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From: TerryMosel@aol.com
Date: 19 June 2006 00:45:09 BDT
Subject: Solstice, Pluto on TV, BBQ, MBE, Shuttle

Hi all,

1. SOLSTICE: Good News! In only 2 days the days will be getting shorter
again! And, ergo, the nights will be getting longer! Therefore more
observing hours for the dark sky junkies. Yes, the Summer Solstice is
almost upon is: the Sun will be at its most northerly point on the
ecliptic on June 21 at 12h 26m, giving us the longest day of the year.

2. PLUTO ON HORIZON:  Thursday 22 June, 9.00pm, BBC2 TV: Horizon - "Bye
Bye Planet Pluto?" - how many planets are there in the solar system? The
debate on whether Pluto is really a planet, and if so, what about the
other large EKBO's?    See http://www.bbc.co.uk/horizon

3. IAA BBQ: Don't forget the Irish Astronomical Association Midsummer
Barbecue on Saturday 24 June.     It's the social and gourmet (or should
that be gluttony?) event of the year: held in the lovely and historic
grounds of Armagh Observatory, courtesy of the Director, Professor Mark
Bailey.    We start at about 3 p.m., with some activities such as an
astronomical treasure hunt, and a quiz, with some worthwhile prizes.
Also a tour of the observatory. You can also see the amazing, unique,
'Human Orrery', and maybe the newly restored historic telescopes. And
although Armagh Planetarium won't be open to the public for another
month or two, you can admire the newly refurbished building from the
outside - it's a transformation.   We light the fire at about 5.0, with
cooking commencing about 5.30. The format is the same as usual: free
admission to members and guests (and if anyone else specially wants to
come, I don't think you'll be turned away!); you bring all your own
consumables, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery etc, and a folding chair or
rug to sit on. If you have your own BBQ tools (tongs, fork etc), bring
them too. We provide the cooking facility.    We have a large gazebo
just in case of rain, but we have been lucky with the weather every year
so far, and the long-range forecast is good. If it's clear, we'll have
some solar observing.    It's on SATURDAY 24 JUNE, at 15.00 - don't miss

4. MBE for Dr John Butler. Congratulations to Dr John Butler, just
retired from many years service at Armagh Observatory, who received an
MBE for services to science, in the Queen's 80th birthday Honours. John
is a well-known figure in Irish astronomy, with a particular interest in
the history of the various telescopes at Armagh, Dunsink, UCC etc. He
has given various fascinating lectures on the topic to many astronomy

5. NASA is continuing the countdown for the launch of the Space Shuttle
on July 1, hoping that the various problems with the foam falling off
the giant fuel tank during launch have now been overcome. It's probably
fair to say that if anything goes seriously wrong with this launch, that
will be the end of the Shuttle programme, and the end of the US manned
space programme for quite some time, so I'm sure we all hope it goes

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley


Last Revised: 2006 June 19th
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