1. CORRECTION - IAA PUBLIC LECTURE by DAME JOCELYN BELL-BURNELL: Due to a cutting and pasting error, the wrong date for this lecture was given in my last email. It should of course have been Wednesday 1 April. Apologies. Here are the full correct details, for convenience:
PUBLIC LECTURE: Irish Astronomical Association, Public Lecture: "Astronomy and Poetry", by Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell. This is a new venture for Jocelyn Bell, originally from Lurgan in Co Armagh. Best known as the discoverer of pulsars, for which she narrowly, and unfairly, missed out on a Nobel Prize, Jocelyn has gone on to the very top of her profession, with a professorship at Oxford, being elected President of the Royal Astronomical Society, and now President of the Institute of Physics. Well-known as a broadcaster, writer and speaker, she has lectured to the IAA twice before, and we are delighted to welcome her back to talk on this new topic, which coincides with the publication of her new book on the subject. Like all her talks, it promises to be entertaining and illuminating.
Date: Wednesday 1 April, at 7.30 p.m. in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, main campus, QUB.
Admission is free, including light refreshments, and all are welcome.
Free parking is available on the main campus, beside the lecture theatre, in the evenings - entrance via University Square.
The IAA gratefully acknowledges the support of the Astrophysics and Planetary Science Division of the Department of Physics, QUB, in sponsoring these lectures.
2. IYA 2009: IAA Event at Carnfunnock Country Park. The next IYA2009 event by the Irish Astronomical Association will be held at Carnfunnock Country Park, Drains Bay, Larne, Co Antrim, on Friday 3 April. We'll have observing, particularly Saturn and the Moon (if clear), displays of telescopes, and a mobile planetarium show. Come and see Saturn's Rings as they shrink to a thin line, just before they turn exactly edgewise to the Earth in September. Marvel at the amazing detail in the craters and mountains and valleys on the Moon, just past First Quarter. Get copies of the IAA's fantastic competition for IYA2009: easy to enter, with lots of super prizes. Something for everyone, in fact.
3. Death of Tao Kiang. I regret to have to announce the death of Tao Kiang, one of the most notable astronomers in Ireland in recent years. Tao spent many years doing research at Dunsink Observatory, mainly on theoretical cosmology and relativity. His lectures tested the grasp of these subjects by most of those who heard them! He was also a member of the Humanist Association of Ireland, promoting a rationalist and secular approach to science and society. He died while on holiday in Milan, and will be greatly missed by all his friends and colleagues.
4. COSMOS Congratulations! The new Midlands Astronomy Club, formed from the merger of the Kildare and Tullamore Societies, hosted another very successful COSMOS event at Annaharvey, Tullamore, last W/E. There were excellent lectures, ranging from 'old hands' like Prof Denis O'Sullivan and Bro. Guy Consolmagno, to the public debut lecture by Amanda Ryan on Gravitational Lensing and Planet Detection. See the TAS website for more details. As usual, the craic was good, and the weather stayed fine until Sunday afternoon. Well done to all concerned.