Subject: PanSTARRS seen, IAA Lecture, Armagh event, Globe at Night, COSMOS, Weblinks
Date: 14 March 2013 02:28:33 GMT
1. Update - COMET PanSTARRS
Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2011 L4) is now visible from our latitudes. Some local observers got their first glimpse on Tuesday evening: I missed it then as I was giving one of my Stranmillis lectures.
But I saw it earlier this evening (Wed) from Boghill, about 12m North of Belfast, along with Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, David Stewart and Ken Doyle.
However, it was rather disappointing, to say the least. I would estimate the magnitude as +3, but that was not as bright as you would think, as it was low down in fairly bright twilight. It was visible in my 10x50 binocs, and a bit better in my 30x80s, but I couldn't see it without optical aid. Ken said he could see it naked eye, so I went to the car to get my specs, but by the time I got back the comet was sinking into a bank of haze. It was noticeably yellow, and I could see a tail of about 30 - 40 arcmins pointing up and to the left. There are photos by various IAA members on the IAA website: www.irishastro.org, and http://niphotography.co.uk/iaa/gal/index.php?/category/6 but don't expect another Hale-Bopp.
It may get easier to see as it moves higher up and into a darker sky, but it is expected to get fainter at the same time, so it's hard to predict.
It may be too early to label it 'Down The PanSTARRS', but it's certainly not an easy comet from here, so far. I would rate it at only about 14th or 15th on the list of the best comets I've seen.
Others have had better views: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/11/comet-pan-starrs-pictures_n_2851288.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular
Visit http://spaceweather.com for images, sky maps and observing tips.
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 www.irishastro.org
2. IAA LECTURE: The next IAA public lecture will be on Wednesday 20 March, at 7.30 p. m.
It will be given by Andrew Dennis of Andor Technology: The title is "Andor and Cutting Edge Astronomy".
Andor, a Belfast company, is one of the world's leading designers and makers of advanced digital cameras, which are used in some of the world's leading astronomical imaging systems, both on Earth and in space. We are delighted to have this presentation by an expert from the company.
Synopsis: I will spend a couple of minutes discussing the types of cameras we make and where the company came from (QUB Physics), but the bulk of the presentation is focussed on the interesting applications where our cameras are employed, these include:
Hunting for Extra Solar Planets using various techniques
Andor’s involvement in the development of the Curiosity (Mars) Rover
The Sofia Flying Telescope (it’s a 14 tonne telescope in a Boeing 747)
Tracking space junk, mapping the Kuiper belt and tracking comets.
And a few other things
Admission is free, including light refreshments, and all are welcome.
This lecture will as usual be in the Bell Lecture theatre, Physics building, main QUB Campus.
3. Armagh Observatory Public St. Patrick's Day Event
The Armagh Observatory and the Armagh Public Library are working together on St. Patrick's Day to provide an afternoon of guided tours and participative events as part of Creativity Month and of the St. Patrick's
Day celebrations in St. Patrick's City of Armagh.
Those with an interest in astronomy may have a tour of the Armagh Observatory's Human Orrery, just south of the main Observatory building, and a tour of the Astropark. These tours will begin at 2.00pm and 3.15pm respectively. From 3.15pm to 4.00pm, there will be a guided tour of the Observatory's Astropark, led by one of the astronomers. (www.arm.ac.uk)
If the sky is clear, there will be stargazing and views of Comet PANSTARRS at No 5 Vicars' Hill, beginning at 6.45pm.
Attendance at these St Patrick's Day events, part of DCAL's Creativity Month, is free, but to help us gauge interest please contact the Armagh Observatory in order to obtain tickets. lease write, telephone
or e-mail: Mrs Aileen McKee, Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG; Tel: 028-3752-2928; Fax: 028-3752-7174; e-mail: ambnarm.ac.uk.
4. Join the World-wide GLOBE at Night 2013 Campaign
What would it be like without stars at night? What is it we lose? Starry night skies have given us poetry, art, music and the wonder to explore. A bright night sky (aka light pollution) affects energy consumption, health and wildlife too. Spend a few minutes to help scientists by measuring the brightness of your night sky. Join the GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaign (www.globeatnight.org). The third campaign started March 3 and runs through March 12.
GLOBE at Night is a world-wide, hands-on science and education program to encourage citizen-scientists world-wide to record the brightness of their night sky. During five select sets of dates in 2013, children and adults match the appearance of a constellation (Orion or Leo in the northern hemisphere, and Orion and Crux in the southern hemisphere) with seven star charts of progressively fainter stars (www.globeatnight.org/observe_magnitude_orion.html). Participants then submit their choice of star chart at www.globeatnight.org/webapp/ with their date, time and location. This can be done by computer (after the measurement) or by smart phone or pad (during the measurement). From these data an interactive map of all world-wide observations is created (www.globeatnight.org/map/). Over the past 7 years of 10-day campaigns, people in 115 countries have contributed over 83,000 measurements, making GLOBE at Night the most popular, light pollution citizen-science campaign to date (www.globeatnight.org/analyze.html). The GLOBE at Night website is easy to use, comprehensive, and holds an abundance of background information (www.globeatnight.org/learn.html and www.globeatnight.org/observe.html). Guides, activities, one-page flyers and postcards advertising the campaign are available at www.globeatnight.org/pdf/. Through GLOBE at Night, students, teachers, parents and community members are amassing a data set from which they can explore the nature of light pollution locally and across the globe. The remaining GLOBE at Night campaigns in 2013 are: March 31 - April 9, and April 29 - May 8. Make a difference and join the GLOBE at Night campaign.
Constance E. Walker, Ph.D. Associate scientist & senior science education specialist, NOAO;
Director, GLOBE at Night campaign (www.globeatnight.org)
National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO)
950 N. Cherry Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85719 USA
5. COSMOS 2013: The next COSMOS star party will be held at Tullamore on 12-14 April. Speakers so far confirmed: Sara Beck of the American Association of Variable Star Observers from Boston, USA; Prof. Ian Morison, former Gresham Professor of Astronomy, Gresham College, London; Simon Jeffrey, Research Astronomer at Armagh Observatory; Declan Molloy, Midlands Astronomy Club; Simon Todd, renowned Irish astrophotographer; Dave McDonald, IFAS Chairperson and renowned asteroid hunter. And more still to be announced!
6. INTERESTING WEBLINKS:
7. TWITTER: Follow the IAA on Twitter: IaaAstro
8. BBC THINGS TO DO WEBSITE: See the forthcoming IAA events on
http://www.bbc.co.uk/thingstodo. Look under 'Countryfile'.
9. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is easy: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://irishastro.org.uk/iaamembership.doc. 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 www.irishastro.org.
mob: (0044) (0) 7979 300842