From: TerryMoselat

Date: 16 October 2009 23:20:59 GMT+01:00

Subject: IYA 2009 at WWT, Lectures, BCO Prog, ISS, Venus

Hi all,



To mark International Year of Astronomy 2009, the Irish Astronomical Association will be holding a special public astronomy event at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Castle Espie, near Comber, Co Down.

   We will show members of the public the wonders of the night sky, including mighty Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, with its four big Galilean Moons, and lovely double stars, star clusters, nebulae and galaxies from far across the universe.

   We will also have an exhibition, meteorites, and starshows in a mobile planetarium, so there will be plenty to enjoy, even if it's cloudy.

   Wrap up warm in any case, especially if the sky is clear.

 Date: 17 October

Time: 8 p.m until about 11 p.m.

No extra charge, but WWT normal admission charges apply.


2.  IAS Talk in Dunsink Observatory, Dublin, 21 October, at 8 p.m. "The Herschel Space Observatory: The Golden Age of Space-Based IR Astronomy Continues". Speaker: Dr. Brian O'Halloran, Research Associate at Imperial College London. He is a member of the Herschel SPIRE Instrument Control Centre team, and a member of the Herschel Specialist Astronomy Group 2 consortium. 

   The Herschel Space Observatory carries the largest, most powerful infrared telescope ever flown in space, and is the first space observatory to observe from the far-infrared to the submillimetre waveband, unveiling the mysterious hidden cold Universe to us for the first time.

    They have reserved 4 places in total for IAA members. Please let John Murphy know if you wish to attend so he can put you on the list (Insurance limits the amount of attendees in Dunsink, hence the limits). E: murphymeat, orjohnmurphy474at


3. Oct 21: IAA FREE PUBLIC LECTURE, BELFAST: The next lecture of the Irish Astronomical Association's new season will be given by Dr Carla Gil. Carla has done some pioneering research work with the world's most powerful telescope, the European Southern Observatory's VLT in Chile, specifically using it in Interferometer mode, when it can function with an effective aperture of 100 metres. Yes, that's one hundred metres! She is now a visiting ESO Research Fellow at Armagh Observatory.   

   Her talk is entitled "Observing with a 100-metre virtual telescope, the VLTI".  It's on WEDNESDAY 21 OCTOBER, at 7.30 p.m., in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast. ADMISSION IS FREE, as always, and includes light refreshments. Everyone is welcome; particularly ladies - come along and see what women are doing at the leading edge of astronomical research: astronomy is not just a topic for men! Full details of the rest of the programme are on the website:

   N.B. The Belfast Festival at Queen's is on that week, so come early if you want to get parked on the QUB site, or indeed anywhere in that area. There are no events at that time in QUB itself, but there's one at the Elmwood Hall which is not too far away, so parking spaces will soon fill up. I suggest you try to get there no later than 7.0.


4. Public Lecture, Armagh: "Why Are We Here?", 8.00 pm Thursday 22 October 2009

The Armagh Observatory and the Armagh Natural History and Philosophical Society are co-hosting a free public lecture on Thursday 22 October 2009 in the Rotunda Lecture Theatre, St. Patrick's Trian, Armagh.  The Lecture will be delivered by Dr Martin Hendry of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow.  The lecture will begin at 8.00 pm and is scheduled to end at 9.00 pm with questions, followed by tea and coffee.

 The title and summary of the lecture are: "Why Are We Here?

    Since the dawn of civilisation human cultures have sought to understand our place in the universe, asking "Big questions" about our cosmic origins. Modern cosmology provides some startling answers to these questions: not only is the universe expanding, but we believe the expansion to be accelerating -- driven by a mysterious "dark energy" that challenges our

ideas about gravity and the very nature of space and time.  Moreover our runaway universe appears to be rather delicately balanced, in the sense that small changes in the laws of nature would result in a very different cosmos -- most likely unsuitable for life like us.  What does all of this mean for our cosmic origins?  Is our universe unique, or do we belong to a

"multiverse" -- a vast ensemble of universes, each with its own laws of nature?  In his lecture, Dr Hendry will explore these, and other, questions posed by the latest cosmological discoveries, and discuss what implications they might have for the existence of life in the universe."

   For free tickets to this public lecture, please contact Aileen McKee at the Armagh Observatory; Tel: 028-3752-2928; Fax: 028-3752-7174; e-mail: ambnat


 5. Blackrock Castle Observatory Events: BCO in Cork has an excellent series of ongoing events: See

Director Clair McSweeney also sent me this:  "In addition, CIT / Blackrock Castle Observatory has taken on the role of communications point of contact within Ireland for ESON. ESON is the European Southern Observatory Outreach Network.  This has a wide brief but entails being a link into any relevant amateur and professional body for ESON press and media releases and also hopefully to be the same for all and any such relevant bodies within Ireland back to ESON. The ESON brief is that such communications are ESO/ESON related.

    Tom Bonner of Cork Astronomy Club and CIT, and I are looking to create communication links that would go directly between us and the Irish astronomy community. Our brief is to promote knowledge and awareness of ESON, pass on their releases and when appropriate act as the link for the Irish astronomy community back to ESON to raise the profile of events and activities that would be deemed relevant. Galilean Nights is a good example. See

   BCO will officially launch Ireland ESON at Discovery, Cork’s interactive science exhibit, on Sat Nov 14. For more details see"


6. ISS IN MORNINGS: The International Space Station is making a series of morning passes at the moment - see  Look out for it when it passes close to.....


7. BRILLIANT MORNING STAR VENUS: Venus is still the brightest object in the morning sky. It currently rises in morning twilight, preceded by much fainter Saturrn, and followed by Mercury, which is about midway in brightness between Saturn and Venus. But both Mercury and then Venus will soon move too close to the Sun to be seen, so look in the next few mornings before they go. 

  If you see the ISS pass nearby on a good bright pass, compare its brightness with Venus - from Belfast it will be noticeably fainter than Venus, more comparable with Jupiter which is visible earlier in the night. From Dublin it can be almost as bright as Venus. And from Cork, where it can pass nearly overhead, it can equal Venus in brightness!


Clear Skies,


Terry Moseley