From: TerryMoselat

Subject: IAA/QUB Prof Gilmore Lecture, 5 Feb - UPDATE, + other updates & repeats

Date: 26 January 2014 21:23:55 GMT

Hi all,



1.  IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION/QUB ARC: Michael West Public Lecture, February 5, 7.00pm: "The Gaia space mission and the origins of the Milky Way".

NB: Note START TIME IS 7 p.m., and it will be in the LARMOR Lecture Theatre (not our usual Bell lecture theatre). The Larmor is at the other end (SW end) of the Physics Building, with a separate entrance. NB: You must pre-register for this talk - see below.

   The Gaia mission aims to create a precise 3D map of the Milky Way. The billion stars that Gaia will map is still only one per cent of the Milky Way's total number of stars. It is Europe's successor to the Hipparcos satellite which mapped around 100,000 stars. Hipparcos was the very first mission for measuring astrometry - the positions, distances, motions, brightness and colours of stars. It is hoped Gaia will find also reveal new asteroids, dead stars, and test current theories about our cosmos. Its map will also become a reference frame to guide the investigations of future telescopes. See

   Prof Gerry Gilmore FRS is Professor of Experimental Philosophy at the Institute of Astronomy in the University of Cambridge.  He leads the effort to understand the structure and origin of our Galaxy and his team has provided us our current understanding of how the masses of stars are distributed at birth. Professor Gilmore is lead investigator on the Gaia-ESO Project.

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

   The lecture is free and open to all (but register first). Venue: the Larmor Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast, at 7.00 p.m.  GPS co-ordinates for the entrance to the Larmor Lecture Theatre: N 54deg 35' 0.6"; W 5deg 56'  7.7"


2. Supernova in M82 ('Cigar Galaxy') = SN2014J - LATEST

The supernova which recently exploded in the nearby Cigar Galaxy (M82) in Ursa Major is still brightening;     Latest reliable estimates at put it just brighter than mag 11 for visual observers. That puts it within range of a small telescope, or good high power binoculars. As noted below, it's much brighter in the red end of the spectrum.

  M82, which is an elongated irregular galaxy, lies close to the bigger and brighter oval-shaped M81. You can find them easily by following the diagonal line across the 'blade' of the Plough, or the 'bowl' of the Big Dipper, i.e. from Gamma through Alpha, and extending it for its own distance beyond Alpha. The precise co-ordinates of the supernova are: RA: 09 55 42.14; Dec: +69 40 26.0

   This supernova had a V magnitude of 11.6 at discovery, but it should peak over the coming days before dimming over the next few months. 

   SN 2014J is a Type Ia-HV supernova. HV = high-velocity, meaning that the explosive matter has been blasted out from the progenitor star at huge speed. Measurements on Jan. 22 indicated speeds of over 12,400 miles per second (20,000 km/sec). SN 2014J is highly reddened, indicating that there is a lot of dust in the host galaxy through which its light has to shine before reaching us. Without this reddening, it would appear even brighter.

   Astronomers think it was discovered about a week before maximum brightness. That would indicate a peak on or around Jan. 29.

  If you don't have a telescope but want to see a live image check out the Virtual Telescope Project 2.0 featuring Italian astrophysicist Gianluca Masi on . Starting on Jan. 25 you can join the online observing session.

   IAA Council member and Editor of STARDUST Dr Andy McCrea got some nice images, which are on the IAA website

See also:

   BUT this one got it wrong! - the photo shows the galaxy WITHOUT (i.e. before) the Supernova! And I have doubts about some of the text as well!

   You can find out more about Type Ia supernovae and how they help astronomers study dark energy at:



3. GALWAY ASTROFEST, 1 February: UPDATE: Special Guest speakers: Tim Puckett, and Guy Hurst, editor of "The Astronomer"

Full updated details of our Astronomy Festival is now available at

We have almost €2500 worth of equipment in our 10th anniversary raffle this year! All details on our website at


4. NO BLACK HOLES?  Prof Stephen Hawking has stirred the cosmological pot once again, claiming "there are no Black Holes, only 'Grey' ones". See

But of course, as we know, there are Fifty Shades of Grey!  At least!  'Grey' can be anything from 99% black to 99% white. (TM)


5. NEW IRISH SCIENCE BLOG: Note this new science blog by Dr Kevin Nolan. Kevin is well known in astronomical circles in Ireland as the Ireland representative of The Planetary Society, and author of the book "Mars: A Cosmic Stepping Stone". He lectures widely on this and related topics - he has given several well-received lectures to the IAA - and is a tireless exponent of planetary exploration. 

   His new blog is centred on topical, open, sociological and emerging issues in space exploration among other science topics; as well as providing The Planetary Society in Ireland events and news.

   He emailed me: "To start the blog off, I've posted a blog providing details on the upcoming anniversary of MER-B Opportunity (that's Mars Exploration Rover B, 'Opportunity': TM) on Saturday 25th January. Apart from the blog, the “Documents” section of my blog provides a 20 page PDF document free for download with details on Mars Exploration, the MER rovers, Opportunity's milestones and achievements, images with source and credits and links to important Mars web sites, hash tags and so on. My new blog is called “Planetarie” and can be found at:" Kevin.


6. Advance Notice: Thursday 27 March at 7.30pm Lecture: "Blowing up a storm! Ireland’s record of great winds and the Irish characters who showed the world how to measure them." Dr Kieran R. Hickey, Dept of Geography, NUIG.

Venue: Room OG-029, School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen’s University Belfast, Elmwood Avenue, Belfast, BT7 1NN.

Tickets: free, please email to indicate attendance E rgsniat


7. Advance Notice: Trip to Newgrange: Mar 29, 2014: 09.30 – 17.00: I will be leading an astronomy /archaeoastronomy trip to Newgrange, as part of the Stranmillis Adult Learning programme. A day long coach trip, with full commentary. Demand for this is already high, so book now if you are interested. There is a maximum number allowed on the trip, due to space restrictions within the Newgrange Mound. Booking is through Stranmillis College.


8. Advance Notice: COSMOS 2014.  This will be held from 4-6 April, but this year it will be in Athlone, not Annaharvey, Tullamore! So don't be booking any accommodation in Tullamore, as I nearly did! More details when available.


9. Advance Notice: 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


10. Advance Notice: STFC Roadshow at QUB, 19 - 25 May. 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 





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


13. 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