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From: TerryMosel@aol.com
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 18:53:46 EDT
Subject: TW + Aurorae + Close NEO

Hi all,

The New Glasgow Planetarium Space Theatre has notched up over 50,000 visitors 
in just 5.5 months of operation. It is headed by the excellent Mario di 
Maggio, whom many of you will know from his time at Armagh Planetarium and 
his many talks and presentations throughout Ireland. It will be featured on 
Tomorrow's World on Wednesday 24 July, on BBC1. at 7 p.m.

AURORA ALERT: The Sun is going through another period of intense flare and 
CME activity, associated with some large NE Spots, so look out for aurorae 
over the next few nights.

ANOTHER largish NEO asteroid is headed for a near-miss with Earth, and will 
become bright enough to be visible in small telescopes. It's called "2002 
NY40" and was discovered by LINEAR on 14 July. Closest approach will be on 18 
August, when it is predicted to reach mag 9.6. It will then be fairly well up 
in our evening skies, so should be visible in almost any telescope. It will 
be brightest from Ireland just before dawn on the 18th, and again just after 
nightfall that evening, probably just above 10th magnitude: after that it 
fades very rapidly as the illuminated portion visible from Earth rapidly 
decreases.

It is thought to be between 450 and 1000km in diameter. A precise orbit is 
not yet available: I will circulate details when I have them. The present 
estimate of the miss distance is 0.0036 AU, or about 1.5 times the distance 
of the Moon.

Successful IAA/BGS Outing: Last Saturday's IAA joint Field Trip with the 
Belfast Geological Society to Larne to see geological evidence for a 
mega-meteorite impact at the end of the Triassic period was very successful. 
Led by Dr Mike Simms of the Ulster Museum, many IAA members learnt some basic 
geology, found some fossils, and saw some very interesting evidence for the 
impact. A paper by Mike has been sent to 'SCIENCE', and publication is hoped 
for soon.

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

Last Revised: 2002 July 24th
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