From: TerryMoselat

Subject: IAA Summer BBQ, NLCs, INAM, Solar Day, IMC, Next star parties, Weblinks

Date: 25 June 2014 04:05:53 BST

Hi all,


1. IAA Midsummer BBQ, 28 June, at Armagh Observatory:

The IAA's midsummer BBQ will be at Armagh Observatory, on the afternoon of Sat 28 June. We will also include a visit and show at Armagh Planetarium. Activities will start at 12.00, and we will finish before 6.00.

  The day will also include a tour of the Observatory and some of the main telescope domes.

  We are delighted that Bob Campbell from Tullamore will be bringing his latest, Mark 3, super Triple Rocket Launcher! This will be great fun, and you will be amazed at how high these compressed air / water powered rockets will go! Make your own and bring them along and see if yours is best.

   You make your rocket(s) from 1.5 litre or 2 litre fizzy drinks plastic bottle(s). NB, they have to be for fizzy, i.e. carbonated, drinks, as those bottles are strong enough to withstand the pressure of the compressed air. To be safe, I wouldn't recommend the 'slightly sparkling' water bottles, as they aren't made to withstand as much pressure as one by Coke, Diet Coke, Fanta etc.

   Construction details: The neck of the bottle is the exhaust nozzle, and the thrust is provided by water which is expelled at high speed by compressed air which is pumped into the rocket under pressure. The launch system provides the water and compressed air, so all you need to do is make a nice streamlined aerodynamic and stable rocket!

    Since the base of the bottle will become the top of the rocket, you will need to make a nice tapering cone of strong card (or plastic from another spare bottle) to streamline the top of the rocket.

   And you will also need to provide 3 or 4 stabilising fins near the base (nozzle end) of the rocket to keep it flying straight: see pictures in the attached links.

   Some new designs of bottles have a narrow 'waist', so you might want to cover that with card or plastic to keep the outside diameter the same the whole length.

   And it's also a good idea to put some weight inside the tip of the nose cone to give it extra stability. Aim for the weight af about 2-3 Euro or Pound coins: too much weight will reduce the acceleration available. And that weight needs to be VERY securely wedged or taped or otherwise fastened into the tip of the nose cone, because the acceleration on launch has to be seen to be believed! If the weight is not well secured it will simply come loose inside the cone, and ruin the stability.

   Decorate them as you see fit, but 'go faster stripes' won't make them go any faster or higher!


and and

   There will also be a visit to another very interesting but lesser known astronomical item in Armagh! 


   It's the usual arrangements for the BBQ: We supply the cooking facilities - you bring your own food, drinks, eating accessories (plates, cups, wine glasses if you wish, cutlery, folding chairs & tables if you wish, etc).


2. Noctilucent Clouds (NLCs). We are now in the season of visibility for these ethereal high altitude clouds, visible when the sky is nearly totally dark, as they lie well above the height of ordinary clouds. There have been some lovely displays recently, with superb photos by Paul Evans, Andy McCrea & David Stewart, which should be on the IAA website by now. They are thought to be connected with high altitude fine debris from meteors which have burned up high in our atmosphere. Look low in the Northern sky near local midnight


3: Major astronomy event in Dublin, 13-15 August: This year the ASGI is proud to announce the first Irish National Astronomical Meeting (INAM:2014), celebrating the 40th anniversary of the ASGI, and spanning 3 days. This will represent the new format of the future ASGI meetings, with more focused sessions, chosen by the Irish Astronomical community, aimed at developing meaningful and long-lasting collaborations and friendships. 

* We invite you to join us at the Hamilton Conference Centre on the main Trinity College Dublin campus, between August 13th – 15th.

* Full details are at the meeting website, but we highlight some key points here:

* Deadline for registration is 13th July 2014. There is no registration fee.

* Abstract submission and registration are handled on the website.

* The website provides information on travel and accommodation options.

* The ASGI intends on awarding a number of small grants of approximately €100 (or equivalent in GBP) to help support travel/accommodation costs of PhD students and young researchers from outside the immediate Dublin area.

* In addition to the scientific programme of 5 thematic sessions, the meeting will also feature an evening public lecture by Professor Paul Roche (University of South Wales), a conference dinner, and the inaugural INAM football tournament!

NB: This is a professional level event (apart from the public lecture), so be prepared from some fairly advanced maths and physics! T.M.


4. IAA Solar Day, WWT, Castle Espie. We will be holding another one of these very popular events on Sunday afternoon, 17 August. More details later.


5. 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

   NB the deadline for the standard IMC fee is close now: 30 June 2014. After this date you can still register for the IMC but the IMC fee increases with 15 Euro for late registration. To avoid the late registration fee you should register before 1 July and also make your payment before 1 July. Also after 30 June you will not be able to book extra nights before or after the IMC via the LOC. After 30 June extra nights should be booked on your own behalf.




Galway Astrofest: Feb 21, 2015

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


7. INTERESTING WEBLINKS: Hmmmm. So how come it has an orbital eccentricity of only 0.029 (compared with 0.055 for our Moon), and an orbital inclination of only 0.33 degrees? Highly unlikely if it was captured from elsewhere. Jupiter's Galilean moons have inclinations of 0.04, 0.47, 0.21 and 0.51, so it's comparable with them.

The Lunar X-Prize: and and  And when they have used up all the accessible water at the poles, what then?

Curiosity's Martian selfie:

Milky Way clouds:

SpaceX launch delay: this isn't news - I read it first in 2023! Amazing and weird! You can see the Plough at the top left.

Interview with Lord Rosse. there was also a feature on him in last Saturday's Irish Times and

Raining on the Sun: Dr Eamon Scullion gave a talk on this at the excellent Solarfest at Dunsink last Saturday: and

Asteroid redirect for NASA Mars missions ideas: I can certainly see how this idea would be useful in helping to protect Earth from asteroids, but I have still to find out how this proposal is "a key part of the agency's stepping stone path to send humans to Mars". Does anyone out there know how bringing a piece of space rock the size of a small house or large garage into lunar orbit will be a 'key part' in helping humans get to Mars?

Call for a giant new space telescope and

Progress on world's largest telescope:  Why only '39m'? OK, it was a bit of whimsy to propose originally that it would be 42m (the answer to 'Life, the Universe, and Everything), but why reduce it to 39m? - 40m would have been a nice round number. And no, I'm NOT superstitious, so the fact that 39 is 3x13 is NOTHING to do with it! But just don't have First Light on a Friday 13th to be safe..... (Only joking!)

Earth-sized diamond in space! The nursery rhyme was right!

Twinkle twinkle little star .... like a diamond in the sky

New type of dust in Mars atmosphere 

Organic Puzzle in LMC: 

3-D map of dusty Milky Way 

Puffing Sun outbursts: 

New Space Telescope progress: 

Big all-sky telescope: 

Solar Blow-outs make Space Weather: 

More evidence for Higgs Boson: and



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


9. 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