Subject: God, Science & Global Warming, Giant sunspot, Solarfest, Rover awakes, News, BAA
Date: 11 May 2012 02:02:11 GMT+01:00
1. "God, Science and Global Warming". An Audience with Sir John Houghton CBE FRS. 7.45pm, Tuesday 15th May 2012, The Market Place Theatre, Armagh. (Prof Mark Bailey asked me to circulate this, which may be of interest even though it's not strictly astronomy)
Sir John Houghton, former co-chair of the Scientific Assessment Working Group of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will speak on "God, Science and Global Warming". This will be followed by a discussion chaired by BBC Presenter Mark Carruthers with questions and contributions from the audience.
Members of the Panel will include Father Timothy Bartlett (author of the pastoral reflection on climate change "The Cry of the Earth"), Professor Valerie Hall (Emeritus Professor of Palaeoecology at Queen's University Belfast) and Michael Nugent (Chairman of Atheist Ireland). With Sir John as the keynote speaker and with such a group of experts this promises to be an enjoyable and enlightening evening.
The ticket price of £7.50 (+ £1 online booking fee) includes light refreshments at 7.00pm and there are afternoon tours of Armagh City's main attractions, and packages for overnight stays. Book online at
To learn more about the event and opportunities to experience Armagh City visit http://www.armaghu3a.org/?p=492, and http://www.armagh.co.uk/.
2. NEW GIANT SUNSPOT: Huge sunspot AR1476 is crackling with M-class solar flares and appears to be on the verge of producing something even stronger. The sunspot's 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field harbours energy for X-class flares, the most powerful kind. Radio operators are recording strong bursts of short-wave static from the sunspot as it turns toward Earth. Visit http://spaceweather.com for sample recordings and forecasts. See:
'Monster' sunspot could put Earth in the crosshairs of powerful solar storms | Mail Online
3. Dunsink Solarfest, 23 June. Following on from the success over the last 3 years, IFAS in conjunction with Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) www.dias.ie and Trinity College Dublin www.tcd.ie are organising a one-day event in Dublin to celebrate solar astronomy. Solarfest 2012 will take place on Saturday 23rd June at Dunsink Observatory, Castleknock, Dublin. IFAS are very grateful to DIAS and TCD for supporting the event and entry is FREE.
The programme for the event is currently being finalised and will be updated in due course on the IFAS website www.irishastronomy.org However, the event will feature a number of lectures, a workshop, solar observing (weather permitting) and more. The lunchtime break will allow an opportunity to take in a tour of the facility to see the observatory and the 12" Grubb refractor. Tea/coffee will be provided, however please bring your own lunch.
Spaces are limited to 60 seats. If you are interested in attending, please send an e-mail to ifas.solarfestgmail.com. Please state in the e-mail how many seats you would like to reserve.
Regards & Thanks, Michael O'Connell
(I'll send directions later on how to get to Dunsink from the North - the new junction at the M50/N3(M3) is very confusing if you don't know it! Terry M)
4. Mars Opportunity Rover awakes after winter 'sleep': The amazing saga of Opportunity, designed for a 3-month lifespan, but still functioning on the Martian surface into its eighth year of operation, continues. See:
Winter's over (for Rover): Nasa's Mars probe 'wakes up' after hibernating through dark months on Martian surface | Mail Online
5. Light from ExoPlanet detected directly: Progress in instrumentation and techniques continues to produce amazing results. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected the light from a planet going around another star, directly - the first time that has ever been done. See:
NASA Space Telescope Sees the Light from an Alien Super-Earth - NASA Science
6. ASTEROID / COMET OBSERVATION MEETING: Some of you are doing amazing work in the field of asteroid and comet detection and imaging, so you might be interested in the following BAA meeting: It's intended for BAA members, but I'm sure that visitors would be welcome - contact either Guy or Richard via the addresses at the end.
"OBSERVING PROJECTS WITH ASTEROID-COMET CONNECTIONS": A joint meeting of the BAA Comet Section and Asteroids and Remote Planets Section, at 10.00-17.00 hours on Saturday, 2012 October 6
at the Berrill Lecture Theatre, Berrill Building, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Topics to include:
* Methods in common for observing asteroids and comets
* Discovering comets and asteroids
* Comets masquerading as asteroids
* Asteroids masquerading as comets
* Water ice in asteroids
* Short contributions from members
In addition, there will be keynote lectures by
* Dr Simon Green, Senior Lecturer in Planetary and Space Sciences, Department of Physical Sciences,
The Open University, Milton Keynes
* Dr Stephen Lowry, Lecturer in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science, School of Physical Science, University of Kent, Canterbury,
* Dr Sam Duddy, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Kent, Canterbury
N.B. We are hoping to have a small display area for members' use. Any member wishing to contribute a short talk should contact Richard Miles or Guy Hurst.
Travel directions to the Berrill Building can be found at: http://www3.open.ac.uk/contact/locations.aspx
along with a map of the campus at: http://www3.open.ac.uk/contact/maps/wh-campus.gif
More details of the programme, catering arrangements for the day, etc. will be made available in August.
Richard Miles: E: arps [at] britastro.org, Guy Hurst: guy [at] tahq.demon.co.uk
8. BEWARE STOLEN ITEMS: There has been a break in at the Astronomy Centre, Todmorden. Unfortunately a lot of kit has been stolen. This is a public outreach facility and is Peter Drew's life work. This is a big blow for the club. http://www.astronomycentre.org.uk/
Please be on the lookout for new ads for Coronado scopes and Solar scopes that have been modified. Large refracting binoculars and large reflecting binoculars in particular. Please pass the word and inform the police and the Astronomy Centre if you have your suspicions. If you can help by putting up warnings on any of the Astronomy forums, that will be appreciated. Thank you,
David Dench, Rochdale
So far, the list comprises:-
Unique 6" F8 refracting Binocular telescope
Unique 6" F8 reflecting binocular telescope
12" Meade LX200 OTA
6" F8 black Helios refractor modified Ha scope
6" F8 blue Skywatcher refractor
3 Coronado PST bodies
2 black EQ6 mounts
1 white EQ6 Pro mount.
Clearly there will be other genuine similar articles for sale, but please check carefully the provenance of such items. If you have the slightest doubt, then you should refer this to the police.
Many thanks, John Axtell FRAS, Membership Secretary, Federation of Astronomical Societies, www.fedastro.org.uk, 01932 341036
9. TWITTER: the IAA now has a twitter account. twitterIaaAstro
10. BBC THINGS TO DO WEBSITE: See the forthcoming IAA events on
11. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is now even easier: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://irishastro.org.uk/iaamembership.doc. If you are a UK taxpayer, please tick the 'gift-aid' box, as that enables us to reclaim the standard rate of tax on your subscription, at no cost to you. See also www.irishastro.org.
mob: (0044) (0) 7979 300842