From: TerryMoselat

Subject: Lectures, Spaceship 2 latest, Science week, Rosetta, Dr Who at A/P, IAA Dinner

Date: 4 November 2014 21:21:39 GMT

Hi all,


1. IAA LECTURE: The next IAA public lecture will be on Wednesday 5 November, at 7.30 p.m. It will be given by Prof Andy Shearer, of NUI Galway. Title: "Feeding the Giants - Astronomy with Extremely Large Telescopes".

Synopsis: "Over the next ten years a number of new giant telescopes will come on line - these include the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and in X-rays, Athena. Each one of these will dramatically change our view of the universe. At a recent workshop in Galway, "Speed and Sensitivity: Expanding Astronomical Horizons with ELTs" the possibilities from the current generation of instruments as well as the next generation of instruments for ELTs were discussed. This talk will look at what science is possible with ELTs and what questions will be addressed and hopefully answered by ELTs."

  Some of the new horizons being opened up by these developments are mind-blowing, so this will be a fascinating talk. This lecture will as usual be in the Bell Lecture theatre, Physics building, main QUB Campus.

   The lecture is free and open to all, including free refreshments. Venue: 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. Dublin lecture on Ireland's Space Endeavours, Thurs 6 Nov.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) will host a public lecture in the Alexander Hotel, Fenian Street, Dublin 2 as follows: Thursday, November 6th from 6pm (reception first and then the talk at 6:30pm).

Speaker/Topic:    Rory Fitzpatrick (CEO, National Space Centre). Title: "Ireland's Space Endeavours: An

introduction to our contributions in space exploration and communication"

Admission: Free and open to all. Register via e-mail to iet-eireannat


3. Virgin Galactic's Spaceship 2 crash - latest. So everyone behind her moves up one space in the queue.

BUT  That explains the odd position of the feathered booms and aerofoils in relation to the rocket! I could not make sense of the photo showing the break up, as those parts seemed to be well behind the rocket motor which still seemed to be working ok. So maybe there's nothing wrong with the design after all - except maybe to put in a failsafe device to stop that happening again!

3. Nov 8-9 Science Week events in Dublin:

The makers of The Festival of Curiosity are celebrating Science Week 2014 in Dublin by transforming Smock Alley Theatre into a curiosity filled hub with some very curious family events and shows, including Dr. Niamh Shaw with MY PLACE IN SPACE, a lively talk and show which is perfect for young curious minds to find their place in space! Also, on Thursday Nov 13th at 7.30pm: join us as we delve into the future of space travel with special guests including former NASA Astronaut Greg Johnson and Prof. Ian Robertson. More details later, when available. Smock Alley Theatre is on the edge of Temple Bar, just S of the Liffey.



You are cordially invited to attend the 2014 Statutory Public Lecture of the School of Cosmic Physics, DIAS which will take place in Trinity College on Thursday 13th November at 7:00pm. 

   Registration is essential so if you are interested in attending this year's lecture, we would be grateful if you could please register in advance here. 

  The lecture entitled "Cosmic Rays: One Century of Adventure and Mysteries!" will be given by Professor Etienne Parizot, Professor of High Energy Astrophysics, Université Paris VII, France. 

 Location: Schrodinger Theatre, Physics Department (Fitzgerald Building), Trinity College Dublin. (Access can be gained via the Westland Row or Lincoln Place entrances



5. IAA Observing Nights at Delamont Country Park

These very popular weekend observing sessions have started again with some very successful viewing. Delamont is well signposted off the A22 just South of Killyleagh, (North of Downpatrick) Co Down. They are suitable for anyone, but are aimed especially at beginners.

We bring our own large telescopes; bring your own if you have a portable one.

  The events work like this: If it's clear on the Friday night, the event goes ahead. If not, we try again on the Saturday night. If both are cloudy, we try again on the following weekend, same procedure. To check if it's going ahead, check the IAA website: up to 6.0 p.m. on each day, and for dates for next session: If cloudy, we'll try again on the next date on the list.…



6. ROSETTA's probe to land on Comet on 12 November. On 12 November, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft will begin the most ambitious part of its mission, releasing the Philae lander to attempt the first soft landing on the surface of a comet.

   Philae, roughly the size of a washing machine, will separate from Rosetta at 0835 GMT, at a distance of about 22.5 km from the centre of the comet and it should land about seven hours later on the ‘Agilkia’ landing site announced in September. With a 28-minute delay for the signal to travel to Earth, mission control should receive confirmation of the landing at about 1600 GMT. Philae will communicate with the main Rosetta spacecraft during the descent and after the landing, sending back images to Earth over the next few hours.

   UK research groups and companies have extensive involvement in the construction of Philae and its instruments and the scientific analysis of their data. The Open University and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory built the PTOLEMY instrument for measuring the composition of gas on the comet’s surface and Surrey Satellite Technologies Limited supplied the momentum wheel for the lander itself. (From the RAS)

ESA: Rosetta: See also


7. Armagh Planetarium Doctor Who Event:

Dimensions in Time: Doctor Who Weekend
Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 November 2014
10am - 5pm







 Armagh Planetarium is hosting the Emerald Garrison’s brand new exhibition, “Dimensions in Time”.  This fan-run event celebrates all things Doctor Who with costumed characters portraying everyone from Cybermen to Daleks and even the Doctor himself.  If you have your own costume, why not join in!

  There will be a chance to get your picture taken with the famous TARDIS and time travel to a scene from the Tom Baker era! Lots of photo opportunities and fun for all the family!

Entrance to the exhibit is FREE

Normal admission charges to Planetarium Digital Theatre Shows apply.  To view a list of our shows visit  Pre-booking for a show is essential on 028 37523689.


   We also hope to have some nostalgic memorabilia, and an after-dinner speech by a VIP astronomer, so it promises to be a great evening!

   More details in next bulletin, but mark your diaries now. Provisional start time about 7.30 p.m.


8. IAA 40th Anniversary Dinner: 28 Nov. ADVANCE NOTICE: As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the IAA in its present form (it was originally the Belfast Centre of the Irish Astronomical Society), we're having a special celebratory dinner. This will be on Friday 28 November, at the Stormont Pavilion. We have secured a VERY good value deal, for a 4-course dinner, plus wine if wanted, at an unbelievable price. We're still finalising the menu options, and then we'll know the final price.

9. Public Astronomy Night at Slieve Gullion, 30 November 

The IAA will be holding another public astronomy outreach event, this time at a new dark sky venue, the visitor's centre at Slieve Gullion Forest Park, near the village of Meigh, SW of Newry. More details in next bulletin, but mark your diaries now.


10. FAEROES ECLIPSE TRIP: The next Total Solar Eclipse visible on Earth will be on 20 March, 2015.

This total eclipse track will only cross land on Earth in two places: the Faeroes, and Svalbard in the far North Atlantic. IAA member and eclipse author Dr Kate Russo will be leading a tour to observe this eclipse in the Faeroes. I have the honour to be the 'eclipse/astronomy/aurora expert' on the trip, on which we hope to be able to get good views of the aurora as well as the eclipse itself. See You can also find out more details on the eclipse blog site:

11. ARCHAEOASTRONOMY TRIP TO NEWGRANGE and KNOWTH, 2015, These trips have proved so popular that as soon as I got back from the last one, Stranmillis University College Institute of LifeLong Learning asked me to lead another one next spring!  Like the last one, the next trip will include a visit to the Knowth Tomb as well. It has the largest collection of Megalithic art anywhere in Europe in one single site, some of which is reckoned to be astronomical. Booking for thus very popular, non-technical trip will open later, but if you want to go, note the date in your diary: Sat 9 May. More details when the new brochure comes out.


12. BBC Spotlight Invitation to IAA:

We are currently making enquiries to gauge interest from possible participants for our next Spotlight Special on Tuesday, 2nd December where people from grass roots communities will have the chance to engage with a panel of politicians and public figures about issues that are important to them. If any of your members would be interested in participating, please tell them to come back to me by the end of next week and I’ll give them a call for further discussion.

   BBC Northern Ireland's flagship current affairs programme, "Spotlight" will be recording an audience special, presented by Noel Thompson, in Blackstaff Studios, Great Victoria Street, Belfast on Tuesday December 2nd 2014.

   The style of the programme is a Question & Answer format to a panel of politicians and we are looking for people of all ages who want to take part in the programme. We aim to feature a fair number of audience contributions - in the form of questions and comments - during the hour long programme.

    It's a busy night for the audience: people should arrive promptly between 6:30 and 6:45pm - this gives people time to submit questions, catch up on days events and have a cup of tea, before going into the studio and recording the programme between 8.15 & 9.30pm.  'Spotlight Special' broadcasts the same night at 10.35 on BBC1.

   While we realise that some people may want to come along to simply to watch the programme being made, audience participation is at the heart of a successful programme, so please do your best to encourage those types of who e.g. have something to say, are opinionated, are interested in the news and local affairs. If you would like more details about the programme, please e-mail spotlightspecialat or ring 0845 300 30 80. Angela Davison, BBC



Galway Astrofest: Feb 21, 2015, Theme: "New Worlds - New Horizons" Excellent speaker line-up already!  See Check for latest updates. 

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

Skelligs Star Party: 14-16 August, Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry.  This is a Gold Medal winning Dark Sky site.  see

AI Starbecue: 15 August, Wicklow Mountains.


14: Interesting Weblinks: Fascinating graphic.|NSNS|2014-3110-GLOBAL-novwk2|breakingrelativity&utm_medium=EMP&utm_source=NSNS&utm_campaign=novwk2&utm_content=breakingrelativity&^headlines

Planck's amazing 15 months results:

Exoplanets Zodiacal Light: . Nothing seems to be impossible now! How long before they can read a newspaper on an exoplanet????

When did galaxies settle down?

Parallel Universe: But of course in some of these parallel universes there are other scientists proving that there's no such thing as parallel universes.....

Irregular planet: 

Primitive meteorites brought Earth water

Universe's dark future:



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


16. 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