Sunday, 3 June 2018

Jupiter, NLCs, ISS, Gravit. Waves, BCO, JJ @ Dunsink, Solarfest, Dunsink again, IAA BBQ, Asteroid Day, etc

Hi all,
Just past opposition, and briefly retrograding to a slightly higher declination, now's your best chance to observe giant planet Jupiter. After this opposition is over, it will be getting so far South that it won't be easily observable for several years.
2. NOCTILUCENT CLOUD SEASON BEGINS: NASA's AIM spacecraft has just spotted electric-blue clouds floating at the edge of space over the Arctic Circle. These are noctilucent ("night-shining") clouds, formed by water vapor crystallizing around fine meteoric dust in Earth's upper atmosphere. These clouds are visible from early summer up to the end of July. Look low down in the North as soon as the sky is dark enough to see the brighter stars. They have a wispy pale white or sometimes slightly blue appearance. They are only visible when the Sun is too low below the horizon to illuminate any normal tropospheric clouds, so you can't mistake them. They are caused by sunlight reflecting off ice crystals round high altitude dust from meteors. They can give beautiful images in photos. Quite often you'll see Capella shining through these clouds.
3. ISS The ISS has one final evening pass tonight, and will then not be visible from Ireland until 8 July. Details as usual on
4.  Gravitational Waves at Belfast Science Café, Black Box, 6 June, 6.0 – 8.0 p.m:
"Gravitational Waves: Ripples in Spacetime." Free. Booking Recommended
Belfast Science Cafe is delighted to welcome you to our June cafe. Dr Kate Maguire of the Astrophysics Research Centre in the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen's University Belfast will give a talk on gravitational waves. Kate gave an excellent lecture to the IAA recently, so I can highly recommend this. Book at
5. Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork; 9 June Sea to Sky; a day of free, family-friendly activities that bring the importance of marine and astronomy science to life for all.  On Saturday 9th June, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. - 05:00 p.m. there will be a series free events that celebrate our marine and astronomical heritage at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory , Castle Road, Blackrock, Cork. No booking is required. Spaces will be issued on a first come, first served, basis. Further details here:
6. 11th June: Joycetime at Dunsink Observatory
A Bloomsday festival event exploring the many references to Dunsink time, astronomy and famous astronomers of the day in Ulysses. More information on this public event here.
7. Solarfest, Dunsink Observatory, Dublin, 15-17 June (main event on 16th)
A fun way to find out more about the Sun and its place among the other stars, as well as its crucial importance to Earth. The weekend-long event include talks, tours of the observatory, and solar observing if the weather permits. Open to general public. More information at  
8. June 23rd: Designation of Dunsink Observatory as a site of historic significance
By the European Physical Society. DIAS Dunsink Observatory will join other European sites such as Einstein's house.
9. IAA Midsummer BBQ, 23 June, at Armagh Planetarium.
We are delighted to be able to confirm that the annual barbecue will again take place in the coach car park at Armagh Planetarium. We will be setting up from 3 p.m., and attending the Planetarium show at 4.00, "We are stars" (optional, the group rate admission charge of £7.50 per adult less 10% applies).
Please let me know BY RETURN if yopu will be attending, and how many in your group, so I can book seats.
   For the BBQ, it's the usual format – bring all your own consumables, cutlery, chairs etc if you want them – we supply the cooking facilities.
   I will also conduct a tour of the Astropark, Hill of Infinity, Human Orrery, and the outside of the telescope domes.
   Solar observing if clear.
   We hope to see lots of you there.
10. Asteroid Day: 30 June 2018: Around the world More Information:
11. July 2-6 , Blackrock Castle Observatory Summer CPD: Junior Rocket Scientists: Space Science as a Cross-Curricular Theme.
The European Space Education Office (ESERO) Ireland and Discover Primary Science & Maths are offering places for teachers on a 5-day professional development course at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory from 9.30am to 2pm, July 2 to 6, 2018. Course Fee: €50 (paid to Cork Education Support Centre). Further details here:
Advance Notice:
12. International Science Engagement Camp (ISEC), 6-22 July 2018
Barcelona, Spain. More Information: 

13. Festival of Curiosity, Dublin: 19 – 22 July.
14. 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: 
15. Total Lunar Eclipse, 27 July: (Times are in BST/IST)
This is the first TLE visible from Ireland since 28 Sep 2015, but we won't see all of it.
Totality starts at 20h 29m 39s, and maximum eclipse will be at 21h 21m 27s, but the Moon won't rise from Belfast until 21h 27m 10s, and from Dublin until 21h 22m 10s
   Totality will end at 22h 13m 14s, when the Moon's altitude in Belfast will be 4.4º, and from Dublin will be 5.2º.
   The umbral phase will end at 23h 19 02s. The umbral magnitude will be 1.614, which means that the Earth's shadow will be 1.614 times the apparent diameter of the Moon.
   For the best view, go as far to the SE as possible. From Wicklow Head, Moonrise will be at 21h 19m 33s, and from Bing Head, just East of Rosslare Harbour, Moonrise will be at 21h 17 m 44s, both nominally before maximum eclipse. In N Ireland, SE County Down will give the best view, although even there maximum eclipse will be just before Moonrise.
   Note that 'Moonrise' is defined as when the upper limb of the Moon first appears above the theoretical horizon, i.e. altitude = 0º. It will be about 4 minutes more before the whole moon is fully above the horizon, and even longer if your actual horizon is above the theoretical one. Obviously you should choose a viewing location with the clearest possible view to the SE. The azimuth of Moonrise will be about 124 degrees, which is halfway between ESE and SE, or "SE by E" for those who know the full 32 points of the compass!
   Also note that the Moon will be deep in the Earth's shadow at Moonrise, and may be a dull red colour and very faint, so if there is any low haze, it may not be visible to the naked eye! So bring binocs just in case.
   Mars will be about 6 degrees to the S of the Moon, and at an excellent opposition, magnitude a brilliant -2.8, but it won't rise until about 45-50 minutes after the Moon.
16. Red Moon Serene Universe, 27 July – BCO Lunar Eclipse viewing Event
Join us at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory from 7.30pm, on Friday 27th July, 2018, for an opportunity to look out beyond our life on the ground and experience the magnificence of space. On this evening the Moon will pass through the Earth's shadow. It will be a very deep eclipse, as the Moon will pass almost straight through the middle of the shadow. As the deep red Moon rises higher in the sky in the hours that follow, it slowly moves out of the eclipse which ends at 23:15 local time, when the full Moon will return to its normal appearance.
7.30pm to 8.30pm: Serene Universe - Film with concert performance, Adult audience. Followed by Shadows - Short Talk with Maarten Roos. Booking required.
 7.30pm to 8.30pm: Family Friendly Eclipse Workshop: no booking required, drop in.
 9pm: Moon Viewing: No booking required, weather dependent
17. SOLAR ECLIPSE CONFERENCE, August 2-5, 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 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: <>.
18. IAA Perseid BBQ and Observing Evening, 11 August, Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh, Co Down.
19. Skelligs Star Party 2018, 12-13 August Ballinskelligs, co Kerry.
20. 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! 
21. Astrocamp, 8-11 September, Brecon Beacons, S. Wales. See astrocamp
22. Archaeology Ireland:  Pathways to the Cosmos event, Dublin Castle, on September 15th. This major European conference on Archaeoastronomy will probably be booked out quickly, so book now if you want to attend. There are several speakers from Ireland.  You can access details here:
23. The EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS, 15 – 19 Sep, is part of the Science with and for and Society activities managed by the Directorate-General for Research of the European Commission. You can find out more about Science with and for and Society via the web site, which also contains a page on the Contest for Young Scientists.
The European Union Contest for Young Scientists was set up at 1989 to promote the ideals of co-operation and interchange between young scientists. The Contest is the annual showcase of the best of European student scientific achievement.
EUCYS gives students the opportunity to compete with the best of their contemporaries at European level. The young scientists also have the chance to meet others with similar abilities and interests and some of the most prominent scientists in Europe. In this way, the Commission seeks to strengthen the efforts made in each participating country to attract young people to careers in science and technology.
24. 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
25.  Space Generation Congress (SGC): 27-29 September 2018: Bremen, Germany  
More Information: 

26. International Astronautical Congress. 1 – 5 October 2018.  Bremen, Germany 
More Information:
27. World Space Week 2018: 4-10 October 2018: 
28. Junior Cycle Conference for Teachers; BCO - Teaching Earth and Space in the Junior Cycle
Practical workshops, inspirational speakers on space and panel discussions supporting the Earth and Space Strand. Join us from 9:15am - 5pm on Saturday 6th October 2018 at Birr Castle and Science Centre, Birr, Co. Offaly. Book through Eventbrite. Further details and booking here:

29.  International Observe the Moon Night: 20 October 2018:  
30: Mayo Dark Sky Festival, 2-4 November FACEBOOK:
31. 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]
32. 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: 
33. 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.
Best image and new info on Tarantula nebula NB - Dorado is the Swordfish, not the Dolphinfish. And SN 1987A was not the first supernova to be observed with modern telescopes – it was just the first nearby supernova to be so observed.
   What happens when a BH devours a star
Which comes first, the neutron star or the magnetar?
COSMOLOGY Is this part of a family of particles comprising Dark Matter?
Relativistic particles in the Van Allen Belts
K-T impact caused major temperature rise for 100,000 years K-T impact
 Talking to E-T Does it ever strike you just how ridiculous that image of a visiting E-T is? – With eyes like that, it must have come from a planet where there was very little light, so it needed huge eyes to see. That would mean the planet was very far from its star in terms of radiation output, so it would also have been exceedingly cold – probably too cold for liquid water to exist. So intelligent technological life would be almost impossible.
   Further, if they ever came to Earth, the light would be so bright for them that they would be blinded. Whoever 'saw' that one saw it only in their ill-informed imagination. But if one of those ever comes to dinner, at least it won't eat much – with a tiny mouth and tiny lower jaw like that, it might just manage to sip some soup.
SOLAR SYSTEM and Unlikely that there are any fossils on Mars that are 4 billion years old! – That would mean that life started there about 2 billion years earlier than on Earth!
Teamwork needed to get astronauts to Mars
Heavier astronauts have higher risk of eye changes
Mini chemistry lab to look for Martian life
34. 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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