Friday 16 February 2024

Lecture, Sky guide, ISS, Astro-calendar, Jupiter, NISF, Your name to the Moon, IAW, COSMOS, Teasers

Hi all,

Please note: send all correspondence to me only at: terrymosel@aol.com

 

1. IAA  LECTURE, Wed 21 February, 7.30 p.m.  "Using Kinesthetic Learning to Help Understand our Place in Space" by Professor Emeritus Mark Bailey

Synopsis: Kinesthetic learning, or learning by doing, promotes deep learning; that is, learning which sticks and forms a basis for general understanding.  This talk introduces the concept of kinesthetic learning as applied to the astronomy outreach facilities developed at Armagh Observatory, namely the Armagh Astropark, the Human Orrery, and Robert Jarvis's sonic art installation aroundNorth.   There is an emphasis throughout on the value of participants physically engaging and interacting with these outreach facilities and where possible building their own versions of such educational tools, even if necessary on a reduced scale indoors. 

Biography: Mark E. Bailey, Emeritus Director of Armagh Observatory, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

Mark Bailey MBE MRIA served as Director of Armagh Observatory from 1995 to 2016.  He has degrees from Cambridge (BA 1974), Sussex (MSc 1975) and Edinburgh (PhD 1978).  Following early research mainly on comets and galactic and extragalactic astronomy his research interests have now encompassed small solar system bodies; solar system — Earth interrelationships; the NEO impact hazard; weather and climate change; and aspects of astronomical and local history.  He gives occasional public talks and is the author, co-author, or editor of several books and around a hundred scientific papers.  Minor planet (4050) Mebailey was named for his work on the origin of comets.  He received an MBE for services to astronomy in 2007.

Mark added:

I hope I'll have time also to try a simple practical activity with a few willing members of the audience.  This talk is aimed at beginners as well as advanced amateurs, and should be accessible (in the spirit of the NI Science Festival) to all!

VENUE: Larmor Lecture Theatre, Astrophysics Research Centre, Physics Building, QUB.

Admission free, including light refreshments, All welcome.

 

2. February Sky Guide: This very helpful guide is available free at: Spotify & Apple podcasts
   What's in the Night Sky for February? Cosmic Corner is presented by Paul Evans, Sinéad Mannion, and Graham Sales. Highlights for February's podcast include details on upcoming Irish Astronomy Week, more on irishastronomyweek.ie, see dancing morning planets in our winter sky, Orion is still on display, Paul tells us about the Artemis slippage and find out how this week is historically a sad week for NASA. We discuss the sad demise of Ingenuity but how much it achieved going beyond its initial remit. Finally, Paul makes us super jealous of his new toy, the Seestar S50. ... Keep Looking Up!... Paul, Graham & Sinéad 

  Spotify https://open.spotify.com/episode/23Ind8R5DzZAqnKVz4C1d1?si=NfskWAtrTtOQiCIjqp45lg

  Apple Podcasts https://podcasts.apple.com/ie/podcast/cosmic-corner/id1705184817?i=1000643912445

 

3. ISS. The ISS starts a series of morning passes on 17 Feb. See www.heavens_above.com for details

 

4. Astronomy Calendar now available online

John Flannery has now got his new 2024 astronomy calendar completed and it's now available online free as a 2.5Mb pdf download at tinyurl.com/3ytt2v55.

Thanks John – great work as always!

 

5. JUPITER still worth observing!

Our largest planet is still by far the brightest starlike object in the evening sky. It's well up in the South South West as soon as the sky darkens, in Aries, at mag -2.3. Look for the 4 Galilean moons as they do their stately dance around the giant planet. Ganymede, Callisto and Io are bigger than our Moon; Europa is a bit smaller, but it's brighter than Callisto because of its bright ice-covered surface. The Moon will be just East of it on the evening of 15 Februiary

otyelHotel

 

6. N.I. Science Festival 15 – 25 February – various events and venues.

 

7. Send your name to the Moon: Thanks to Derek Heatly for this: You can send your name to the Moon via NASA's VIPER Mission:  www.nasa.gov/send-your-name-with-viper     VIPER is the next lunar rover going to the Moon's South Pole. The offer lasts until March 15.

 

8. IRISH ASTRONOMY WEEK: March 9-16, 2024. Organised by Ronan Newman, the first event last year was very successful!

 Various events throughout the whole island. More details later.

This event does not run itself, so please help by making a donation via the new go fund me page  https://gofund.me/a5b22223

 

9. COSMOS STAR PARTY, 23 March, at Clonown Rovers FC, Teach Leatha, Lea Berg, Blue Ball, Co Offaly. More details soon.

 

10. The Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) Conference is the only large-scale international conference for astronomy communication. The next CAP conference will be held in hybrid mode from 24 – 28 June 2024, in-person at Cité de l'espace, Toulouse, France and online.

 

11. EASY TEASER:

What won't happen in 2037?

Clue: It's something that usually happens regularly.

Another clue: It's connected to our calendar.

Still no answers, so here's another clue: while over a very long period, it could happen in any year, it could never happen in a year like this one.

 

12. DIFFICULT TEASER ANSWERED:

What's next in the sequence  89, 13, 95, 51 ?  

No answers yet, so I'll add one more, thus: 89, 13, 95, 51, 18 ….?

   This was answered by John Flannery. The answer is 33. They are the numbers of the elements, listed in alphabetical order: 89 Actinium, 13 Aluminium, 95 Americium, 51 Antimony, 18 Argon, 33 Arsenic.

And of course all those are created through astronomical processes.

Well done John!

 

13. NEW DIFFICULT TEASER

Where in the sky would you find an item connected with medicine, and what is it?

 

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.

 

ASTROPHYSICS:

 Protoplanetary rings around star https://www.facebook.com/share/PCSoQPG8rNzUA77e/

The Mily Way's oldest star https://www.facebook.com/share/h3MdUqSMqywDT3jD/
JWST tracks galaxy's history to just after the Big Bang James Webb Space Telescope tracks a galaxy's history back to just after the Big Bang | Space

X-ray survey bolsters prevailing theory of universe's expansion | Science | AAAS

Fire but no brimstone: Where is the universe's missing sulfur? | Space

Einstein's predictions mean rare 'gravitational lasers' could exist throughout the universe, new paper claims | Live Science

Cosmic Super Bowl? The Milky Way's black hole is shaping spacetime into a football | Space

Astronomers discover new source of star dust (msn.com)
Hubble Space Telescope tells a starry 'tail' of 12 mingling galaxies (msn.com)
Huge X-ray image covers half the universe, including a million sources (newatlas.com)
Event Horizon Telescope spies jets erupting from nearby supermassive black hole | Space

 

EARTH & MOON
 US company's lunar lander rockets toward the moon for a touchdown attempt next week (msn.com) and
SpaceX rocket launch sparks fevered speculation after it launches from Cape Canaveral carrying 'undisclosed payload' - on same day it's revealed Russia wants to deploy NUCLEAR weapons in space (msn.com)
Ocean of hidden water on the moon triggers new space race (msn.com)
'Double whammy' CO2 drop linked to Earth's extreme ice age (newatlas.com)
NASA's new climate satellite will offer 'an unprecedented view' of our heating planet (msn.com)
Big, dead European satellite will crash back to Earth this month | Space
See Earth's atmosphere glow gold in gorgeous photo taken from the ISS (msn.com) 
 
EXOLIFE:
No Hope for Life in Outer Solar System: Saturn Moon Uninhabitable, Scientists Say (msn.com) This seems to refer only to Titan, not to Enceladus or Europa. 
 
EXOPLANETS
Protoplanetary rings around star https://www.facebook.com/share/PCSoQPG8rNzUA77e/
NASA Unveils Closest 'Super-Earth' in Habitable Zone, Paving Way for Life's Potential (msn.com)
 
IMAGES:
Amazing video of sizes of astronomical bodies Facebook
www.facebook.com/thebrainmazeofficial/videos/1691360338058427 
 
SETI
SETI searches for alien signals synchronized with supernova 1987A | Space
 
SOLAR SYSTEM 
water discovered on  surface of asteroid. https://www.facebook.com/share/atWwTWumMgNHnNJ7/
Jupiter's Supervolcanic Moon Io Dazzles in Photos from NASA's Close Flybys | Scientific American 
Life on Mars may have thrived near volcanoes and an ancient lake Life on Mars could have thrived near active volcanoes and an ancient mile-deep lake | Space
No Hope for Life in Outer Solar System: Saturn Moon Uninhabitable, Scientists Say (msn.com) This seems to refer only to Titan, not to Enceladus or Europa. 
Brightest images of Venus reveal its glowing halo | Popular Science (popsci.com)
NASA's Juno probe sees active volcanic eruptions on Jupiter's volcanic moon Io (images) | Space  and
Stunning Juno flyby image shows Io lit up by "Jupitershine" (newatlas.com)
Another ice-sealed ocean has been found in our solar system (newatlas.com) 
Geminids may be 10 times older than we thought. https://www.space.com/geminid-meteors-10-times-older-phaethon-simulations?utm_content=space.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialflow&utm_source=facebook.com&fbclid=IwAR1Qrp2f4_SwrGCbU-y_-KVOIljHiYN39gM2QdG9qsAzoiSvy37g-vfUsGg
Tiny, unseen moon could be holding bizarre space rock Chariklo's rings in place (msn.com) 
NASA's first asteroid samples came from 'ancient ocean world': Scientists find fragments from Bennu are high in carbon and water - and the planet may have been suitable for life (msn.com) 
Amazing close-up of Jupiter, from Juno. https://www.facebook.com/groups/jameswebbspacetelescope/permalink/10161177871841170/ 
 
SPACE
Space record https://www.facebook.com/share/Z6F3X1qP6gP2jcW4/This astronaut took 5 spacewalks. Now, he's helping make spacesuits for future ISS crews (exclusive) | Space
NASA's interstellar Voyager 1 spacecraft isn't doing so well — here's what we know (msn.com)
Ocean of hidden water on the moon triggers new space race (msn.com)
SpaceX deorbiting 100 older Starlink satellites to 'keep space safe and sustainable' (msn.com)
How will Artemis 2 astronauts exercise on the way to the moon? | Space
At least they have corrected this! The first report was about the Challenger disaster, but they referred to it as 'Columbia'. The Space Shuttle That Fell to Earth review – the finest possible tribute to the astronauts who lost their lives (msn.com)
Big, dead European satellite will crash back to Earth this month | Space       
Scientists Believe Light Speed Travel Is Possible. Here's How. (popularmechanics.com)
 
SUN

Giant Sunspot 'Martian' sunspot 15 times wider than Earth could soon bombard us with solar flares (photo & video) | Space

 

TELESCOPES & EQUIPMENTUltraviolet eyes will explore the universe under new NASA mission (newatlas.com)

To See Black Holes in Detail, She Uses 'Echoes' Like a Bat | Quanta Magazine

NASA tests hybrid antenna for laser and radio space communications (newatlas.com)

 

15. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION. This link gives options to join the IAA.

https://irishastro.org/join-the-iaa/ If you are a UK taxpayer, please select 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 https://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.

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley


Sunday 4 February 2024

Heavy metal stars, Sky guide, Planets, Astro calendar, NI Science Festival, Irish Astronomy Week, COSMOS, Teasers, more

Hi all,

Please note: send all correspondence to me only at: terrymosel@aol.com

 

1. IAA  LECTURE, Wed 7 February, 7.30 p.m. Dr Laura Scott, Armagh Observatory & Planetarium: "Heavy Metal Stars"

SYNOPSIS:

Most stars are made of hydrogen and helium, with only tiny amounts of other elements. The 'heavy metal stars' are different - their atmospheres appear to be enriched in exotic heavy elements such as lead, zirconium and others. I will explain how the heavy metal stars differ from the norm, and what causes these elements to accumulate in their atmospheres.

Biography:

Laua is from England and did her masters in astrophysics at the University of Birmingham, before moving to Keele to do a PhD on convection in massive stars. Now she lives in Armagh and works at the Observatory, researching stellar atmospheres.

VENUE: Larmor Lecture Theatre, Astrophysics Research Centre, Physics Building, QUB.

Admission free, including light refreshments, All welcome.

 

2. Astronomy outreach event, 17 February, LNDC for NISF: 16,00 to 20.00.

Unfortunately, for various reasons, this event has had to be cancelled.

 

3. February Sky Guide: This very helpful guide is available free at: Spotify & Apple podcasts
   What's in the Night Sky for February? Cosmic Corner is presented by Paul Evans, Sinéad Mannion, and Graham Sales. Highlights for February's podcast include details on upcoming Irish Astronomy Week, more on irishastronomyweek.ie, see dancing morning planets in our winter sky, Orion is still on display, Paul tells us about the Artemis slippage and find out how this week is historically a sad week for NASA. We discuss the sad demise of Ingenuity but how much it achieved going beyond its initial remit. Finally, Paul makes us super jealous of his new toy, the Seestar S50. ... Keep Looking Up!... Paul, Graham & Sinéad 

  Spotify https://open.spotify.com/episode/23Ind8R5DzZAqnKVz4C1d1?si=NfskWAtrTtOQiCIjqp45lg

  Apple Podcasts https://podcasts.apple.com/ie/podcast/cosmic-corner/id1705184817?i=1000643912445

 

4. ISS. The ISS will star a new series of morning passes on 17 February

 

5. VENUS

Is still just visible as a morning star, low in the SE just before dawn, but it's quickly sinking into the morning twilight.

 

6. Astronomy Calendar now available online

John Flannery has now got his new 2024 astronomy calendar completed and it's now available online free as a 2.5Mb pdf download at tinyurl.com/3ytt2v55.

Thanks John – great work as always!

 

7. SATURN – last chance!

Saturn is still just visible low in the West after subset, but will soon be lost in the evening twilight,

 

8. JUPITER still dominates the sky!

Our largest planet is still by far the brightest starlike object in the evening sky. It's high enough up in the South as soon as the sky darkens, in Aries, at mag -2.3. Look for the 4 Galilean moons as they do their stately dance around the giant planet. Ganymede, Callisto and Io are bigger than our Moon; Europa is a bit smaller, but it's brighter than Callisto because of its bright ice-covered surface. The Moon will pass close by it on the evenings of `4 & 15 Februiary

otyelHotel

 

9. N.I. Science Festival 15 – 25 February – various events and venues.

 

10. Send your name to the Moon: Thanks to Derek Heatly for this: You can send your name to the Moon via NASA's VIPER Mission:  www.nasa.gov/send-your-name-with-viper     VIPER is the next lunar rover going to the Moon's South Pole. The offer lasts until March 15.

 

11. IRISH ASTRONOMY WEEK: March 9-16, 2024. Organised by Ronan Newman, the first event last year was very successful!

 Various events throughout the whole island. More details later.

This event does not run itself, so please help by making a donation via the new go fund me page  https://gofund.me/a5b22223

 

12. COSMOS STAR PARTY, 23 March, at Clonown Rovers FC, Teach Leatha, Lea Berg, Blue Ball, Co Offaly. More details soon.

 

13. The Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) Conference is the only large-scale international conference for astronomy communication. The next CAP conference will be held in hybrid mode from 24 – 28 June 2024, in-person at Cité de l'espace, Toulouse, France and online.

 

14. EASY TEASER:

What won't happen in 2037?

Clue: It's something that usually happens regularly.

Another clue: It's connected to our calendar.

 

15. NEW DIFFICULT TEASER

What's next in the sequence  89, 13, 95, 51 ?  

No answers yet, so I'll add one more, thus: 89, 13, 95, 51, 18 ….?

 

16. 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.

 

ASTROPHYSICS:

Mystery radio signal https://www.facebook.com/share/c57tgQud926UcpGu/
A new look at Newton's Laws of motion. https://www.facebook.com/share/EKnxCG4guBBxamYx/

Something 'fishy' is happening with the Milky Way's dark matter halo (msn.com)

Mysterious new star that 'puffs out clouds of gas' discovered in the middle of our galaxy (msn.com)

Mission to detect cosmic ripples gets the green light (msn.com)

Huge stars are born as twins, triplets and more, new images confirm (msn.com)

A Star Cluster Is Born: NASA's Webb Telescope Captures Massive Space Discovery (msn.com)

Astronomers spot 'old smokers' and 'squalling newborns' among hidden stars (msn.com)

Oldest ever black hole discovered - and it dates back to the dawn of the universe (msn.com) 


COSMOLOGY:
Mystery Solved: Antimatter Falls Downward Just Like Regular Matter (msn.com)
The universe might be younger than we think, galaxies' motion suggests (msn.com)
 
EARTH & MOON
SpaceX gearing up to launch private moon lander in February | Space
Moon is actively shrinking and crumbling, scientists say (msn.com). The Earth must be doing the same, as it gradually loses the internal heat caused by the initial kinetic accretion energy, and the slowdown of radioactive decay.
Japan says Moon lander 'resumed operations' after power restored (msn.com)
Belgium signs Artemis Accords for responsible moon exploration | Space 
The moon could be perfect for cutting-edge telescopes — but not if we don't protect it (msn.com)
Newly discovered asteroid the size of an airplane will have 'very close encounter' with Earth on Saturday — and you can watch it happen (msn.com) 
Japan's high-precision 'Moon Sniper' spacecraft hit its target, but it landed upside down (msn.com)
On China's space station, scientists will study some of Earth's earliest organisms (msn.com)
 
EXOPLANETS:

An Earth twin: https://www.facebook.com/share/p/n9CLXxeZsJSCtmD2/

NASA finds 'super-Earth' 137 light-years away that could be a promising candidate for alien life (msn.com)
Which telescope will be 1st to find alien life? Scientists have some ideas (msn.com)
A Breakthrough in Exoplanetary Research: Hubble's Revelation of a Water-Bearing Exoplanet (msn.com) 
Astronomers find 85 possible planets which may be cool enough to sustain life (msn.com)
 
IMAGES:
The Best Images of Earth Taken From Space (msn.com)
 
SOLAR SYSTEM 
How Haumea got its odd shape https://www.facebook.com/share/bqCbPKrcYDowYMKU/
Last Blast: NASA Releases Final Photo Taken by Mars Helicopter Above Red Planet Desert (msn.com)
NASA's Perseverance rover confirms presence of ancient lake on Mars and it may hold clues to past life | Space
Mars helicopter will make no more flights after rotor damage – Nasa (msn.com) and
NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity has flown its last flight after suffering rotor damage (msn.com)
NASA Juno spacecraft picks up hints of activity on Jupiter's icy moon Europa (msn.com)
Mars terraforming hopes boosted as NASA announces pioneering solar plane mission (msn.com)
 
SETI
China ramps up search for alien life as Beijing attempts to make first contact (msn.com)
SETI scientists begin huge new hunt for intelligent aliens | Space
 
SPACE

US military gives Lockheed Martin $33.7 million to develop nuclear spacecraft | Space

China puts models of its future crewed moon landing spacecraft on display (video) | Space

SpaceX gearing up to launch private moon lander in February | Space

Mars terraforming hopes boosted as NASA announces pioneering solar plane mission (msn.com)

On China's space station, scientists will study some of Earth's earliest organisms (msn.com)

 
STARGAZING APPS:
Best stargazing apps 2024: AR Apps and Virtual Star Maps | Space
 
SUN
1st-of-its-kind European spacecraft duo will create mini eclipses in space, transforming how we study the sun (msn.com)

 

TELESCOPES & EQUIPMENT

Chile's car-sized mega camera explores the universe (msn.com)

Which telescope will be 1st to find alien life? Scientists have some ideas (msn.com)

Mission to detect cosmic ripples gets the green light (msn.com)

The moon could be perfect for cutting-edge telescopes — but not if we don't protect it (msn.com)

 

17. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION. This link gives options to join the IAA.

https://irishastro.org/join-the-iaa/ If you are a UK taxpayer, please select 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 https://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.

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley


Wednesday 24 January 2024

Lecture tonight, IAA @ LNDC, Sky guide, ISS, Venus, Calendar, Saturn, Jupiter, AOP, GAC, NISF, IAW, more

Hi all,

Please note: send all correspondence to me only at terrymosel@aol.com

 

1. IAA DOUBLE  LECTURE, Wed 24 January, 7.30 p.m

A. Josh Pollin - How Stars Go Boom: A Guide to Type Ia Supernovae, and

B. Toby Rodel: The Exoplanet Story: A Brief History

   Bio: Josh Polin

Originally from Belfast, Joshua completed his master's degree in physics at Queens University Belfast in 2022. His master's research used a rapid spectral synthesis code to investigate peculiar Type Ia supernovae. Subsequently, Joshua joined the QUB astrophysics research department in October 2022, where he started his PhD with Dr Stuart Sim. Joshua's ongoing research uses the radiative transfer code ARTIS, a tool developed by members of ARC to investigate theoretical models of Type Ia supernovae.

Synopsis:

Type Ia supernovae represent complex and powerful astrophysical events, holding significant relevance across various disciplines like stellar evolution, nucleosynthesis, and cosmology. Despite nearly a century of measurements and theoretical models, the progenitors of Type Ia supernovae continue to elude our complete understanding. However, in the last two decades, advancements in theoretical models and extensive all-sky surveys have enhanced our knowledge of Type Ia supernovae. In this talk, we will explore how the new leading theoretical explosion models can be used to understand the zoo of potential Type Ia transients.

 

Bio – Toby Rodel: After growing up in Nottingham, Toby completed a BSc in Physics in 2022 and an MSc by research in late 2023 - both at the University of Warwick. Recently he moved to Belfast to pursue a PhD in Astrophysics at Queen's University Belfast. Their research focusses on the discovery of exoplanets - planets outside of our own solar system - using the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) telescopes. They have a particular interest in harder to find long-period and/or low-density exoplanets.

Talk Synopsis: The study of exoplanets (planets outside the solar system) is one of the newest and fastest developing fields in astronomy with over 5000 confirmed discoveries in just over 30 years. But how did we get here? This talk will cover the history of exoplanets, following the development of ideas from the ancient Greeks through early enlightenment astronomy to the first discoveries in the 1990s before finishing with a look at the future of the field.

 

2. Astronomy outreach event, 17 February, LNDC for NISF: 16,00 to 20.00.

As usual, we will have Stardome shows, observing (Jupiter and a nice First Quarter Moon) if clear, displays of telescopes and meteorites etc. More details soon.

 

3. January Sky Guide: This very helpful guide, produced by Paul Evans and Sinead Mannion, is available free at: Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/episode/5TXIFMjI6NdDX2KfOipudD?si=i82-ZfgyS52Y5eHXKmzuPQ and
Apple Podcasts
https://podcasts.apple.com/ie/podcast/cosmic-corner/id1705184817?i=1000640223436

 

4. ISS. The ISS started a new series of evening passes on 16 January.

 

5. VENUS

Is still currently visible as a morning star, low in the SE just before dawn, but it's gradually sinking into the morning twilight.

 

6. Astronomy Calendar now available online

John Flannery has now got his new 2024 astronomy calendar completed and it's now available online free as a 2.5Mb pdf download at tinyurl.com/3ytt2v55.

Thanks John – great work as always!

 

7. SATURN – Catch it while you can.

Saturn is in Aquarius, now sinking into the evening twilight, now faded to mag 0.9 The rings are now closing rapidly from our perspective, with an angle of only about 9 degrees, which explains why it's no longer so bright when at opposition.  The apparent diameter is 15.7." equatorial, and 14.1" polar, which shows that the disc is noticeably oblate. The rings have a diameter of 35.7", but only 5.2" on the minor axis. Of the satellites, Titan is very easy, and Rhea is usually visible even in a small telescope. The other satellites are now too faint to see easily in most telescopes, but they will be easier to spot next year when the rings are almost edge-on, and thus much fainter, so their light doesn't drown out the faint inner satellites.   

 

8. JUPITER still dominates the sky!

Our largest planet was at opposition on 3 November, and is by far the brightest starlike object in the evening sky. It's high enough up in the East for observing as soon as the sky darkens, in Aries, and at mag -2.5 it's much brighter than Saturn. Look for the 4 Galilean moons as they do their stately dance around the giant planet. Ganymede, Callisto and Io are bigger than our Moon; Europa is a bit smaller, but it's brighter than Callisto because of its bright ice-covered surface.

 

9. AOP; Stargazing evening, 26 January. 6.30 - 9.00 pm, Book now, via their website.

 

10. Galway Astronomy Festival: Saturday 27 January 2024. Venue: the Menlo Park Hotel. Menlo Hotel are allowing attendee's a discounted rate for the Sat night of the festival but it's not possible to book it online, so see below the info that hotel sent out to us and you also need to say you are booking for the AstroFest.

You can book a 1 night stay with us by booking directly over the phone 091-761122 or by email reservations@menloparkhotel.com or info@menloparkhotel.com for Saturday 27th January.

We can offer the rate with a discount included Single room €145.00 bed & breakfast, double or twin room €165.00 bed & breakfast.

otyelHotel

 

11. N.I. Science Festival 15 – 25 February – various events and venues.

 

12. Send your name to the Moon: Thanks to Derek Heatly for this: You can send your name to the Moon via NASA's VIPER Mission:  www.nasa.gov/send-your-name-with-viper     VIPER is the next lunar rover going to the Moon's South Pole. The offer lasts until March 15.

 

13. IRISH ASTRONOMY WEEK: March 9-16, 2024. More details later

 

14. COSMOS STAR PARTY, 23 March, at Clonown Rovers FC, Teach Leatha, Lea Berg, Blue Ball, Co Offaly. More details soon.

 

15. The Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) Conference is the only large-scale international conference for astronomy communication. The next CAP conference will be held in hybrid mode from 24 – 28 June 2024, in-person at Cité de l'espace, Toulouse, France and online.

 

16. EASY TEASER:

What won't happen in 2037?

Clue: It's something that usually happens regularly.

 

17. DIFFICULT TEASER – More or less answered!!!

Q. What have the constellations Lepus and Apus uniquely got in common? Lindsay Green (a several-times previous winner) has got this almost right, but I'll leave it open for another while in case anyone gets it completely right.

OK, no other answers, so I'll give it to Lindsay – well done again! The answer is: The genitive form is longer than the nominative.

A. There are 18 (out of 88) constellation names ending in -us, for which the rule is that the genitive is shorter than the nominative (normal) form, e.g. Taurus – Tauri;  Cygnus - Cygni; Thus Aldebaran is Alpha Tauri, and Albireo is Beta Cygni. Others are Centaurus, Cepheus, Cetus, Circinus, Corvus, Delphinus, Equuleus, Eridanus, Hydrus, Ophiuchus, Pegasus, Perseus, Sagittarius and Scorpius.  EXCEPT for Lepus and Apus, for which the genitives are: Leporis and Apodis, the only two constellations where the genitive is longer than the nominative.

 

18. NEW DIFFICULT TEASER

What's next in the sequence  89, 13, 95, 51 ?  

 

19. 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.

 

ARCHAEOASTRONOMY:

Archaeologists stunned by discovery of European megalith 2,000 years older than Stonehenge (msn.com) w

Ancient carved map of sky from 2,500 years ago contains mystery star that isn't on records (msn.com)

 

ASTROPHYSICS:

Giant Ultrafaint Galaxy Could Offer Dark Matter Clues | Scientific American

Mysterious new object found in Milky Way could unlock secrets of black holes (msn.com)
Astronomers discover a mysterious object in the Milky Way (msn.com)
'Barbenheimer Star' that blew up 13 billion years ago defies explanation, baffling scientists (msn.com)
NASA picks up mysterious signal from outside our galaxy (msn.com)
Early galaxies were shaped like surfboards and pool noodles, James Webb Space Telescope finds (msn.com)
Strange, unidentified object spotted in our galaxy (msn.com) 
Astronomers detect oldest black hole ever observed – study (msn.com)
Ancient universe relic: most sensitive radio image of star relic captured by astronomers (msn.com)
Bizarre Galaxy Discovered With Seemingly No Stars Whatsoever : ScienceAlert This is fascinating. It's in Auriga, at R.A. 06h 13m, Dec N52 deg, and the bright blue star which is in the centre of the area where the galaxy lies is Tycho 3387-471-1; it's mag 7.4. The spectrum is actually F2, so it's yellow rather than blue as shown here. It would be a challenge for anyone here to image it! For comparison, the faintest stars shown in that photo are about mag 16.
Hubble tracks farthest and most powerful fast radio burst back to 'blob' of 7 galaxies (msn.com) 
Discovery of gargantuan ring structure 'challenges understanding of universe' (msn.com)
James Webb Space Telescope Discovers Mysterious Methane Glow on Cold Brown Dwarf (msn.com)

EARTH & MOON
Not dead yet: Japan prepares for possible recovery of SLIM moon lander (msn.com)
Space mysteries: Why do Earth's magnetic poles flip? (msn.com) 
Earth's water might have come from ancient space rocks, meteorite discovery suggests (msn.com)
Hassell designs inflatable moon base for the European Space Agency (msn.com)
Nasa hit by giant step backwards as moon landing pushed back by years over 'concerns' (msn.com)
 
EXOPLANETS:
James Webb telescope spots bizarre 'cat tail' flowing out of nearby star, and scientists can't fully explain it (msn.com)
Dozens of new planets spark major breakthrough in search for alien life (msn.com) 
This huge exoplanet's comet-like tail is 350,000 miles long and scientists are thrilled (msn.com) 
Nearby exoplanet may be rich in life-giving water, study finds (msn.com)
 
IMAGES:
New image of supermassive M87 galaxy black hole released (msn.com) 
 
SOLAR SYSTEM 
Massive subsurface frozen sea discovered on Mars (msn.com)
Ingenious Flying Robot Phones Home From Mars (marsdaily.com)
Mars Express unveils potential water resource for future Mars missions at equator (marsdaily.com)
Nasa has finally cracked its way into $1 billion asteroid sample (msn.com)
If life exists on Mars, don't count on sample-return missions to find it, scientists say (msn.com) 
Scientists discover that tabletop condiment is key to planetary features (msn.com) 
How giant impacts shaped the formation of the solar system's planets | Space
 
 
SETI
China ramps up search for alien life as Beijing attempts to make first contact (msn.com)
SETI scientists begin huge new hunt for intelligent aliens | Space
 
SPACE

Small solar sails could be the next 'giant leap' for interplanetary space exploration (spacedaily.com)

Mars Express unveils potential water resource for future Mars missions at equator (marsdaily.com)

If life exists on Mars, don't count on sample-return missions to find it, scientists say (msn.com)

SpaceX Launches First All-European Commercial Crew to Space Station | Watch (msn.com)

Hassell designs inflatable moon base for the European Space Agency (msn.com)

'If it had had a payload, it would have made it to orbit.' Elon Musk reveals cause of Starship explosion (video) | Space

Peregrine moon lander aims for 'safe' crash into Earth on Jan. 18 | Space and

Nasa's moon lander now rapidly plunging towards Earth after mission failure (msn.com)

NASA Selects Bold Proposal to "Swarm" Proxima Centauri with Tiny Probes - Universe Today

Watch a gigantic 'slingshot' hurl a satellite into the stratosphere (msn.com)

NASA awards another $100 million for private space stations (msn.com)

Nasa hit by giant step backwards as moon landing pushed back by years over 'concerns' (msn.com)

 

20. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION. This link gives options to join the IAA.

https://irishastro.org/join-the-iaa/ If you are a UK taxpayer, please select 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 https://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.

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley