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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 17:33:54 EST
Subject: Heavenly Spectacular, Lecture, ISS, BCRO, UFOs

Hi all,

1. Don't forget the IAA at MOUNTSTEWART:  "JEWELS OF THE SKY", on Friday 18 
March, at Mount Stewart House, near Greyabbey, Newtownards. See the heavens 
through through our powerful telescopes and binoculars.
   If the sky is clear, we'll see Saturn, the most beautiful sight in the 
night sky, perfectly placed for viewing, with its magnificent Rings, and its 
largest, puzzling & fascinating moon Titan, recently visited by the Huyghens space 
craft.
   Later, we'll see giant Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, 
big enough to hold over 1,000 Earths! Also its four largest Moons, discovered by 
Galileo about 300 years ago.
   Among the stellar jewels on display will be the beautiful Pleiades or '7 
Sisters' See how many you can count in high-power binoculars or a telescope - 
not just seven, but maybe seventy, or more!
   Not far away is Orion, the Mighty Hunter, the most magnificent 
constellation in the entire sky. See the brilliant white star Rigel, which is 50,000 
times brighter than our Sun. And giant Red Betelgeuse, a star so big that if 
placed where our Sun is, it would engulf not just Mercury, and Venus, and Earth, 
but almost Mars as well! Below the three stars forming Orion's Belt, you can see 
the Orion Nebula, a gigantic cloud of gas and dust where stars like our Sun 
are being formed right now!
   See the amazing Andromeda Galaxy, the big brother of our own Milky Way 
galaxy: a vast horde of two hundred thousand million stars, at the incredible 
distance of about 14 million million million miles!
   Much closer to home, we'll have a spectacular First Quarter Moon: an 
incredible sight in a good telescope, with hundreds of gigantic craters, mountains, 
valleys, and giant plains.
   And if you're there early, at about 7.30 p.m. you can join the very tiny 
minority of human beings who have seen the innermost planet, Mercury, always 
difficult to see because it's so close to the Sun.
   Closest of all will be the International Space Station, orbiting about 200 
miles above the Earth - we should see it cross the sky at an amazing 17,000 
mph, looking like a brilliant fast-moving star, starting about 7.45 p.m. 
   We'll also have superb star shows in a mobile planetarium, telescopes on 
display, talks about the universe and the night sky, an exhibition of amazing 
photos of the wonders of the sky, a collection of meteorites from space, and 
you can meet the Ulsterman who has been weightless, and has already flown almost 
to the edge of space, and has now booked on the next available commercial 
flight into space! So there will be plenty to see and do even if it's cloudy.
    Remember: wrap up really warm, particularly head, hands & feet!
Refreshments available in Mount Stewart House Bay Restaurant open between 7pm 
- 8.30pm (this is not included in the admission price).
   Admission Adults 5 - Children 3. Book via Mount Stewart.
NB: Admission free to any IAA members helping with the event, e.g. if you're 
bringing an instrument, or a display, etc.

2. Another reminder of the IME Public Lecture on the Beagle 2 and 
Cassini-Huygens missions to Mars and Titan:

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers Public Prestige Lecture
   "From the Moon to Mars: The Story of Beagle 2 and Beyond"
7.00 pm - 21 March 2005, Main Lecture Theatre, Ashby Building, Stranmillis 
Road, Belfast. Refreshments available from 6.30.
   The lecture will be given by Dr G.H. Morgan (Planetary & Space Sciences 
Research Institute, The Open University).
   The Beagle2 mission captured the imagination of the country with its bold 
ambition of investigating our neighbouring planet for signs of present and 
past life.The talk will describe the scientific rationale behind the mission and 
in particular the development of the Gas Analysis Package (GAP).  
   The talk will conclude by considering: 'where do we go from here?'  The 
solutions include proposals for a reflight, as part of the fledgling ESA Aurora 
programme.
   As a bonus the group's data from the successful Surface Science Package on 
the Cassini-Huygens lander will also be presented.

3. The ISS contnues its nice series of evening passes over Ireland for the 
next week: details from www.heavens-above.com.

4. Last night IAA members in Belfast heard an excellent & very interesting 
lecture by Dr Niall Smith of Cork Institute of Technology, about the plans for 
the 'Blackrock Castle Robotic Observatory' near Cork. It promises to be an 
excellent enterprise, with facilities for remote robotic observing by amateurs 
throughout Ireland (and further afield). It's still in the development stage, 
although all the funding has been obtained. The website is just being developed, 
so there's not too much there yet, but follow the links from www.physics.cit.ie

5. If you want to keep abreast of the latest developments on the UFO scene, 
have a look at this site covering the recent UFO World Congress: 
www.ufocongress.com

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

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