Category Archives: Event

IAA Zoom Lecture 10th Nov 19:30 – Dr. Donnacha O’Driscoll (IAS)

“Earth’s Constant Companion”


This will be a general presentation on Earth’s constant celestial companion, the Moon. Its formation, physical attributes, movements, effects on the Earth and how to observe it. It will be a fun, entertaining and hopefully informative talk that will have something in it for all ages with no prior knowledge required


It is presented by IAS member Dr. Donnacha O’Driscoll who is a scientist by profession. He is the General Manager of the Science Foundation Ireland research centre ‘Insight’ in UCD.

Although professionally he has worked in the biotechnology and data analytical sectors, his passion is in astronomy and in particular Lunar astronomy.

He has been an active observer of the Moon for over 40 years and has presented many talks on the subject in that time. He established and runs the website which is an outreach project, acting as a source of information and teaching aids on all things Lunar to individuals young and old and to various groups and schools.

Paul Evans is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: IAA Lecture
Time: Nov 10, 2021 07:15 PM London

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Meeting ID: 863 4633 4772
Passcode: 859645

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

This talk will also be Simulcast on our YouTube Channel

International Observe the Moon Night, Sat 16th October, at Delamont Country Park

Note This event is cancelled due to poor weather

Near Killyleagh, Co Down, 7.30 p.m.

54.384, -5.677

Meet in the main car park. We will provide some telescopes, but bring your own, or binoculars, if you can. We will be providing sanitising wipes for eyepieces and hand controls etc, and these will be wiped clean between users. We strongly advise that only those who are double-vaccinated, or who have had Covid and recovered and with at least one vaccination, should attend.

We will take phone numbers of all groups attending, anyone bringing a telescope will also need to bring a pack of antibacterial wipes, and wipe eyepiece cups and focuser knobs for each viewer, and all telescope operators to wear a mask at close quarters etc.

We will be introducing more Observing nights – see this page for dates. The Covid Pandemic isn’t over so we will need to follow precautions as outlined above to keep us all as safe as possible.

IAA Lecture, Weds 13th October 19:30

“Habitability beyond our solar system”, by Professor Chris Watson

Deputy Head of the School of Mathematics and Physics, Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB


What do we mean by ‘habitability’ and ‘habitable’? How do we define it? Do we even know what ‘habitable’ looks like? What’s the problems with determining whether something is habitable? Why are we looking in the places we’re currently looking? Actually, are we even looking in the right places?

 I’ll talk about the current scientific thoughts surrounding these fundamental questions, what is driving these thoughts, and why it’s so difficult for an astrophysicist like myself to answer these questions.

Paul Evans is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: IAA Zoom Lecture Prof Chris Watson
Time: Oct 13, 2021 07:15 PM London

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Meeting ID: 852 1438 8350
Passcode: 376019

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

This talk will also be Simulcast on our YouTube Channel

IAA Zoom Lecture 29th September

IAA Public Lecture, Wed 29 September, 7. 30 p.m., by Zoom. “Astronomy, Ireland and UNESCO World Heritage” by Prof. Michael Burton, Director of Armagh Observatory & Planetarium.

Abstract: In 2019 UNESCO inscribed two astronomical sites for World Heritage based on their Outstanding Universal Values: Jodrell Bank & Risco Caido. Jodrell’s nomination centred on its pioneering role in the development of radio astronomy and extant examples of scientific infrastructure from the discipline’s origins to today.

  Ireland also has outstanding astronomical astronomical heritage through the pioneering role in development of the field of astronomy played by the observatories of Birr, Dunsink and Armagh. Birr with the Leviathan, the largest telescope in the world for 69 years, providing the seeds that led to the concept of other galaxies, as well as the birth of infrared astronomy. Dunsink and Armagh Observatories represent a key step in the development of the telescope itself, when the design of the building they are housed in became central to their function. Armagh has since continuously been occupied by astronomers, with three generations of telescopes from the 19th century within that illustrate the development of clock-driven equatorial telescope over that period.

The new inscriptions of Jodrell Bank and Risco Caido to the UNESCO World Heritage list raise the question of whether Ireland’s astronomical heritage may also be worthy of such recognition?
   This talk will overview the astronomical history of these Irish observatories and the possibility of seeking UNESCO World Heritage listing for them, as well as some of the issues that must be considered if doing so.

ZOOM, etc, Details.

Time: Sep 29, 2021 07:15 PM London
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Meeting ID: 883 4390 2455
Passcode: 536349

IAA Season Opener – Zoom Lecture Weds 15th Sept 19:30

“The Gravitational-Wave Optical Transient Observer and Cataclysmic Variables“, by Christopher Duffy, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium


Following the observation of the first binary neutron star merger in 2017 a new frontier in multi-messenger astronomy has opened up, combining Gravitational Wave and optical astronomy. The Gravitational-Wave Optical Transient  Observatory (GOTO) is a robotic observatory designed with this kind of astronomy at its heart, designed to make use of large instantaneous sky coverage and an automatic scheduler to rapidly followup on detected Gravitational Waves events. This talk will outline the need for observatories such as GOTO, its design and operation and what can be achieved using GOTO. It will further go into detail on one of the leading secondary science goals of GOTO, Cataclysmic Variables, their often varied behaviour and why they are of great interest to us.”

 Speaker Biography:

Chris is a third year PhD student at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium and Warwick University. Originally from Scotland Chris studied for his undergraduate and masters degrees at Glasgow University. His PhD is focused on studying transient objects in the night sky; mainly outbursts from Cataclysmic Variables, using wide field survey telescopes. As part of this work Chris is a member of both the GOTO and NGTS (Next Generation Transit Survey) consortia.”

Paul Evans is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: IAA Zoom Meeting
Time: Sep 15, 2021 07:15 PM London

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Meeting ID: 859 7958 2176
Passcode: 918551


The annual Perseid Meteor shower is one of the two best each year, and this year conditions are favourable, with no bright moonlight to spoil the show.

Meteors, often called Shooting Stars or Falling Stars, are just tiny bits of debris in space which plough into our atmosphere at very high speed and ‘burn away’ in a streak of light lasting just a second or so.
Most of the annual meteor showers are caused by streams of tiny particles emitted from comets as they orbit around the Sun, and the Perseids originate from Comet Swift-Tuttle, named after the two astronomers who discovered it. The Earth passes through this shower of tiny particles each August, with the maximum occurring on the night of August 11-12th, and especially 12-13th, when up to 80 meteors per hour can be observed under ideal conditions in the early hours of the 13th. However, some Perseids can be seen from the beginning of the month up to about the 20th, although the rates are much lower the further away from the date of maximum.
They are called Perseids because they all seem to come from a point in the sky in the constellation of Perseus. They can appear anywhere in the sky, at random, but if you trace the direction of their tracks backwards, they will all appear to come from a small area in Perseus, which lies along the Milky Way. 

Perseus will be rising in the North East when the sky gets dark, and the number of meteors seen will increase from then as Perseus gets higher up in the East and then almost overhead, until dawn twilight gets too bright.
The young crescent Moon will set as twilight ends, so moonlight will not interfere this year.

You don’t need a telescope, or even binoculars, to see them, just your own eyes. But you must allow time for your eyes to adapt to the darkness before you’ll start to see any: if going out from a bright room, this takes 10 minutes for a reasonable view, but around 20 minutes to get the best view. For comfort, use a reclining chair or lounger, and wrap up well as it will get quite cool after a while.

And you should try to observe from the darkest location possible, away from light pollution, i.e. the effects of bright city lights, or even nearby street lights or security lights. If you can see the Milky Way, you’ve got a reasonably good location. The new OM/Davagh Dark Sky Park in the Sperrins is being developed for observing events such as this.
Although they appear to come from Perseus, they can appear anywhere in the sky, and the best place to look is about 50 degrees above the horizon (a bit more than halfway up to the overhead point, and about the same distance to left or right of the radiant, in whichever direction you can get the clearest and darkest view. Obviously if it’s cloudy, you won’t see any, but if you look on the few nights on either side of the 12th/13th, you should still see quite a good display if it’s clear then.
Perseid meteors are fast, as they collide with Earth at a speed of almost 60 km per second. There are a good proportion of bright ones, although as with all showers, there are many more faint ones than bright ones. That’s why you’ll see more from a very dark site, and when your eyes have fully dark-adapted.

METEOR PHOTOGRAPHY:   If you have a digital SLR which can give longish time exposures, and you can manually focus it on infinity, and adjust it to a high ISO (film speed equivalent), you can image the meteors with a bit of luck. Use the widest-angle lens you have. It will help to have a tripod.   Point the camera about 50° up in the sky, about 40° from the radiant, for best results. Consult your camera handbook, or experiment with exposures until the sky fogging becomes too severe. Start with exposures of about 10 minutes, and see if the background is still dark; if not, reduce the exposure times a bit. But usually the bright meteors pass just outside the field of view of the camera!

 NOTES TO EDITORS:1. The Irish Astronomical Association is a registered charity dedicated to promoting interest in, and information about, astronomy and space and related topics. It is the oldest and largest astronomical society based in N. Ireland, and the largest amateur astronomy society in Ireland .2.  The meteors we see burn up at heights of about 100 km down to 80 km. We don’t see the actual meteor itself – just the streak of ionised light which is created as the particle burns away.
Terry Moseley

IAA Zoom Lecture – Weds 21st July 19:30

“A multi-wavelength view of galaxies”

by Dr Maritza Lara-Lopez of AOP.


The formation and evolution of galaxies is intimately dependent on the conversion of gas into stars, the production of heavy elements, recycling of this material into the interstellar medium, and repetitions of this cycle. A detailed understanding of the interplay between gas mass, star formation rate, and heavy elements is clearly important to understand the galaxy evolution process. In this talk I will provide a general overview of all the different telescopes, wavelengths, and the information they provide. From the hot gas, through to the cold gas, through to star formation and back again.


Maritza obtained her PhD in 2011 from the Astrophysical Institute of the Canary Islands (IAC)  in Tenerife, Spain. Later, she moved to a research fellowship at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) in Sydney, Australia, followed by a 3 year ARC Super Science Fellowship at AAO. She then moved for 2 years to Mexico for a research position at the Institute of Astronomy at UNAM.  From 2017- 2020 she was a DARK-Carlsberg foundation fellow at the DARK Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

From August 2020 she is a STFC postdoc at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, UK.

 Her PhD thesis won a national prize in Mexico and an institutional prize at IAC/ULL, Spain for the best thesis. In 2016 she won the L’Oreal-UNESCO prize for women in science of Mexico. She has 84 refereed publications in international journals (first author of 11), with more than 2900 citations.

Topic: IAA Meeting 21st July 2021
Time: Jul 21, 2021 07:15 PM London

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Meeting ID: 835 6770 1337
Passcode: 030251

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

This talk will also be Simulcast on our YouTube Channel

IAA Zoom Lecture Weds 23rd June – Dr Samuel Grant, QUB

The Diverse Future of Solar Physics

We are at the advent of an exciting era in the study of our nearest star, thanks to the emerging signs of a new solar cycle, alongside a varied fleet of cutting-edge observing suites set to begin operations in the next decade. In this talk, the implications of entering a new solar cycle will be discussed, including the current conjecture on how this cycle will develop.

There will also be discussion of the space and ground-based observatories being developed world wide that will provide an unprecedented insight into the dynamic physics of the Sun.

Finally, I will present some of the earthly applications of our developments in solar physics, focusing on our bio-medical science collaboration here at QUB.

I am an STFC post-doctoral research fellow employed in the Solar Physics group at Queen’s University Belfast, with a focus on wave activity and energy transport in the lower solar atmosphere. I attained my PhD from Queen’s in 2017 under Dr. David Jess, after my undergraduate studies at Glasgow University, and until September 2020 was employed as a lead researcher on the industrial collaboration to advance bio-medical science through the application of astronomical techniques at QUB/Randox Laboratories.   

Paul Evans is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 872 1012 9293
Passcode: 091251

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

This talk will also be Simulcast on our YouTube Channel

AOP / IAA Online Telescope Clinic – 26th May 7pm


🔭✨Online Telescope Clinic✨🔭

Wednesday 26th May 7pm – 8pm

Zoom Session

Registration is FREE (donations are welcome)

We are delighted to be hosting an Online Telescope Clinic with members of the Irish Astronomical Association (IAA).

Join us as our panel of experts tell us everything from how to set up a telescope to what to look out for in the night sky.

Find out more and register for the event by following the link below:…



Introduction from Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

Telescopes 101 with Andy McCrea

June Sky Guide with Paul Evans

How to view the Partial Solar Eclipse on 10th June with Terry Moseley

Stargazing Tips with Danny Collins

Finish with Q&A session

If you have a promo code