1. Armagh Planetarium, special event, 26 August, 13.30 & 15.00
Apollo 11 - To the Moon and Back, Half a Century ago" by Paul Evans
Public Talk which is free when a dome show ticket is purchased or £2 per ticket if coming just for the talk.
In 1961 President John F Kennedy was looking for a project which the Americans could use to regain the initiative in the Space Race having fallen behind the Soviet Union. His chosen goal was to commit the nation "to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a Man on the Moon and returning him safely to The Earth". This is the story, beginning at the end of the Second World War, of how that goal was achieved.
Paul Evans was 7 years old when the Apollo missions started and although he had been aware of earlier missions, it was Apollo 8 which really piqued his lifelong interest in space and astronomy. He followed the Apollo missions through the first landing of Apollo 11 to the final landing in 1972.
Paul has lived in Northern Ireland since 2003 during which time he has photographed auroras, noctilucent clouds and many sky objects and has had his photographs displayed in numerous exhibitions and publications in the UK and Ireland. He has travelled extensively and has observed astronomical phenomena and visited space exploration facilities throughout the world.
Paul was President of the Irish Astronomical Association for five non-consecutive years between 2012 and 2018 and Secretary of the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies (IFAS) from 2014 until April this year. He has recently taken on the Chairmanship of IFAS.
2. 20-29 August: IAU Above & Beyond Exhibition
This exhibition, which marks 100 years of astronomical discovery, celebrates not only the amazing findings about our Universe during the last century, such as black holes, planets around distant stars, gravitational waves, to name but a few, but also the breath-taking development in instrumentation that was needed to make such discoveries. Ireland's contribution in the past, and how the country can make astronomical breakthroughs in the future are truly reflected here. The travelling exhibition will be hosted in the Wood Quay Venue, Dublin 8 and Monday-Friday between 9am and 5pm.
3. ISS: The ISS will commence another series of morning passes on 31 August. Details of both ISS and Starlink 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
Series of space and astronomy events in Dublin; (thanks to John Flannery for this; I've kept them together for convenience))
4. Thursday, Sept 12th -- SCEENAC 2019 Public Lecture
As part of SCEENAC 2019 in Dublin City University, there will be a public lecture on "Extremes of Gravity" by Prof Chris Fewster, University of York. More details and booking at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/extremes-of-gravity-sceenac-2019-public-lecture-tickets-64797914306
5. Friday, Sept 20th -- Culture Night
Many events are organised countrywide for Culture Night and Dunsink Observatory will once again host a series of talks, exhibits, and viewing of the night sky through the historic Grubb refractor. Search for events in your area on https://culturenight.ie
6. Saturday, Sept 21st -- Dune (70mm)
The Irish Film Institute will screen the David Lynch directed movie of Frank Herbert's seminal 1963 novel Dune. Details at https://ifi.ie/dune-70mm-2/
7. Saturday, Sept 28th -- Frontiers of Physics 2019
Waterford Institute of Technology is the venue for this year's event organised by the Institute of Physics in Ireland. More details at https://events.iop.org/frontiers-physics-2019
8. To the end of September -- Moon landing art
The Sporting Emporium in Dublin has been hosting an art exhibition on the theme of the Moon landings. It is being run in conjunction with Balla Ban Art Gallery (in the Westbury Mall). More details at https://visualartists.ie/events/50th-anniversary-of-first-moon-landing-at-sporting-emporium-dublin/
9. Monday, Sept 30th (to Oct 4th) RDS Library Booksale
The annual RDS Library book sale takes place during the above dates. Everyone is welcome to browse and purchase out-of-date and duplicate books. More details at https://www.rds.ie/Whats-On/Event/39313
10. Tuesday, Oct 8th -- DCUniverse
As part of Space Week, Dublin City Universe will host an evening of four talks by researchers at the University. More details and booking at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/dcuniverse-tickets-70013651717
11. INAM – 4-6th Sept https://armaghobservatoryplanetarium.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173596564
The Irish National Astronomy Meeting (INAM) 2019 will be held at the Armagh Observatory & Planetarium (AOP), Armagh, Northern Ireland, on September 4-6.
With astronomy becoming the domain of large international collaborations and of scientific consortia behind new instruments, telescopes and space missions, this INAM meeting will be an opportunity for Irish researchers to showcase projects carried out in partnership with international collaborators.
Visit https://www.inam2019.com/ for more details.
Public talk and premier of "Unseen Universe" Dome show. 6:30pm: 4. Sep. Doors Open
7:00pm: Public talk by Professor Garrett Cotter of Oxford University - "Exploring the Universe at the Highest Energies".
8:00pm: "Unseen Universe" Fulldome show. Produced by former Planetarium Director Terrence Murtagh in which the Leviathan Telescope at Birr features prominently, and finishes with the first image ever taken of a Black Hole. Unseen Universe makes what was once thought to be unseeable, seeable. https://armaghobservatoryplanetarium.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173596570
12. PLUS: BAA Observatory Tour and Dome Showhttps://armaghobservatoryplanetarium.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173592278Special Sunday opening for an Observatory Tour and Dome show as part of the BAA meeting on 7-8th September. Learn more about astronomy on a private guided tour of our Observatory building and telescopes. Let us guide you around the history and heritage of our famous Observatory and experience our world and beyond in a Digital Dome Theatre Show at the Planetarium.. Highlights include a behind the scenes access to the historic Armagh telescopes, including the 1795 Troughton and 1885 Grubb equatorial telescopes, as well as learning about the current science conducted at the Observatory. This tour will be conducted by the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium Director, Prof. Michael Burton. While we make every effort to accommodate wheel chair users and others with mobility issues, by virtue of the nature of the building, the telescopes are accessed by steep narrow stairs. The tour includes access to our grounds outside so we recommend suitable footwear. The cost for the Sunday tour is £15.00 per person. Tour starts at 10.30am sharp from the Armagh Planetarium Main Building.
13. Asteroid flyby, 9 September
https://earthsky.org/space/asteroid-2006-qv89-strike-earth-september-2019?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=2e143f4e51-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_02_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-2e143f4e51-394571661 Note that I didn't headline this "near-miss", or "close flyby". A distance of nearly 7 million km is not close, unless we're talking about something the size of Vesta, and then only in relative terms! This one is only about 30-40km in diameter. And whatever the actual statistics say, in practice the collision risk from asteroid 2006 QV89, is zero, because the orbital calculations could be slightly in error, but not by 7 million km! And even if some unknown external factor was to alter its orbit significantly, the chances that it would change EXACTLY in our direction, and by EXACTLY the right amount to hit a target only 12,800 km in diameter, are negligible. So it will be of interest, but the risk is zero.
14. Asteroid flyby, Sep 14: "A huge asteroid with a diameter twice as big as London's Shard skyscraper is to hurtle past Earth next month."
The asteroid identified by NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) is going to fly past quite safely. The object, identified as 2000 QW7, has an estimated diameter of 2,133 feet, and will fly past at a safe distance of 3.3 million miles on September 14. (Estimated diameter of 2133 ft. Wow – that's a pretty accurate estimate! I think that 2130 ft would be accurate enough. Or even 2100 ft. Or why not say '650m', and let us do our own conversion if we want to?)
15. Public Lecture, Sep 20, "Our Sun, Friend or Foe?", by Terry Moseley. Venue: IPCC, Lullymore, Rathangan, Co Kildare. I've been invited back yet again to give another lecture for Culture Night, at the Irish Peatlands Conservation Council, in the lovely dark skies of rural Kildare. Some observing if clear afterwards. See www.ipcc.ie, or on twitter and Facebook.
16. Autumn Equinox, Sep 23, The Sun will cross the celestial equator going southwards on Sep 23 at 07.49 UT, marking the start of autumn in the N. Hemisphere. That's the latest date and time for the autumn equinox for the next 100 years (and more), as the date and time are currently slowly moving back in our calendar (just as is happening with our spring equinox). In fact the last one on Sep 23 occurs on 2059 Sep 23 at 00h 02m. And we'll have our first (in recent history) equinox occurring on Sep 21 in 2092 at 23h 41m. It's all due to slow cyclical changes in Earth's orbit.
17. IAA Public Lecture, Sep 25. Dr Mike Simms (UM): "1969; a special year for space rocks (and not just from the Moon)" Mike is one of Ireland's leading meteorite experts, and has given us many fascinating lectures before. This one focuses on 3 very significant meteorite falls which, coincidentally, occurred in the same year as the first retrieved rocks from the Moon. One of those was the famous Bovedy Meteorite, that last one known to fall in N. Ireland. A fascinating talk is to be expected, delivered in Mike's inimitable style. 7.30 p.m., Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB. Admission free, including light refreshments. See www.irishastro.org.
18. Dark Sky Evening Event, Sep 27. Lough Navar Forest, Co Fermanagh, I'll be leading this event, run by Fermanagh DC. More details later.
19. IAA Public Outreach event, Oct 5, World Space Week Event. Mullaghbawn, Co Armagh. More details later.
20. 31 October - 01 November: Samhain agus Science, DIAS
Our annual celebration will kick off with a talk by Peter Coles in 10 Burlington Road, with more events to be confirmed shortly. Once confirmed all details will be available on the Dias website.
Latest news - Astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk will speak at this year's festival, and we are delighted to confirm that Professor Mark McCaughrean will also be joining the line-up.
Details at www.mayodarkskyfestival.ie
It will be followed by -
22. European Symposium for the Protection of the Night Sky Mulranny, Co Mayo, 3 - 5 Nov.
The14th European Symposium for the Protection of the Night Sky is to be held in Mulranny, County Mayo, from 3rd to 5th November 2019 (immediately following the Mayo Dark Sky Festival weekend). Please share the dates and details on this event and would love to see you there.
In particularly we are looking to promote the call for abstracts and would be grateful if you can help us share this international event for Dark Sky Ireland with colleagues in environmental /astronomy & scientific/ dark sky networks. This event will be sanctioned by the International Dark Sky Association.
Information is available on our website www.mayodarkskyfestival.ie/symposium and we will be updating this with more announcements, news and updates on the event as they happen.
23. For Sale: Pulsar Telescope Dome, with full control equipment.
The dome is around 5 years old in perfect condition and is currently fully dismantled and available for collection. The dome comes complete with the associated equipment;
· Pulsar Observatory 2.2m full height observatory dome
· Shutter drive kit (including solar panel module plus charger and 12V battery)
· Dome Rotation Drive Kit
· Shelyak Dome tracker kit
· Dome security clamps
· Rubber flooring kit
Total Price NEW – c £6,500; Price as available £3,500
Contact Dr Andy McCrea of North Down Telescopes, email firstname.lastname@example.org, mob 07799434030
24. 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.
40 billion solar masses - biggest SMBH direct measurement https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techandscience/astronomers-just-found-an-absolutely-gargantuan-black-hole-the-mass-of-40-billion-suns/ar-AAFsRYQ?ocid=spartandhp and
Very early giant galaxies reveal secrets https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-7334223/A-long-time-ago-galaxy-far-far-away.html and
Long dead planets can still be detected. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190806101602.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29
https://www.livescience.com/66116-fast-radio-bursts-australia-artificial-intelligence.html?utm_source=ls-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20190808-ls (Warfare between Type 2 or Type 3 Kardashian civilisations? Just joking – there wouldn't be so many of them – we hope! Also, if they're so far away, they would be happening at quite an early stage in the history of the universe – probably too early for such civilisations to have developed. But on the other hand, if we're in a multiverse…. !)
Hot winds near Black Hole https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190807112937.htm
Quasars may go through a brief phase when they're red https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190807092339.htm
New radio receiver measures distances to remote objects and analyses cosmic clouds https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190805112203.htm
Asteroids and massive mergers! https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190816092427.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29
Finding cosmic fog in shattered intergalactic pancakes https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190813113452.htm
Weird glitches in spin of neutron star https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190812130823.htm
Temperatures of 800 billion degrees when neutron stars collide, forging heavy elements https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190822101419.htm
https://www.livescience.com/66113-supergravity-discovery-breakthrough-prize.html?utm_source=ls-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20190807-ls This is mind-bending stuff, but fascinating and important; it's worth the effort to try and get a handle on it!
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190807190816.htm Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice (not the one on New horizons!). But if the Higgs Boson is such a scalar particle, how come it's 'ordinary matter' while the others are 'Dark Matter'? Or does DM just consist of other much more massive Big Brothers of the Higgs? And see also https://newatlas.com/dark-fluid-theory-matter-energy/57540/
Superheavy Gravitino may explainm Dark Matter https://newatlas.com/physics/dark-matter-candidate-particle-superheavy-gravitino/
Upper limit of the mass of the lightest neutrino https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190822113407.htm . There's a mind-blowing figure in there. 100 billion solar neutrinos pass through your thumb every second! For anyone who wants a little maths challenge, and an even more mind blowing figure, calculate from that how many neutrinos the Sun emits every second. To make it really easy, your thumb has a cross sectional area of about 10 sq cm. And on average it's 150 million km away from the Sun. So, how many thumbs cover the surface of a sphere with that radius?
Quantum gravity tangles time. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190822094016.htm This is tough going, but it's notable that it's based on Bell's Theorem; yes, local guy John Bell after whom the lecture theatre where the IAA holds its meetings is named. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell%27s_theorem And for a real brain-hurter, see the original paper: 10.1038/s41467-019-11579-x
EARTH & MOON
Fracking is increasing atmospheric methane https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190814090610.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29
Fermi sees the Moon brighter than the Sun in gamma rays! https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190815120656.htm
Largest impact crater in USA formed 35m years ago https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190813160532.htm
The early SS was a very violent place ! https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190812130821.htm
https://newatlas.com/supernova-megalodon-extinction/57626/ But why not land-based megafauna? Although they were not as big as megalodons, they didn't have the protection of water which fish did. And what about whales?
More really scary stuff about our own planet https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/arctic-permafrost-is-thawing-it-could-speed-up-climate-change-feature/?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=crm-email::src=ngp::cmp=editorial::add=Science_20190821&rid=B44D5BDD89C3D2302973C899D2E91C40
Fluorescence may reveal exolife https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190813144510.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29
Is the universe too dangerous for life? https://cosmicpursuits.com/2594/is-the-universe-too-dangerous-for-life/ The situation regarding stars that formed long before the Sun is not really relevant, as their systems wouldn't have the right mix of heavy elements to permit the development of advanced life. And even long GRBs, i.e. a few seconds duration, could only 'fry' one half of a planet. Although if it was very close, the damage would spread to the whole planet.
Alien oceans could hold more life than Earth's oceans. https://www.livescience.com/alien-exoplanet-biodiversity.html?utm_source=ls-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20190824-ls
Watch the video showing the discovery of over 4,000 exoplanets. Note the dense patch that develops at the top left near the end as Kepler did its stuff. https://earthsky.org/space/time-lapse-video-map-exoplanets-2019?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=d0f407ae2b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_02_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-d0f407ae2b-394571661
Earth-like planets in their Goldilocks zones are more comment than we thought
Beautiful image! https://newatlas.com/hubble-space-telescope-jupiter-image/60968/?utm_source=New+Atlas+Subscribers&utm_campaign=e9d7506b9d-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-e9d7506b9d-92786061 It's interesting that the STZ is by far the brightest zone on the disc.
Nice HST image of 'Jellyfish' planetary nebula. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-7371937/Blobby-jellyfish-spotted-Orion-constellation-NASAs-Hubble.html NB: The HST did NOT discover this object! It's been known since the 19th century. The NGC number stands for New General Catalogue, compiled at Armagh Observatory well over a century ago! This is an excellent picture of it, but not a discovery!
Young Jupiter was hit head-on by a 10x Earth-mass object https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190815113735.htm To put this in context, Jupiter is currently 318 times the mass of the Earth.
Cause of methane spikes on Mars still unknown https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190812094509.htm
Jupiter's storms disturb its belts https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190822130438.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29
Europa Clipper mission approved https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190822143218.htm
Tardigrades are on the Moon! https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techandscience/tardigrades-the-toughest-animals-on-earth-have-crash-landed-on-the-moon/ar-AAFrOPp?ocid=spartandhp "That would have been a hard landing for humans, but no problem at all for us tardigrades"!
I wonder what James Watt would make of this? https://newatlas.com/steam-power-cubesat-control/60977/?utm_source=New+Atlas+Subscribers&utm_campaign=e9d7506b9d-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-e9d7506b9d-92786061
https://spaceweatherarchive.com/2019/08/09/a-new-source-of-space-radiation/ This would also affect astronauts on the Moon, or journeying to and from it, and as they're closer to the source they'd be even more affected than Marstronauts!
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-7364953/Elon-Musk-wants-NUKE-Mars-CEO-revives-radical-idea-make-red-planet-habitable.html - Sorry, Elon, it's not yours to nuke!
I hope NASA's rocket scientists' maths is more accurate than this: 4/5 is 80%, which is not the same as 90%. A 10% error in the rocket burn would make them miss the Moon by thousands of miles.
Spaceflight consistently affects the gut. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190821120551.htm
You wouldn't want this guy running amok on the ISS! https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-7382589/Putins-six-foot-tall-humanoid-robo-naut-Fedor-sent-ISS.html
Hall Thrusters enable longer missions https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190820130936.htm
Telescopes, Equipment, etc.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/08/space-telescope-would-turn-earth-giant-magnifying-lens?utm_campaign=news_daily_2019-08-06&et_rid=415711678&et_cid=2935236 An interesting idea. But another factor is that the Earth is an oblate spheroid, not a sphere, so the atmosphere will not be a perfect sphere either.
And it's constantly moving as it orbits the Sun, so the telescope would have to move to exactly compensate for that. However, the rate of the Earth's motion is variable, although predictable.
The Earth is also rotating every 24h, bringing areas of different density to the limb at different times, which would vary the density of the atmosphere above them.
And then there are aurorae, and high altitude sprites!
The position of the telescope would also be affected by the motion of the Moon round the Earth, as well as by the pull of other planets, mainly Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
It could be problematic to operate it to any degree of accuracy.
https://newatlas.com/spherical-aberration-optical-lens-solution/60937/?utm_source=New+Atlas+Subscribers&utm_campaign=d437ddb964-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-d437ddb964-92786061 I just LOVE that equation! I wonder can one get a t-shirt with that on it?
A new era for space optics – wait for it; the equivalent of a 50m mirror in space! https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190805112204.htm
JWST could detect atmospheres of planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190813170727.htm
25. 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.