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From: TerryMoselat signaol.com
Date: 13 March 2008 02:36:41 GMT
Subject: Astronomy Evening, Lecture, NAM, COSMOS 08

Hi all,

1. The Irish Astronomical Association (IAA) will be holding another
public astronomy evening on Friday 14 March at 7.30 for 8 p.m. at
Carnfunnock Country Park, Drains Bay, near Larne, Co Antrim. It's on the
main coast road going north from Larne, about 4 miles from the town. As
usual we will have a good selection of telescopes and binoculars for
viewing the sky, including a spectacular moon, and Saturn. We will also
have the Stardome mobile planetarium, courtesy of Armagh Planetarium,
and talks and displays of astronomy items, and Derek Heatly's
presentation of space memorabilia and about his forthcoming spaceflight.
So there will be something for everyone, even if the sky is cloudy. IAA
members bringing telescopes or binoculars get in free, so come along
with whatever portable equipment you have for a good night's observing
and/or outreach.

2. The next IAA public lecture will be at 7.30 p.m. on Wed 19 March, by
the renowned Prof Ian Robson. Title: "Active Galactic Nuclei and
Supermassive Black Holes", which promises to be a fascinating talk on
some of the most amazing and energetic objects in the universe. Venue:
Bell Lecture Theatre, Queen's University, Belfast. Admission Free,
including light refreshments, and all are welcome.

3.  RAS NATIONAL ASTRONOMY MEETING, 31 March   4 April 2008, Queen s
University, Belfast. Nearly 500 astronomers and space scientists will
gather for the 2008 Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy
Meeting (NAM 2008), held in conjunction with the UK Solar Physics (UKSP)
and Magnetosphere Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial Physics (MIST)
meetings. NAM 2008 will be hosted by Queen s University, Belfast and run
from 31 March to 4 April 2008.      

At NAM 2008 scientists will present
new research in many aspects of astronomy and space science, including
the early history of the Universe, planets around other stars, the
vision for space exploration, black holes and the impact of  space
weather  on the Earth.      

For the general public, three keynote
speakers will give lectures on the risk of asteroid impact, the Hubble
Space Telescope and the way in which science influences popular science
fiction. The Irish Astronomical Association has secured 50 tickets for
the Lectures on Tuesday 1st and Thursday 3rd April, and 100 tickets for
the lecture on the HST on 2 April, as that is one of our own IAA
lectures. These tickets will be available at our meetings before then,
or by application via our website : details of how to
get them will be posted shortly. These lectures are: 

A. "Tunguska 2008: 100 Years of the NEO Impact Hazard"  
Professor Mark Bailey - Armagh Observatory 
Larmour Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Tuesday 1st April, 19:00. 
2008 is the one-hundredth anniversary of the most recent
significant extraterrestrial body known to have run into the Earth: the
famous 30 June 1908 Tunguska Event, which devastated some 2000 square
kilometres of forest in a remote part of Siberia. Since then, advances
in astronomy have confirmed that the phenomenon of impacts is a key
driver of planetary evolution, ranging from the cause of the largest
craters and mare (or "seas") on the Moon, to the evolution of life on
Earth. This has led to our modern understanding that impacts by
relatively small astronomical bodies (comets, asteroids and fragments
thereof) have the potential to produce occasionally catastrophic
environmental changes on Earth. The objects, which range in size from
typically a few tens of metres across to many kilometres in diameter,
orbit the Sun in elliptical orbits that cross those of the planets and
are sometimes the closest extraterrestrial objects accessible to direct
observations or to visits by spacecraft. Those that cross or come close
to the Earth's orbit are called Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), and it is
these that have the potential to collide with our Earth. This talk will
review our growing understanding of the resulting extraterrestrial
impact hazard and especially its implications for various aspects of
civilization and for our wider understanding of mankind's and Earth's
place in the Universe. 

B. "Adventures with the Hubble Space Telescope".
Lars Lindberg Christensen of the Space Telescope European Co-ordinating
Facility 
Larmour Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, 
Wednesday 2nd April, 19:30.     

The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most successful
scientific projects of all time, both in terms of its scientific output
and in terms of its almost iconic public appeal. Hubble's enormous
impact derives from its ability to exploit a unique scientific niche
where no other instruments can really compete at the moment -
consistently delivering super-sharp images and clean, uncontaminated
spectra, also in the elusive infrared and ultraviolet. This has opened
up new scientific territory and resulted in many paradigm-breaking
discoveries. Hubble's exquisite image quality has enabled astronomers to
gain entirely new insights into the workings of a huge range of
different astronomical objects and provided the visual overview of
underlying astrophysical processes taking place planets, stars and
galaxies.     

On top of all this astronomers are lucky scientists. Their
telescopes do not only produce results of great scientific value, but
also of eye-catching beauty and artistic potential. This talk aims to
also show how Hubble has built a bridge between science and art.    
This lecture is presented in association with the Irish Astronomical
Association.  

C. "The Science of Science Fiction in TV and Films".
Professor Francis Keenan - Queen's University Belfast Astrophysics
Research Centre 
Larmour Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, 
Thursday 3rd April, 19:00.    

Science-fiction films and TV shows are extremely
popular, with many of the top-grossing movies of all-time being
science-fiction, while Star Trek (and its various spinoffs) is one of
the most-watched TV series. As a result, for many people their main
exposure to scientific ideas and concepts is via the medium of
science-fiction films and TV. In this presentation, the accuracy (or
otherwise!) of the science in science-fiction films and television
programmes is discussed, and illustrated using clips from films and TV
shows including Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Aliens.


     A full and up to date schedule of these and other events can be
found on the official website     The
conference is principally sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society
(RAS), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Queen s
University, Belfast. 

FURTHER INFORMATION: 
NAM 2008:
Astronomy at Queen's University Belfast:
RAS:
STFC:
UKSP: 
MIST:

4. Don't forget the next major amateur astronomical event in Ireland:
COSMOS 2008: April 4 - 6. Hosted by the Tullamore Astro Society:
Ireland's second longest running Star Party takes place at Annaharvey
Equestrian Centre, Tullamore, Co Offaly.  Preliminary details are on the
TAS website, with more going up soon.
Speakers so far confirmed include: Dr David Asher, Dr Miruna Popescu
(both from Armagh Observatory), Mr Trevor O'Donoghue (Kerry Astronomy
Club), Mr Pat O'Neill (Irish Astronomical Association), Prof John
Zarnecki (Open University), and a TAS speaker tba. It runs from Friday
evening to Sunday afternoon, and is always a great event.

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley

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Last Revised: 2008 March 13th
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