Date: 11 January 2010 01:05:50 GMT
Subject: IAA Lecture, ISS, New Year Party
1. NEXT IAA LECTURE, 13 January: The first of the Irish Astronomical Association's public lectures of 2010 will be given by Dr Jorick Vink, of Armagh Observatory.
His talk is entitled "The Most Massive Stars in The Universe", and promises to be a fascinating subject. After all, the Sun is 328,935 times more massive than the Earth, and yet we know that there are stars maybe 50-60 times more massive than the Sun. But are there even more massive ones? And is there an upper limit? And how to these stellar heavyweights live their lives? Their lives seem to be relatively brief, but very spectacular!
It's on WEDNESDAY 13 JANUARY, 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! Full details of the rest of the programme are on the website: www.irishastro.org
2. ISS: The International Space Station is now making another set of excellent early evening passes over Ireland. It now often appears brighter than Jupiter, so you can't miss it if it's passing over in a clear sky. Full details for your location are on the free website www.heavens-above.com, along with other information such as Iridium flares, again specific to your own location.
3. SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR PARTY: Well done to all involved in organising and running the IAA's New Year Party on 2 December, particularly George Brannan who was responsible for all the basic arrangements, and more - see below. After a very good value buffet meal in McBrides in Comber we were about to head to the Tudor private cinema for the film, when word came through that the projector had gone on fire! A major problem, one might think? But Comber has not just one, but two, private cinemas. And they are within 1/4 mile of each other! And they are owned by two brothers! So after some quick last minute negotiations we switched to the other cinema. While it had more luxurious seating, it was a bit smaller, so we had to bring in some extra chairs & put them in the aisle! Thanks to George & Philip for sorting that out so quickly.
Guests sampled the latest version of my infamous hot punch while we waited for everything to get set up, then we launched into the latest Star Trek movie, which was enjoyed by all. I particularly liked the slightly more than cameo appearance by Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock!
Then George's notorious quiz was endured, sorry - enjoyed, by everyone still left. And at long last, justice was done, as the team of Danny & Dawn Collins, Angela O'Connell & myself won by a clear margin!
Thanks to George - seriously - for compiling & presenting the quiz, and to Shirley McCrea for marking it so well!
Hope to see you on Wednesday.