Date: 15 April 2008 22:31:12 BST


Subject: AGM + Bring & Buy, Research jobs @ UCC, IAA @ Mount Stewart/ISAN, Lyrids, BBQ

Hi all,


1. IAA AGM + 'Bring & Buy'. The Irish Astronomical Association's AGM will be held on Wednesday 16 April at 7.30 p.m. in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast. All members are welcome, and visitors too, although only members can partake in the official business.

    We will combine it with an astronomical and space 'Bring & Buy' sale, to start immediately after the official business. So bring along all your old or spare astronomy or space items - eyepieces, filters, finders, adapters, photo items, IT items, binocs, tripods, telescopes, mounts, accessories, books, magazines, videos, CDs, DVDs, posters, photos, meteorites, space memorabilia, and anything else that might be of interest. And bring along plenty of cash, as you never know what bargains might be there for the taking. Bring along a biro or two and plenty of 'Post-It' notes to price your items, and a few plastic bags to help your customers stagger away with their heavy loads! Also a separate price-list just to be sure. The IAA will not be responsible for any of the items on sale, so it's up to you to look after them. This is not like a 'car-boot sale' - there's no charge to bring along your items, and the IAA will not be taking any 'cut' from the sales: we are doing this just as a service to the astronomical community.

   To allow room for everyone, we'll also use the front row of desks, as well as the lecture counter at the front, and maybe a table or two. So get there early to get the best space!

  Everyone is welcome to attend, and admission is free, including light refreshments afterwards, but of course only current IAA members can vote on any Association business.


2. PhD and Postdoctoral Positions at University College Cork

Funding is available for 1 PhD student (3 years) and 1 Postdoctoral Researcher (2 years) in the Radio Astronomy group at University College Cork, working under the supervision of Dr. Denise Gabuzda. The two positions will involve analysing and modelling multi-wavelength Very Long Baseline Interferometry radio 

total intensity and polarization data, focusing on the question of whether helical magnetic fields may be inherent to the relativistic jets of many or all compact Active Galactic Nuclei. All the radio data that are essential for the projects have already been obtained on the American Very Long Baseline Array, and further new observations have been proposed.

   The Postdoctoral Researcher will have an appreciable fraction of his/her time for astrophysics research of 

his/her choice.

   The two positions will ideally begin in October 2008, but a slightly later start date may also be possible. Candidates of all nationalities are eligible to apply. Applicants for the PhD position must have received a B.A./B.Sc. (or Master's) degree by the start of the PhD position; applicants for the Postdoctoral Research position will ideally have finished their PhD before the start of the position.

   To be considered for either of these positions, please send a CV, list of publications, statement of interest and description of any previous research to: Dr Denise Gabuzda, Department of Physics, University College Cork, Cork, Republic of Ireland. Email:

   Applicants should also arrange to have at least two letters of reference sent to this same address.  Full attention will be given to applications received by 15 May, however the positions will remain open until suitable candidates are found.  For some additional information about Radio Astronomy at UCC, see Feel free to contact Denise Gabuzda if you have questions or would like further information about the positions.


3. The IAA's public astronomy event at Mount Stewart on Saturday night was a great success! Andy did 3 excellent shows to full houses in the Stardome (thanks to Dr Tom Mason for the loan at a nominal rate!), I mounted an exhibition, Derek Heatly did his usual space travel spiel, and everyone got some telescope viewing! First views were just of the FQ Moon through breaks in the cloud, but by about 9 p.m. the sky cleared totally and all were treated to magnificent views of the Moon, Saturn and a host of Deep Sky Objects through a wide selection of telescopes, headed by our own superb 16" Lightbridge. Thanks to all who helped in any way: as well as those already mentioned, Danny & Tommy helped with the Stardome, Ken manned the Lightbridge, Ivan had his own big 'scope (14"?), and there were several other smaller ones whose owners I can't recall - apologies!

    Although this was at a particular pre-booked venue, and so might not qualify strictly under International Sidewalk Astronomy Night, it was nevertheless in the same spirit of bringing astronomy to the public. See various international reports on:


4. Lyrids: The annual Lyrid meteor shower will peak on the night of 21-22 April, with maximum at about 04h, but the show will be rather spoiled by the presence of a bright waning gibbous moon. Under ideal conditions we might expect to see about 25 meteors per hour, but with the moonlight we'll be lucky to see half that rate. Still, keep an eye open just in case. The radiant is near Vega, and some Lyrids can be seen any time from April 19 to 25.


5. IAA Summer BBQ & Rocket Launching: Advance notice that the IAA's summer BBQ will again be held at Greencastle Planetarium in Inishowen, Co Donegal, where we'll have a planetarium show, followed by real live rocket launching under the expert tutelage of the director, Ash McFadden, followed by our BBQ. More details later, but mark your diaries now: Sunday 29 June, starting at 12 noon if you want to build your own rocket from a kit, or 2 p.m. if you just want to see the starshow & the rocket launching.


Clear skies,


Terry Moseley