From: TerryMoselat

Subject: Krauss & Dawkins, Andor visit, Leo at IAA, La Palma, WSW, Newgrange, Elements...

Date: 3 September 2014 01:07:43 BST

Hi all,


1.  Lawrence Krauss & Richard Dawkins to visit Belfast. World famous Cosmologist & Physicist Lawrence Krauss, + controversial scientist Richard Dawkins, are to visit Belfast on 21 October for a live Q&A and screening of 'The Unbelievers', at 7.30pm in the Strand Arts Centre, Holywood Road, Belfast:


I've just been given this exciting news by an 'inside source' -.


"I am pleased to inform you all that The Strand Arts Centre Belfast will be screening "The Unbelievers" documentary on the 21st October. See:

Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss will be in attendance for a Q+A after the screening. 

   'The Unbelievers' follows renowned scientists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss across the globe as they speak publicly about the importance of science and reason in the modern world - encouraging others to cast off antiquated religious and politically motivated approaches toward important current issues.

The film includes interviews with celebrities and other influential people who support the work of these controversial speakers, including:

Ricky Gervais, Stephen Hawking, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Tim Minchin, Eddie Izzard, Ian McEwan, Sam Harris, Dan Dennett, James Randi, Michael Shermer. David Silverman, Woody Allen, Cameron Diaz, Werner Herzog, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, Adam Savage, Ayaan Hirsi-Ali, Penn Jillette, Cormac McCarthy, Paul Provenza, James Morrison, and more.

  Tickets will go on sale next Wednesday from the Strand box office online and direct at a price of £16.50."


Lawrence Krauss is a renowned cosmologist, and author of many best-selling books such as "The Fifth Essence" (Dark Matter); "The Physics of Star Trek"; "A Universe From Nothing"; "Quintessence, The Search For Missing Mass In The Universe", "Beyond Star Trek"; "Atom: An Odyssey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth...and Beyond"; and many articles in various science journals. He is also the ONLY physicist to have received awards from all three of the major American Physics Societies. See:

   Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist rather than a physicist, but he is committed to the Public Understanding of Science in general, and does occasionally comment on astronomy and cosmology.

I'm sure there will be huge interest (and probably some opposition!), so get your tickets now!



2. EXCLUSIVE: Visit to Andor Technology Camera Facility, 13 September: The IAA has arranged a special visit to the Andor Technology Camera manufacturing facility in Belfast. As many of you will know, Andor make some of the best - in many cases the best - high-end digital cameras in the world. They are used in every scientific application imaginable, including of course astronomy, and they can be found in many of the world's top observatories, and in spacecraft. They are also moving into the range of amateur astronomers, having recently acquired Apogee Instruments. Thanks to Dr Andy McCrea we have arranged a free special visit for IAA members, and friends, to this facility, on Saturday 13 September.


1200 Meet in Andor Reception

Introductory welcome and short talk

Lunch (Free, provided by Andor) in their canteen

Tour of the Clean Room and factory assembly floor

Talks on the range of cameras and their applications

Talk on solar astronomy imaging using Andor cameras by Prof Mihalis Mathioudakis of the Astrophysics Research Centre in QUB (link from QUB/ Professor Smart)

Q&A Discussion

Finish - say 1530

  This is an exceptional opportunity to see and learn all about the latest developments and future plans for top class astronomical imaging equipment. Andor will also be interested in feedback from expert amateur users of digital imagers, so this is your opportunity to let them know what YOU would like to see available.

   Spaces are limited, so you must register your intention to attend. Please send your name and contact details to Dr Andy McCrea (of North Down Telescopes: email s.mccrea980at to ensure that you get a place, and mark your diaries now!


3. IAA New Season Opening Lecture 24 Sep: Latest Science Results from Rosetta, by Leo Enright

 This talk by Ireland's leading science broadcaster and journalist, will reveal the latest findings from the fantastic Rosetta spacecraft at Comet C-G. As you can see from some of the images, the comet is weird - absolutely unlike anything we've seen before. And Leo usually updates his talk from the Internet just about 10 minutes before he's due to start, so it will be the VERY latest information. Not to be missed!

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.


4. ASTROMASTER LA PALMA, Sep 27 - Oct 3, 2014:  Advanced Landscape Astrophotography & Time-lapse. (From Ana on La Palma): There are a couple of places left for this Sept. Please share this if you know someone that might be interested. I´d really appreciate it.

"Join TWAN Photographers Babak Tafreshi (the founder and director) and Christoph Malin (dedicated timelapse photographer, TWAN-Austria) for a world-class week-long workshop on night sky photography and timelapse imaging and processing. Started in 2013 the Astromaster workshops have been a great success that inspired  photographers and amateur astronomers who attended the event from across the world. La Palma, home to one of the world's notable observatories, is  a stargazers paradise in the Canaries. Registration fees include full board accommodation, transportation and  course fees.

 More here:"


5. World Space Week: October 4 to 11; UK Launch in N. Ireland!

There will be events in various parts of the province. More news on this excellent coup by Robert Hill in the next bulletin.


6. ASTROARCHAEOLOGY TRIP TO NEWGRANGE and KNOWTH, 11 October: Following the success of last years' trip, Stranmillis University College Institute of LifeLong Learning have asked me to run another one, on 11 October, but this time including 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, is via the Stranmillis website, or go direct to,456138,en.pdf and scroll down to p. 23, or pick up a brochure from Reception.


7. The Elements in the Universe:  Ulster Museum, 11 October, 12.00 - 4.30). this event will be looking at the Universe from an elemental point of view. Dr Mike Simms will be there with his meteorites. He has also invited IAA members to participate, particularly those with telescopes, especially if linked to spectroscopy of the Sun and stars. If anyone is interested in being involved, please contact Mike so that he can plan the event. michael.simmsat 


8. ROSETTA now orbiting Comet. The Rosetta spacecraft continues to 'orbit' round Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, sending back some jawdropping photos. After studying the 'binary' surface in more detail, it will land a probe on the surface. Watch out for some amazing photos.  See

See: This will be the topic for the IAA's opening lecture of the new season, by the incomparable Leo Enright.

 See above:



Comet Siding Spring will pass 134,000 kilometres from Mars on October 19. The neutral-gas coma of the comet, which extends for more than 100,000 kilometres in all directions from the nucleus, may well interact with the atmosphere of the planet. Ions may extend away than that, and the tail is millions of kilometres long. As a precaution, the orbits of the Martian orbiters have been altered to place them on the safe side of the planet during the most dangerous part of the encounter, which will occur when Mars' path through the comet's tail reaches the region of highest dust density, about 100 minutes after closest approach.

 Nevertheless, every effort will be made to get good observations from the comet from all the spacecraft on or near the Red Planet. Siding Spring is a long-period comet on its first visit to the inner Solar System and spacecraft designed to study Mars up-close are not idea for good observations of the tiny comet nucleus much further away. 

   The comet's coma of dust and ice particles are the main hazard for the orbiters, but will not affect the rovers on the surface which will be protected by Mars' atmosphere. Even though it's much thinner than ours, the tiny particles in the coma will burn up without reaching the ground.

Each spacecraft will observe the comet as best as possible using its respective instruments. Most attention will be on the comet's coma -- its size, composition, the size of the particles, how it varies with time, and the jets from the nucleus. They will also study the comet's effect on the Martian atmosphere. And one spacecraft may possibly be able to image the tiny nucleus of the comet, only 1-2 kilometres across, as it passes by at the challenging relative speed of 57 km/s. But most instruments will be able to see the coma or the coma's effects on the atmosphere.

The spacecraft involved are: 1. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Has 3 cameras plus an imaging spectrometer and a radar sounder. 2. Mars Express. Will use HRSC camera and ultraviolet/infrared atmospheric spectrometer. 3. Mars Odyssey. Will use THEMIS thermal emission imaging system. 4. MAVEN, arriving 2014. Has a suite of instruments devoted to Mars' upper atmosphere, but no camera. 5. Mars Orbiter Mission, arriving 2014. Has a varied instrument suite but not sure if it will be performing Siding Spring observations.



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

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


11. INTERESTING WEBLINKS: I'm sure that Cox knows that a 'bus-sized asteroid' would not 'wipe us out' (e.g. the Chelyabinsk object was bigger), so that error probably arose within the DM writers. Scroll down to the Brian Cox feature for a laugh:

The top picture is way OTT! The 'asteroid' shown in fact is much bigger than Ceres, the largest asteroid in our SS (actually now reclassified as a dwarf planet). An it definitely won't hit us in the next 10 million years, if ever! Indeed, none of the 100 largest asteroids are going to hit us in the next million years.

Why sibling stars look alike: 

Exercise needed on long space flights: 

Spitzer Space Telescope sees asteroid smash-up: 

Radio Telescope gives accurate distance to Pleaides:

Radioactive cobalt in Supernovae 

New Quantum Physics imaging method:

Comet Collision left nanodiamonds:

Looking into the heart of a solar storm:



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


13. 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


Terry Moseley