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From: TerryMoselat signaol.com
Date: 15 December 2006 22:46:35 GMT
Subject: Observing Night, RIA astronomy newsletter

Hi all,

1. OBSERVING NIGHT: The IAA's next planned observing session will be Sat. 16th Dec., meeting at 
7.30pm in the carpark at Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh, Co Down.
The Park is on the left hand side, about one mile outside Killyleagh on the road to Downpatrick. 
It is sign posted with the usual brown direction signs. It is an excellent setting with good 
dark skies. Hopefully we may still catch some late Geminids. The car parking area is on the right, about 300-400 metres in - look out for the visitors car park sign.
    Please note there is a barrier which comes down at 9.00pm preventing you getting in, but not 
out.  So be in before 9.00pm
    We'll confirm at around 6.00pm on the night that all's well, so watch the Forum on 
www.irishastro.org.

2. I am honoured to be the representative of the amateur astronomy community on the Royal Irish 
Academy Committee for Astronomy & Space Research. At our last meeting we decided to circulate the 
main points of our discussions & proposals to the wider astronomical community. This informal 
newsletter was accordingly prepared by the secretary, Prof Mike Redfern of NUIG.
   N.B. Please note that the RIA is IN NO WAY involved in the decision to cease scientific activity at Dunsink! The news was simply notified to the Committee, and recorded here!
 
Newsletter from the Royal Irish Academy Committee for Astronomy & Space Research
December 2006
 
	*	The Committee was set up, in general, to advance all aspects of astronomical 
		research and teaching throughout the island of Ireland, and, in particular, to be 
                the corresponding body to deal with the International Astronomical Union.
	*	The membership attempts to be as inclusive as possible, to represent major 
		Institutions, to have a good geographical spread, and to conform to statutory 
		requirements of gender representation, within a maximum of 15 members. The 
                Committee will be re-formulated after 2 more years.
	*	Current membership is:
	*	Prof Brian McBreen, Chair, nominated by the RIA
	*	Prof Mike Redfern, Secretary, previous Chair, nominated by the RIA
	*	Prof Mark Bailey, Director, Armagh Observatory
	*	Dr Evert Meurs, Director, Dunsink Observatory
	*	Prof Luke Drury, DIAS and TCD, nominated by the RIA
	*	Terry Moseley, nominated by the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies
	*	Val Hayes, nominated by Enterprise Ireland, Irish representative to ESA
	*	Dr Andy Shearer, Chair ASGI
	*	Prof Anthony Murphy, NUI Maynooth
	*	Dr Paul Callanan, UCC
	*	Dr Denise Gabuzda, UCC
	*	Dr Lorraine Hanlon, UCD
	*	Dr Don Pollacco, QUB (alternate Dr Rubina Kotak, QUB)
	*	Dr Aaron Golden, NUI Galway (alternate, Dr Matt Redman, NUI Galway)
	*	One Vacancy, nominated by the Irish Science Teachers Association
 
	*	Dunsink:                     
		All scientific activity in Dunsink Observatory, with the probable exception of 
                open nights, in the winter, will shortly cease.
	*	42m Telescope:
		The ESO DG announced, at a meeting in Marseille, that it has probably decided to 
		commence phase B studies of a 42m telescope, probably sited in northern Chile, to 
		be operational in 2017. The estimated cost of the telescope is O650M. The name of 
		the telescope is still not chosen (the Big European Segmented Telescope, was not 
                generally liked).
	*	ESO Membership:
		A possible application for Ireland to join ESO is being reconsidered by Government,
		and is being pursued by this Committee as top priority. It is hoped that there 
                will be a decision in the New Year.
	*	10 Year Forward Look:
		As part of this process a strategic review document (a ten year forward look for 
		astronomy in Ireland) is being written. Input is being sought from the community, 
		and the whole document will be considered at an open meeting, for all ASGI members,
                in February, before adoption.
	*	PRTLI:
		The next round of the PRTLI is expected in the early spring. At the same open 
		meeting various cooperative proposals will be considered - cooperation is 
                essential, and now is the time to prepare for the PRTLI.
	*	Brochure:
		A glossy brochure, promoting astronomy in Ireland, is being prepared by Andy 
                Shearer (with professional help). Any ideas about the contents of this are welcome.
	*	Newsletter:
		The Committee decided to circulate newsworthy items to the whole astronomy 
                community - this newsletter.
	*	ESA has an ongoing budgetary crisis which is adversely affecting the call for 
		proposals for the next scientific mission. One possible solution, which many 
		people think represents bad value, would be to curtail ongoing operations of 
                current missions - XMM-Newton, INTEGRAL, etc.
	*	IYA2009:
		The IAU is looking to designate 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy 
	       (IYA2009), being 500 years since Galileo's first telescopic observations. An 
		Irish  National Node is being set up to be part of this, and cooperation is 
		needed with, Government, schools, Science Festivals, Astronomy Societies, etc. 
		There will be a preliminary meeting in February for all interested parties 
		specifically to discuss IYA2009. The IAU document is attached to these notes. 
                For the moment, the single point of contact with the IAU is Mike Redfern
	*	National Graduate School in Astronomy:
		The pre-proposal for a National Graduate School in astronomy was unsuccessful. 
		There will be a call for substantive applications in about 9 months. It is 
		proposed to set up a coordinating group for this - this will be considered at 
                the open meeting in February.
	*	Open Meeting:
		There is to be an open ASGI meeting in February 2007 to discuss    
		(a) the adoption of a "10-year Forward Look for Irish Astronomy", 
		(b) a definitive proposal for a "National Graduate School in Astronomy", 
		(c) "Dark Skies", 
		(d) IYA2009, 
		(e) ARTI, 
                (f) the next round of the PRTLI, etc.
	*	Dark Skies:
		Mark Bailey is cooperating with Albert White (Irish Dark Skies Association), and 
                intends to hold a one day meeting on Dark Skies in Dublin in autumn 2007
	*	McCrea Lectures 2007:
		The bi-annual McCrea Lectures will be held in October/November 2007. This year 
		there will be one lecture in the RIA and a public lecture in NUI Galway. The 
		lecturer is still to be decided but the topic is likely to be the Heliosphere 
                connection with climate change.
	*	Next Meeting:
		Next meeting of the Committee, (if you want to bring anything up), will be 3rd  
                or 4th week January 2007.
 Mike Redfern
13 December 2006 "
.......................................................................................................    
 
N.B. The proposal for 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy is attached:
 
If you would like me to raise any issues on your behalf, please let me know. They may not lie 
within the remit of the Committee, but if they are, I'll mention them.
 
Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

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