From: TerryMoselat

Date: 17 September 2008 00:36:45 BST

Subject: Lecture, ISS, Equinox

Hi all,


1. A final reminder about the IAA's special lecture on Wednesday 17 September:


    The next public lecture hosted by the Irish Astronomical Association will be by Dr Robert (Bob) Fosbury, on Wednesday 17 September, in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast, at 7.30 p.m..

   Dr Fosbury is head of the section in the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of ESA's collaboration with NASA on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) project at ST-ECF. Based at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) near Munich in Germany, Fosbury joined this initiative in 1985, more than 5 years before launch. During the latter part of this period, Bob served on NASA's Ad Hoc Science Working Group and ESA's Study Science Team as they developed the instrument concepts for the James Webb Space Telescope, the next generation space observatory.

    Bob has published over two hundred scientific papers on topics ranging from the outer atmospheres of stars, the nature of quasars and active galaxies to the physics of forming galaxies in the most distant reaches of the Universe. He started his career at the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO) in Herstmonceux, England in 1969 and was awarded his PhD by the nearby University of Sussex in 1973. He then became one of the very first Research Fellows at the newly constructed Anglo Australian Observatory 4 metre telescope in New South Wales, Australia before going to ESO while it was based at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. He then had a spell of 7 years as a staff member at the RGO, working on instruments for the new observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands and on the pioneering Starlink astronomical computer network.

    Bob is currently chairman of the ESO Astronomy Faculty, the largest group of professional astronomers in Europe (and Chile), and is active in the close liaison between the ESO and ESA science programmes.

 The lecture is entitled "Astronomy today and the role played by the Hubble Space Telescope".

Admission free, including light refreshments, and all are welcome.


2. ISS starts another series of evening passes. The International Space Station starts another set of evening passes over Ireland in the next few days, which will last roughly until the end of the month. See the free site for details of passes for your own location, plus Iridium Flares and other astronomical information.


3. AUTUMN EQUINOX: The Autumn Equinox occurs on 22 September at 15h 44m, when the Sun crosses the celestial equator going from North to South. So on this date the length of day and night are equal. Right? Wrong! An honourable mention to whoever gives me the best explanation of why this simple, generalised statement is not true. (Yes, I know I have sometimes quoted that simple conventional statement myself!) BTW, even if the equinox occurred exactly at local noon it still would not be true, and I'm not counting the effects of twilight either. So get your thinking caps on, and let's be hearing from you!


Clear skies,


Terry Moseley