From: TerryMoselat

Date: 25 September 2008 23:08:42 BST

Subject: IAA Lecture, Taikonauts, WSP, ISS + ATV, Astrocast, ASGI, Star Stories, RIA

Hi all,


1. IAA PUBLIC LECTURE: Wednesday 1 October, 7.30 p.m. The next IAA public lecture will be by our very own redoubtable & inimitable Dr Andy McCrea. Entitled "Chasing the Darkest Skies in America and the Lowell Observatory", it will describe Andy's latest astronomical adventures on the other side of the Atlantic. It will be held as usual in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University Belfast. Admission is free, including light refreshments, and all are welcome.


2. CHINA LAUNCHES 3-Man spacecraft:  China's Shenzhou 7 spacecraft carrying a 3-man crew lifted off today from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and is now in Earth orbit. During the planned 3-day mission, the Chinese astronauts or 'taikonauts', will launch a small satellite and conduct their country's first space walk. As they orbit Earth, Shenzhou 7 and the body of the rocket that launched it will be visible to the naked eye from many parts of the globe, but probably not from Ireland. Sighting reports and updates will be posted on


3.  WHIRLPOOL STAR PARTY: Ireland's favourite and longest running Star Party will be held THIS W/E (26-28 September), at Dooley's Hotel, in Birr, Co Offaly. Birr Castle is home to the famous Leviathan, which was for 70 years the largest telescope in the world, and the charge for the Star Party covers admission to the Castle Demesne to see the Science Centre and the restored telescope.

  The W/E starts with a reception in the hotel on Friday evening, followed by lectures on the Saturday and Sunday, dinner (optional) on Saturday night, and observing in the Castle Demesne on Friday and/or Saturday nights if it's clear.

   It's always good craic, with excellent talks, so book your accommodation if you haven't already done so.

Details on: 


4. I.S.S. + ATV Visible in Evening Skies: The International Space Station is undergoing another series of evening passes over Ireland/UK from now until October 8th. On board are 3 astronauts Sergei Volkov, Oleg Kononenko, Greg Chamitoff. When the I.S.S. makes a favourable high pass it can be the brightest starlike object in the sky (after Venus, and sometimes equalling Jupiter.)

   Also currently visible in the evening skies over Ireland is the recently discarded ATV, or Jules Verne Transfer Vehicle, which has been detached from the ISS and is being brought down for a planned re-entry over the Pacific Ocean. It can get as bright as the brightest stars apart from Sirius, so it's well worth looking out for. Some passes will be visible from Birr during the WSP.

Details of both ISS and the ATV are on the excellent, free,


5. WORLD ASTROCAST: Please note that the next 'World AstroCast' has as usual, a "Live" broadcast. Our very special speaker on Sat 4th October at 20-00hrs UT is Prof Pamela L. Gay of the southern Illinois University, and Astronomycast fame. Her presentation is entitled "The Origins of the Universe".  In this talk she will address the Big Bang and how we know it happened. She will travel through three lines of evidence, following from Olbers paradox, through helium abundances, up through the microwave background.

The webinar is available on the following URL:

   Please pass this on to everyone you know who is interested in Astronomy. Because it's live you will have the opportunity to ask Dr Gay questions after the presentation. A unique experience. To avoid disappointment please check out your audio and PC settings at least 24hrs prior to the transmission by clicking on the above URL and listening to the previous speakers pre recorded presentations.


6. ASGI MEETING, UCC, CORK. The Autumn meeting of the Astronomical Science Group of Ireland will take place in University College Cork, on Thursday afternoon 2nd and all day Friday 3rd of October.

   This is a meeting for professional astronomers, and the talks are therefore at an advanced level, but members of the Irish Astronomical Association (and other bodies affiliated to the ASGI) are free to attend if they wish.

   It will be held in the Brookfield Health Sciences Centre on College Road, close to the main campus. Admission is free. There may be a chance to see the beautifully restored telescopes in the Crawford Observatory on the main campus, and if you get a chance you should also see the award-winning Blackrock Castle Observatory at Blackrock a few miles from the city centre. See:  

   Details of the ASGI meeting are at:

If you intend to go, please contact Dr Paul Callanan paulcat or Dr Denise Gabuzda (gabuzdaat, or Prof Niall O'Murchadha (n.murchadhaat to give them an idea of numbers.


7. STAR STORIES: launches new educational production, Star Stories., the official website of the Nobel Foundation, announces the launch of Star Stories, a new educational multimedia production for high school and undergraduate students that shows how Nobel Prizes awarded for advances in cosmology and astrophysics have helped to bring us closer to the stars.  Star Stories explains the life and death of stars using a multimedia approach that incorporates images, animation, video and text. In this interactive production, you can discover: 

 Read more about the Educational Outreach Program and our productions. Please let us know your opinion of what you find on Star Stories and, or any suggestions for how we might improve our Educational Outreach Program. Merci Olsson, Marketing and Communications Manager,

8. RIA PUBLIC LECTURE, 16 October: The 2008 Hamilton Lecture, organised by the Royal Irish Academy, will be given by Professor Lisa Randall of Harvard University. Entitled "Warped passages: Unravelling the mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions", it will be held in the Burke Lecture Theatre, TCD, Dublin at 7.30 p.m. More details are on: Admission is free, but by ticket only, so book early on

BTW, I'm still getting replies to my 'teaser' question about the equinox in the last E/M, so the final result, and the answer, will be in the next mailing. Many replies so far, but only one has got it all correct, or very nearly so! Can you do better? You've got until Monday....

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley.