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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2004 17:13:57 EST
Subject: Sir P 70y in BAA, Solstice, TV, Mercury, IAA events

Hi all,

1. There is a video of yesterday's presentation of an Orrery to Sir Patrick 
Moore to mark his 70th year of membership of the BAA, by the President, Tom 
Boles, at the start of the Christmas BAA meeting. The video is 12 MB & lasts just 
over six minutes. This will take about 30mts to download over a phone 
connection but it should play in real time if you have broadband. The address is:    
http://www.britastro.com/video/patrick_baa_20041218.wmv  Congratulations to 
Sir Patrick, a long-standing member of the IAA (but not 70 years!) on yet 
another remarkable achievement!

2. The Winter Solstice occurs on Wed 21 Dec at 12h 42m GMT, when the Sun 
reaches its most southerly point along the ecliptic. So that evening, no matter 
how dark or cold, you can console yourself with the thought that the days are 
getting longer from then on!

3. TV:  Wednesday, 22 Dec:   9.00pm, BBC4 TV, "Light Fantastic": How Einstein 
changed our world view. (4/4). Repeated 1.20am.
            See: 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/light.shtml

Thursday, 23 Dec:   10.00pm BBC4 TV, Light Fantastic (4/4). Repeat 2.10am.

4. MERCURY DANCES WITH VENUS. Watch Mercury slowly dance round Venus from now 
until mid January. Brilliant 'morning star' Venus is slowly drawing in to the 
Sun, and it will soon be met by little Mercury darting out to meet it, circle 
round it, then successfully race it back in to the Sun again! Look for 
brilliant Venus low in the SW at about 7.30 each morning. On the morning of the 
20th, MUCH fainter Mercury will lie about 6 deg (about a binocular field) to lower 
left of Venus. Use binoculars if required, but in good conditions you'll spot 
Mercury without optical aid as a pinkish slowly twinkling 'star' shining 
shyly through the twilight, especially later in the month & into January.
  By the 23rd a.m., Mercury is higher and closing, lying 3.3 deg L of Venus. 
On Xmas a.m., leave the prezzies 'til later, and look for it only 2 deg L, and 
now slightly above, its brighter sister. On the 27th a.m., ignore the turkey 
leftovers & look for it only 1.25 deg above left of Venus. By 31st a.m., it's 
directly above Venus, and only 1 deg away. From then on it passes round to the 
right of Venus, overtakes it only about 1/3 degree away! and scoots in 
towards the Sun, where we'll lose it in the solar glare by about 15 Jan. More on the 
January circumstances, including a visit by the waning Moon, in a later 
issue.

5. The next IAA public lecture will be on 5 January when Dr Katherine Gunn of 
Southampton University will speak on "Recent Results in X-Ray Astronomy from 
Chndra & XMM Newton". 7.30 p.m. Lecture Room 5, Stranmillis College, 
Stranmillis Road, Belfast. Admission free, including light refreshments, & all will be 
welcome.

6. Then to the serious business of the IAA's Xmas/New Year/Perihelion Party, 
calendrically forced to Saturday 8th January. Venue once again is the Tudor 
Private Cinema, just outside Comber, Co Down (directions in next email). the 
film will be "I, Robot", and there will be loads of eats & drinks of all types, 
and plenty of craic & entertainment. There are still some tickets left, at 10 pounds
per adult, or 5 pounds for under 12s. Book from IAA treasurer John Hall at 
iaa2000btinternet.com or jimmyaquariusbtinterrnet.com. Non-members & guests are 
welcome at the same rates!

7. The 41st ESAT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition will take place in 
the RDS, Dublin, 11-15 Jan. 2005.  A record total of 1,064 projects were 
submitted for the 480 exhibition places. The Exhibition opens to the public on 
Thursday, 13 Jan. at 10.00am.      See http://www.esatys.com/timetable.html

And, unless I have occasion to email again before 25/12, may I wish all of 
you, and yours, a very Happy Christmas & a Happy & cloudless New Year!

Terry Moseley

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