From: TerryMoselat

Subject: Dave's 2nd S/nova, Neil, Fireball, Curiosity, IAA lecture, Booklaunch, Exhib/pic

Date: 29 August 2012 01:17:28 BST

Hi all, 


1. Dave Grennan discovers his second Supernova from Raheny.

Many congratulations to Dave for discovering his second supernova - and not from some dark sky site with an ideal climate, but from his own observatory in Raheny, Dublin! Dave used his 36cm Schmidt Cassegrain telescope for the discovery images. Discovered on August 22nd, it has just been confirmed. Dave was the first person in the world to spot the light from the gigantic explosion of the dying star. It has been designated 2012ej and is his second supernova discovery in two years!

   The exploding star was in 13th magnitude galaxy IC2166 (PGC 19064) in Lynx, and was magnitude 16.2 at discovery. It lies at a distance of about 120LY, and is a classic Type 1C supernova. The discovery was confirmed by Tom Boles (the world's leading discoverer of supernovae), who recently gave a fascinating lecture on the subject to the IAA in Belfast.

   The first supernova discovery from Ireland was by Belfast amateur Isaac Ward, in 1885: that one was in M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. See: and and

  So this is the third supernova to have been discovered from Ireland. The second was also discovered by Dave Grennan in 2010 - and once again his discovery required lots of patience and some highly specialised equipment.… Read more at:


2. Neil Armstrong dies. The world is mourning the death on August 25 of Neil Armstrong, aged 82, the first human being on the Moon. I had the privilege to meet him, with Sir Patrick Moore, at the BBC in London, but I hadn't the nerve to ask for an autograph! 

   Armstrong also visited Ireland in 2003 for a 'face to face' public interview by Gay Byrne in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, and many readers will remember how natural and sincere and modest he was on that occasion.

   His cool nerve and skill in manually piloting the Lunar Module onto the surface when the computer was going to land them in a boulder field, and when they were almost out of fuel was amazing. I watched it live on TV, and was almost falling off the front of my seat with the tension.

   Although he was undoubtedly the right man for the mission in terms of ability, he never adjusted to the world-wide fame and press attention that followed, and became more and more of a private individual, which of course was his right.

   He claims to have ancestry from Co Fermanagh, though I don't think that the details are clear.

   It's the end of an era. I'm sure that all members of the IAA, and other readers, will join me in expressing sincere condolences to his family and friends.

More details at: and


3. Exploding Fireball over Wales:

 A fireball was widely seen over South Wales, and is reported to have exploded with a boom so loud that it set off car alarms. See

There are several errors in this report, from David Whitehouse:

1. He's not an astrophysician - that would be a space doctor! However, this report does need some 'doctoring' -

2. It's meteors, not meteorites, that burn up at 60 - 100 miles altitude. Meteorites survive to a much lower altitude, by definition.

3. The asteroid that 'killed the dinosaurs' was not 'the size of Britain'! - one that big would have wiped out all life on Earth! It was 'only' about 15 miles in diameter.

4. This one was probably bigger than a golf ball.

5. The word 'soon' should be 'seen'.


4. CURIOSITY ON MARS: Curiosity has now commenced its exploration of the Red Planet. See these weblinks for more details.

     And that forms the topic of the first IAA lecture of the new season: see below.



Well known broadcaster and journalist Leo Enright will give the opening lecture of the new season of IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION meetings on Wednesday 19 September, at 7.30 p.m. The subject will be what is currently the hottest topic in astronomy and space exploration: the amazing Curiosity rover on Mars. Leo is not only a renowned expert on anything to do with space science, but an excellent and very entertaining speaker: I'm sure that everyone has heard him on radio or TV so you know what to expect.

   This is bound to be a very popular lecture, so don't miss it.

Venue: Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, main campus, QUB. Doors open about 7.15. There is free parking available on the campus in the evenings.

Admission Free, including light refreshments.

With thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for assistance with this event.


6. IAA MEMBER'S ECLIPSE BOOK LAUNCH IN BELFAST, 15 Sep. I'm delighted to announce the official launch of "TOTAL ADDICTION: The Life of an Eclipse Chaser" by IAA member Dr Kate Russo. It will be at 3 p.m. on Sat 15 September, at the Queen's Film Theatre, University Square, Belfast. Details in the flyer attached with the last email.

   Kate is both a clinical psychologist and a highly enthusiastic eclipse chaser, and she has combined the two in this fascinating book about what drives people to travel halfway round the world to see a Total Eclipse of the Sun. The simple answer is of course that it's probably the most amazing, incredible, mind-blowing, emotional spectacle that anyone will ever see. But there's much more to it than that, with lots of different motivations for seeing one, and an even greater range of reactions to the event.

   The event is free, with a documentary being shown in the film theatre, followed by some presentations by Kate and others - even including myself - followed by refreshments and a chance to get a signed copy, chat to Kate, and mingle with other astronomers and eclipse chasers. And some psychologists to, but don't let that put you off - they won't be analysing anybody!

   Everyone is welcome to attend, but if you do intend to go, please respond as per the attached, so that they know how many to expect.


7.  Exhibition: A View of the Cosmos by Tom O'Donoghue, Sep 6 - 12

Tom O'Donoghue, who is one of Ireland's leading astrophotographers, is holding an exhibition of his superb images at the Centre for Creative Practices in Dublin from 6 to 12 Sep. Entitled A View of the Cosmos, it will feature some of his latest single frame images and also some widefield mosaics of up to 60h exposure time per photograph.

   The exhibition begins at 6 pm on September 6th at 15 Pembroke Street Lower, Dublin 2. You can see some of Tom's work on his website at

 And Tom's excellent work has just been rewarded with his superb photo of the region round Rho Ophiuchi being chosen as NASA's Astronomy Picture Of the Day: see:




9. TWITTER: the IAA now has a twitter account:  at signIaaAstro

10. BBC THINGS TO DO WEBSITE: See the forthcoming IAA events on


11. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is now even easier: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. If you are a UK taxpayer, please tick the 'gift-aid' box, as that enables us to reclaim the standard rate of tax on your subscription, at no cost to you.  See also


Clear skies,

Terry Moseley

mob: (0044) (0) 7979 300842