Saturday, 5 January 2013

Party, SAN, Jup Watch, Lecture, S/Live, Astro Course, GSP, IFAS Astronomer 2012

Hi all,
1.  IAA New Year Party - FINAL REMINDER. This will be held on Saturday 5 January. We start with a buffet meal at McBrides restaurant in The Square, Comber, followed by a special private screening of a film in the local Tudor private cinema. Meet at McBrides at about 5.30 p.m. for 6.0. p.m. The film will be "Men in Black 3". This film is supposed to be funny, but has some S/F violence, and has a rating of PG-13, so parental discretion is advised regarding any children. We will also have free refreshments at the Tudor Cinema, including my notorious seasonal punch (notorious because no-one else can make one like it!), tea & coffee, and soft drinks. We will also have George's entertaining and challenging quiz.
   Directions: McBrides is in The Square, (NE corner) in Comber, at the junction of the A21 towards Ballygowan and the A22 towards Killinchy. GPS: 54 deg 33' 1" N; 5 deg 44' 44" W. You can park in the Square itself.
Directions to the Tudor Cinema from Comber: Take the A22 towards Killinchy, and about 1 mile beyond the end of the 30 mph speed limit sign, take the FIRST RIGHT into Drumhirk Road. GPS for this junction: 54 deg 31' 59.5", 5 deg 43' 54.6" W. The entrance to the Cinema is about 500 yards along Drumhirk Road, on the left - look out for signs for our event. Follow this laneway to the end, and it will bring you to the car park. GPS: 54 deg 31' 47" N, 5 deg 44' 15" W.  
2. Sir Patrick Moore's final SKY AT NIGHT: 
   BBC1 Sunday, 6 Jan. 12 midnight-12.20am . Repeated Saturday, 12 Jan. BBC 2
   BBC4  Thursday, 10 Jan. 7.30 - 8.0pm  Extended version.  Repeated Sun Jan 13 at 7 p.m.
   BBC HD: Friday Jan 11 at 11.50 p.m.
3. IAA LECTURE: The next IAA public lecture will be on 9 January, at 7.30 p.m.. It will be given by Prof Phil Dufton, of Queen's University. Entitled "45 Years in Astronomy"; Phil will recount the tremendous changes that have occurred in astronomy 'under his watch', as he now retires after a long and distinguished career. I've a feeling that some interesting anecdotes will also be included. This will be an interesting and entertaining start to the new lecture season, and all are welcome.
  Admission is free, including light refreshments
This lecture will as usual be in the Bell Lecture theatre, Physics building, main QUB Campus.
The whole event will be over the period  8 - 10 January, and the IAA is once again the main partner with the BBC in delivering this major public broadcast initiative. Last year was an unbelievable success, and the plans are to make the next one much bigger and even better.
A.  Public "Jupiter Watch": Tuesday 8 January, 6.00 - 9.00 p.m. VENUE: QUB Main Campus. This free event will be presented by members of the IAA in association with the School of Mathematics and Physics, QUB, in front of the main building at Queen's University, from 6 pm to 9pm. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, and could contain 1,000 planets the size of the Earth. It also has four large moons, which are easy to see in the telescopes provided, if the sky is clear. 
   We will have a large selection of telescopes so that everyone can get a look at this giant planet, and its hour large moons, discovered by Galileo 400 years ago.
   Did you know that Jupiter's Moons were used by Danish astronomer Ole Roemer, in 1675, to give the first accurate measurement of the speed of light? Watch the moons and see if you can work out how he did it!
   If it's cloudy, Dr Chris Watson will give a public lecture in the Larmor Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, entitled "Jupiters around other stars". See:
B. Lecture on 9 January, QUB, as above.
C. Venue: Lough Neagh Discovery Centre (LNDC), Oxford Island, near Lurgan, Co Armagh, on 10 January, 6 p.m..
Events and activities: 
* Public Observing if clear: Giant planet Jupiter with its four big moons, + all the usual Deep Sky wonders using a selection of powerful telescopes and binoculars. Live telescope images will also be displayed on computer monitors beside the telescopes for easier viewing. Wrap up warm from head to toe for this!
* Starshows in the big inflatable planetarium. Due to the expected demand, these presentations will be ticket only, issued on a first come - first served basis.
* Amazing Photo Exhibition: The fantastic A0 size photos produced for International Year of Astronomy 2009 will again be on show, plus some of the best from other sources.
* Telescope and binocular exhibition: see all the varieties available, the pros and cons of each, and learn how to use them to their best capacity.
* Meteorites: an exhibition of many different sorts of meteorites - hold in your hand a piece of outer space (if you can hold it!), with experts there to talk about them.
* Our own local "Ulsternaut" - Derek Heatly from Co Down, who will be the first Ulsterman to go into space. Derek has booked to go into space with Virgin Galactic's Spaceship One, and will be there to talk about his training experiences and forthcoming flight, with videos.
* Stargazing cruises on Lough Neagh on the Maid of Antrim (weather permitting)
* See how giant asteroid impact craters on the Moon, Mars, and here on Earth are made.
* Telescope workshop: If you can't get your own telescope to work properly, bring it along and we'll try to sort it out for you.
* Q&A session: 'Everything you always wanted to know about astronomy' - a panel of experts will be there to answer questions from the public on everything from the Andromeda Galaxy to the Zeeman Effect.
* Hands-on demos: Make your own comet, etc.
* EU-UNAWE (EUropean UNiverse AWAreness) presentation
* Children's activities.
In other words, something for everyone.
The BBC will also be organising other events: see their website for details
5. ASTRONOMY COURSE at STRANMILLIS COLLEGE, BELFAST. I will be delivering a two part course, introduction to astronomy, as follows:

Astronomy:  Our place in the Universe

Looking to the sky for the first time you may feel overwhelmed and confused by the spectacle of thousands of stars above your head.  Astronomy is a great gateway science that can inspire you to do great things!  Participants will gain enjoyment from exploring the wonders of the night sky.  The topics covered include Greek mythology, Egyptian and Babylonian cosmology, Astrobiology, Quantum Physics, Terrestrial and Jovian planets and Solar System to help us understand our place in the cosmos.  This is a great way for the community to come together and take a fresh look at our night belongs to us all.  No experience necessary and questions encouraged! 

Tutor:             Terry Moseley, Time:              7.00pm - 9.00pm

Session 1:         Tuesdays, 5 weeks; dates:      19th February 2013 – 19th March 2013 

Location:        Central Building.

Session 2:         Tuesdays, 5 weeks. Time: 7.00pm - 9.00pm. Dates:      9th April 2013 – 7th May 2013.   Location:        Central Building

There will also be a daytime visit to Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, provisionally on 17 May.

Full details and booking at:

6. Galway Star Party: UPDATE: NB if you are going to this event, you are advised to book accommodation soon, as the Galway Rally will be on the same weekend.
The 10th Galway Starparty: "Ireland, the Final Frontier" takes place on Saturday, 2nd February, 2013 at the Westwood House Hotel, Galway City.
The speakers include:
Dr. Andy Shearer (Centre for Astronomy, NUIG): "Kepler: The Search for Habitable Planets"
Dave Gradwell: "OSCAR: A unique Irish Solar Observatory"
Ronan Newman (workshop): "Celestial Light: Chasing the Elusive Irish Aurora"
John Flannery (South Dublin AS): "What makes a Great Comet?"
Prof. Tom Ray (DIAS): "Making Stars and Planets: The First Three Billion Years"
Dave Grennan: "Hunting Extra-Galactic Supernovae from Ireland"
Terry Moseley (IAA): "Untold Stories of Sir Patrick Moore, FRS" (Celebrating his 90th Birthday)
Professor Lorraine O'Hanlon (UCD) "The GLORIA project"
Details & bookings at:
Join the Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2013 Campaign.
   What would it be like without stars at night? What is it we lose? Starry night skies have given us poetry, art, music and the wonder to explore. A bright night sky (aka light pollution) affects energy consumption, health and wildlife too. Spend a few minutes to help scientists by measuring the brightness of your night sky. Join the GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaign ( The first campaign starts January 3 and runs through January 12.
8.  IFAS ASTRONOMER OF THE YEAR - Ronan Newman: I'm sure you'll all join me in congratulating Ronan Newman of Galway Astronomy Club who has been voted as "IFAS Astronomer of the Year 2012", for his work on organising the annual Galway Star Party, notifications on aurorae, and his service to Galway Astronomy Club.
9. IAA Annual Subscriptions: All IAA members are reminded that if they have not yet renewed their subscriptions for 2012 - 2013, they will not have received the last issue of STARDUST. You can do this easily online:, or via, or download a form.
11. TWITTER: Follow the IAA on Twitter:  @IaaAstro

12. BBC THINGS TO DO WEBSITE: See the forthcoming IAA events on Look under 'Countryfile'.
13. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is easy: 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.  See also
A very happy and peaceful New Year to all.
Clear skies,
Terry Moseley


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