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From: TerryMoselat signaol.com
Date: 10 March 2008 00:55:26 GMT
Subject: Lecture: correction, Astronomy Evening, Blackrock C.O. Award, NAM

Hi all,
1. I forgot to mention that the IAA lecture on Wed 19 March, and indeed
all IAA lectures, are held in  association with the School
of Mathematics and Physics at Queen's University Belfast. "

2. Apologies for the implication, in some versions of the EM alert sent
yesterday about the next Shuttle launch, that the launch would be from
'Houston' - that was the result of an odd word creeping in from a 'cut &
paste'! The launches are of course from Cape Kennedy/Canaveral in

3.  The next IAA public lecture will be at 7.30 p.m. on Wed 19 March, by
the renowned Prof Ian Robson. Title: "Active Galactic Nuclei and
Supermassive Black Holes", which promises to be a fascinating talk on
some of the most amazing and energetic objects in the universe. Venue:
Bell Lecture Theatre, Queen's University, Belfast. Admission Free,
including light refreshments, and all are welcome. IAA lectures are held
in association with the School of Mathematics and Physics at
Queen's University Belfast

MARCH: The Irish Astronomical Association (IAA) will be holding another
public astronomy evening on Friday 14 March at 7.30 for 8 p.m. at
Carnfunnock Country Park, Drains Bay, near Larne, Co Antrim. It's on the
main coast road going north from Larne, about 4 miles from the town. As
usual we will have a good selection of telescopes and binoculars for
viewing the sky, including a spectacular moon, and Saturn. We will also
have the Stardome mobile planetarium, courtesy of Armagh Planetarium,
and talks and displays of astronomy items, and Derek Heatly's
presentation of space memorabilia and his forthcoming spaceflight. So
there will be something for everyone, even if the sky is cloudy. IAA
members bringing telescopes or binoculars get in free, so come along
with whatever portable equipment you have for a good night's observing
and/or outreach.

5. Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork has won a prestigious science
award at a ceremony in Los Angeles. It was one of 17 winners of a 'Thea
award', which recognises excellence in the creation of outstanding
visitor experiences and exhibits. More than 120 nominees were considered
for the awards.    

Blackrock Castle Observatory won its award for a
science centre on a limited budget. It was given for the interactive
experience "Cosmos at the Castle" which allowed visitors explore
cosmology, astronomy and the evolution of life. They also access the
on-site radio telescope and send multimedia impressions of life on Earth
to the planet of their choice. The finale is an interactive cinema
experience in which guests monitor a deadly comet rushing towards Earth
and decide how to save the planet. Other award winners were Sea World in
San Diego and the Shuttle launch experience at the Kennedy Space Centre.

Congratulations to Niall Smith and all the team at Blackrock Castle

6. RAS NATIONAL ASTRONOMY MEETING, 31 March - 4 April 2008,
Queen s University, Belfast. The 2008 Royal Astronomical Society
National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2008) will be held in Queen s
University, Belfast and run from 31 March to 4 April 2008.      

At NAM 2008 scientists will present new research in many aspects of astronomy
and space science, including the early history of the Universe, planets
around other stars, the vision for space exploration, black holes and
the impact of  space weather  on the Earth.      

For the general public, three keynote speakers will give lectures on 
the risk of asteroid impact, the Hubble Space Telescope and the way in 
which science influences popular science fiction. 
The Irish Astronomical Association has secured 50 tickets for the 
Lectures on Tuesday 1st and Thursday 3rd April, and 100 tickets for the 
lecture on the HST on 2 April, as that is one of our own IAA lectures. 
These tickets will be available at our meetings before then, or by application 
via our website www.irishastro.org: details of how to get them will be posted shortly.  
N.B. These lectures will be held in the LARMOUR LECTURE THEATRE, not the
usual IAA venue of the Bell Lecture theatre. The Larmour LT is at the
opposite end of the Physics Building (the side nearest the Whitla Hall),
and has its own separate entrance there.  

These lectures are: 

A. "Tunguska 2008: 100 Years of the NEO Impact Hazard"  Professor Mark
Bailey - Armagh Observatory Larmour Lecture Theatre, Physics Building,
Tuesday 1st April, 19:00. 

2008 is the one-hundredth anniversary of the
most recent significant extraterrestrial body known to have run into the
Earth: the famous 30 June 1908 Tunguska Event, which devastated some
2000 square kilometres of forest in a remote part of Siberia. Since
then, advances in astronomy have confirmed that the phenomenon of
impacts is a key driver of planetary evolution, ranging from the cause
of the largest craters and mare (or "seas") on the Moon, to the
evolution of life on Earth. This has led to our modern understanding
that impacts by relatively small astronomical bodies (comets, asteroids
and fragments thereof) have the potential to produce occasionally
catastrophic environmental changes on Earth. The objects, which range in
size from typically a few tens of metres across to many kilometres in
diameter, orbit the Sun in elliptical orbits that cross those of the
planets and are sometimes the closest extraterrestrial objects
accessible to direct observations or to visits by spacecraft. Those that
cross or come close to the Earth's orbit are called Near-Earth Objects
(NEOs), and it is these that have the potential to collide with our
Earth. This talk will review our growing understanding of the resulting
extraterrestrial impact hazard and especially its implications for
various aspects of civilization and for our wider understanding of
mankind's and Earth's place in the Universe. 

B. "Adventures with the Hubble Space Telescope". 
Lars Lindberg Christensen of the Space
Telescope European Co-ordinating Facility Larmour Lecture Theatre,
Physics Building, Wednesday 2nd April, 19:30.     

The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most successful scientific 
projects of all time, both in terms of its scientific output and in 
terms of its almost iconic public appeal. Hubble's enormous impact derives 
from its ability to exploit a unique scientific niche where no other 
instruments can really compete at the moment - consistently delivering 
super-sharp images and clean, uncontaminated spectra, also in the elusive 
infrared and ultraviolet. This has opened up new scientific territory and 
resulted in many paradigm-breaking discoveries. Hubble's exquisite image 
quality has enabled astronomers to gain entirely new insights into the 
workings of a huge range of different astronomical objects and provided the 
visual overview of underlying astrophysical processes taking place planets,
stars and galaxies.     

On top of all this astronomers are lucky
scientists. Their telescopes do not only produce results of great
scientific value, but also of eye-catching beauty and artistic
potential. This talk aims to also show how Hubble has built a bridge
between science and art.     

This lecture is presented in association with the Irish Astronomical Association.  

C. "The Science of Science Fiction in TV and Films". 
Professor Francis Keenan - Queen's University
Belfast Astrophysics Research Centre Larmour Lecture Theatre, Physics
Building, Thursday 3rd April, 19:00.    

Science-fiction films and TV
shows are extremely popular, with many of the top-grossing movies of
all-time being science-fiction, while Star Trek (and its various
spinoffs) is one of the most-watched TV series. As a result, for many
people their main exposure to scientific ideas and concepts is via the
medium of science-fiction films and TV. In this presentation, the
accuracy (or otherwise!) of the science in science-fiction films and
television programmes is discussed, and illustrated using clips from
films and TV shows including Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica
and Aliens.      

A full and up to date schedule of these and other
events can be found on the official web site

    The conference is principally sponsored by the Royal Astronomical
Society (RAS), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and
Queen s University, Belfast. FURTHER INFORMATION: NAM 2008.
Astronomy at Queen’s University Belfast: web site
RAS: web site
STFC: web site
UKSP: web site
MIST: web site
Clear Skies,
Terry Moseley
See: www.irishastro.org:


Last Revised: 2008 March 10th
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