1. IAA Public Lecture Meeting, Wed 30 November: "Recent space exploration: small guys take the spotlight", by Dr Wes Fraser, QUB;
Summary: In the last few years, we have witnessed a second renaissance in robotic space exploration. Unlike the era of Voyager and Magellan however, the missions that have truly caught the public's eye have visited the Solar System's small objects. New Horizons to Pluto, Rosetta to comet 67P, Dawn to Ceres and Vesta.
We now have a deep understanding of these small bodies implicating facts about their formation that we are still yet to fully appreciate. Working our way from the asteroid belt outwards, I will give an overview of each mission, including details of the spacecraft, and summarize the astrophysical import of some of the landmark results each mission has produced. Along the way, I will show some of the most spectacular space photos ever taken, and some of social media's often hilarious reactions to humanity's latest space explorations.
TIME: 7.30 p.m., Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB.
Free admission, including light refreshments. Free parking on QUB campus after 5.30 p.m. http://irishastro.org.uk/
2. IAA Public Astronomy Outreach Event, Cullyhanna, Co Armagh, 4 December "Winter Sky Spectacular". 5 p.m. to about 9.30 p.m. Join members of the Irish Astronomical Association as they show you the wonders of the winter sky through their powerful telescopes at Cullyhanna Community Centre on Sunday 4 December.
See Venus, Earth's sister planet, and the one closest to Earth, and the brightest object in the night sky after the Moon: it's also known as the beautiful Evening Star. There will also be a lovely crescent moon, with the 'Old Moon in the New Moon's Arms'. And we'll also view mysterious Mars - possibly the abode of simple life forms.
Another treat will be a pass over Ireland of the International Space Station - easily visible with your own eyes if you know when and where to look. Then there are all the usual wonders of the winter night sky - the lovely Pleiades or Seven Sisters; the huge Andromeda Galaxy - twice as big as our own Milky Way galaxy, lying at the incredible distance of 2.5 million light years, or about 25 milllion million million miles! Even at that distance you can see it with your own unaided eyes and we will show you where to look.
And there's everyone's favourite constellation: Orion, the Might Hunter, with his famous 'Sword', which is actually a gigantic cloud of shining gas and dust, in which stars and planets are being born as we look. Orion's two brightest stars are truly amazing: Betelgeuse is a Red Supergiant, so big that it would engulf the orbits of the three innermost planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus and Earth! Rigel is not so big, but it's very very hot, and tens of thousands of times brighter than our Sun.
3. IAA Observing Evenings, Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh, Co Down:
Next sessions: December 2 or 3 . Check IAA website, www.irishastro.org for details.
4. ISS The International Space Station starts a new series of evening passes over Ireland on 2 December. Details for your location, along with lots of other useful information on space and astronomy on the excellent free site www.heavens-above.com. This new link may also help http://earthsky.org/human-
5. Venus is now becoming more readily visible in the early evening twilight as it moves out from the Sun, and the angle of the ecliptic gradually improves for us in these latitudes. The crescent moon will lie 10 deg above right of Venus on the evening of 2 Dec, and 5 deg 21' above it on the next evening.
6. Heavens Above: AstroPhoto Exhibition, Antrim. We're delighted to announce that local photographs feature in a further series of exhibitions, at venues including Clotworthy Arts Centre in Antrim, and the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn.
The Clotworthy Arts Centre will be hosting the event from 9 November until 3 December. Free admission. A MUST SEE! http://www.
You can get directions here http://www.
7. "Another SuperMoon" on Dec 14: The Full Moon on 14 Nov, at 11.21, was the closest 'SuperMoon' since 1948. Many members saw and imaged it. But contrary to what was said by an 'expert' in an interview on Radio Ulster that day (I'll spare his blushes by not naming him....), the next Full Moon will not be an 'ordinary full moon'. It will in fact be another 'supermoon', as they come in clusters of 3. The next one, on Dec 14, won't be quite as close, but very nearly so. The closest we saw the Moon (from N.I.) on Nov 14 was 356,560km; on Dec 14 the closest will be 361,270km: still very close compared with its mean distance of 384,400km. Send in your best photos to the website www.irishastro.org.
8. Mystery of the Christmas Star, at Armagh Planetarium, 1 - 22 Dec
Visit Armagh Planetarium this Christmas as we journey back more than 2000 years to Bethlehem, and seek to discover an explanation for the star the Wise Men followed to find the baby Jesus in "Mystery of the Christmas Star". The Star of Bethlehem is an iconic astronomical event whose true origin remains unknown even today, in spite of years of speculation and research. The show will guide the viewer through some of these investigations and the most likely causes of this interesting cosmological object which was remarkable enough to make the wise men travel across the desert from Babylon to Bethlehem to see the newborn baby. You will also explore possible dates for the birth of Christ and look at the historical records of significant astronomical events which occurred at this time. Details at www.armaghplanet.com
9. IFAS Calendar 2017. Hard copy ready for purchase. Prices in Euros. Details at firstname.lastname@example.org The calendar is printed on 100gsm paper with a 200gsm cover. There are 28 pages printed on A3 saddle stitched to A4. Contact me (T.M.) right away if you would like one collected from Dublin, and brought to the IAA meeting on Dec 14, at a price of E6.50.
|Number||Collected||Delivered to Ireland||Delivered World-Wide|
10. Earth's Future Inhabitability
11: Job vacancy Head of Corporate Services at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (AOP). The position of Head of Corporate Services at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (AOP) in Northern Ireland is now being advertised. Further details are available via the NICS recruitment website at https://irecruit-ext.
12. Newport Astronomy Society: Next talk is Tuesday 29th November, upstairs in the Grainne Uaile Pub, Newport at 8pm. Topic: 'The Drake Equation and the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence' by Derek Dempsey - admission FREE - everyone welcome! #mayodarkskies
12. 13th JL Synge Public Lecture, 1 December: "The Birth of the Universe" by Professor George Efstathiou, FRS. (Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge and the first Director of the Kavli Institute of Cosmology at Cambridge). The School of Mathematics of Trinity College Dublin cordially invite you to the above lecture and to the wine reception after the lecture. See https://ti.to/tcdAlumni/
Venue: MacNeill Lecture Theatre 3, Hamilton Building, Trinity College Dublin, Date: Thursday 1st December, Time: 7.30pm. RSVP to Emma Clancy (email@example.com
14. ESO Astronomy Camp Date: 26 December 2016 to 1 January 2017; Location: Aosta Valley, Italy. More information: http://www.eso.org/public/
15. Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Contest
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has announced the 2016–17 staging of its Cassini Scientist for a Day essay contest. Since the Cassini mission to Saturn will be ending on 15 September 2017, this will most likely be the last essay contest for the Cassini mission, for which students are asked to write an essay of up to 500 words about one of three possible imaging targets that the Cassini spacecraft has observed during the past few years. Winners and their classes are invited to participate in a teleconference with Cassini scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The deadline for entries is 24 February 2017.
For contest rules, a flyer, frequently asked questions, and more information, please visit:
16. Train like an astronaut in 2017. Mission X is an international challenge for pupils aged 8 to 12 years old and is an initiative of NASA, ESA, and other space agencies around the world. It focuses on fitness and healthy eating — two very important topics for astronauts. During the challenge, the students take part in six weeks of training to get fit like astronauts. Don't miss the chance to register your class onto the Mission X challenge 2017 and train with ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and his crew members! You have until 31 December 2016!
Read ESA's press release here: http://bit.ly/2fiCFpf
You can also visit the official website here: http://trainlikeanastronaut.
17. Fly A Rocket: The European Space Agency is looking for students for its new "Fly a Rocket!" programme. ESA's Education Office is looking for twenty students to participate in an online course about rocketry. Following completion of the course, the students will have the opportunity to take part in a full launch campaign at the Andoya Space Center in Northern Norway, and to launch a rocket. The course is aimed at younger university students, and it is accepting applications from education, media, and management students, showing that careers in the space sector do not necessarily require a detailed technical or mathematical background. Learn more about the program here: http://www.esa.int/Education/
18. IAA Subscriptions now overdue: Your Last chance to pay! Any members who have not renewed their subscriptions by the time the next issue of STARDUST is being sent out will be deemed to have lapsed, and will not receive that or any further issues. You can pay by Paypal via the IAA website www.irishastro.org. 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.
19: IAA NEW YEAR PARTY - 7 January. More details later.
20. Galway Astrofest, 28 January. Another top programme of events is already lined up. More details later, but save the date now.
21. FUTURE EVENTS ALERT: Note the dates:
For Professional Astronomers only: A workshop to discuss the CTA and Ireland's involvement will take place
at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium on January 27, 2017. Details can be downloaded from the ASGI
N.I. Science Festival: 16 - 26 February. The NISF is coming back for a third year! And it's set to be the biggest one yet. Mark it in your diaries and join us. Programme announcement on Dec 2.
COSMOS 2017: 31 March to 02 April. Athlone.
ISSP: Major Event: The International Space Studies Programme (SSP) will be coming to Ireland next year. It will be based at Cork Institute of Technology, running from 26 June to 25 August.
International Symposium on Astronomy and Astrobiology Education: 3–8 July 2017; Utrecht, Netherlands. More Information: http://ise2a.uu.nl/
23: 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)
ASTROPHYSICS: Is there Dark Matter? https://aeon.co/ideas/has-
Large number of dwarf galaxies in early universe -https://www.sciencedaily.com/
New network to study evolution of universe: https://www.sciencedaily.com/
New theory challenges Einstein https://www.sciencedaily.com/
EARTH & MOON
FILM & TV:
Just one question - what was the universe like before this superintelligent alien species took it over? When we look back in time, we don't see any significant changes in anything, other than what we would expect. So galaxies that we see 1 billion years ago are much the same as those we see 2 billion years ago, and 3 billion, 4 billion and so on. Of course there are the gradual changes of a generally aging star population, apart from colliding galaxies etc where starburst regions are found. And the laws of physics and chemistry seem to be the same too, as far back as we can look.
And what has happened to all the other super-intelligent but 'less super-intelligent than this one' species that have evolved also? - Are they just inhabitants of this 'super-brain'?
New views of Ceres from Dawn https://www.sciencedaily.com/
25. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is easy: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://documents.irishastro.
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 www.irishastro.org.