1. AA Lecture: "DART and Hera – how to move an asteroid", by Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, ARC, QUB.
SYNOPSIS: Over the past few decades, our knowledge of how to handle the threat posed by Near-Earth Objects has increased enormously. Astronomers surveying the sky find over 150 new NEOs per month. We understand the gross characteristics of that population; how many there are, what they are made of, their overall structure and how their orbits change. Now the final stage of threat assessment is under way. In three years time, humanity will test whether it can move a small asteroid for the first time. The NASA DART and ESA Hera missions are the first planetary experiment to significantly change the orbit of a celestial body. This talk will describe the background to the missions, the preparations happening this year, and what we hope to accomplish in 2022–2026.
Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building , QUB, 7.30pm
All welcome. Free admission, including light refreshments.
2. Astro Event at St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon, 29 March
The IAA will onve again be offering an astronomy evening, from 7.00 to 8.30 p.m, at this school. We'll have starshows in the very popular Stardome planetarium, an exhibition of telescopes and meteorites, and observing with powerful telescopes, if the sky is clear. Contact the school for further details,
3. Light Pollution and Dark Skies in Ireland
Note the lead article by Prof Brian Espey on Dark Skies / Light Pollution in
the Spring 2019 Heritage Ireland e-zine which is now live on Issuu at the following link: https://issuu.com/obair/docs/heritage-ireland-issue-9-spring-201
4. Mayo: International Dark Sky Week 31 March – 7 April: We have lined up a week full of free events in various venues around Mayo for this annual celebration of dark skies. The programme, includes talks by Gary Fildes of Kielder Observatory Northumberland, and a welcome return by Mayo Dark Skies patron Duncan Stewart.
Some venues have capacity restrictions so we kindly ask that you register in advance via Eventbrite and please, only register if you definitely plan to attend.
Queries to email@example.com
5. The ISS started a new series of evening passes on 22 March. Details for your own location, and lots more info on space and astronomy, on www.heavens-above.com.
If you want to check for transits of the ISS across the Sun or the Moon which occur somewhere near you, visit http://transit-finder.com
6. AstroVoices, Executive Committee WG Women in Astronomy
AstroVoices is a project lead by the IAU Executive Committee WG Women in Astronomy for the 100th Anniversary of the International Astronomical Union, and aims at creating a short film featuring women astronomers from around the world to be released during 2019, IAU 100th Anniversary year, in order to promote the image of astronomers as an exciting career and to stimulate interest for women and girls everywhere.
Find more information about AstroVoices and the latest news about the IAU Executive Committee WG Women in Astronomy: https://www.iau.org/science/scientific_bodies/workinggroups/womeninastronomy/news/
7. 28th March: 13.00, DIAS Burlington House, Burlington Rd, Dublin. Erwin Schroedinger 'What is Life?' public lecture series
Professor Chris Bean will explore: 'Earth processes – drivers for life: Insights into how Earth processes determine life on our planet.' Part two of the four-part lunch time lecture series exploring the question: 'What is Life?' from a number of different perspectives. Register in advance here.
8. EARTH HOUR at BCO, 30 March.
This is a global campaign that seeks to raise awareness of environmental issues via a symbolic "Lights Out" event. This Lights Out event also serves as a wonderful opportunity to discuss Ireland's Dark Sky Heritage. As recipients of the International Astronomical Union's Dark Skies For All fund, CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory are affirming our commitment to promoting and protecting Ireland's astronomical heritage by using Earth Hour to launch a 6 Week program of Dark Sky Events.
We have a jam-packed schedule of free events on the night, including a Star Cycle, Public Astronomy Sessions and more. Full schedule via the link below.
Time: 8 pm – 10 pm, Audience: Public, Admission: Free
Further details here: https://www.bco.ie/events/earth-hour-3/
9. Global Astronomy Month, April.
10. Dark Sky Week Workshops at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, April 1-5
For Dark Sky Week, discover how your students can participate in citizen science with Globe at Night. Learn about constellations and get ready to report on how light pollution affects your view of the night sky. How can light fittings be designed to give us light where we need it and still let us see the stars? Each visit also includes a Planetarium Show and Castle Tour.
Time: 10 am – 1pm. Audience: 3rd Class to 6th Class. Admission: €5 per student. Further details here: https://www.bco.ie/events/dark-sky-week-workshops/
11. 4th April: Schroedinger 'What is Life?' public lecture series
Professor Barry Lewis will explore: 'What is life? One question, many answers. The language of life in early Ireland and Wales'. Part three of the four-part lunch time lecture series exploring the question: 'What is Life?' from a number of different perspectives. Register in advance here.
12. COSMOS 2019. 5-7 April, Athlone.
Aimed at all levels of interest, ages and demographics, COSMOS brings together astronomers, scientists, rocket engineers as well as amateurs, families and enthusiasts for a celebration of Irish Astronomy.
Speakers so far include
Dr Linda Spilker (Cassini Mission Specialist)
Dr Tom Spilker (Mission space flight Architect)
Paul Evans (IAA)
Prof Peter Gallagher (DIAS)
Dr Sam Green (DIAS)
Catherine Overhauser (C. Ansbro)
Seanie Morris (MAC)
More details later.
13. Yuri's Night, Friday April 12;
Event at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory
Have you ever wanted to see what the Moon looks like through a telescope? Well this is your chance! Join us at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory where we'll be celebrating the anniversary of humanity's first orbit of Earth, by checking out our nearest celestial neighbour with FREE telescope viewing sessions.
Observing, as always, is weather dependent.
Time: 6 pm – 8 pm. Audience: Public/Families, Admission: Free.
Further details here: https://www.bco.ie/events/lifelong-learning-festival-yuris-night/
14. 25th April: Schroedinger 'What is Life?' public lecture series
Professor Werner Nahm FRS will explore: 'Beyond the 'What is Life?' lectures and book: The legacy of Professor Erwin Schroedinger...' The final lecture of the four-part lunch time lecture series exploring the question: 'What is Life?' from a number of different perspectives. Register in advance here.
15. Become an IAU Dark Skies Ambassador. The IAU100 Global Project Dark Skies for All project aims to raise awareness for the preservation of quiet and dark skies and claim the right to future generations to continue to access our true night skies. The project now opens the registration for becoming one of its ambassadors. Additionally, the IAU100 is issuing a call for proposals to receive the "Turn on the Night" educational kit and encourages educators, astronomy professionals and enthusiasts around the world to apply.
You can find more information here: https://www.iau-100.org/darkskies-ambassadors-call
16. IAU100 Amateur Astronomy Day Event on 13 April 2019 in Brussels
On Saturday 13 April 2019 at the Palace of the Academies in Brussels, Belgium, the International Astronomical Union will organise its first event for amateur astronomers. With an inspirational full-day event that will include NASA astronaut John Grunsfeld, renowned scientists involved in hot topics in astronomy and presentations from the amateur astronomical community. With this event, the IAU aims to further build the relationship between amateur astronomers, their organizations and the IAU. The IAU100 Secretariat hereby invites amateur astronomers to attend the event.
You can find more information here: https://www.iau-100.org/amateur-astronomers-day
17. Centenary of IAU in 2019: IAU100: Uniting our World to Explore the Universe
In 2019, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) celebratesits 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.
NEW 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 https://www.sciencespace.ie/celebrating-100-years-of-the-international-astronomical-union-ireland/
Read more: https://www.iau-100.org/national-committees
18. WAGIA special prize
Women and Girls in Astronomy Special Prize
A new special prize has been announced for event organisers that conduct activities for IAU100 that innovatively celebrate Women and Girls in Astronomy. We strongly encourage the organization of activities throughout 2019, as the perfect opportunity to celebrate girls and women in astronomy.
More information: https://www.iau-100.org/womenandgirls-in-astronomy
19. Einstein Schools program new resources announced
The Einstein Schools program is taking off with over 160 schools working to become IAU-certified Einstein Schools. All participants in this program can now find more teaching resources that can be used in classrooms. For example, there are now a number of black holes' related activities together with more resources on teaching about solar eclipses in preparation for the special ceremonies on May 29 in Principe and Brazil related to the 100th anniversary of Eddington eclipse expedition of 1919 that confirmed Einstein's Theory of General Relativity.
Finally, the project has also added three classroom-useful graphic short stories called "Tales of the Modern Astronomer". These stories were developed at the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory and highlight research related to black holes that are being done today at observatories around the world.
Find more information at the Einstein Schools official website: https://www.einsteinschools.org/
20. European Week of Astronomy and Space Science
Date: 24 – 28 June 2019; Location: Lyon, France. More information: https://eas.unige.ch//EWASS/
21. Starmus 24 – 29 June — 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: https://www.iau.org/news/announcements/detail/ann18007/
22. Festival of Curiosity, Dublin. July 18 – 21, 2019
23. IAU100: Moon Landing 50th Anniversary - Let's All Observe the Moon!
Date: 20 July 2019
Location: All around the world
More information: https://www.iau-100.org/moon-landing-anniversary
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!
24. Apollo 11; 50th Anniversary. Armagh Observatory and Planetarium will be holding a suite of events through July and August to celebrate this event. More details soon.
25. 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.
Star formation and dusty puzzle in ancient galaxy
Cannonball pulsar speeds away from SN at 2.5 million mph! https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190319124225.htm
Listening to the quantum vacuum will help detect GWs https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190326105730.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29
Giant X-ray chimneys vent energy at heart of our MW https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190320164912.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29
What happened before the Big Bang? https://earthsky.org/space/what-happened-before-the-big-bang?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=2ca62249b5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_02_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-2ca62249b5-394571661
Why matter dominates in our universe - Matter / antimatter asymmetry in charmed quarks https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190321130309.htm
EARTH & MOON
Carbon monoxide could be a clue to life on exoplanets https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190319100732.htm
TESS will target most likely exoplanet stars https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190326160505.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29
VR trip into the Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole https://newatlas.com/milky-way-vr-nasa-sagittarius-a-black-hole/59002/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2019-03-26%20093001%20Other%20Daily%20Basic%202019-03-26%20093332%20Rotating%20pulse%20rocket%20may%20find%20use%20in%20space%20launches&utm_content=2019-03-26%20093001%20Other%20Daily%20Basic%202019-03-26%20093332%20Rotating%20pulse%20rocket%20may%20find%20use%20in%20space%20launches+CID_f1e85cf7fca26b1721384d3f78fc42bb&utm_source=Campaign%20Monitor&utm_term=Read%20more
Wild and weird gravity anomalies on asteroid Bennu https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190319142315.htm
Water-bearing minerals on Bennu https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190319135114.htm
Asteroid Ryugu reveals its secrets to Hyabusa 2 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190319125904.htm
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6848453/Life-Mars-NASAs-Curiosity-rover-snaps-photos-mushrooms.html I wouldn't rate that publication too highly - they keep asking me to write articles for them, and I'm no astro-biologist! I hope it's true but I doubt it!
Asteroid impacts and hydrogen may have aided ancient life on Mars https://newatlas.com/hydrogen-asteroids-life-mars/59007/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2019-03-26%20093001%20Other%20Daily%20Basic%202019-03-26%20093332%20Rotating%20pulse%20rocket%20may%20find%20use%20in%20space%20launches&utm_content=2019-03-26%20093001%20Other%20Daily%20Basic%202019-03-26%20093332%20Rotating%20pulse%20rocket%20may%20find%20use%20in%20space%20launches+CID_f1e85cf7fca26b1721384d3f78fc42bb&utm_source=Campaign%20Monitor&utm_term=Read%20more
Where was Jupiter born? https://earthsky.org/space/jupiter-journey-toward-sun-orbit?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=2ca62249b5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_02_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-2ca62249b5-394571661 This doesn't fit in with the Nice model.
HST captures birth of giant storm on Neptune https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190325120355.htm
Superbugs on ISS – but silver & ruthenium help prevent them https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190319083923.htm
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6830075/SpaceX-blast-people-Atlantic-rocket-30-minutes-2030.html. But how long before launch will you have to be at the 'check-in'? The total time door to door mightn't be that much less.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6852953/NASA-send-astronauts-moon-FIVE-YEARS.html That will cost more than pence!
New form of rocket engine. https://newatlas.com/rotating-pulse-rocket-engine/59008/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2019-03-26%20093001%20Other%20Daily%20Basic%202019-03-26%20093332%20Rotating%20pulse%20rocket%20may%20find%20use%20in%20space%20launches&utm_content=2019-03-26%20093001%20Other%20Daily%20Basic%202019-03-26%20093332%20Rotating%20pulse%20rocket%20may%20find%20use%20in%20space%20launches+CID_f1e85cf7fca26b1721384d3f78fc42bb&utm_source=Campaign%20Monitor&utm_term=Read%20more
At the edge of the Sun, ions are faster than atoms https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190325130522.htm
27. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION. This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://documents.irishastro.org.uk/iaamembership.doc
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 www.irishastro.org .
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.