The next IAA public lecture will be on Wednesday 23 January, at 7.30 p.m.
As in years past, the IAA will be the BBC's main partner in Northern Ireland delivering events over the three days of Stargazing Live from Tues 8th to Thurs 10th January. The main event this year will again be held at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre on Oxford Island near Craigavon just off the Lurgan junction on the M1.
This will be a major event, with schools activities in the afternoon, and the programme for the general public starting at about 6 p.m. There will be a much bigger and more varied programme even than last year, so this is something not to be missed. Attractions on offer will include Star Shows in the Mobile Planetarium, Boat trips with Star Guides on the Lough, telescopic observing of Jupiter and its moons, and the Deep Sky, Comet making, and many, many more! Even if it's cloudy, we will have the telescopes set up inside on display and of course the indoor activities won't be weather dependent!
There will also be a two hour live radio programme on BBC Radio Ulster coming from the event from 7pm until 9pm.
Our meeting on 9th January will feature a lecture by by Prof Phil Dufton of QUB: "Forty-five Years in Astronomy".
Prof Dufton, who has given us several fascinating lectures before, has had a long and varied career in astronomy, and has seen some amazing changes in what we know, or think we know, about the universe. That promises to be a very interesting and informative talk.
It will be at 7.30 p.m. in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB.
This year's New Year Party will be held on Saturday 5th January. We start with a buffet meal at McBrides restaurant in The Square, Comber, followed by a special private screening of a film in the local Tudor private cinema. Meet at McBrides at about 5.30 p.m. for 6.0. p.m. The film will be "Men in Black 3". This film has a rating of PG-13, so parental discretion is advised regarding any children.
We will also have free refreshments at the Tudor Cinema, including Terry's notorious seasonal punch (notorious because no-one else can make one like it!), tea & coffee, and soft drinks. We will also have George's entertaining and challenging quiz. You MUST book in advance, by 28th December: £15 per adult. Download the flyer and form here…
On Wednesday 12th of December we have a very special topical night with three of our Council members taking the stage.
First up, Terry Moseley will give his account of the recent Total Solar Eclipse in Australia. Terry will be followed by Andy McCrea who saw the eclipse from a different vantage point and managed to take some excellent photographs of the event.
After this, David Collins will give us a short introduction to his new book, "The Star of Bethlehem". This is a preview of his main talk which will be delivered at Stormont on Friday 14th December.
This promises to be a power packed evening with plenty of fun to bring 2012 to an end with a bang!
It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing away of Sir Patrick Moore who died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Selsey today, 9th December 2012 aged 89. Here is a personal tribute by IAA Past President Terry Moseley….
I was lucky enough to be living in Armagh when Patrick, as he then was, arrived to be Director of the newly announced Planetarium. Having just bought his Observers Book of Astronomy and made a simple 2″ (50mm) refractor, I had then bought 2 kits to grind 8.5″ (21.6cm) mirrors, so I wrote to him for advice. He invited me to call and see him at his house on the Mall, and thus began a lifelong friendship.
Launch of new photograph exhibit, free Christmas show and stargazing
The year 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of when European astronomers headed south, to Chile, determined to build the most powerful ground-based telescopes in the world and founded ESO (European Southern Observatory).
Armagh Planetarium is celebrating this anniversary by launching a new gallery exhibition. Around 40 visually stunning images have been erected with captions, showcasing celestial objects such as galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters as seen by ESO’s observatories, as well as beautiful images of the observatories themselves, which are located in some of the most unusual places on Earth.
Join us for our launch night on Tuesday 4th December 2012 where we will unveil our gallery. You will also have the opportunity to see our Christmas theatre show “Mystery of the Christmas Star” FREE and if the skies are clear we will be observing the wonders of the December night sky.
Please note that spaces for the FREE theatre show are limited so pre-booking is essential. Call us on 028 3752 3689.
6pm – Doors open
7pm – Gallery Launch
7:30pm – Mystery of the Christmas Star Theatre show
8pm – Night sky observing
9pm – Doors close
Our lecture on 28th November will be brought to us by Chiaki Kobayashi. The lecture, entitled "The origin of elements and evolution of galaxies" is described here by Dr Kobayashi in her own words…..
From the observed initial conditions, a snapshot of the Universe at about 300, 000 years after the Big Bang, I am simulating the formation and evolution of galaxies over 13 billion years using a super computer. In the galaxies, stars are born and die, explode as supernovae, and eject heavy elements such as carbon and oxygen, from which human beings are born. Comparing with observations of nearby and distant galaxies, I will summarize what we know about the origin of elements.
Dr Kobayashi was born in Tokyo, Japan, and studied for her undergraduate and PhD at the University of Tokyo. She also worked in Munich, Germany; Canberra, Australia, and is now a Senior Lecturer at University of Hertfordshire.
All are welcome to this lecture – starting 7:30pm sharp in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Queens University, Belfast
We will be Observing with the Mobile Planetarium at Portballintrae Visitors' Centre from 7:30pm onwards on Friday 23rd November. The Forecast is good – a 10 day old Moon and Jupiter will be in the sky with opportunities to see many other objects through our telescopes. Indoors we'll have displays of astronomical paraphernalia and experts on hand to help you set up your telescope, so if you have one and haven't been getting the use you hoped from it, bring it along! As always, all are welcome