Friday, 14 September 2018

IAA Opening meeting, JBB's award, Comet 21P, Photos needed, ISS, Win a special 'scope, Dunsink Open night, 2001 special, more

Hi all,

1.  NEW Sep 19: Opening meeting of the IAA's new Lecture Season:  Dr Frank Prendergast, DIT: "From Neolithic to Iron Age: three case studies in irish Archaeoastronomy". Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics building, QUB, 7.30 p.m. Dr Prendergast is one of the leading experts in this field, and is the prime organiser of the Pathways to the Cosmos Conference in Dublin Castle. His talk will cover 3 important examples:
   The Iron Age post enclosure at Lismullin, Co. Meath, discovered by top-soil stripping associated with the recent development of the M3 motorway, was an extraordinary ceremonial and ritual complex. It is now ranked as one of the most important Irish archaeological discoveries in recent years. The timber structure was the embodiment of structural perfection and symmetry and had an important astronomical alignment, indicative of its importance to the community that built it around 455 BC. 
   The Neolithic passage tomb at Slieve Gullion, Co. Armagh is now known to be aligned on the setting sun at the winter solstice and is annually celebrated as a cultural heritage event of growing importance. The survey methodology used to make this discovery will be described, as will the broader cultural context and symbolism of the phenomenon. 
   The third case study will present the author's findings relating to Ireland's largest stone circle located at Grange in Co. Limerick. This Neolithic monument was built  around 2,900 BC and embodies all the hallmarks of a ceremonial complex. But was it used as a calendrical device as is popularly believed? The speaker will confront those questions head on!                 
  Dr Frank Prendergast is a geodetic surveyor and archaeologist and now Emeritus at the Dublin Institute of Technology where he researches Irish prehistoric monuments and their landscapes from a cultural astronomy perspective. His current interests and publications are on the meaning of the dark sky in the prehistoric past and on the conservation of archaeological landscapes from light pollution. More information on his publications can be found at His most recent publication is 'Solar Alignment and the Irish Passage Tomb Tradition' Archaeology Ireland Heritage Guide No. 82.  Bray & available at
   All welcome. Free admission, including light refreshments.
Our own 'Ulsternaut', Derek Heatly asks me to give the following info regarding this meeting -
"I'm selling lots of books, plus meteorites (those £5 each,3 for £10), also a great article where Virgin is right now-''https//''  
2.  Many congratulations to Joceyn Bell Burnell. Local lady (from Lurgan), receives major award – and gives it away!
We have been honoured to have had many excellent lectures from Jocelyn over the years.
3. Comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner. This comet is now easily visible in binoculars.
4. IAS requests submission for new Photo Exhibition: The IAS says that have not received any Photos from our colleagues in the North for this exhibition. See for details.
Closing date 28th September.
5. ISS. The ISS ends its current series of morning passes on16 September, and will then start a series of evening passes on 23 September. Details for your own location, and lots more info on space and astronomy, on
6. NEW  Win a Telescope Signed by Astronauts
Have you ever wanted a telescope signed by astronauts? In collaboration with the Belgian initiative Sterren Schitteren voor Iedereen (SSVI) and Universe Awareness (UNAWE), we are giving away 10 Bresser Refractor telescopes, each bearing the signature of an astronaut, to support astronomy educational activities with children around the world. These will be used during the 100 Hours of Astronomy 2.0 Global Project on 18-21 January 2019.
Read more about the competition here: 
7. Dunsink Observatory open night, 21 September. The observatory will be open to the public for Culture Night from 7-11 p.m,.
8. Two comets brightening
9. Special showing of 2001 A Space Odyessey, with Keir Dullea in Q&A, 27 Sep! The Odysssey cinema, Belfast. The Odyssey are showing a special screening of 2001 on Thurs 27th September with a Q&A session with Keir Dullea afterwards. Tickets are £12 (may include drinks reception). I was told at the Odyssey that Keir Dullea will be there in person (not skype) to answer any questions etc. They also confirmed this on their Facebook page. (From Tony Kempston – thanks)
10. Space Generation Congress (SGC): 27-29 September 2018: Bremen, Germany  
More Information: 

11. International Astronautical Congress. 1 – 5 October 2018.  Bremen, Germany 
More Information:
12. World Space Week 2018: 4-10 October 2018: 
13. Junior Cycle Conference for Teachers; BCO, 6 October - 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:

14.  International Observe the Moon Night: 20 October 2018:  
15: Mayo Dark Sky Festival, 2-4 November – UPDATE
* 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 - <>
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]
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: 
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.
Cosmic rays in Magellanic clouds mapped by Oz radio telescope
Galactic wind 12 bn LY away stifles star formation.
Lunar swirls indicate Moon's magnetic & volcanic past
New SuperEarth orbits star in 6-day orbit. NB, that planet would have an extremely high orbital velocity – so much so that you would weigh more on the side facing the star than on the opposite side!
Dawn's dual asteroid mission coming to an end
Pluto should be re-classified as a planet
(Song, to the tune of A Nation Once Again:
A Planet Once Again,
A Planet Once Again,
Shall Pluto, long an outcast be,
A Planet Once again?
Trojan asteroid pair reveals violent early Solar System
Satellites are more at risk from fast solar wind than a major geomagnetic storm
Quantum tricks will improve accuracy of GW detectors
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 receive shortly.
20. 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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