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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 19:54:08 EST
Subject: Great CSP, Radio, Lectures, inc IAA meeting

Hi all,

1. Congrats to all in the Galway Astronomy Club for running another excellent 
Connaught Star Party! Once again all the speakers were excellent, including 
our own Dr Andy McCrea who was asked to cram a 50 minute talk into half an 
hour, and very nearly did so, with no loss of quality! It was good to see Prof 
Barry Jones on the go again, after his recent illness. The venue is excellent, & 
the craic always good. We were also treated to a tour of Prof Mike Redfern's 
very impressive observatory on the NUIG campus:some very nice kit indeed! Next 
year they hope to make it a 2-day event. The only down side was that the wrong 
team won the quiz..... (Well done, John O'Neill, Patricia Carroll & sorry, I 
can't remember who the third one was!)

2. RADIO:

Tues., 1st Feb.,     9.30am BBC Radio 4: Relatively Einstein - Terry 
Pratchett and Ian Stewart on Fantasy Physics
See http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/relativelyeinstein.shtml

Thursday 24th February at 4.30pm. "Material World" explores the mysteries of 
Pluto. You can also listen again to the programme online at 
www.bbc.co.uk/radio4 for up to 7 days after transmission.
   75 years ago a far-flung planet shrouded in mystery was discovered by a 
fortunate accident. Despite huge advances in astronomy and space travel, many 
aspects of Pluto still remain a mystery today. Pluto was discovered in 1930 by 
Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Arizona. He had been carefully 
surveying the sky looking for the mathematically predicted ‘Planet X’. Even though 
the calculations turned out to be incorrect, on the 18th February he 
discovered the planet Pluto. It was quickly determined that Pluto was too small to 
account for the orbital discrepancies of the other planets. The search for the 
elusive Planet X continued but nothing was found. Yet our furthest planet is not 
alone – Pluto has a moon which is almost the same size as the planet itself. 
Charon, discovered in 1978, is now thought to have been formed in a similar 
way to our Moon – by breaking off the Earth after a massive impact with another 
planet. Some astronomers speculate that Pluto and Charon are really just 
proto-planets - planets that haven’t fully formed and which may be leftovers from 
the formation of the Solar System. In Material World this week, Sue Nelson 
finds out what Pluto might be, and exactly how it was discovered when she talks to 
Dr. Jacqueline Mitton of the Royal Astronomical Society and astrophysicist 
Dr. Alan Fitzsimmons at Queen’s University Belfast. Can we really call Pluto a 
planet? Will a mission to visit this far off world ever take off? How did a 
little girl from Oxford get to choose the name Pluto? And is there an elusive 
Planet X still waiting to be discovered?
   “I suddenly came upon the images of Pluto! The experience was an intense 
thrill, because the nature of the object was apparent at first sight.”Clyde W. 
Tombaugh 18th February 1930. 
[We are proud that Dr Fitzsimmons is an IAA member, & has given us many 
fascinating talks!]

3. LECTURES

Tues., 1 Feb., 2.00 pm and 4.00pm, RDS Dublin, Tyndall Lectures 2005: Dr 
Simon Steel on Inside Einstein's Universe.
        See http://ireland.iop.org/program.html
        Booking essential: Dr. Ciaran Byrne (01) 668 0866 ext. 217.

Wed 2 February: Public Lecture hosted by the Irish Astrononical Association:  
"Dr Deirdre Coffey (DIAS): "Star Formation in Our Galaxy", 7.30 p.m., Lecture 
Room 5, Stranmillis College, Belfast. Admission free, including light 
refreshments. All welcome. "

Fri., 4 Feb., 6.30pm, Burke Theatre, TCD: Prof Sir Harry Kroto, Nobel 
Laureate: "2010 NanoSpace Odyssey"
        See http://www.ria.ie/events/kroto.html to book free places.


Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley.

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