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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: 27 November 2006 23:59:42 GMT
Subject: Mystery star, Lecture, Light Pollution, Connacht Star Party

Hi all,

1. MYSTERY STAR IN CASSIOPEIA Did you photograph the "W" of Cassiopeia
in October? If so, you may be sitting on a gold mine and not even know
it!

A star (GSC 3656-1328, at 00 09 22 +54 39 44 (2000)) recently brightened
from approx. magnitude 11.5 to as bright as magnitude 7.5 on Halloween
night! (This is in the western end of the "W" of Cassiopeia.)

Since its discovery in late October the star has been intensely studied
by amateurs, professionals, and observing time of orbiting telescopes
has even been allocated to observe this object! We have very little
coverage of this object before discovery, so any image taken of this
field in October can tell us a great deal about how this star behaved
before the start of intense coverage.

If you photographed this field at any time in the month of October, your
image has scientific value! It can be an image taken with film, digital
SLR, CCD...anything. Even a wide field shot taken with a short focal
length lens can reach deep enough to show the presence or absence of a
star of the brightness we're talking about.

Why all the fuss about one star? It appears to be a very unusual event:
possibly a gravitational microlensing event. (Spectra of the star don't
show the typical signs of an exploding/outbursting star, and the light
curve from late October to mid-November appear to fit what one would
expect for a microlensing event. But more data is needed to provide the
best possible analysis and conclusion about this event.) Please
advise me if you have any images and where possible email them to me at
rdp@astronomy.freeserve.co.uk. I can supply a finder chart of the area
in question.  Many thanks to Tom Krajci for instigating this initiative.

Thanks in advance. Roger Pickard, Director BAA VSS

2. ASTRONOMY LECTURE, UU, COLERAINE  The next Public Lecture in the
School of Biomedical Sciences' "SCIENCE IN SOCIETY" series, sponsored by
Bank of Ireland, takes place in Lecture Theatre 8 at University of
Ulster, Coleraine on Tuesday 5th December 2006 at 7.30 pm.

Professor Paul Callanan from the Department of Physics, University
College Cork will present a lecture entitled  "FINDING THE INVISIBLE :
ASTRONOMY & BLACK HOLES"

"Our knowledge of the Universe has expanded in leaps and bounds in
recent years driven by technological advances in astronomy. Although
optical astronomy has been with us for many thousands of years, new
types of astronomy, such as those focusing on the infra-red or X-ray
windows of the electromagnetic spectrum, have also made a dramatic
impact on our studies of the Cosmos. This talk will explain some of the
technology and techniques that underpin modern astronomy, and outline
how they are used to study the mysterious phenomenon of Black Holes."

Light Refreshments will be served afterwards. Admission is free and
everyone is welcome to attend.

Declan McKenna (PhD), Research Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences,
University of Ulster, Cromore Road, Coleraine, BT52 1SA, Tel.
(028)70323285

3. LIGHT POLLUTION:  The bane of every astronomer: now everyone can do
something about it! Andrew Abbot, of the "Campaign for Dark Skies" is
petitioning Prime Minister Tony Blair to ban flood-lighting of public
buildings in order to cut down energy wastage, and light pollution.

Every UK citizen can sign the petiton. Enter a valid email address and
your postal address and an email is sent with a link to confirm your
support.

Link

It will only take a minute, and won't cost you anything. Also, get any
of your 'green' - minded friends to sign up too! Pass this on to anyone
who might be interested. 

4. CONNACHT STAR PARTY:  The first star party of 2007 will be the
"Galway Astrofest", also known as the Connacht Star Party, on Saturday
January 27. Details are on www.galwayastronomyclub.ie. Price still only
O20. Looks like another good programme.

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley

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Last Revised: 2006 November 28th
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