Monday, 8 October 2018

Multi-messenger astronomy, Exoplanets, WSW observing nights, "First Man", Mars lecture, Planet X, NASA 60th, Irish astro Emmy

Hi all,
1. IAA Public Lecture: "Multi-messenger Astronomy comes of Age". 3rd October, 19.30 By Prof Luke Drury, Emeritus Professor, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Until very recently, all we have ever been able to find out about the universe has been via the electromagnetic spectrum. Originally this was just by visible light, and although the range has since been extended to gamma rays at one end of the spectrum to radio waves at the other, it was all still E-M radiation. Neutrinos can also provide some, limited, information. With the recent detection of Gravitational Waves, a whole new window on the universe is available. And with the recent 'simultaneous' detection of GW's and E-M radiation from the same event, we now have Multi-messenger astronomy. This is one of the most significant developments in our study of the Cosmos, and holds great promise for future research.
   Prof Drury's expertise in this area promises to give us a fascinating and highly significant lecture.
Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics building, QUB, 7.30 p.m.
"Throughout most of its long history astronomy has been based on the study of light from the stars and other celestial objects. In the language of physics this is photonic astronomy, the photon being the quantum mechanical particle of light. Yet at least two other astronomies are possible according to standard physics. The graviton, the particle asssociated with gravity, and the neutrino, associated with the weak force, share the property of being electrically neutral and stable and can thus propagate undeflected over cosmic distances. Remarkably both these new astronomies have recorded significant developments in the last few years, notably the simultaneous detection of a merging neutron star binary in both gravitational waves and the optical, and the recent claim of an association between high energy neutrinos detected in the ice-cube detector and a flaring AGN."
   Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB.
All welcome. Free admission, including light refreshments.
2. NEW Public lecture for Spaceweek: "A Planet Not Our Own", Tuesday 9 October, 19.00, By Dr Elizabeth Tasker, JAXA. Location: Schrodinger Lecture Theatre, Fitzgerald Building, TCD.


Abstract: In the early 1990s, we thought we understood how to build a planet. Then we began to see worlds around other suns. Planets the size of Jupiter with orbits completed in Earth days, planets with two suns in the sky and others with seas of tar or endless oceans. How did these worlds form, how did we find them and could any of the discoveries be like our own Earth?
Speaker Bio: Elizabeth Tasker is a researcher & science communicator at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), exploring the formation of stars and planets using computer simulations. She completed her doctorate at the University of Oxford, before building universe models in the USA and Canada. She moved to Japan in 2011 and looks forward to the day when the canteen menu is less confusing than her research. Elizabeth has written for a wide variety of publications, including Scientific American, Astronomy Magazine and the NASA Many Worlds blog. Her popular science book on exoplanets, 'The Planet Factory' was published by Bloomsbury in September 2017
Speaker website:
3. NEW. IAA Observing Nights, Delamont Country Park, 5 or 6 Oct. The next sessions are planned for the weekend of 5 or 6 October. The procedure is that if the first evening is clear, we go ahead. If it's cloudy, we try again on the following night. If both those nights are cloudy, we postpone until the following w/e, 12-13 October. These events fall in World Space Week.
    Check the IAA website,, on each of those days to see if the observing will be going ahead or not.
4. NEW. "FIRST MAN" on release Fri 12 October. This film about Neil Armstrong and the first Apollo Moon landing, starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, directed by Damien Gazette, is well worth seeing. I left it too late to get a ticket for the QFT preview last week, so I'll have to wait until the public release.
This Belfast Geologists' meeting on Monday 15th October should be of interest to IAA members, all are welcome. It's in the Ulster Museum main lecture theatre at 7:30 pm.  Free Refreshments from 7 pm. (a voluntary donation for both the lecture and the refreshments would not go amiss)
MARS: THERE AND BACK AGAIN (IN 50 MINUTES), by Darren F. Mark; Professor of Isotope Geochronology & Director of Research, Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre.
    This presentation will provide an overview of the geological evolution of Mars, our closest neighbour, and provide background about SUERCs involvement in planetary science research (as well as emerging opportunities).  The research ultimately aims to answer fundamental questions in planetary exploration: does life exist beyond Earth?  How did the Solar System evolve?  Through the use of a variety of geochronological and geochemical techniques we are moving closer to unlocking the secrets that Mars' geological record contains.  Through collaborations with colleagues at the European Space Agency, NASA and the UK Space Agency, SUERC is contributing to the development of profiles for future missions to the red planet.
6. BREAKING NEWS: More evidence for a big 'Planet X'
7. NASA at 60. Congratulations to NASA for 60 amazing years of operations, from their first satellites, to the first manned sub-orbital flights, and on to the Apollo Moon landings and the ISS. Equally important has been a wide spectrum of research, from study of our own Earth, through the Solar System and our own galaxy, to the most distant and oldest things in the universe. A complete list would take up an entire bulletin! Keep going strong.
8. NEW "The Farthest" wins an Emmy. Congratulations to our own Emer Reynolds, director of "The Farthest", about the amazing Voyager missions to the Outer Planets, and now at the edge of the Solar System. You really should watch this film and it's worth watching again and again! Well done Emer, and all your team.
9. NEW Draconid Meteors: The Draconids, also sometimes known as the Giaconinids from the parent comet, Giacobini-Zinner, may produce a few meteors per hour around the night of 8-9 October, although the shower has occasionally produced much higher rates when the parent comet is near perihelion, as now. The radiant is near Nu Draconis, in the Dragon's head. The stars Gamma and Delta in Ursa Major (the 2 on the left of the 'bowl') extended for roughly 10 times their separation point approximately to the 4 unequally bright stars marking the head of Draco. The radiant is circumpolar from Ireland, so is observable all night.
10. Europlanet Society launched: The Europlanet Society, a new membership organisation to promote the advancement of planetary science in Europe, has been launched at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2018 in Berlin. The Society is open to individual and institutional members and builds on the heritage of 15 years of Europlanet projects funded by the European Commission. See: Europlanet Society website:
11. The Sun, Our Living Star: New ESO Planetarium Show
ESO is proud to announce a brand new addition to its collection of free high-quality planetarium materials produced by world-renowned astrophotographers, artists, technicians, and musicians. The Sun, Our Living Star tells the story of our nearest star — our planet's powerhouse, the source of energy that drives Earth's winds and weather, and the ball of light that allows the very existence of life. The Sun, Our Living Star is currently being shown in the planetarium of the ESO Supernova, since 7 September, and is also available to download for free from the ESO website.
12. ISS. The ISS continues its series of evening passes until 10 October. Details for your own location, and lots more info on space and astronomy, on
13. World space Week 4- 10 October. Various activities throughout Ireland. 
14. Space Week Ireland
Space Week 2018 will take place from the 4th to the 10th of October, with events occurring all around the country. Space Week is an excellent opportunity for people to reflect on the inspirational topic of Space. To find an event in you area, or for information on how to register your own, visit
DCU Space Careers Roadshow
On October 4th, Dublin City University will host a Space Career Roadshow in conjunction with Science Foundation Ireland, ESERO Ireland and CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory. These roadshows provide students with an excellent opportunity to engage with space industry professionals, and third level institutions, so that they can get a taste of the exciting opportunities that a STEM career in Space has to offer. The keynote speaker will be Matt Taylor of ESA. Further information here:
    CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory Open Night
On October 5th, CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory will host an open night. CIT BCO's Education Officer Frances McCarthy will give a talk "40 Years of Mars" from 7pm – 8pm.
Cork Astronomy Club volunteers will lead stargazing in the courtyard from 8pm if weather permits. Details here:
    CIT Space Careers Roadshow
On October 10th, Cork Institute of Technology will host a Space Career Roadshow in conjunction with Science Foundation Ireland, ESERO Ireland and CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory. These roadshows provide students with an excellent opportunity to engage with space industry professionals, and third level institutions, so that they can get a taste of the exciting opportunities that a STEM career in Space has to offer. Speakers include former NASA Astronaut Dan Tani, and Prof Elizabeth Tasker of JAXA. Details here:
    CIT - A Pint and A Chat With Astronaut Dan Tani
On Tuesday October 9th. Grab yourself a drink, pull up a chair, and settle in for a cozy chat with former NASA astronaut Dan Tani. This event will take place at a secret location in Cork, and tickets will be issued via competition. Details on how to win one here:
    Space Week Competition
Every school that registers an event for Space Week will be entered into a draw to win one of three Ktec telescopes signed by NASA Astronaut Dan Tani! Submissions end October 10th. Full details here:
15. Junior Cycle Conference for Teachers; Birr Castle, 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:

16.  International Observe the Moon Night: 20 October 2018: . With all due respect to the organisers, this is a bad date, for the following reasons
   (1). It will be 85% illuminated, well past the optimum of around 50% (First Q). Very little of the spectacular FQ terminator detail will be visible.
   (2) The Moon will be quite low down in the sky for higher N. latitudes, such as UK/Ireland and the rest of N Europe. This results in poorer atmospheric seeing, and a reduced period of visibility.
   (3) Although the main focus is obviously on the Moon, an almost full moon makes the sky so bright that it's very bad for viewing other celestial treats which may be on view.
   (4) Autumn in the N. Hemisphere generally is the worst time of year for viewing the Moon, because of the angle of the ecliptic to the horizon. This may not be so much of a problem at the lower latitudes of the USA, but there are astronomers in other parts of the world too!
   (5) N. Hemisphere Spring is much better, as the waxing Moon is at a much higher altitude, and visible for longer each night.
   (6) If you think I'm biased against the S. Hemisphere, I'm not: firstly, there are very few people living in high S latitudes, where the March or April FQ Moon would be at a low angle for them. Only the S tip of S America would be affected, and it has a very low population. And in any case, many more people live in the N. Hemisphere.
   How about a campaign for a change of date to March? Next year, 16 March would be the best option for a Saturday: the moon will be 76% illuminated – more than ideal, but much better than the date chosen for this year!
17. Armagh Observatory and Planetarium events
   TODDLER TAKEOVER TUESDAY, at the Planetarium, October 23. There will be plenty to do for little ones - stories, songs and arts and crafts (all with a Space theme of course!)  Next session: 23 October, Time: 1.15pm - 1.45pm, Price: £2 per child. Booking required.

   Halloween Half-Term

Mon 29 Oct - Fri 2 Nov 2018. Dome Theatre Show Programme: Open 10am-5pm
More show information and to book online:
Weather permitting we will be launching rockets and will have a super space-themed craft activity for the children. Spend your half-term with us!

   Murder Mystery at Armagh Observatory, Tuesday 30 October. Scandal, jealousy, anger and revenge are thick in the air and murder is just around the corner on Tuesday 30 October at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium.

* If you fancy yourself as a bit of a sleuth and think you can solve our out of this world mystery, then join us and put your powers of deduction to the test.
* Session Times: 7pm & 9pm. Price: £25 per person. Duration: Approx 2.5hrs

* Light refreshments will be served 30mins before the event begins

* A Dome show and short tour of the Planetarium and Observatory are included

* Adult Only Event

* While we make every effort to accommodate wheelchair users and others with mobility issues, by virtue of the nature of the building, the Observatory is accessed by steep narrow stairs

18: Mayo Dark Sky Festival, 2-4 November  
* 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
- <>
19. NEW: Advance Notice The Galway Astronomy Festival takes place on Saturday January 26th, 2019.
The festival will take place in our new venue, The Harbour Hotel, New Docks Road, Galway.
 We were very happy with last year's festival and hopefully this coming year's festival will be equally successful.
20. 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]
21. 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: 
22. 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.
NASA to search for technological signs of ETI
23. 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 have received.
24. 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

No comments: