From: TerryMoselat

Subject: Spectacular conjunction, TV, IAA Event, COSMOS, EarthHour, ISS, Solar heat, Oops

Date: 23 March 2012 21:15:07 GMT

Hi all,


1. Lovely gathering of the crescent Moon and the two brightest planets to continue into early next week.

    You've all seen Jupiter and Venus pass close by each other. But there's more to come. Although they are now slowly drawing further apart, this weekend they will be joined a beautiful 'New Moon', with 'the Old Moon In the New Moon's Arms'. This will be a lovely sight. 

   The show will start on Saturday evening when a very thin crescent 'New Moon' will lie close to the horizon below Jupiter and brilliant Venus which will then be 'top of the stack'. Look from about 7.30 to 8 p.m.

   The main event begins on Sunday evening, when the lovely crescent Moon will lie just to the right of Jupiter, with brilliant Venus above the pair. Look for the Earthshine, or the 'Old Moon In The New Moon's Arms', which is the faintly glowing disc of the rest of the Moon nestling in the 'arms' of the bright crescent. This will be visible from about 8.30 - 10 p.m. (Summer Time)

   (The Earthshine, popularly known as 'The Old Moon In The New Moon's Arms' is caused by sunlight reflected from the Earth onto the dark side of the Moon, thus faintly illuminating it, and then that light is reflected back to Earth so that we can see it. If you were standing on the Moon at the time when Earthshine is visible from here, you would see a big bright 'almost full' Earth shining in the sky, and that bright 'Earthlight' is the counterpart to Moonlight as we see it here on Earth.)

   The highlight will be on Monday evening, when the Moon will have forsaken Jupiter and will be nestling even closer to Venus! Again, look for the Old Moon in the New Moon's Arms. Time: from 8.30 - 10.00

   On Tuesday evening, the Moon will have climbed above both planets, and the Earthshine will still be easily visible. Time: 8.30 - 10.00.

  This beautiful grouping will make a lovely target for photographers.


2. See Four Planets + The Moon Simultaneously!

On Monday and Tuesday evening there will also be a chance to see the Moon and all of the naked-eye planets except Mercury simultaneously! From about 10.20 to 10.30 p.m. you can see Jupiter low in the West, Venus above it, then the Moon, and high up in the South will be ruddy Mars, just East of Regulus. Swing left to the East, and look low near the horizon to see the pale yellow glow of Saturn, left of Spica.


3. 'IN ORBIT: How Satellites Rule our World.' BBC2, 25 March, 9 pm. (thanks to Peter Paice for the alert)


4. IAA at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, near Lurgan, on 30 March, evening:

This will be similar to other IAA events, except that there will be an optional supper first at the LNDC cafe - see details below. There will be a £15 admission charge for the whole event, including supper, or £5 for the later observing session only. We will of course have the Stardome of course (loaned from Armagh Planetarium with thanks once again), with regular starshows, so there will be plenty of interest even if it's cloudy. N.B: The meal is now almost fully booked, so if you want to go for that, book now.

DETAILS: Friday 30th March: 6.30pm 'til late:

'Supper with the Stars':  Join the Irish Astronomical Association for a spectacular evening of stargazing and culinary delights at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre.

   There will be star shows in a mobile planetarium commencing at 7.30pm, followed by celestial views of the First Quarter Moon, brilliant Venus ("the Evening Star"), and fascinating Jupiter with its four large Galilean moons, Mars, Saturn, plus a lot more! All this is of course weather dependent.

   There will also be an exhibition of the best photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and the best ground-based observatories plus some amazing ones by IAA members, a display of telescopes and binoculars, and some amazing meteorites.

£5 entry for stargazing experience.

£15 includes the stargazing and a two course meal (6.30pm, Loughside Café, LNDC).

Booking is essential for this event. Please contact the Interpretative team at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre on 028 3831 1673 / 028 3832 1671 for further details and to book a place.

See also   


5. COSMOS 2012: The Midlands Astronomy Club have finalised the programme for their very popular annual star party, at Annaharvey Farm, just outside Tullamore, Co Offaly, on the W/E of 13-15 April.  Speakers include:

- Thierry Legault, world-renowned French astrophotographer

- Girvan McKay, Midlands Astronomy Club

- Eamon Ansbro, Kingsland Observatory, Roscommon

- Kevin Berwick, Dublin

- Dermot Gannon, Midlands Astronomy Club

- Apostolos Christou, Armagh Observatory

- Lawrence Rigney, Midlands Astronomy Club

More details are available on the website


6.  Earth Hour 2012 March 31, 20:30 - 21:30. Switch off all unnecessary lights, see the sky, and save the planet! Take part in a global call to action to highlight concerns about climate change and the way we are wasting the world's limited resources


7. ISS The International Space Station started another series of morning passes on March 19. Details for your own location, and lots of other useful information such as Iridium Flares, are on the free site


8. Solar Storms heats atmosphere - especially above Ireland! Look at the map in this link. Unfortunately the heating is completely separate from the aurora phenomenon, and is completely invisible.


9. OOPS! Even Homer nods.... Prof Mark Bailey of Armagh Observatory forwarded to me this gem of a blooper from Sky & Telescope! (Maybe they'll continue the promotion until the 'Summer Equinox')

 ---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2012 10:37:05 -0400

From: Sky & Telescope <serviceat>

Reply-To: Sky & Telescope


To: "mebat" <mebat>

Subject: Spring Solstice is here, along with new products from Sky!


10. TWITTER: the IAA now has a twitter account. twitterat signIaaAstro


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


12. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is now even easier: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA.  See also


Clear skies,

Terry Moseley

mob: (0044) (0) 7979 300842