From: TerryMoselat

Subject: Lecture, AGM, Comet, Globe@NightEarthHour, COSMOS, MARS talk, Faulkes Comps, Web

Date: 23 March 2013 15:41:36 GMT

Hi all,


1. IAA LECTURE: The next lecture will be by Prof Alan Fitzsimmons of the Astrophysics Department in QUB, on Wednesday 3 April. Title "Data Mining The Asteroid Belt."

    Alan has given so many lectures to the IAA that I've lost count, and we keep asking him back, which speaks for itself. He is a world expert on the smaller bodies of the Solar System, particularly comets and asteroids. He has appeared frequently on The Sky At Night, and you may have seen him featuring prominently as the expert on such bodies on the recent Horizon special on the 'Russian Meteor".

   Indeed he is just back from a long spell on Hawaii working on the PanSTARRS project (yes, the one that discovered the eponymous comet).

SYNOPSIS: The Pan-STARRS1 telescope is the largest telescope currently used to systematically survey the sky for comets and asteroids. Since starting in 2010, it has bee used to make over 4 million detections of comets, asteroid and other Solar system bodies. This cornucopia of data is allowing us to study many different regions from Near-Earth space to the Kuiper Belt. In this talk I will describe how Pan-STARRS1 works, how asteroids and comets are found, and what we have discovered so far.

  Alan's lectures are always entertaining, informative and accessible, so I thoroughly recommend this one to you all.

       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.


2. IAA AGM: Advance notice: The IAA's AGM will be on Wednesday 17 April. As well as the business, we hope yo have some other entertainment. More later.


3. Update - COMET PanSTARRS

   Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2011 L4) has now been widely observed and imaged from Ireland. It's still not spectacular, but it is getting easier to see as it moves higher out of the evening twilight. Catch it when you can, before the Moon gets too bright as well.

See: Colm Connor's beautiful time-lapse video on the IAA website!

See: and, and

 There are photos by various IAA members on the IAA website:, and . 

      Visit 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


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 (

More information:

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 ( Participants then submit their choice of star chart at 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 ( 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 ( The GLOBE at Night website is easy to use, comprehensive, and holds an abundance of background information ( and Guides, activities, one-page flyers and postcards advertising the campaign are available at 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 (

National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO)



5. Lights out, Earth awareness on for EarthHour 2013 at Cork’s Blackrock Castle Hundreds of people are expected to visit CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory from 18.00 on Saturday March 23 to unite with other people around the world who want to make a difference in the world we live in. The event takes place in association with the Cork Environmental Forum for the LifeLong Learning Festival. FREE EVENT. ALL WELCOME Saturday March 23 from 18-22.0018:00 -20:00 | NASA’s ViewSpace |   Workspace. 18:00 – 20:00 | Main Exhibit Screens |  Cosmos at the Castle

20:30 – 21:30: Lights Out. 20:30 – 22:00: Trashed – an environmental documentary. (NB theatre seating from 8.15 max capacity 40pp on first come first served basis)

Media & Images Contact: Clair McSweeney, CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, Blackrock, Cork. T - 021-4357917 Eclair.mcsweeneyat   W


6. 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, Albert White, Chairperson of ILPAC.  And more still to be announced!


7. 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 must be RESERVED by Tuesday 9th April. To book your attendance email: 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.


8. 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 login 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

9. INTERESTING WEBLINKS: (Don't worry - he was being sarcastic!)


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 you.  See also


Clear skies,

Terry Moseley

mob: (0044) (0) 7979 300842

Twitter: at signterrymoseley2