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From: TerryMoselat signaol.com
Date: 12 September 2007 02:48:12 Sep 2007
Subject: IAA MEETINGS: CHANGE OF VENUE; WORLD ASTROCAST, GOOGLE SKY

Hi all,

1. CHANGE OF VENUE: PLEASE NOTE: IAA LECTURE MEETINGS FOR THE NEW
SESSION WILL BE HELD IN QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY, BELFAST! Because of huge
increases in room hire costs being imposed by Stranmillis College, we
will be holding our future meetings in the BELL LECTURE THEATRE, PHYSICS
BUILDING, MAIN CAMPUS, QUB, UNIVERSITY ROAD, BELFAST. Many thanks to
Prof Stephen Smartt for facilitating a very good deal for us.

Starting with the opening meeting on Wed 19 September, at 7.30 p.m.
SHARP, by Prof Tom Ray of DIAS, entitled "The Birth of Stars and
Planets: Do we really know how the Solar System Formed?" Prof Ray is one
of the leading researchers in this field, with an experiment approved
and in preparation for the James Webb Space Telescope (successor to the
HST). He is also one of the most accessible and popular speakers on
astronomy in Ireland, and this lecture is one definitely not to be
missed!

NB: ENTRANCE TO PHYSICS BUILDING: The entrance is at the door at the
foot of the spiral staircase in the Physics Building, which is "No 5" on
the QUB map on their website: see www.qub.ac.uk. Or go directly to the
QUB website map, it's building number 5 (just opposite "1b")
link
On www.multimap.com, the entrance to the building is at:
link.  On Google Earth, or FlashEarth.com, the entrance to the building is
at: N 54 deg 35' 2.0"; W 5 deg 56' 4.4".   It's just opposite the
opening in the South Wing of the main QUB building. That lies just to
the left of the circled number 5 indicating that building. That door is
normally locked, but we will have someone on duty there from 7.10 p.m.
to 7.30 (or 7.35 p.m. if we are feeling generous) to admit you. If you
are late - tough luck: you won't get in!

PARKING: There is free parking within the main campus after about 5
p.m., but there will be other events on too, so you'll have to compete
for parking spots. The entrance is from UNIVERSITY SQUARE, which is
one-way only, in the direction from University Road towards Botanic
Avenue/College Park. The barrier will be up, so just drive in, across in
front of the main building, then turn left at the end of the front
facade of that building.    The Physics building id the large 3 story
modern(ish) building now on you right. The entrance is down the slight
hill, on your right.    Park anywhere in this vicinity if you can;
otherwise just find a space where you can: anywhere not 'prohibited' is
OK, as long as you don't block anyone else. You can also park free on
University Square if you wish.    There is also an entrance from the far
end of University Avenue / College Park - that will bring you in to the
East of the main building, so use the map to locate the physics
building.

REFRESHMENTS will be provided free of charge, as usual, after the
lecture, and to encourage you to come we'll have some extra treats!

EXITING: The vehicle exit from the campus is from the gate directly onto
University Road, beside the Whitla Hall ('7' on the map): there is an
automatic barrier there which will lift as the car approaches it - go
slowly until it lifts! NB, this is one-way only - No entry by this
route!

Let's see plenty of you there for this new phase in the IAA's history.

  2. WORLD ASTROCAST: The Northampton Astro Soc. is celebrating its 40th
anniversary with what they claim is a world's first "WORLD ASTROCAST".
This will be a web-based day long live webcast of astronomy, featuring
live lectures by such people as Tom Boles, Tonny Vanmunster, Nik
Szymanek, Martin Ratcliffe (formerly of Armagh Planetarium), Phil
Harrington, Andy Lound, Richard Crisp, John Dobson, and Bob Lambourne.
It will be on Saturday 13 October, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The plan is
that each participating society arranges for a high quality webcast,
with speakers and a mike, so that listeners/viewers can participate in
live questions after each talk. I don't know exactly how that would
operate - what if 12 people all want to speak at once? Each society
would pay  10 for each member participating - again I'm not sure how
that would work - there would have to be some degree of trust, I
suppose!   The IAA is considering using either Armagh Planetarium or a
venue in Belfast to be decided.    In order to gauge interest, please
reply asap to Pat O'Neill pb.oneillat signntlworld.com indicating if you would
be interested, at a cost of  10 per person. You would not have to be
there for the full webcast, but obviously the more you see & hear, the
better value you would get. There will be breaks for lunch and
tea/dinner, so it won't be solid astronomy for the fill 12 hours!    See
www.nnhs.info for more info. REMEMBER: IAA MEMBERS (and guests & friends
if you wish) reply by email to Pat O'Neill, not me, as I'll be away for
a few days.

3. GOOGLE SKY: Google has announced the launch of Sky, a new feature
that enables users of Google Earth to view the sky as seen from planet
Earth.    With Sky, users can now float through the skies via Google
Earth.  This easy-to-use tool enables all Earth users to view and
navigate through 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies. 
High resolution imagery and informative overlays create a unique
playground for learning about space.    To access Sky, Google Earth
users need only click "Switch to Sky" from the "view" drop-down menu in
Google Earth, or click the Sky button on the Google Earth toolbar.  The
interface and navigation are similar to that of standard Google Earth
steering, including dragging, zooming, search, "My Places," and layer
selection.    As part of the new feature, Google is introducing seven
informative layers that illustrate various celestial bodies and events:
*    Constellations - From Cassiopeia to Andromeda, the
Constellations layer connects the points of constellations through
space, labelling each with its given name.  Users can learn about the
stars that make up their favourite constellations.    
*    Backyard Astronomy - The Backyard Astronomy layer lets users click through a
variety of place-marks and information on stars, galaxies, and nebulae
visible to the eye, binoculars and small telescopes.  This layer is
useful for the amateur astronomer who might benefit from a
comprehensive, organized way to reference fragments of the night sky.   
*    Hubble Space Telescope Imagery - The HST layer provides the user
with over 120 beautiful high-resolution images provided by the Hubble
Space Telescope, NASA/ESA's renowned orbiting telescope.    
*    Moon - The Moon layer displays animations of two months of both lunar positions
and moon phases.    
*    Planets - The Planets layer exhibits the seven
other official planets and their positions in the sky two months into
the future.    
*    Users Guide to Galaxies - The Users Guide to
Galaxies layer enables users to go on virtual tours through different
types of galaxies, from Ursa Minor Dwarf to the Milky Way.    
*    Life of a Star - The Life of a Star layer takes the user on a tour through
the different stages of a star's life cycle.

Sky was created by Google's Pittsburgh engineering team by stitching
together imagery from numerous scientific third parties including the
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), the Sloan Digital Sky Survey
(SDSS), the Digital Sky Survey Consortium (DSSC), CalTech's Palomar
Observatory, the United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC),
and the Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO).  The initiative was born out
of the University of Washington's participation with the Google Visiting
Faculty Program, which makes it possible for leading academic
researchers to visit Google with their work for 6-12 month periods.

The announcement follows last month's inclusion of the NASA layer group
in Google Earth, showcasing NASA's Earth exploration.  The group has
three main components, including Astronaut Photography of Earth,
Satellite Imagery, and Earth City Lights.  Astronaut Photography of
Earth showcases photographs of the Earth as seen from space from the
early 1960s on, while Satellite Imagery highlights Earth images taken by
NASA satellites over the years and Earth City Lights traces well-lit
cities across the globe.

To access Sky in Google Earth, users need to download the newest version
of Google Earth, available at: link.  The feature
will be available on all Google Earth domains, in 13 languages.

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

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Last Revised: 2007 September 12th
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