From: TerryMoselat

Subject: Lecture, IAA @ BCL, AP Events, Space talk, TV, Galway SP, Cork, Dublin events...

Date: 11 October 2013 16:45:57 BST

Hi all,


1. IAA LECTURE, 16 October. Dr Deirdre Coffey, UCD. "Exploring the Cosmos: the View from Hubble and Beyond".

   The iconic Hubble Space Telescope has pushed the frontiers of astronomical knowledge further outwards in many different fields, as well as giving us some of the most stunning views of our amazing universe ever seen. But a much more powerful telescope is planned to replace it - the James Webb Space Telescope. In this talk, Dr Coffey will outline some of the major achievements of the HST, and look forward to the JWST, and other important new instruments.

     The lecture is free and open to all, including free refreshments. It will be held in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast, at 7.30 p.m. 

   Thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for help in hosting these lectures.


2. IAA Display at Belfast Central Library: Saturday 12 October.

To mark the 125th anniversary of the Library, and World Space Week: the Irish Astronomical Association will be holding another of their very popular public astronomy events, at Belfast's main library, on Saturday afternoon, 12 October from 1.30 to 4.00p.m. We'll have an amazing exhibition, including fantastic space photos, various astronomical telescopes, meteorites, and a mobile stardome planetarium (with thanks to Armagh Planetarium). Depending on availability of a suitable site, we will also use a selection of special telescopes for viewing the Sun in a variety of types of light in complete safety (weather permitting). And the event is totally free!

   If it's clear, you will be able to see giant sunspots which are larger than the Earth, huge flares of incredibly hot gas shooting off the Sun's surface, and other amazing detail on its surface.

   And the first person from Ireland who has booked to go into space, IAA member Derek Heatly from Groomsport, will be there to talk about his preliminary training flights, and what his actual flight with Virgin Galactic will be like.

   People will also be able to touch and hold genuine meteorites, pieces of rock that have come from outer space. These are about 4,600 million years old - the oldest things you will ever see in your life!

  These are always very popular events, and it's a central location with easy access by public transport.

For more details see: 

   Thanks to Armagh Planetarium for loan of the Stardome.


3. SUNDIVING COMET: A comet is falling into the sun today. Images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory show a bright comet rapidly evaporating as the sun turns up the heat, and it may be only hours away from complete disintegration.  Check for images of the death plunge.


4. Armagh Planetarium

  (1) Math 'a' Magic; Saturday 12 October 2013

Who says that maths is boring?  Join us as we discover the magic and mystery of maths.  Capturing the imagination of children and adults alike, the math ‘a’ magicians from Cahoots will demonstrate the power of mathematics through illusion, misdirection and even mind reading on Saturday 12 October!

This is an unforgettable learning experience that will blow your mind!

Ages: 7 – 13, Duration: 1 hour, Times: 12.30pm and 2.30pm.

Tickets are free but spaces are limited so please pre-book on 028 37523689.

   (2) Planetarium Open Night, Tuesday 15 October

Armagh Planetarium will be hosting a public telescope viewing session as part of our programme of FREE Open Nights starting on Tuesday 15 October 2013.  On this evening night sky observation is hoped to take place (weather permitting) from 7pm-9pm.

   At 7.30pm there is also an opportunity to see the stars whatever the weather in our Digital Theatre show ‘Beyond the Blue’.  If you already have a telescope or binoculars you are welcome to bring them with you for your own use.  Dressing warmly is essential for outdoor stargazing!

 Times: Open 7pm-9pm, Digital Theatre Show: 7.30pm

TEL: 028 37523689. Pre-booking essential


5. RAeS Lecture, by Robert Hill.  Room 02/026, Peter Froggatt Centre, QUB, on Thursday 17th Oct. Developing The Final Frontier: the Space Revolution:

   All are very welcome to attend this free lecture, being presented by Robert Hill from Armagh Planetarium. Robert is the Director of the Northern Ireland Space Office, and an amazing speaker. The Peter Froggett Centre is on the N side of the main campus, and adjoins University Square. The lecture is due to commence at 7 PM, with refreshments available from 6:30 PM





7: TV - HORIZON: Thursday, 17 Oct. BBC4 8.0 - 9.00pm. "The Horizon Guide to Mars"  Dr. Kevin Fong draws on 45 yrs. of footage from the Horizon archives. (Thanks to Peter Paice for the alerts)


8. PRESERVING THE SKY AT NIGHT (Letter in next Radio Times: passed on by Peter Millar):


I'm an assistant at the Hampstead Observatory in north London. Ten years ago we used to get 90 or so visitors per year - now we get that in one night! Most of these people found out about us as a result of The Sky at Night filming here. Everyone involved in the observatory grew up with this show and became passionate about astronomy as a result.

The Sky at Night needs to be on more often, earlier, longer and with a serious budget. Stargazing Live is only on once a year and Horizon only covers astronomy from time to time. The public has a thirst for this subject. Our visitors are from every age group and there's a 50-50 gender split. They aren't geeks and old men but everyday folk. This audience has a right to find out more and the BBC has a duty to provide them with that knowledge. The Sky at Night has the history, reputation and the team to deliver that, so please give them the tools and let them do it! Kevin McNulty London NW3

A petition urging the BBC not to axe The Sky at Night has already collected 30,000 signatures. The BBC says: "Sky at Night is on air until the end of the year. Plans for subsequent series are being discussed."



9. Galway Star Party. 1 February 2014.

“City of Stars" is the theme for the 2014 Galway Astronomy Festival which takes place on February 1st at the Westwood House Hotel with an emphasis on how exploration of the Cosmos has inspired communities and cultures in our city that would not otherwise do so, to think about the Universe.  From its humble beginnings in January 2004 to the present day our Astronomy Festival has become Ireland’s biggest annual gathering of amateur astronomers who come here from around the country to meet in friendship and to exchange information, successful stargazing and mutual progress.

   The event will follow the same format as last year with six talks split into two sessions in the morning and evening. A new lunchtime interlude with two mini observing workshops and in the late evening we present the new Sir Patrick Moore Memorial Lecture. 

1. Dr Deirdre Coffey, UCD. title tba

2. Dr Matt Redman, Director of Centre for Astronomy, NUI Galway: "Star formation and Star Destruction"

3. Guy Hurst, Editor of "The Astronomer magazine" UK: "The Glory of Globular Star Clusters"

4. Tom O'Donaghue: “Cosmic Vistas: The Universe in

5. Professor Paul Mohr: "The genius of the Greek naked-eye astronomers: Measuring the Cosmos with dioptra and trigonometry

6. Michael O’Connell: "From the Big Dipper to the Southern Cross: Observing the southern sky Down Under”

2 x 25 min workshops: Paul Byrne IFAS: “Double Stars: Celestial Couples 

2nd workshop TBC

   Paul Mohr is provisionally launching his new book about Greek Astronomy for the amateur astronomer

   Tom will exhibit his photos

   Paul Byrne is a double star enthusiast from Dublin

The Sir Patrick Moore Memorial Talk: Guy Hurst: "The Astronomer: The First 50 years" celebrating their Golden Jubilee 1964-2014


10. Martin Campbell's Photo in APOY 2013: Congrats to IAA member Martin Campbell whose short listed entry in this year's APOY competition features in the recently published book APOY 2013 edition.  


11. COMET ISON - LATEST: Still fainter than originally predicted, but now up to about mag 11 - 12. See:, and but also



12. ISS: the ISS has started a new series of evening passes over Ireland. For details for your location, see:  


13. Cork Astronomy Club meeting, October 14th: "From Sputnik to the Moon Landings: A History of the Russian Space Programme", by Con McCarthy, Project manager for ESA's Mars Express Lander, and Systems Engineer for Huygens and Venus Express. See for details.


14. Irish Astronomical Society talk on October 21st:  Dr Masha Chernyakova (DCU) will give a talk entitled "Puzzling Gamma-Ray Binaries: Theory and Observation". See for details.    


15. CERN exhibition at UCD:  The new Science Centre at University College Dublin hosts an exhibition about CERN from now to Oct 28th. The exhibition is self-guided and open to the public 9am to 9pm on weekdays. A guided tour can be arranged with the faculty in UCD beforehand though. See for details.


16. International Observe the Moon Night -- October 12th (and IAS event on the 11th) Celebrate the beauty of our companion world in space on October 12th by viewing the Moon through binoculars, a telescope, or just by gazing up in wonder. See for more details. The Moon will be at First Quarter and the Irish Astronomical Society will be hosting a Sidewalk Astronomy Event on October 11th at Sandymount Tower. See for details. (Thanks to John Flannery)


17. "The Life of Galileo" -- November 8th to 10th. Bertolt Brecht’s acclaimed play about science, religion and authority, ‘The Life of Galileo’, comes to Dunsink Observatory for three nights in November, when the play will be staged around several unique spaces, including the 150-year-old dome with its historic telescope. See for details.


18. STARGAZING LIVE returns on 7 - 9 January 2014. The IAA has once again been asked to be principal partner with the BBC for this prestigious event. More details later, but mark your diaries now.


19. INTERESTING WEBLINKS:,,^headlines^headlines|NSNS|2013-1010-GLOBAL&utm_medium=NLC&utm_source=NSNS& It's no wonder they brought him back!

That's not half ambitious enough. Why not do things properly - you just have to create a new planet, of the right size, in the right orbit, around the right star. If you've got one the size of even Mercury to start with, all you need is to add some asteroids to provide extra mass and minerals, some comets to bring water & thus oxygen, and build it up to the mass where it can hold on to its atmosphere. No problem......

   But seriously, some of these fantasies, masquerading as 'science of the future' do make me laugh. Of course the technology to do that sort of thing may be possible in the far distant future. But in the so far distant future that speculation is pointless, because we have no idea what other new science and technology may emerge between now and then, making such projects redundant. We don't know what the next few centuries are going to bring, let alone the next few millennia. Just think: did even the best scientific brains of the 19th century predict nuclear power, nanotechnology, or the digital age? Or if you had asked James Clerk Maxwell if it would ever be possible to cross the USA in less than a day, he would probably have said 'Well, if you could build a fast enough train and a dead straight track, with no stops ...."

   These propositions are solutions to problems that may have to be dealt with in the period at least 1,000, or probably 10,000, years in the future, but NOT using the science and technology we know of in 2013.



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


21. NEW LINK! 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

I'm now back on Twitter (occasionally - I don't have enough time!), after some temporary hiccups: at signterrymoseley2