From: TerryMoselat

Date: 3 February 2009 00:40:58 GMT

Subject: IAA Lecture, Prof Carl Murray visit, BCO Events, Jupiter occultation

Hi all,


1.  The Irish Astronomical Association will hold its next lecture for IYA2009 on Wednesday 4 February, at 7.30 p.m., in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University Belfast. Free parking is available on the main campus, beside the lecture theatre, in the evenings - entrance via University Square.

     Dr. Fiona McGroarty (QUB) will give a public lecture entitled "Star Formation: How well do we understand it?". This lecture will explain one of the most important aspects of modern astronomy, and should not be missed. Admission is free, including light refreshments, and all are welcome.


2. MAINLY FOR SCHOOLS - - Please pass this on as necessary:

Visit of Professor Carl Murray of  "The Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn"


To the Principal: As part of the launch of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) schools initiative, you are warmly invited to send some of your KS3 pupils to see a presentation to be given by Professor Carl Murray of The Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn.

    Professor Murray was born in Northern Ireland and received his primary and post primary education in Belfast. He is now a member of staff at Queen Mary University of London.

   Professor Murray is part of an international team of astronomers and scientists working on the Cassini-Huygens project which is a joint NASA/ESA robotic spacecraft mission currently studying the planet Saturn, its moons and rings. The spacecraft was launched in 1997 and entered into orbit around Saturn in 2004.

    Hundreds of scientists and engineers from 16 European countries and 33 of the United States make up the team responsible for designing, building, flying and collecting data from the Cassini orbiter and Huygens probe.

    Professor Murray is a member of the Cassini Imaging Team and will talk about his work and share some amazing photographs of the Saturn system as part of his presentation to schools during a two day visit to Northern Ireland in February.

    He will give a presentation at the King’s Hall Octagon Suite in Belfast on the morning of Thursday 19 February 2009 at 10.30am and in the Millennium Forum Londonderry on Friday 20 February 2009 at 10.30am. Doors open at 10.00 am in both venues.

    Places will be limited to 20 per school and will be allocated on a first come first served basis with confirmation being sent by return email to the sender’s email address. Those wishing to bring a party to Professor Murray’s presentation should apply on line at the web address and entering the code number 545936 with details as requested. Please note that applications close at 3.30 pm on Friday 6 Feb.

    If at a time close to the event there are spare seats available, schools can receive an additional allocation provided they have made this clear in their initial application.

    Please note that no substitute cover is available and schools should make their own transport arrangements to and from the event.

    If you require any further information please contact N J Hunter (Adviser) BELB 90352435.


3. Blackrock Castle Observatory Events:


Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork has launched its new series of events for IYA2009.  See:

   Blackrock Castle Observatory, Blackrock Castle, Castle Road, Blackrock, Cork. Tel:     +353 (0) 21 435 7917;  e-mail: 



4. JUPITER OCCULTATION: - Advance notice: Jupiter will occult a relatively bright star on 3 August. The star is 6th magnitude, and it is extremely rare for Jupiter to occult such a bright star: The event will be visible from Ireland. Have a look at

   The following information is from Wolfgang Beister (slightly edited: TM):

"Occultation of HIP 107302 by Jupiter on the 3rd of August 2009.

    Visible from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas!

The star HIP 107302 with visual magnitude 6m0 will be occulted by Jupiter on the 3rd of August. This is the brightest star which will be occulted for the next 100+ years visible from Europe. In the near future, there is only on more occultation with a similar bright star, but this is only visible from western southern America (Chile...). For the rest of us, no similar occultation will take place for generations!

   Therefore, it's not only a spectacular show for the "Year of Astronomy 2009", but also a great opportunity to gain information about the Jovian atmosphere by earthbound astronomy. 

   But keep in mind that even a 6th magnitude star is hard to see on Jupiter's limb, when it disappears or reappears! You need an excellent air quality and a telescope perhaps larger than 10 inch in diameter.

   IOTA-ES will maintain a special website all over the year for this event, giving all necessary information for a successful observation. 

   I have opened a Website for communication about the Jupiter occultation.  At the moment you will only find the prediction, a short movie about the event, and an event in the history. In the upcoming months, I will put more and more information on the site, about observational techniques, the scientific rational of such observations and communications with other observer groups." Wolfgang Beister.

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley