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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 19:51:48 EST
Subject: Astronomers 1: Meteorologists 0, lectures

Hi all,

1. The IAA's amazing record of observing at our organised events continues! 
In spite of a very pessimistic forecast by BBC meteorologist Angie Phillips, 
live from our observing event at MountStewart at 18.55, we did actually get some 
clear sky! OK, she didn't say that there was NO chance, but certainly things 
turned out a lot better than the forecast. You see, I noticed a faint band of 
sunlight breaking through the clouds away low down in the SW, before she 
started the broadcast. And since the wind was coming from the SW, I stuck my neck 
out & said that we would get at least one clear spell....

And indeed, we did get about 20-30 minutes of clear sky there later, allowing 
a view of the ISS as it passed over right on time, and at least reasonable 
telescopic views of the Moon, Saturn & the Orion Nebula. Latecomers had to make 
do with occasional views of the Moon through much smaller breaks in the cloud. 


But at least we got observing, so that makes it, as far as I can work out, 15 
out of 16 of our pre-planned observing events, where we have got at least 
some observing! In Ireland, that ain't bad....

As for the TV coverage - sorry I wasn't able to give you all more notice: the 
BBC only rang me at lunchtime & asked if they could do the live weather 
forecast from our observing set-up, with our telescopes in the foreground, and 
MountStewart House in the background. So we had to be there with telescopes set up 
by 6.30, so that they could check all the lighting & camera angles etc. There 
was only just time to notify some telescope owners to be there early, and no 
time to send out an email to all! I didn't even have time to get anything to 
eat!

Thanks to all who came to help out, especially Philip Baxter who was there 
even before me, and particularly to Robert Hill who did his usual excellent 
entertaining shows in the Starlab Planetarium, and to Derek Heatly who recounted 
his 'astronautic' experiences and plans.

All who came seemed to enjoy the evening, & we'll soon be booking a date for 
next year!

Our next two similar events will be on Fri 15 April at Castle Espie, near 
Comber, and Sat 16th April at Carnfunnock, near Larne. More details later.

Don't forget the special lecture on Monday:    "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. Admission free.
   The lecture will be given by Dr G.H. Morgan (Planetary & Space Sciences 
Research Institute, The Open University).

3. The next IAA lecture will be by the excellent & entertaining Prof Bob 
Lambourne, Astronomy Department, The Open University" entitled "The New Cosmos". 
It will be on 30 March, Lecture Room 5, Stranmillis College, Belfast.

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

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