From: TerryMoselat

Date: 17 January 2015 00:30:09 GMT

Subject: Lecture, ISS, Close miss, Science event, Comet, Goodies, Beagle2, Galway S/P etc

Hi all,


1: IAA LECTURE: Next IAA public lecture: Wednesday 21 January, QUB, at 7.30 p.m. It will be given by well-known QUB astronomer, Professor Alan Fitzsimmons. Title: Rosetta, the Final Picture of a Comet" 

  Everyone is aware of the amazing pictures coming back from the Rosetta probe at Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. But there's an awful lot more than just the pictures, as our local comet expert, Alan Fitzsimmons, will reveal. I think it's fair to say that this mission has completely revolutionised our ideas about comets, and it's bound to be a fascinating and informative talk, by an acknowledged authority on the subject.

   The lecture is free and open to all, including free refreshments. Venue: Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast, at 7.30 p.m.  

   Thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for help in hosting these lectures.


2. ISS The ISS continues its current series of morning passes over Ireland until 25-26 Jan. Full details for your own location, along with lots of other up to date astronomical information, on the excellent FREE site Also try the ISS Spotter by Mediapilot 


3. "Close" Asteroid Flyby on Jan 26. Not that close, but quite a hefty chunk of rock! See  Another misleading illustration of an approaching asteroid


4. Major Science Event, 23 February (+ 24th in Dublin): Booking Open  Another major science event as part of the 'Origins Project" will be taking place on the 23rd of February at UU Jordanstown (and one planned for Dublin on the 24th or 26th.) See

 Booking for the Belfast event at: and

 Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins are confirmed as attending. Tickets are £35 each. Details of Belfast event are on Belfast event page


5. Comet Lovejoy: The latest comet discovered by Terry Lovejoy (his 5th!), official name C/2014 Q2, is heading North and has gradually brightened. Currently it shines at +4th magnitude, just visible to unaided eyes in a dark sky, but relatively easy in binoculars. It's currently passing through Aries, W of Taurus. Tonight it will lie just a bit south of the midway point between Aldebaran and Gamma Arietis, which is the most Westerly of the little trio making up the main part of Aries (Alpha, Beta & Gamma)



 Positions and finder charts for the comet on a daily basis are on the excellent free site e.g. see 

Or use this as a guide: 


6. IFAS Calendar 2015 is now available. The Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies calendar is a monthly guide to all the key astronomical events visible from Ireland during 2015. It also lists astronomy and space anniversaries, space missions during 2015, star party dates, and much more. All money raised from the sale of the calendar will go to funding astronomy and outreach in Ireland being run under the auspices of the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies. You can see a preview at 

   The price is €7.65 including postage to anywhere in Ireland/Northern Ireland. Get one for yourself and another for a family member or friend. One of the photos was taken by past IAA president Paul Evans.

   You can order the calendar via  ... 


7.  SKYHIGH Sky-High is the IAS's Irish Astronomy Almanac, published in December each year, and now in its 23rd year, since its first edition for 1993. The core sections deal with events in the sky for the year ahead, including a Diary of carefully selected events. Also included are a selection of different articles from year to year. See the Sky-High webpage ( ) for more details and on how to purchase.


8. BEAGLE 2 DID LAND ON MARS: The Beagle 2 lander has now been imaged from orbit, showing that the craft landed successfully, but for some reason it was not able to communicate. So near to success, and yet so far. See




10.  IAA Observing Nights at Delamont Country Park

These very popular weekend observing sessions will recommence in January with the night of 16-17 as first option. Delamont is well signposted off the A22 just South of Killyleagh, (North of Downpatrick) Co Down. They are suitable for anyone, but are aimed especially at beginners. We bring our own large telescopes; bring your own if you have a portable one. The events work like this: If it's clear on the Friday night, the event goes ahead. If not, we try again on the Saturday night. If both are cloudy, we try again on the following weekend, same procedure. To check if it's going ahead, check the IAA website: up to 6.0 p.m. on each day, and for dates for next session: If cloudy, we'll try again on the next date on the list.…


11. NI Science Festival: 19 Feb - 1 March. More details soon, including an IAA event on 28 Feb.


12. Galway Astrofest: Feb 21, 2015: Cdr Chris Hadfield will launch this event - by videolink! Theme: "New Worlds - New Horizons" Excellent speaker line-up already!  Latest news on speakers: To provide detailed insight into space missions one of the agency's senior scientific advisors; Professor Michael Perryman will talk about the GAIA mission, while Professor Susan McKenna Lawlor will look at the Rosetta Comet mission for which her team built an instrument for the Philae lander. See Check for latest updates. 


13. FAEROES ECLIPSE TRIP: The next Total Solar Eclipse visible on Earth will be on 20 March, 2015. This total eclipse track will only cross land on Earth in two places: the Faeroes, and Svalbard in the far North Atlantic. IAA member and eclipse author Dr Kate Russo will be leading a tour to observe this eclipse in the Faeroes. I have the honour to be the 'eclipse/astronomy/aurora expert' on the trip, on which we hope to be able to get good views of the aurora as well as the eclipse itself. 

There will be a feature on our eclipse trip to the Faeroes in the Irish Times on 10 January. See You can also find out more details on the eclipse blog site:


14. Safe Solar viewing material available: Baader safe viewing foil now in stock ... just in time for the big eclipse! £19 for an A4 sheet delivered. Contact Dr Andy McCrea at span class="s6">s.mccrea980at


15. IAA Event at Bangor, 27 March, 7 p.m:   Stars and Mars, Moon and Jupiter @ Night at The Museum 

See North Down Museum Come Alive at Night!

Bring along your telescope and get some expert advice.

Observing highlights will be a spectacular First Quarter Moon, plus Jupiter and its moons, the Pleiades and lots of other stellar wonders.

Inflatable indoor star dome

Meteorites on display.

Only £1:00 per person admission.

Coffee Cure @ The Museum will remain open until 9:00pm.

For further information telephone 028 9127 1200


16. The "Moon in 2015" is a complete annual guide to our natural satellite. A table gives you the dates for each of the Moon's phases: New, First Quarter, Full and Last Quarter. The Moon swings through these phases every 29 and 1/2 days, but did you realise the exact length of this period changes from month to month? On what dates are the "Super Moon's" for 2015? And what about the dates of Perigee and Apogee, Ascending/Descending Nodes, and Lunar Standstills? You'll find all of this as well as a recap of solar and lunar eclipse for 2015 in Jay's blog.


17. ARCHAEOASTRONOMY TRIP TO NEWGRANGE and KNOWTH, 2015, These trips have proved so popular that as soon as I got back from the last one, Stranmillis University College Institute of LifeLong Learning asked me to lead another one next spring!  Like the last one, the next trip will include a visit to the Knowth Tomb as well. It has the largest collection of Megalithic art anywhere in Europe in one single site, some of which is reckoned to be astronomical. Booking for thus very popular, non-technical trip will open later, but if you want to go, note the date in your diary: Sat 9 May. More details when the new brochure comes out.

18. IAA Telescopes for loan: The IAA has telescopes available to borrow, for any paid up member  Enquiries to David Stewart david.stewart22at or Andy McCrea s.mccrea980at 



COSMOS: April 17th to 19th 2015, Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone.

SKELLIGS Star Party: 14-16 August, Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry.  This is a Gold Medal winning Dark Sky site.  see 

AI 'Star-B-Q': 15 August, An Tochar GAA Grounds, Roundwood, Co. Wicklow.


20: Interesting Weblinks: Here we go again. When will these £&5$*£s learn sense? What does this say about our education system? A good advert for Nikon! (ETNO = Extreme Trans Neptunian Object) All is now OK. It should of course be NASA and ESA (all caps) Er, no. It's just an 'apparent' effect. So I wonder what the original mass of the meteorite was? Or were the amounts removed only a few kg? Nonsense, though mainly harmless.

  Re Apollo 13: out of 9 manned Apollo missions (8, 10-17) the odds that a problem would occur on No 13 are one in nine. Just coincidence. 

   What people ignore is the vastly greater number of times that NOTHING happens on the 13th occasion. Almost always nothing bad happens on, e.g. your 13th drive in your new car, or 13th flight, bus ride, train ride, bicycle ride, birthday, haircut, day at school, date, holiday, wedding anniversary, cinema visit, and so on for hundreds of examples. 

   And they ignore the bad things that happen on other occasions. For example, I'm sure there are as many accidents or mishaps on anyone's 7th birthday as on their 13th. But you don't attach any significance to it. For example, I used to fly hang-gliders: a moderately risky enterprise. And I had a few bad landings, including several that ended in injuries. But none occurred on my 13th flight, and none on the 13th day of the month either. By 2020? - I doubt it! And Charlie Bolden (Administrator of NASA) looks less than enthusiastic in the photo!  Anyway, for the record, I hope I'm wrong. (I hope they can agree whether it will self-drive on the Left or the Right....) 

"Pillars of Creation" might also be "pillars of destruction."

Superstar Eta Carina 

Deep Space Climate Observatory 

Exoplanetary "Disk Detectives" reach 1 million milestone 

Travel poster for Exoplanets 

Black Hole merger 

Andromeda galaxy's violent past 

Vanishing neutron star measures spacetime warp

Novel vision of death of massive stars 

Targeting S'novae in our neighbourhood 

Temperature of stars' hearts measured 

8 new planets found in Goldilocks Zone

Impact didn't kill mammoths? 

Planet-hunting satellite observes supermassive BH

Gemini Planet Imager's success 

Iron in Sun transmits energy.

Recordbreaking BH outburst 

New recipe for other Earths 

E-M waves linked to particle fallout in air  

World's most powerful camera funded:  The text is slightly misleading: the LSST won't just image the 'Southern Sky', but all of the 'usable' sky from its location in N Chile at latitude 30 deg S. That will probably include the sky up to about 30 degrees N of the equator.

Decoding gravity of dark matter in galaxy clusters 

Strong Gravity in binary neutron stars

Effects of prolonged weightlessness 

New Exoplanet-hunting telescope 

What are we doing to Planet Earth? 

Better chances for life on exoplanets 

'New class of life' discovered: 

More dwarf planets, aka ETNOs? 

Is the Universe too dangerous for life?

Spacecraft approaching Pluto: 

Worms research on ISS - but not wormholes! and


21. TWITTER: Follow the IAA on Twitter: at signIaaAstro.


22. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is easy: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA.

    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 youYou can also make a donation via Paypal if you wish: just click on the 'Donate' button.  See also



Clear skies,

Terry Moseley

mob: (0044) (0) 7979 300842

I'm now back on Twitter (occasionally - I don't have enough time!), after some temporary hiccups: at signterrymoseley2