From: TerryMoselat

Date: 2 November 2010 23:49:24 GMT



Hi all,




(The other items are repeated just as reminders)


 1. The next IAA Lecture  will be on Wed 3 November, in the Bell Lecture Theatre, QUB, It will be given by Dr John Quinn, Senior Lecturer in the Astrophysics Department at UCD. TITLE: "Gamma Ray Astronomy - A New Window on the Extreme Universe"

Gamma Rays are the most energetic forms of electromagnetic radiation, and Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB) emit many times more energy than we see in even a Supernova explosion. Another very topical talk, with recent discoveries of ever more energetic, and ever more distant, GRBs. They may be associated with Black Holes, or collisions between White Dwarfs or Neutron Stars, so it's bound to be a fascinating lecture, with the very latest news.

Time: 7.30 p.m. Venue: Bell Lecture Theatre, main Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast. Free parking is available on the main campus, right beside the lecture theatre, from 5.30 pm onwards. Admission free, including light refreshments: All are welcome. See for full details of the programme.



With the ISS currently making nice evening passes over Ireland (see next item), it may be possible to see the two craft approaching other for docking if the launch goes ahead on the 4th.

3. ISS: The ISS is currently making a good series of evening passes over Ireland. See for full details for your location.



Cassini Scientist for a Day competition.

This is open to pupils aged 11-18 yrs old in all schools in Ireland. 

Glenlola Collegiate in Bangor won one of the first prizes a couple of years ago so it would be good to get another great response.

 The Cassini Mission to Saturn is one of the greatest robotic space exploration missions of our time. Now you have an opportunity to become involved and maybe put your school’s name on the map internationally.

How:  By taking part in The Cassini Scientist for a day Contest 2010

Why: This contest increases awareness of space exploration, technology, engineering and science.

   The Task: Write a 500 word essay on why the Cassini Spacecraft should target certain objects for imaging and investigation.

   How do I do that? Watch  three short  videos, decide which is the most interesting for you, write your essay based on that.

  The Cassini website would be your main source of reference for information. Watch this video for an introduction:

   Watch these videos to choose your essay subject Rhea, Titan or Saturn itself? You decide, its your adventure.

There are three age groups: 11-13 years old, 14-16 years old, 17-18 years old

The Prizes: All winners will be given a copy of their chosen target image which will be taken by the Cassini spacecraft in October 2010. The youngest category winner will also get an iPod shuffle and books by Lucy Hawking. The middle category will win a Nintendo DS and books by Lucy Hawking. The oldest age category winner will be offered a one week research placement with Professor Carl Murray from Queen Mary University London.

Deadline 5 p.m. on November 5th Include your name, age, postal address, name of your school, name of teacher, teacher's email address.


5. SCIENCE WEEK IRELAND, 7 - 14 November.  Kevin Nolan has sent me the following link to a major event he is running for Science Week Ireland: See: The web site for pointing to the event is: 


6. Public Lecture by Dame Prof Jocelyn Bell Burnell "Will the world end in 2012? - The astronomical evidence."

 12 Nov, 7.30 p.m. in the Royal Irish Academy, Dawson St, Dublin. Admission free, but by ticket only. Book via 

   I regularly get asked "What's all this about the world going to end in December 2012 (sometimes more specifically, on Dec 21, the winter solstice, 2012)?" I've been debunking that since I first learnt about this via the internet about 4-5 years ago, but the myth persists, and is growing. Of course it's rubbish, but it will be very interesting to hear what Dame Prof Jocelyn Bell Burnell FRS, former President of the RAS, and of the Institute of Physics, has to say about it. Jocelyn is a 'local girl', originally from Lurgan, Co Armagh, and I'm sure that there will be a lot of interest in this talk, so book early.


7. IAA AT WWT, CASTLE ESPIE, COMBER, 13 November: The Irish Astronomical Association will be holding another of their very successful and popular public observing nights at the WWT, at Castle Espie, just S of Comber, Co Down, on Sat 13 November, starting at 7.30 p.m. As usual, we'll have a large selection of telescopes and binoculars for viewing the sky. We will also have the mobile planetarium for starshows, and the usual exhibition of telescopes, posters, meteorites, space items etc: something for everyone, no matter what the weather! There's even an on-site cafe for snacks and warming beverages!

   Admission £3.90, or £2.60 for concessions, but IAA members bringing telescopes etc get in free! 

  It gets cold at night now these evenings, so wrap up REALLY warm, from head to toe, and bring along any portable telescopes or binoculars you may have.

  Check for details and directions to the location.

(This replaces the event originally listed for Delamont Country Park that W/E)


8. PUBLIC LECTURE, ARMAGH, 18 November: The Biennial "Robinson Lecture" will be given by Prof Chris Impey of the University of Arizona, in the City Hotel, at 8 p.m. "Astrobiology: Implications of Life Beyond Earth" 

    Either we are alone in the universe or not; either way, the implications are staggering. This talk considers the prospects for and implications of life beyond Earth. Biological adaptation to extreme conditions makes it very likely that variations on biology will be present on moons and planets around many of the billions of Sun-like stars in the Milky Way. The nearly 500 planets already found around other stars are forerunners of Earth-like planets that astronomers expect to be finding in the next few years. With exobiology still a blank slate, consideration will be given to potentially unusual forms of life.

     Attendance at the Robinson Lecture is free, but if you would like to attend the Robinson Lecture, please contact the Armagh Observatory in order to obtain tickets. Please write, telephone or send an e-mail to: Mrs Aileen McKee, Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG; Tel: 028-3752-2928; Fax: 028-3752-7174; e-mail: ambn


9. 'HARTLEYID METEORS'? A pair of unusual fireballs over Canada and the south-eastern USA have experts wondering if Comet Hartley 2 might produce a meteor shower in early November. See


First Fridays at the Castle  Free Monthly Event

Friday 5 November 2010 Blackrock Castle Observatory hosts open nights on the first Friday of every month with inspired activities for visitors of all ages. The internationally award winning Cosmos at the Castle is open and free to the public, Stargazing from 7pm is in association with the Cork Astronomy Club and BCO's growing band of Astronomy Volunteers.

    6-8pm: Hands on Workshops: Great World Wide Starcount - how to take part

Enjoy one of our family friendly workshops (every half hour) with Frances McCarthy, BCO's in house teacher and astronomer.

    8pm: Ben Burress - Web of Stars

Meet Ben Burress, astronomer at the Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, California; live on a web link from the USA to learn about CSSC's magnificent telescopes. Ben will take us on a journey through the collection of astrophotographs taken with these instruments by Cork students and launch the image exhibit Web of Stars

    For more information on these and future events at Blackrock Castle Observatory

call us  00 - 353 - 21- 4357917, email infoat or visit


Clear skies,


Terry Moseley