Lecture 18th January - Dr Kate Maguire, QUB, "Cosmic Lighthouses: Supernovae and the Dark Universe"

Dr Kate Maguire
Supernovae mark the explosive deaths of some stars at the end of their lives. These incredibly bright explosions can be seen to great distances in the Universe. Supernovae were essential to the unexpected discovery that the expansion rate of the Universe is accelerating, invoking the presence of the mysterious and unexplained quantity, dark energy. I will describe what we know (and don’t know) about these stellar explosions, and how future transient surveys plan to use them to uncover the nature of dark energy.

Lecture 4th January 2017 - Prof Mike Burton, Director, Armagh Observatory & Planetarium - “Galactic Explorers - Mapping the Molecular Gas of the Southern Milky Way”

Prof Burton at the Clotworthy Launch Picture: Bernie Brown

Professor Mike Burton has recently taken on the Directorship of Armagh Observatory and the Planetarium bringing both bodies under a single management. Prior to this he spent many years in Australia carrying our research into how stars form and the excitation of the interstellar medium in which this occurs. This makes uses the tools of infrared and millimetre-wave astronomy, measuring the spectral signatures arising from the gas and dust in interstellar molecular clouds.

We are very pleased to welcome Prof Burton to the IAA to talk to us about "Explorers of the Galaxy"

Lecture - Weds 14th Dec - Aoife McCloskey, TCD - "Sunspots and Solar Flares: How can we forecast space weather?"

Aoife McCloskey
One of the most challenging endeavours in modern technological society is predicting the occurrence of adverse space weather conditions in the near-Earth space environment that are hazardous to technology and human life. The main source of adverse space weather is our active star, the Sun. Solar flares are highly energetic events that occur on the Sun, but can directly impact day-to-day technologies in space (e.g. satellites, GPS signals, astronaut radiation) and on Earth (e.g. radio communication).

"Heavens Above" - the IAA's Astrophotography Exhibition 9th Nov - 27th Dec, Clotworthy Arts Centre, Antrim

Aurora from Ballygally, Co Antrim
Update: This exhibition is now extended until Tues 27th December so plenty more time to see it!
On the morning of Wednesday 9th November, “Heavens Above”, an exhibition of astonishing photographs of the sky taken exclusively by members of the Association, will open to the public. 

Lecture - Weds 30th Nov - Dr Wes Fraser (QUB) - "Recent space exploration: small guys take the spotlight"

Dr Wes Fraser
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.