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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2005 18:01:44 EST
Subject: Rosetta, NAM for QUB, Messier Marathon, Eclipse

Hi all,

1. See the Rosetta Spacecraft!
ESA's Rosetta spacecraft is on its way to a 2014 rendezvous with Comet 67P/ 
Churyumov-Gerasimenko but it has a very long way to go. To build up sufficient 
energy to get it out to the comet it has to use several planetary slingshots 
and the first of these is past the Earth tomorrow evening (Friday 4th March). 
For a short period it is possible that the spacecraft will be visible in 
binoculars and ESA are running a photo competition. For more details see:

    http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM8M8D3M5E_index_0.html

The spacecraft is around 30m across and even at its closest approach of  
1,900km it subtends only 3 arcseconds so it will be very difficult to resolve even 
in large telescopes. It is estimated that it will reach 8th to 9th magnitude 
however and so it should be visible as a point of light in binoculars. It was 
13th magnitude tonight (Thursday) moving slowly through Leo.
  
    http://www.theastronomer.org/spacecraft/rosetta_20050303_ndj.jpg

At the end of twilight tomorrow night Rosetta will be around 18 degrees up in 
the east. It transits around 21:20 UT when it is 50 degrees up in the south 
and moving at around 2 degrees/minute. Widefield imaging may pick up the trail 
around this time. The closest approach occurs around 22:00 when it is below 
the horizon as seen from the UK. The following ephemeris may be of use. 

    http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/eph


2. Hot off the presses - or from the mouth of Dr Alan Fitzsimmons, to be 
precise: QUB is to host the National Astronomy Meeting in April 2008. This is the 
premier astronomical meeting in the UK, and it's quite an honour for QUB to be 
hosting it! Well done to Alan & all at the Queen's Astronomy & Astrophysics 
Dept.

3. Dates for the 2005 Messier Marathon, from Mark Stronge:
   "The moonless nights are from 5th - 13th March and 4th - 9th April and we 
are currently planning to observe on either the Tuesday or Wednesday night 
8th/9th or 9th/10th March. The location will be Slieve Croob, SW of Ballynahinch.
 www.multimap.com
   Everyone will be made most welcome to this observing event even if you do 
not want to stay up all night and observe all the Messier Objects, around 70 
can be seen before 11pm !!! So do plan to attend this event and if you are 
planning to stay all night, then please do prepare yourself with the necessary 
finder charts which are available from the website below. (And also with some 
very warm clothing, and some food & hot drinks! T.M.)
 http://www.eaas.co.uk/news/20040317_mm.html
   As with any observing event, please be aware that we are very subject to 
the weather so if the conditions are not favourable next week then we may leave 
the marathon until the beginning of April." Mark Stronge.

4. IFAS Eclipse Trip: If you have given your name to David Bell, but have not 
yet sent your deposit (100 pounds, or 150 euro, per person, payable to "IFAS Eclipse 
Trip Account"), then do so IMMEDIATELY. Send it to him at "David Bell, Bansha, 
Askeaton, Co Limerick". We are at the point now where if your deposit is not 
paid, your name will be struck off the list! If you are acting as contact point 
for someone who is not on email, PLEASE TELL THEM NOW, as above.
   Along with the deposit, send the full names of all in your party (if there 
are any others), AS THEY APPEAR ON THEIR PASSPORTS, because those names will 
be booked with the airline, and only someone with ID matching the exact names 
will be allowed to board!
   Also indicate the ages of any children who will be travelling, as on 25 
March 2006!
If you have already sent the deposit, you should have got a receipt 
acknowledgement email from David, unless you have only just sent it.

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

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Last Revised: 2005 March 4th
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