Wednesday, 9 January 2019

IAA lecture, Venus and Jupiter, ISS, Total Lunar Eclipse, 100 hrs of astronomy

Hi all,


1.  IAA New Year Lecture and demo, 9 Jan: 'Everything you wanted to know about Telescopes'.. By Dr Andy McCrea (thanks to Andy for standing in at short notice). Andy needs no introduction: as proprietor of North Down Telescopes, for many years he has been supplying amateur and professional astronomers throughout Ireland with all sorts of astronomical equipment from a complete observatory down to an eyepiece or filter. He's also an accomplished astro-imager, with many excellent photos in Stardust and our exhibitions to his credit. If there's anything he doesn't know about telescopes, binoculars and astrophotography, it's not worth knowing!

   He has agreed to step in at short notice as another speaker had other last minute commitments. He'll bring along a selection of equipment, as well as telling you all you need to know.

Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building , QUB, 7.30pm

All welcome. Free admission, including light refreshments.


2. Venus and Jupiter in the morning sky. Brilliant Venus is still easily visible in the morning sky, with fainter (but still bright) Jupiter lower down in the twilight, but the distance between them is gradually decreasing. Venus will pass less than 3 degrees above Jupiter on Jan 21 and 22, so look out for that nice pairing after the Total Lunar Eclipse on Jan 21 – see below.


3. ISS. The ISS continues its series of morning passes until 10 January. It will then commence a new series of evening passes on 23 January Details for your own location, and lots more info on space and astronomy, on

If you want to check for transits of the ISS across the Sun or the Moon which occur somewhere near you, visit


4. Participate in the 100 Hours of Astronomy Global Project, Jan 10 - 13.
In 2019, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will celebrate its 100th anniversary (IAU100) and to commemorate, we will organise a year-long celebration to increase 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.
100 Hours of Astronomy will be the kick-off worldwide event of IAU100 and will be composed of a broad range of activities aimed at involving the public. 100 Hours of Astronomy will take place over four days and nights, from 10-13 January 2019, with amateur and professional astronomers, astronomy enthusiasts and the general public invited to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for the Universe. Hundreds of local events are being planned by science facilities and astronomy enthusiasts around the world, including telescope observing sessions, exhibitions, lectures, art projects, classroom projects, field trips, special shows and more. In many countries, there will be public lectures by specially selected speakers, experts in astronomy, keen to participate in this planet-wide venture.
   It is only a few months before the yearlong centennial celebration of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will take place. As a big kick-off event, the global project 100 Hours of Astronomy is organised to take place 10-13 January 2019. Everyone around the globe can participate in this joint effort to bring astronomy to the general public.
   Find more: 


5. NEW Total Lunar Eclipse, 21 January.

This is the first TLE to be entirely visible from Ireland since 28 Sep 2015. The next one where totality is partly visible from here will be on 16 May, 2022, but it sets during totality. The next good one will be on 31 Dec 2028, when the Moon is 1.5º up at the start of totality. Believe it or not, the next TLE which is entirely visible from here won't be until 20 Dec 2029! So let's hope for a clear night, and make the most of it since it's a long time to the next one!

   This is quite a long eclipse, with an umbral magnitude of 1.201, and 1h 3m of totality. The moon will be quite high up for all the major stages of the eclipse – 48º at the start, and down to 14º at the end of the umbral stage. It will still be 6º up at the very end of the penumbral stage. First contact of the penumbra is at a PA of 110.5º, and of the umbra at 118º, which is about SSE on the Moon's disc. The Moon will pass North of the centre of the Earth's shadow; in fact no part of the moon will actually pass through the centre of our shadow.

   The Moon will occult only one moderately bright star during totality: Tyc 1385-873-1, mag 8.5, at about 04h 33m (look several minutes before this time, or up to 10 mts earlier if you are in the far W of the island.

   One of the interesting things abojt TLEs is that no-one knows in advance just what they will look like. The moon can turn anywhere from a bright orange-red to a deep almost crimson/grey red: it all depends on the amount of dust and dirt and aerosols in our upper atmosphere, through which sunlight passes to reach the Moon.


Moon enters penumbra 02h 34m 43s

Moon enters umbra 03h 33m 16s

Start of totality 04h 40m 30s

Maximum eclipse 05h 11m 59s

End of totality 05h 43m 30s

Moon leaves umbra 06h 50m 44s

Moon leaves penumbra 07h 49m 15s


6. The Galway Astronomy Festival takes place on Saturday January 26th, 2019. The festival will take place in the new venue, The Harbour Hotel, New Docks Road, Galway.

Last year's festival went well, and hopefully this coming year's festival will be equally successful.


7.  International Day of Women in Science / Women and Girls in Astronomy Day 11 Feb

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated each year on 11 February and was adopted by the United Nations to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. This Day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened.

The IAU100 strongly encourages the organization of activities throughout 2019, especially events organised around February as the perfect opportunity to celebrate girls and women in astronomy - by encouraging girls to consider careers in astronomy and by celebrating women astronomers. We encourage everyone to get involved with the Women and Girls in Astronomy Day by running events in your local community. This can include public talks, activities, workshops, and more.  

   Under the theme "Inclusive Astronomy" the IAU100 celebrations will organise a wide array of global activities and events throughout the year to promote inclusivity, equity, and diversity in astronomy. These events will kick off around 11 February 2019 with the celebration of the IAU100 Women and Girls in Astronomy Day within the framework of the United Nations' International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate girls and women in astronomy by encouraging girls to consider careers in astronomy and by celebrating women astronomers. We encourage everyone to get involved with the Women and Girls in Astronomy Day by running events in your local community.
Read more: 


8. 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.
 IAU100 Celebrations around the World  for details for your own country, check the link below.
With Astronomy events of all kinds, including national and cultural events, the IAU100 is engaging with different communities worldwide. Meet the
IAU100 National Committees and learn more about the people who are here to support you during the 2019 celebrations.  For the UK, it's Prof Robert Walsh, originally from Belfast, but now at U of Central Lancs (who gave a great talk to the IAA in Belfast some years ago); and for ROI it's the indefatigable Clair McSweeney from BCO in Cork.  See
Read more: 


9.  European Week of Astronomy and Space Science
Date: 24 – 28 June 2019
Location: Lyon, France
More information:


10. Another Tunguska event in June 2019?

No need to book a holiday to Siberia – if any sizeable objects do arrive at our planet, they could come at any time of day (or night?), and at any place on Earth. But if you want to maximise your chances of seeing anything, you should aim to be somewhere with the maximum amount of clear sky.


11. 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: 


12.  IAU100: Moon Landing 50th Anniversary - Let's All Observe the Moon! 
Date: 20 July 2019  
Location: All around the world
More information: 

The Moon will be waning gibbous, and not rising until about midnight, but at least some spectacular formations will be visible for those prepared to stay up late!


13. Festival of Curiosity, Dublin. July 18 – 21, 2019


14. 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.



Test of system to protect Earth from asteroid:



TESS discovers 3rd planet in a system, with a longer orbit



HST takes largest ever image of Triangulum Galaxy



The fires of Io – the most volcanically object in the SS

Ultima Thule in 3D,and other new findings



Cubesats may help guide huge new space telescopes

Better imaging from nanosats


15. 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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