1. Monday 28 January (tonight), BBC2, 23.20 - 00.20. "The Atom". Series about the building blocks of the universe.
2. Tuesday 29 January, BBC2, HORIZON: 21.00 - 21.50. "What on Earth is wrong with Gravity?" Physicist Brian Cox attempts to define just what gravity is. (I'm voting for 'MOND', BTW, but that's just a personal preference!)
3. SCIENCE GALLERY: A new public venue is due to open in Trinity College, Dublin next week, called Science Gallery. It launches with a festival called LIGHTWAVE and a lecture called "Solar Voyage" by leading Irish astrophysicist Peter Gallagher, on Sunday 3rd February from 16.30 - 17.30. Sponsored by the Royal Irish Academy, Peter Gallagher takes us on a journey exploring the sun's influence on the solar system from the innermost planets to the Voyager spacecraft at the outer bounds of the Solar System. With incredible 3D projections of the sun, a pair of 3D glasses for everyone in the audience and an insight into our neighbourhood star, Solar Voyage is set to be an eye opener.
To book tickets or for further information on the LIGHTWAVE festival please see www.sciencegallery.com. CONTACT: Elizabeth Allen, Programme Manager (Events), The Science Gallery, Trinity College,
Dublin 2. Tel: +353-1-896 4010. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. ASTEROID FLYBY: Asteroid 2007 TU24 flies past Earth this week at a distance of only 334,000 miles (1.4 lunar distances). There is no danger of a collision, but it will be close enough for amateur astronomers to photograph through mid-sized telescopes. At closest approach on Jan. 29th, the asteroid will glide through the constellations Andromeda and Cassiopeia glowing like a 10th magnitude star. Visit http://spaceweather.com for celestial coordinates and a low-resolution radar image of the approaching rock.
5. HALO BONUS: A photographer in Finland has captured the long-sought "Kern arc", a rare sun halo created by triangular ice crystals. Experts are calling it the "halo photo of the decade" and it is featured on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com.
6. IAA PUBLIC LECTURE: Wednesday 6 February, 7.30 p.m. Dr Aaron Golden, NUIG: "Periodic Radio Flares from Brown Dwarfs: the missing link between planets and pulsars?" The Bell lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast. Admission free, including light refreshments. All welcome.
The IAA lecture programme is held in association with the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen's University Belfast. See: www.irishastro.org
7. IYA 2009: The countdown to 2009 is now ticking every day and I hope it will find us well prepared in less than a year!
The Irish website is now up and running: http://astronomy2009.ie. As it is now, it is basically just a template that needs to be filled up. Any comments will be welcomed by Dr Miruna Popescu (see below). She writes:
First of all, please let me know if you agree with the basic 'template' and if you think that we need more 'chapters' apart from the ones I have set up.
Second, please let me know if I have forgotten - or I got the web link wrong - for anybody under the links - local page. For example, I could not find the website for the Northern Ireland Space Office on the web.
Thirdly, please send me anything that you would like me to include on it - stories, images, etc.
I plan to improve the website next week - hopefully with many things you will send me - and then begin to publicize it. Also, I did not tell astronomy2009.org about it yet as it is not quite ready. I will do that after receiving your feedback. Best regards, Dr. Miruna D. Popescu, Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh
Northern Ireland, BT61 9DG, http://star.arm.ac.uk/~mdp.
Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, Editor-in-chief Thomas Hockey, features 1550 biographies of astronomers from the earliest times to the present. Published by Springer in two volumes, 1341 pages, 350 illustrations and available in hardback or online form for E329 (until 31/1/2008). Every astronomy department should have a copy. See http://www.springer.com/east/home?SGWID=5-102-22-112919605-0 Print version; and http://www.springer.com/east/home/astronomy?SGWID=5-123-22-168287617-0 Online version
"It's Part of What We Are" by Charles Mollan features 118 in-depth biographies of men and women (including a score of astronomers) who have contributed to the physical sciences in Ireland over the past three centuries. Published by the Royal Dublin Society in two volumes, 1875 pages, 150 illustrations and available in hardback for E60 (plus postage and packing). Great value! See http:/www.rds.ie/science/publications
Finally, congrats to Galway Astronomy Club for another excellent Astrofest last weekend. Well done to all.
(Apologies if there are still some duplicate addresses!)