From: TerryMoselat

Subject: Lectures, Awesome Universe, Conjunction, ISS, Geminids, IAA NY Party, weblinks

Date: 4 December 2012 15:09:24 GMT

Hi all,

(Just back from an excellent and successful trip to Australia to observe the total solar eclipse.)


1. IAA PUBLIC LECTURE:  The next IAA Public Lecture is a double bill. Andy McCrea and Terry Moseley will report on their successful trip to Australia to observe the Total Solar Eclipse, and David Collins will give a talk, based on his new book, entitled "The Star of Bethlehem". It will be on December 12, at 73.0 p.m. 

  Admission is free, including light refreshments

This lecture will as usual be in the Bell Lecture theatre, Physics building, main QUB Campus.


2. AWESOME UNIVERSE, at ARMAGH PLANETARIUM: The year 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of when European astronomers headed south, to Chile, determined to build the most powerful ground-based telescopes in the world and founded ESO (European Southern Observatory).
   Armagh Planetarium is celebrating this anniversary by launching a new gallery exhibition.  Around 40 visually stunning images have been erected with captions, showcasing celestial objects such as galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters as seen by ESO’s observatories, as well as beautiful images of the observatories themselves, which are located in some of the most unusual places on Earth.
   Join us for our launch night on Tuesday 4th December 2012 when we will unveil our gallery.  You will also have the opportunity to see our Christmas theatre show “Mystery of the Christmas Star” FREE and if the skies are clear we will be observing the wonders of the December night sky.  Please note that spaces are limited for our theatre show so pre-booking is essential.
6pm – Doors open
7pm – Gallery Launch
7:30pm – Mystery of the Christmas Star theatre show
8pm – Night sky observing
9pm – Doors close

3. Public Lecture:  "From here to Infinity: Gravity and the Cosmos" by Professor (Lord) Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, O.M., F.R.S. Friday 7 December, MacNeill Lecture Theatre 3, Hamilton Building, TCD. This is the Synge Public Lecture for 2012. Admission free


4. Venus, Mercury and Moon: conjunction. On Dec 11, Venus and Mercury will be joined by a thin waning crescent moon, lying just to the right of Venus. You also get an excellent chance on the morning of Dec 12 to see a rare phenomenon: Mercury appearing further from the Sun than the Moon. On that morning the 1.7% illuminated Moon will lie as much as 5˚ below and left of the innermost planet.  Look from about 07.40, low in the SE: find Venus first, then scan with binoculars to the lower left to find Mercury, and beyond it, the very thin crescent of the Moon. A lovely photo opportunity: Saturn, Venus, Mercury & an almost impossibly thin crescent moon.


5. ISS: The International Space Station will commence another series of evening passes over Ireland on December 13. Full details for your own location, along with lots of other information, on the free site


6. Good Prospects for Geminid Meteors: The Geminids will peak at about 19h on 13 December, so the night of 13/14 should give some very good activity if the sky is clear. It is now the best shower of the year, with rates of 100 or so per hour visible to an experienced observer under ideal observing conditions at maximum. There will be very little interference from moonlight this year, so have a look as soon as the sky gets dark: the radiant, near Castor, will be rising in the East. It gets higher as the night progresses and very good rates should be observed from about 11pm to about 04.00. 


7. IAA New Year Party. This will be held on Saturday 5 January, at McBrides restaurant in Comber, followed by a space or S/F based film in the local Tudor private cinema. Meet at McBrides at about 5.30 p.m. for 6.0. p.m. Full details to follow in next bulletin.


8. IAA Annual Subscriptions: All IAA members are reminded that if they have not yet renewed their subscriptions for 2012 - 2013, they should do so at once, otherwise they will not receive the next issue of STARDUST. You can do this easily online:, or via, or download a form, see Item 11 below.




10. TWITTER: Follow the IAA on Twitter:  at signIaaAstro

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


12. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is easy: 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