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From: TerryMosel@aol.com
Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2002 18:20:14 EST
Subject: Meteors, Mercury, ISS + Party

Hi all,

Happy New Year, and Clear Skies, to all!

The next chance for some decent meteors will be on 3 January, although the 
20-day old moon will rather spoil the show. The Quadrantids, which can reach 
peak rates of 100+ per hour under good conditions, reach their brief sharp 
maximum on Thursday - at 16h according to Neil Bone, Director of the BAA 
Meteor Section, or at 23h according to the International Meteor Organisation.
  If the former is right we'll have a few hours of fairly high activity just 
after the peak before the Moon rises: observers in the extreme NE of Ireland 
will see darkness soonest that evening, and hence can observe closer to the 
predicted maximum, although the radiant will still be low. They will also 
have the radiant a bit higher above the horizon.
   If the latter is correct, maximum will occur in darkness for all of 
Ireland, with the radiant higher up, but the moon will rise as the shower 
peaks. But that will still give a few hours of good activity in moonless 
skies - if it is clear! The radiant lies in N Bootes, at RA 15 28m, Dec +50, 
which is about halfway between the end of the 'Plough' handle and the head of 
Draco. 

And your first chance to see Mercury this year will be over the next wek or 
so: look low down in the SSW about 30 mts after sunset, with binocs if you 
have them, for a bright pinkish 'star'. It is brightest for the next day or 
two, though very low: after a few days it will get higher up, but fainter.

And the ISS is starting another series of  morning pases about now - details 
are available at: www.heavens-above.com

Finally, there are still some places left at the IAA New Year Party, at the 
Tudor Private Cinema, just outside Comber, at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday 2 
January. We'll have a buffet supper with free bubbly, punch, mulled wine, 
soft drinks & hot drinks, plus a special showing of "THE DISH" with Sam Neill 
 and other entertainment such as a very light-hearted quiz, with prizes for 
everyone - all for 10 per head with special family rates as follows: 2 
adults + up to 2 children for 25, and 2 adults + up to 3 children (under 16).

And there's plenty of free parking, so no excuses!

We'll allow you to pay on arrival but you MUST let us know by 2 p.m. on 
Wednesday if you intend coming, so we can inform the caterers. Please contact 
me as below, or John Hall on (028) 9084 3109, or email: 
Jimmyaquarius@btinternet.com.

Terry

Tel (028) 9058 7658, or 9083 5392 (home, 1 to 2 p.m.), or
(028) 9025 3637 (work, 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.), or
mobiles: 07979 300842 or 07979 541622, 
or by email to this address.

Remember: 2.p.m. is the absolute latest to book a place (or two - guests are 
welcome).

T.

Last Revised: 2002 January 2nd
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