IAA Subscriptions now due

As of 1st September membership falls due.

Membership of the IAA has been held at £20 (€25) per year for Individual Membership or £25 (€30) per year for Family Membership (all members of a family at one address) from September to August and entitles members to attend all IAA events including our regular speaker programme.

We are returning to Queen’s University, Belfast at the start of the Lecture Season on 23rd September – this will be in the larger Larmour Theatre – at least initially, to allow greater Social Distancing.

Where possible we will record these lectures and share them on our YouTube Channel for the benefit of those who may not feel comfortable venturing out just yet.

Also, there are four issues of the IAA magazine “Stardust” produced annually and these will be delivered to your home address.

The Return of Face-to-Face Lectures

Well after two and a half years of Covid and the associated lockdowns we are finally returning to in-person meetings at Queen’s University, Belfast

This time we will meet in the Larmour Theatre which is in the same building as before but accessed by turning right just after the Whitla Hall.

The Larmour is much larger than the Bell and if our previous audience levels continue then there will be much more space for Social Distancing.

For those who are not yet ready to join us in a live situation our intention is to provide a recording of the lectures within a day or two where we can. These will be on our YouTube Channel where you will find an archive of many past lectures including those we ran on Zoom during the Pandemic.

We are currently finalising the Programme but the first two lectures are as follows:_

21st Sep: Dr Steph Merritt, QUB: “Last Horizons – the Edge of the Solar System” (synopsis below)

5th Oct: Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, QUB: “Moving an Asteroid – Did we do it?” (the results of the DART impact on Didymos)

Synopsis of the first talk:

In 1930, Clyde Tombaugh’s discovery of Pluto seemed to mark the furthermost boundary of our solar system. Here, it was thought, was the mysterious Planet X, the ninth planet responsible for inexplicable irregularities in the orbit of Uranus.

The discovery of Pluto’s small mass briefly gave Planet X new life: but the discovery that Uranus’s orbit was not irregular after all seemed to kill it once more. There were nine planets in the solar system, with Pluto as the last: an idea that held for decades, an idea we were all taught in school.

But now, with Pluto demoted to a dwarf planet, and several other Pluto-like objects discovered in the distant frontiers of the system, the Planet X hypothesis has been unexpectedly resurrected. What lies beyond Pluto? Is there yet another planet out there in the coldest, darkest reaches of our solar system? What is the evidence for this new Planet Nine?  And if it truly exists, might the upcoming Legacy Space and Time Survey at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory discover it?

15 years of Irishastro.org

This website is now in its 15th Year so I thought I’d look back on some the changes that have taken place in that time.

Irishastro.org was first registered and set up by IAA member Robert Cobain in 2007 and consisted of a Google Blogspot site with material provided from Terry Mosely’s legendary Astronomy Bulletins which in fact go back to 2001. That blogspot site still exists as IAA News here…..

In 2009 Paul Evans took an interest in the development of the site and separated the IAA News from the main website which was a ground up creation built with HTML and CSS, this being the standard way of doing tings at the time. This worked well and looked good, though soon grew to the point where it was cumbersome to manage so a Content Management System was called for.

The chosen system was Drupal 7 and this lasted from 2012 until 2019 with a change of template part way through which gave a sharper more modern look.

The most recent platform update was the move to WordPress which has become pretty much a de facto world standard for websites.

The recent Banner update to one built on the JWST “Carina” image brings it right up to date, ready for the return to real life meetings in September 2022.


IAA AGM Weds 13th April

As previously advised this meeting will take place on Zoom. All are welcome but only paid-up members may take part in the formal business which will be conducted as swiftly as possible.

“Our Moon and Others” 
Terry Moseley will also be giving a short talk on the above topic after the business part is over. Since we had an excellent talk by Donnacha O’Driscoll on the Moon recently, he’ll be concentrating on some of the interesting moons around other planets.

Paul Evans is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: IAA AGM
Time: Apr 13, 2022 07:15 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 898 3572 0922
Passcode: 499876

The room will open around 19:15 to allow for a prompt start This talk will also be Simulcast on our YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/irishastronomy/videos

Supporting documents………

IAA Lecture Weds 30th March 1930 – Change of lecture – Paul Evans

Due to unforeseen events our planned speaker has had to postpone her talk – we hope to do this another time.

“Eclipses, Transits and Occultations – Some personal experiences”


Based on the prospectus that the Solar System is essentially flat, though importantly not quite flat, it occasionally happens that one object passes in front of or behind another. This is the story of some of Paul’s observations over the last 25 years and a look ahead to a couple coming up.


Paul Evans was brought up in England though he is also half-Irish and has lived in Northern Ireland since 2003.

He has been interested in Space and Astronomy since the time of Apollo 8 and is also a keen photographer who puts the two hobbies together to take photographs of the Night Sky. Examples of his work in this field have been exhibited in both the UK and Ireland.

He is a Past President of the IAA and current Chair of the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies.

His “day” job is keeping the TV and Radio on the air.

Paul Evans is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: IAA Zoom Meeting
Time: Mar 30, 2022 07:15 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 818 4596 8785
Passcode: 210097

The room will open around 19:15 to allow for a prompt start

This talk will also be Simulcast on our YouTube Channel


IAA Lecture Weds 16th March 19:30 – Geoffrey Bowman

“Apollo 17 – Ron Evans and his Long Voyage to the Moon”

This talk, based on a book by the speaker, will tell the fascinating story of how Ron Evans got from a farming town of 900 people in the Mid-West, to a Moonbound spacecraft. 

Biography: Geoffrey Bowman was born in Bangor in November, 1954, and went to Bangor Grammar School, where he developed a fascination for science and geography.  He then studied law at Queen’s University, obtaining an Honours Degree before spending 39 years as a solicitor. 

From as far back as he can remember, Geoffrey has been fascinated by the night sky and, growing up in the 1960s, by the unfolding drama of the Space Race.  News of the historic flights by Gagarin, Shepard and Glenn helped to ignite a life-long passion for space exploration.

A Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, Geoffrey is also a Member of the Irish Astronomical Association.  Over a 30-year period from 1983, Geoffrey has met 20 of the 29 flown Apollo astronauts, including 10 of the 12 Moonwalkers, but – significantly – he never met Ron Evans, command module pilot on Apollo 17. 

After Geoffrey retired in 2017, he was approached by the inspirational Colin Burgess, managing editor of the “Outward Odyssey” series of space-books published by Nebraska University Press  Geoffrey had contributed two chapters to a 2010 book (“Footprints in the Dust”) and Colin suggested “doing a whole book.” 

After some discussion, it was agreed that Geoffrey would write a full biography of one of the lesser-known Apollo astronauts, Ron Evans, whose untimely death in 1990 is largely responsible for his relatively low profile. After much research, the story which emerged was of a man regarded by many as one of the true unsung heroes of Apollo.

Paul Evans is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: IAA Zoom Meeting
Time: Mar 16, 2022 07:15 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 844 3425 8581
Passcode: 162552

The room will open around 19:15 to allow for a prompt start

This talk will also be Simulcast on our YouTube Channel


Astronomy in Northern Ireland and Beyond