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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2004 20:11:06 EDT
Subject: IAA Meeting, WSP, IFAS Observing Challenges

Hi all,

1. Prof Mark Bailey, Director of Armagh Observatory, will open the new 
lecture season of the Irish Astronomical Association when he gives the "Ronnie 
Ormonde Memorial Lecture" on Wednesday 22 September. This will be held in Lecture 
Theatre 5, Stranmillis College, Stranmillis Road, Belfast, at 7.30 p.m. The 
talk is entitled: "The Origin of Comets and the Oort Cloud". Admission is free, 
including light refreshments, and all will be welcome.

2. I'm just back from another very successful Whirlpool Star Party in Birr, 
organised as always by the Shannonside Astronomy Club. Once again the speakers 
were excellent, and the craic was good, and there was even some observing on 
the Saturday night in the Castle demesne. Well done to David Bell & Mike Murphy 
& the other members of the SAC who do so much to make this event the great 
succcess it always is.
   Among the superb telescopes available for observers was Richard Fleet's 
wonderful 20" Dobsonian (which has now become an annual attraction), and a 
prototype of the new 16" Cape Newise modified catadioptric Newtownian, which gives 
excellent views across a wide flat field.
   There were lots of books & astro-goodies for sale, although Armagh 
Planetarium were unfortunately unable to be present or send their usual sales stall.
  The next WSP, the 20th, will be on 7-9 October 2005, so mark your diaries 
now! Some people have already booked their accommodation for that date. 
   But before then we'll have the Connaught Star Party in Galway on 29 
January, and Cosmos 2005 in Tullamore on 1-3 April, so mark those dates too if you 
haven't done so already.

3. Also launched at the WSP was a very exciting new inititatitive under the 
umbrella of IFAS, the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies, which grows 
and goes from strength to strength! This is a series of 3 'Observing 
Challenges', for 'Novices' and for 'Binocular objects' and the 'Messier Objects'. It's a 
celestial equivalent of "The Duke of Edinburgh's Award" (sorry if those in 
ROI don't know about that...), where you can go for bronze, silver, or gold 
levels of achievement. It's an excellent idea, encouraging us all to get out of 
our chairs, and away from our PCs, and out to look at the real sky. More details 
on the IFAS website . A lot of work went into 
producing these, and thanks and congratulations are due to Seanie Morris, John 
Flannery, Mick O'Connell & Shane Culleton, among others, for their gargantuan & 
excellent efforts. 

P.s. Don't forget that the ISS is currently making a nice series of evening 
passes over Ireland: details at 

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley


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