From: TerryMoselat

Subject: AGM, Sir PM talk, ISS, PanSTARRS, COSMOS, Mars Talk, Faulkes, Dark sky site, SAN

Date: 11 April 2013 16:02:15 BST

Hi all,


1. IAA AGM: The IAA's AGM will be on Wednesday 17 April, 7.30 p.m. As well as the business, I will be giving a short (~30 mts) illustrated tribute lecture about the late Sir Patrick Moore, whom I knew very well.

Admission is free, including light refreshments, and all are welcome, but only current members of the IAA can vote in the official business.

This meeting will as usual be in the Bell Lecture theatre, Physics building, main QUB Campus, 7.30 p.m.


2. ISS The International Space Station Visible in Evening Skies

The International Space Station (ISS), is making another series of evening passes over Ireland, and will continue to do so until April 22nd.


3. Update - COMET PanSTARRS

   Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2011 L4) has now faded to about magnitude 5.5, but is at least now observable higher up in a dark sky.

 The following site gives good viewing information for our latitude:

And this is an excellent guide to observing comets in general:

 Good luck, and send in all your reports and images to me and to


4. COSMOS 2013 - FINAL PROGRAMME: The next COSMOS star party will be held as usual at Annaharvey, a few miles outside Tullamore, on the R420 road to Portarlington, on 12-14 April.

Latest update:

   There will be an opportunity for you to try launching your own water+air propelled rocket during the lunch break on Saturday!

   But, there is lots more that will be happening. The MAC Committee has been working hard, and this year especially so, as it is our 21st Cosmos Birthday - and, yes, there will be cake!

  There are weekend and day-only rates, and best of all KIDS UNDER 12 GO FREE with a paying adult.




Friday Family Lecture 8:00pm: Prof. Ian Morison, "Black Holes - no need to be afraid!"

Followed by Observing/Telescope Demonstrations

Saturday 10:00am: Albert White, "Searching for Earth-sized planets with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope."

Saturday 11:45am: Sara Beck (O'Neill), "Variable Stars: Fun and Science"

Saturday 2:45pm: Prof. Ian Morison, "The Story of Jodrell Bank"

Saturday 4:30pm: Cosmos 2012 Table Quiz

Saturday ~ 7.30 p.m. Cosmos Dinner (optional): Followed by: Declan Molloy, Midlands Astronomy Club

After Dinner Talk 9:30pm: "Earth and Other Odd Matters"

Sunday 10:30am, Simon Todd, Renowned English Astrophotographer: "Digital Astrophotography Tips and Tricks"

Sunday 12:00pm: Dave McDonald, IFAS Chairperson and Renowned Asteroid Hunter: "Celtic Rock - A Voyage Of Discovery"

Sunday 2:45pm: Dr Simon Jeffrey, Research Astronomer, Armagh Observatory: "Inside The Stars"

The official sequence of events is found by clicking this link:

5. Mars at QUB: “Hitting the Road on Mars: From the 2004 Mars Exploration Rovers to MSL: Curiosity”, by Nagin Cox, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Women in Technology and Science Northern Ireland and QUB Gender Initiative present:

Monday, 15th April 2013 1:30-3:00pm Great Hall, Queen’s University Belfast (including Q&A Session)

   “Since the beginning of time, people have been entranced by the night sky and by our nearest planetary neighbour, Mars. From the early missions to Viking, Pathfinder and the more recent missions, Mars has been (and is) a challenging destination. The Mars Exploration Rovers landed on Mars in January 2004 and have been successfully exploring ever since. Come hear the story of their legacy and our newest rover on Mars, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover.”

    Biography: Nagin Cox joined Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in 1993 and has since served as a systems engineer and manager on multiple interplanetary robotic missions, including NASA/JPL’s Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Rover Missions and the Kepler telescope mission to search for earth-like planets around other stars.

   This event is FREE, but places had to be RESERVED by Tuesday 9th April. If you missed that deadline, but would still like to go, try an email to: witsniat

Nagin Cox is visiting Northern Ireland as part of the U.S. Department of State's Speaker Program, facilitated by the U.S. Consulate in Belfast.


6. The Faulkes Telescope Discover the Cosmos Project is part of an EU-funded project aimed at inspiring young people in STEM subjects. This project, consisting of partners from across the EU is called 'Discover the Cosmos' and we'd like to draw your attention to some of the exciting resources and opportunities that the project has for you (and they're all free!).

Discover the Cosmos (DtC) portal: The DtC portal is a repository of free educational material (educational scenarios and lesson plans, students projects, animations, online tools and laboratories guidelines for interactive experiences with Astronomy and High Energy Physics resources) which has been peer-rated by educators across the EU. You have to register and log-in to view the material in the portal, but once done, you can search the vast archive of resources to find activities on anything from particle accelerators to the Universe! You can also design your own activities and upload it on here for others to use, so this is a great way of sharing your knowledge and good practise with others. The portal can be accessed from: 

Discover the Cosmos Competitions: In collaboration with the other UK partners of the DtC project (Liverpool John Moores University, University of Birmingham and Cambridge University) we are holding 2 competitions - one for teachers and one for students. Teachers can win a place at the DtC summer school in Volos, Greece, this summer - all expenses paid! Students can win the chance to name an asteroid, and a real meteorite! The closing date for both these competitions is 24th April 2013. With only a limited number of entries for both competitions so far, your chances of winning are looking good!

More information on the competitions can be found here: 

   If you need any other information or have any questions on the Discover the Cosmos project and/or opportunities, then please feel free to email Sarah Roberts at sarah.robertsat


7. Dark Sky Site Launch at LNDC: The first official Dark Sky Site in Northern Ireland, and maybe in the whole Island, will be officially opened on the weekend of 27-28 April at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Oxford Island, near Lurgan, Co Armagh.

   This site is designated as 'Milky Way Class', since the MW can be seen from there on a clear Moonless night. While it is obviously not as dark as some sites in the country, it gets the award for being a site dark enough to see the MW, for minimising local light pollution, for promoting Dark Sky awareness, for facilitating public access, and for being within reasonable travelling distance for a large population, i.e. Craigavon and Greater Belfast.

  The official opening of the spectacular and artistic new Analemmatic Human Sundial, originally planned for that W/E, has been postponed because of delays in site work due to the recent bad weather.

Location: Oxford Island is just a few miles from Junction 10 on the M1, and is well signposted from that junction.

More details of the events when available:


8. SKY AT NIGHT:  Thurs. Apr. 11 BBC 4   7 pm.  Extended version (30 mins).

Presented by Chris Lintot, Guest - Caroline Smith (Nat. Hist. Museum)

Topics:  "Secrets of Meteorites"  & Beginners Guide to observing Saturn (per Peter Paice) 


9. INTERESTING WEBLINKS:|NSNS|2013-0804-GLOBAL|mg21829112.100&utm_medium=NLC&utm_source=NSNS&utm_content=mg21829112.100 (astronomers expect to find 100 billion Earth-like planets!) NB: Not for the squeamish, or if you are just about to eat!



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

11. BBC THINGS TO DO WEBSITE: See the forthcoming IAA events on Look under 'Countryfile'.


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 youYou can also make a donation via Paypal if you wish: just click on the 'Donate' button.  See also


Clear skies,

Terry Moseley

mob: (0044) (0) 7979 300842

Twitter: @terrymoseley2