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ARMAGH "OLD BOY" RECEIVES ASTEROID

Armagh Observatory, 10 January 2003: A former resident of Armagh, Mr Terry Moseley, now President of the Irish Astronomical Association, was recently honoured by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) by having a minor planet named after him. The asteroid, the first to be discovered by David Asher, of the Armagh Observatory, was found at Siding Spring Observatory, Australia, on Boxing Day 1994. A reception to mark the event will be held at the Armagh Observatory on Wednesday 15th January. Members of the Irish Astronomical Association and other local astronomy clubs, as well as professional astronomers, will attend the function.

The official announcement of the honour was made on 21 September last year in Minor Planet Circular No. 46683 issued by the IAU's Minor Planet Center, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. David Asher said "I am delighted that we could name my first minor planet after such an outstanding observer who deserves it so well. Congratulations, Terry!" The formal citation reads as follows:

(16693) Moseley = 1994 YC2 Discovered 1994 Dec. 26 by D.J. Asher at Siding Spring. Terence J.C.A. Moseley (b. 1946), editor of Stardust, 1992 Aidan P. Fitzgerald Medallist and founding member of the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies, was the first amateur to use the recently restored six-foot Birr telescope in September 2001. The name was suggested by J.C. McConnell.

Terry Moseley was born in South Africa, but spent his formative years in Armagh, where he lived in The Pavilion, on the site of what is now the Armagh College of Further and Higher Education. He attended the Armstrong Primary School and then the Royal School Armagh. Thus he was raised next door to the celebrated Armagh Observatory, where he was a friend of Derek Lindsay, son of the Observatory Director, Dr Eric Lindsay, and Mrs Sylvia Lindsay.

Terry's interest in astronomy began almost exactly 40 years ago. In March 1963 he acquired a book by Patrick Moore, the Observer's Book of Astronomy, and he was hooked. He got to know Patrick Moore very well during his period as first Director of the Armagh Planetarium. Patrick invited Terry to use the Observatory's 10-inch refractor and Terry used the instrument for extensive observations of the Moon, the planets Jupiter and Saturn, variable stars, and many other objects. Following Patrick's resignation as Director of the Planetarium in 1968, Terry served briefly as acting Director of the Planetarium from June to September that year.

Terry subsequently graduated in Psychology at The Queen's University of Belfast in 1969. He later moved to Belfast and has served on the Council of the Irish Astronomical Association continuously since 1977. He has served three terms as President of the Association (9 years), a record for this position, and is currently the Editor of the Association's publication, Stardust.

Terry has made many appearances on radio and television, including one on the BBC programme The Sky at Night, and is the author of a book entitled Reaching for the Stars, published by Pergamon in 1975. He also helped with the restoration and testing of the large reflecting telescope at the Earl of Rosse's observatory at Birr Castle in Co. Offaly, known as the Leviathan of Parsonstown. He is an extremely active observer, an enthusiastic lecturer on astronomy, and the author of numerous commentaries and scientific articles. On hearing about the 10-kilometre diameter asteroid named "Moseley", he said "I am totally gobsmacked: almost as if I had been hit by the thing itself!"

See also:
Article and Images on the EAAS Site
More photos from John McConnell
(16693) Moseley Ephemeris from JPL
Armagh Asteroids
Impact Hazard
Asteroid Discoveries from 1800-2000 - very large (144MB) AVI file

Last Revised: 2003 January 27th
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