Saturday, 10 June 2017

IAA BBQ, Solarfest, Saturn, Solstice event, Asteroid Day, NLCs Photo exhib, SofS

Hi all,
1. IAA BBQ. The IAA's midsummer BBQ will once again be held in the grounds of Armagh Planetarium, on Sat 24 June, courtesy of Prof Mike Burton, Director of the Observatory and Planetarium. Plans are to start at about 2.00, tour the grounds, and see one of the new shows, "Black Holes" at 4.00 p.m. There will also be a new item: comprising a competition testing your astronomical knowledge and powers of observation, with various prizes!
   Attendance at the BBQ is free, but we'll pay the standard group rate admission charge for the Planetarium show. PLEASE LET ME KNOW BY RETURN IF YOU WILL BE GOING TO THE SHOW, SO I CAN CONFIRM THE NUMBER OF SEATS BOOKED. See for details.
   The BBQ arrangements are simple - we provide the cooking facilities - you bring your own consumables, plates, cutlery, condiments, sauces, plastic glasses or cups, folding chairs & tables, rugs or whatever you prefer (and your own BBQ as well if you prefer it).
2. Solarfest, Dunsink Observatory: 17 June: This free annual celebration of our nearest star, timed near the summer solstice, will be held again at Dunsink, Castleknock, North Dublin. More details of the programme at .
3. Saturn at Opposition, June 15. Our celestial showpiece, and undoubtedly the most beautiful sight in our solar system, if not the entire sky, will be directly opposite the Sun in the sky, and so visible all night, on 15 June. It's also at its closest to Earth at that time, so it's the best time to observe it. BUT - it's also almost as far South in the sky as it can be, so it's poorly placed for observing from our latitudes. Not only is it always quite low down in the sky, with atmospheric absorption and poor seeing, it's above the horizon only for a fairly short time (pace the comment above - think about it this is when the nights are shortest!). Nevertheless, it's always worth a look just to see those glorious rings!
 And the amazing Cassini spacecraft exploring Saturn and its system, continues its series of amazing and hazardous dives through the gap between Saturn and its rings. Watch out for more amazing images coming back.
   IAA members will have full details of how to observe and what to see in the current issue of STARDUST
4. Summer Solstice at Beaghmore Stone Circles, Co Tyrone: Celebrate the Summer Solstice on June 21 with a varied programme of events organised by Mid-Ulster District Council, commencing at 6.30 p.m.. There will be observing if clear, talks on the archaeoastronomy of the stone circles and other entertainment. Free. More details in next bulletin.
5. Asteroid Day Live, 30 June:  The excitement at Asteroid Day Global is almost palpable! We are just one month away from Asteroid Day 2017 and are finally ready to present the first details surrounding the Asteroid Day LIVE broadcast to you. This newsletter contains all the information you need to know about Asteroid Day LIVE in one place. Just click on any of the image links below to find out more. We've got a lot in store for you and hope that you are as thrilled about the coming weeks as we are - we certainly cannot wait for you to see the first ever global 24-hour broadcast about space and asteroids.
Let's write history together! See 
6. NLCs This is the start of the season to see these beautiful and mysterious high-altitude Noctilucent Clouds, thought to be caused by meteoric dust high in our atmosphere. Look low down in the Northern sky, just as the brightest stars become visible.
7. IAA Photo Exhibition "Heavens Above" & public outreach event, Bangor 3 July.  On Monday 3rd July the Irish Astronomical Association (IAA) will launch "Heavens Above", an exhibition of astonishing photographs of the sky taken exclusively by members of the Association in the Bangor Carnegie Library. The exhibition will run to 29th July. There will also be a public lecture, and solar and possibly lunar viewing, weather permitting. See
8. Summer of Space at BCO. CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in association with Cork County Council has just officially launched the Summer of Space programme to celebrate the International Space University's 2017 Space Studies Program (SSP17) coming to Cork from June 26 - August 25 this year.
   The Summer of Space comprises of over fifty public events taking place across Cork City and County and the island of Ireland. Most of the events are free and aimed at people of all ages and interests.
   For more information about the Summer of Space please see the official press release attached and our website -
9. Did a Spy Satellite just visit the ISS?  According to independent satellite analysts, a US reconnaissance satellite launched in May has just visited the International Space Station, effectively circling the ISS a short distance outside its collision avoidance box. What was it doing there? See for possible answers ... and observing tips. The satellite, USA 276, is about as bright as a 3rd magnitude star and future ISS-satellite encounters may be visible to backyard sky watchers. Unfortunately for us the ISS has now ended its current series of passes over Ireland, but it will return on 8 July. Details for your own location, along with lots of other useful information, on the excellent free site


10.  NASA Image and Video Library
NASA has launched a new resource to help the public search and download images, videos and audio files by keyword and metadata. The new NASA Image and Video Library allows users to search, discover and download 140 000 NASA images, videos and audio files from across the agency's many missions in aeronautics, astrophysics, Earth science, human spaceflight and more.
Official press release
here and go to the official website: 


11. Space 360. "Space 360" is a series of stunning 360° videos from the International Space Station (ISS) that provide an immersive experience of life in orbit. The project features the first-ever 360° videos filmed from low Earth orbit, footage captured by Russian cosmonaut Andrey Borisenko. "Space 360" is part of a collaboration with the Russian space agency Roscosmos, rocket and space corporation Energia, and TV network RT.
You can find more information on the project by exploring the official "Space 360" website:


12. Blackrock Castle Observatory Space Camps, July 10 - 21

Book your space camper in for a fun filled week of space and science activities.
Join us each day from 9:30 to 12:30.
Week 1 | July 10 - 14 | suitable for ages 7 to 9
Week 2 | July 17 - 21 | suitable for ages 10 to 12

The cost for each Space Camper is €95 per child which includes 1 week of Space Camp, Space Camp t-shirt & all activity materials.

Payment must be paid before your chosen Space Camp begins. 10% Discounts apply for members and siblings attending.

Please call us on 021 4326120 or email to book. For more information see


13. AstroCamp 2017 The European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) are collaborating to support AstroCamp 2017, an astronomy-focused summer academic programme for secondary school students. The Summer AstroCamp 2017 will be held from 6 to 20 August in northern Portugal, at the Centre for Environmental Education and Interpretation of the Corno de Bico Protected Landscape. The applicant with the best application from one of ESO's Member States who is eligible to apply will win a bursary offered by ESO that will cover the camp fee.
Read more


14. Backyard Worlds: Planet Nine. Backyard Worlds is hoping to discover a large planet at the fringes of our solar system — a world astronomers call Planet Nine. But Backyard Worlds need your help! Finding such dim objects requires combing through images by eye, to distinguish moving celestial bodies from ghosts and other artifacts. So come and join the search — there are many images to look through. In the end you might discover a rogue world that's even nearer to the Sun than Proxima Centauri! Discover more about the project and how to contribute here:



* Starmus Festival IV: Life And The Universe:  18–23 June 2017. Location: Trondheim, Norway. More information: 

* European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS): 26–30 June 201,: Prague, Czech Republic. More information: 

* ISSP: Major Event: The International Space Studies Programme (ISSP) will be coming to Ireland this year. It will be based at Cork Institute of Technology, running from 26 June to 25 August. NB  Buzz Aldrin will be there for the opening ceremony. There will be many events open to the public, they'll all be advertised on the SSP17 website if you can keep an eye on that for dates and tickets.

* International Symposium on Astronomy and Astrobiology Education: 3–8 July 2017; Utrecht, Netherlands. More Information: 

* IAA Solar Day, 6 August, WWT, Castle Espie, 2 - 5 p.m.

Astronomy Museums, Visitor Centres, & Public Observatories Workshop
Date: 27-29 September 2017
Location: Leiden, the Netherlands
More information:  
World Space Week 2017: 4–10 October 2017, Location: All around the world. More Information: 
International Observe the Moon Night: 28 October 2017, Location: All around the world, More Information: 

* NEXT LECTURE: The first lecture of the new IAA season will be on Wed 20 September 7.30 p.m., Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB. Free admission.  Free parking on QUB campus after 5.30 p.m.

* 36th International Meteor Conference, in Petnica, Serbia, from September 21 to 24, 2017. For details contact the Local Organizing Committee at 

* International Observe the Moon Night, 28 October 2017. More Information: 


16: Interesting Weblinks: (Disclaimer - Use of material herein from various sources does not imply approval or otherwise of the opinions, political or otherwise, of those sources).  NB: If the title in the weblink does not indicate the subject matter, I give a brief simple intro before the link. I may also comment about the link afterwards.
   NB: there's been a huge amount of space and astro news on the web recently, as you can see below! You don't have to read it all!
QUB astronomer Dr Stuart Sim helps solve source of MW's antimatter - 
Volunteers find 970m yo supernova (970 million years ago predates ANY form of complex multicellular life on Earth, not just the dinosaurs!)
Very detailed simulation reveals history of Milky Way - 
Strange new object near SMBH in Cygnus-A galaxy - 
Dying stars give newborn Black Holes a kick - 
No sign of Solar axions as explanation for Dark Matter - 
Gravitational waves detected for 3rd time - 
Earth & Moon  
New technique to date ancient meteorite strikes - 
'Similar' planets have different atmospheres -
SETI They will have to wait a LONG time for it to cool by an appreciable amount!
Solar System:
Lunar Orbiter camera survived meteoroid impact - 
Radiation risk in space is twice as great -
Rather scary! They should wait until they have a rocket that can get them to Mars much more quickly, to minimise exposure time. They also need to have a very well shielded living area on Mars ready for occupation, as Mars's very thin atmosphere provides very little protection to astronauts on the surface. And cosmic radiation hits Mars all the time, whereas solar radiation is only a problem during daytime. I signed up for this,in a moment of optimism - I'm well in the first 5,000
Telescopes etc. The second graphic shows the laser beams which will be used to create the artificial stars used for the 4-way conjugate adaptive optics. Also see the following -
UFO's, Aliens etc
17. TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.


18. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION: 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 you. You can also make a donation via Paypal if you wish: just click on the 'Donate' button. See also


Clear skies,

Terry Moseley

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