2011 MD was found on Tuesday, June 22, by LINEAR, a pair of robotic telescopes in New Mexico that scan the skies for Near Earth Asteroids. Asteroid 2011 MD is currently estimated to be between 9 to 45 meters (10 to 50 yards) wide. Dr. Emily Baldwin, of Astronomy Now magazine, said there is no danger of the asteroid hitting Earth, and even if it did enter the atmosphere, an asteroid this size would "mostly burn up in a brilliant fireball, possibly scattering a few meteorites." Read more on the story at http://www.skymania.com/wp/2011/06/incoming-new-asteroid-will-scrape-past.html
The Lecture entitled "The Dark Side of the Universe" will be given by Prof. Malcolm Longair, Emeritus Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge.
All are welcome and admission is free, but advance registration is essential as tickets are required for this event. The tickets can be booked through http://ssmr.ucd.ie/darkuniverse/Dark_Universe.html but the link to actually request tickets isn't available yet. Click the "Building 14" link on the lecture notice page for a map of UCD.
(Adapted from Dave Grennan's post on IFAS). Dave McDonald's first asteroid discovery has now been numbered by the Minor Planet Center of the IAU. Dave discovered asteroid 2008 TM9 back in October of 2008. It was big news at the time. Dave even made the front pages of the newspapers (which he graciously agreed to share with Ms. B. Spears and Ms. A. Jolie)
As the orbit has now been determined to sufficient accuracy, 2008TM9 is now the numbered asteroid (281507) 2008 TM9. Dave can now lay claim to the discovery of one of three numbered asteroids discovered from these shores, and of course at the time of discovery it was the first asteroid to be discovered from Ireland in over 160 years.
The numbering of this asteroid is a great tribute to the wonderful work Dave carries out in both his observatory and also as President of IFAS. And he's not a bad bloke either ;-)
Anyway I'm sure you will join with me in extending heartiest congratulations to Dave on this latest development. As the discoverer of 281507, Dave will now be afforded the honour of naming this minor planet. I'm sure he already has some good ideas in this regard.
5. AURORA TRIP TO NORTHERN NORWAY
The following information may be of interest to readers. As there are several attachments to the original, I will forward it separately to all. For further information, contact Ann Relph of Ulster Travel (who organised the recent eclipse trip to China): Ulster Travel Ltd, 2 Church Street, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, BT71 6AB, E: email@example.com
"As solar activity continues to climb there has been a great increase in strong auroras, with almost nightly shows in the auroral zone. Ulster Travel has organized a special auroral viewing expedition which will put you directly under the auroral oval in Tromso, Norway during late October this year.
The group will be led by Terence Murtagh, who is an expert aurora photographer. Recently, he spent seven months filming the Aurora for the world's first high resolution, three sixty degree all dome movie "Experience the Aurora" which is currently being shown in digital theatres around the world.
Terence will take you to some of most accessible viewing locations and be on hand to provide advice and assistance with photographic techniques. He will also make available a Canon EOS 5D Mk II camera for you to capture the aurora should you not want to carry a camera and tripod on the trip. The period chosen in October is during the dark of the Moon and weather permitting, you will be in an excellent position to witness one of nature's most spectacular events.
The Raddisson Blu Hotel is one of the best in Tromso. Its central location makes it perfect for exploring the town and the Tromso environs. It is also only 15 minutes away from some good auroral viewing locations.
Full details, including booking forms, are on the attachments to the original email which I will forward separately."6. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is now even easier: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://irishastro.org.uk/iaamembership.doc. See also www.irishastro.org.