure here: 
SETI: So nuclear is their easiest option. Why would they not use it? And if they do, then they will be achieving much higher speeds for interplanetary or interstellar travel.
Pair of cubesats will travel with Mars Insight mission And finally they will have to land the sample safely back on Earth without it getting contaminated. That's a lot which could go wrong.
Telescopes, Instruments, Outreach etc.
Face recognition AI algorithm classifies galaxies
32. 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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