From: TerryMoselat

Subject: AGM, Bring/Buy/fixit, Fireball, TV, Yuri's Night+ISS, TLE, Diamond Ring, Events

Date: 12 April 2014 13:54:54 BST

Hi all,


1. IAA AGM: 16 April: The meeting will be followed by a 'Bring & Buy' for all your wanted, and unwanted, astronomy items such as accessories, books & memorabilia, from Altaz mounts to Zerodur mirrors. There will also be a 'Telescope Fixits' session - bring your problem telescope in and we'll try to fix it for you. See

The meeting is free and open to all, including free refreshments, but only current IAA members can take part in the official business of the AGM. Venue: the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast, at 7.30 p.m. 


2. Bright Green Fireball. Prof Mike Baillie sent me this report (edited): At Aldergrove on 9 April at 10.55 I was standing outside the terminal looking ENE when a very bright meteor, bright green, dropped from high in the zenith towards the general direction of Belfast. As it dropped it brightened, faded and flared up again; bright green throughout. 

   I forwarded the report to Prof Alan Fitzsimmons at QUB who commented: "The green is probably the magnesium MgI triplet at 517nm. The oxygen OI  line at 557nm is another possibility, but generally the MgI lines dominate in the green part of the spectrum."

   Did anyone else see this spectacular fireball?


3. Astronomy programmes on TV: (Per Danny Collins - thanks)

Saturday 12 April: 8.00pm  BBC4 "Chemistry: a Volatile History" (2 of 3) The Order of the Elements    (Repeated Wednesday 12.40am)

Sunday 13 April: 7.00pm Nat Geographic "Cosmos: a Spacetime Odyssey" (1 of 22. New, presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson)

8.00pm Nat Geographic "Journey to the Planets" (2 of 6. Saturn)

10.00pm BBC4 "The Sky at Night" looking at Mars  (Repeated Thursday 7.30pm and Friday 1.00pm)

Wednesday 14 April 11.00pm BBC R4  "Helen Keen's It is Rocket Science" (3 of 4. 2 of 4 on tonight)

Thursday 15 April 4.30pm BBC R4  "Inside Science" weekly science news prog, lame replacement for Quentin Cooper's "Material World". (Repeated at 9.00pm)


4. ISS: The International Space Station continues its series of evening passes. There will be an excellent pass this evening, 12 April; which is very appropriate for the date: see below. Details of all passes for your own location on


5.  Yuri's Night: 12 April. Marking 53 years since the first human flight into space.

Free Evening event at BCO, Cork. Contact CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, Castle Road, Blackrock, Cork, Ireland. T: +353 (0) 21 432 6124| for details

   A nice way to mark Yuri's Night anywhere in Ireland is to observe a very favourable pass of the ISS this evening. Details from Heavens-Above.

12 April: Maximum magnitude -3.0 to -4.0. Times below are Summer Time.

Start 10° up in WSW: Time about 21.45, depending on your location

Max: 50+° up in South, about 21.48

Ends: about 22° up in ESE, at about 21.52.

   The ISS is now the size of a football field, weighs over 410 tons, and has now orbited the Earth about 82,000 times and travelled more than 2 billion miles. I wonder what Yuri would have made of that?


6. Americas to get Total Lunar Eclipse on 15 April: (Please, no! Not the religious nuts trying their hand at astrology? The worst of both worlds! In other words, more hype and nonsense).

See also  Some very sloppy reporting in this story: Quote:

"Although lunar eclipses happen multiple times in a year during a full moon, this eclipse will be a particularly unusual viewing opportunity for North America. Since Earth's Western Hemisphere will be facing the moon during the eclipse, the continent will be in prime position to view it from start to finish. In addition, the eclipse will coincide with nighttime in North America." Eh, how could you experience a TLE from start to finish in daytime???? And "multiple" is stretching it a bit - the maximum number of lunar eclipses in a year is three, and the maximum number which can be total is only two.

   See also:

   And: (Some sanity, at least). Incidentally, the last of those four eclipses will be the next TLE to be visible in Ireland.


7. Chance Alignment creates lovely celestial 'diamond ring': and (Pity they didn't discover it on Feb 14), and

The star is HD 83535, and I wondered if its Proper Motion would bring it into even better alignment with the ring. But its distance per Hipparcos is 782 LY (+/- 148 LY), and the annual PM is -0.00125" in RA, and -0.00747" in Dec, so no luck!


8. IAA Event at N. Down Museum, Bangor, 3 May: Mars and Stars, ~6.30 p.m. After last year's very successful IAA event there, we have been invited back for another evening, on 3 May. More details in future bulletins.


9. Book on Lunar craters launched: John Moore from Cork has just launched his book ‘Craters of the Near Side Moon’. I haven't had time to check it out myself yet, but see - Amazon link or YouTube link (animation).


10. Skydivers Meteorite was probably a terrestrial pebble! see


11. Major Astronomy Conference in Galway;  Speed and Sensitivity, Expanding Astronomical Horizons with ELTs. NUI, Galway, 13-16 May 2014

 Led by Prof Andy Shearer: this will be a fascinating look at the future of astronomy as offered by Extremely Large Telescopes, and ever increasingly sensitive detectors. See or

With reference to this, these articles may be of interest:  It doesn't say here what the diameter of the E-ELT will be: it was originally to be 42m (the answer to the ultimate question about 'Life, The Universe, and Everything" was "42"), but it was later scaled back to a still huge 39m. But how can any science journalist refer to a roughly circular mirror as 'thirty meters long'?



12. STFC Roadshow at QUB, 17 -  24 May. Note that this event will now start 2 days earlier, and finish one day earlier, than in previous emails. The revised dates are as shown above. The roadshow, entitled "Seeing the Universe in all its light" features stunning science images and interactive exhibits,   Check the `Seeing the Universe in All its Light’ webpage (the dates on this link are wrong - correct dates are as above)


13. Statutory Public Lecture of the School of Theoretical Physics, 19 May. 

  The 2014 Statutory Public Lecture of the DIAS School of Theoretical Physics will take place on Monday 19th May (time tbc) in UCD. The lecture entitled “Are Brains Analog or Digital?” will be given by Professor Freeman Dyson, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

   This FREE lecture is not strictly astronomical, but Prof Dyson is well known in the field of cosmology and fundamental physics. See:

   ABSTRACT: We know that creatures like us have two separate systems for processing information, the genome and the brain. We know that the genome is digital, and we can accurately transcribe our genomes onto digital machines. We cannot transcribe our brains, and the processing of information in our brains is still a great mystery. I will be talking about real brains and real people, asking a question that will have practical consequences when we are able to answer it. I am not able to answer it now. All I can do is to examine the evidence and explain why I consider it probable that the answer will be that brains are analog.

    Location: Theatre D, UCD Science Hub, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4. Building 64 on map:




Solarfest 2014 is now confirmed for Saturday 21st June. Further details will be posted here in due course:


15. INTERNATIONAL METEOR CONFERENCE, 2014  Thursday September 18 till Sunday 21 September 2014, Giron, France. Giron is a small village located in the south of the Jura Mountains close to Geneva. The region is easily reachable by air (Geneva or Lyon airport), by train (TGV high speed train from Paris and InterCity trains from Geneva railway station) and by car (highway A40 Lyon-Chamonix). Part of the attraction for this event is that a free visit to CERN is included in the price! See



Galway Astrofest: Feb 21, 2015

COSMOS: April 17th to 19th 2015, Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone.



Did life originate in Deep Sea Vents?

Recycling astronaut urine:

Reconstruction of major ancient impact:

Mars: Gusev crater once held a lake: 

Heart-shaped? Those Martians have odd-shaped hearts....

Triple analemmas are instructive as well as beautiful:



18. TWITTER: Follow the IAA on Twitter: The account is now operational again as before: at signIaaAstro.


19. 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


Finally, in tribute to the late great John Dobson, a quote from him which is typical of the man, and very appropriate:  "If you figure something out for yourself, it doesn't make no never-mind who figured it out first, it's yours."


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