Category Archives: Event

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

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).
 
The main scientific questions to answer are when, where and why do these events occur on the Sun? If we can answer these, then we can better prepare for their impact here at Earth. The energy that powers these energetic events is known to come from magnetic energy stored in sunspot groups – dark regions/spots of strong magnetic field on the surface of the Sun. This talk will address the present state of space weather prediction and ongoing research, including using sunspots to predict solar flares, that aims to improve the capabilities of current space weather forecasting. 
 
Doors open about 7.15pm. There is free parking available on the campus in the evenings. Admission Free, including light refreshments. We are located in the Bell Theatre, Department of Mathematics and Physics, QUB – details here……
 
With thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for assistance with this event.

“Heavens Above” – the IAA’s Astrophotography Exhibition 9th Nov – 27th Dec, Clotworthy Arts Centre, 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. 
 
The exhibition at The Clotworthy Arts Centre, Antrim will run until Sunday 3rd December and admission will be free to all.
 
Covering a range of subject matter from the mysterious clouds of the Milky Way, through the electric colours of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) down to the detailed capture of time-critical celestial events such as Solar and Lunar eclipses, this exhibition is a must see for anyone with an interest in the sky above us.
 
Some of the pictures in this exhibition have been taken with specialist equipment from exotic locations in order to capture the very best starlight possible, however many others have also been captured from ordinary locations in Northern Ireland using off the shelf photographic equipment that many people would use for holiday snapshots. It is a measure of how far modern technology has come that such equipment is also able to capture such fabulous images in very low light.
 
Included in “Heavens Above” are category winners of the International Astronomy Photographer of the Year Competition organised by the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London, and also the recent winner of Amateur Astrophotography Ezine’s “Milky Way” competition.
 
In the New Year the Exhibition will move to new venues in Lisburn and Downpatrick.
 

IAA Public Astronomy Outreach Event, Cullyhanna, Co Armagh, Sunday 4th 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 (Follow link for directions, SatNav BT35 0PZ  and Overhead view – Community Centre marked by red circle http://irishastro.org/cullyhannacc.jpg) on Sunday 4th 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 million 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 Mighty 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.
 
And there's much much more all around the night sky, in Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Auriga, the Great Bear, and so on.
 
Even if it's cloudy there will be plenty to interest everyone: We'll have the portable Stardome, kindly loaned by Armagh Planetarium, in which we will give amazing starshows touring the universe from our own Earth to the far reaches of the universe.
 
We'll also have an exhibition of all sorts of interesting things to do with astronomy and space, including a selection of meteorites: rocks which have actually come from outer space to planet Earth.

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

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.
 
Doors open about 7.15pm. There is free parking available on the campus in the evenings. Admission Free, including light refreshments. We are located in the Bell Theatre, Department of Mathematics and Physics, QUB – details here……
 
With thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for assistance with this event.

Lecture – Weds 16th Nov – Eleanor Edwards – “The Space Academy” and Paul Evans – “Beginners’ Astrophotography”

 
Something a little different, this meeting is aimed at newcomers and beginners reflecting the substantial influx of new members this season.  IAA Schools Officer Eleanor Edwards will describe her involvement with the UK's Space Academy, and how it relates to teaching astronomy and space science in schools. IAA President Paul Evans will then talk about everything you need to know about getting started in astrophotography, using just your camera and a tripod, leading on to simple imaging through a telescope and a few fun techniques for presenting your work! 
 
Doors open about 7.15pm. There is free parking available on the campus in the evenings. Admission Free, including light refreshments. We are located in the Bell Theatre, Department of Mathematics and Physics, QUB – details here……
 
With thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for assistance with this event.

Lecture – Weds 2nd Nov – Dr David Malone (NUIM) “How we tell the time”

Knowing the date and time is a question that is tightly tied up with astronomy, combined with some history, politics and a bit of physics. This talk will give a summary of how the calendar and clock we have today has changed from ancient times right up to 2016.

Doors open about 7.15pm. There is free parking available on the campus in the evenings. Admission Free, including light refreshments. We are located in the Bell Theatre, Department of Mathematics and Physics, QUB – details here……
 
With thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for assistance with this event.

Lecture – Weds 19th Oct – Dr Morgan Fraser (UCD) “Gaia: Mapping the Milky Way and Beyond from Space”

Gaia is the European Space Agency's flagship mission for this decade, and is revolutionising our understanding of the Milky Way and beyond, by allowing astronomers to measure distances to a billion stars. 
 
I will outline the Gaia mission, and some of the technology that makes this possible. As the first public Gaia data release is made in September 2016, I will highlight some of the key science results to date, and discuss some of the things to look forward to from Gaia in the future. Finally, I will talk about the Gaia Alerts project, which uses Gaia data to find transients, and how amateur astronomers are getting involved.
 
Doors open about 7.15pm. There is free parking available on the campus in the evenings. Admission Free, including light refreshments. We are located in the Bell Theatre, Department of Mathematics and Physics, QUB – details here……
 
With thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for assistance with this event.

Lecture Weds 5th Oct – Prof Jose Groh (TCD) – “Live fast and die hard: the evolution and death of massive stars”

“Live fast and die hard: the evolution and death of massive stars”
 
Stars more massive than 8 Suns end their lives in dramatic supernova explosions. But before dying, these monster stars have tumultuous lives when they blow winds, suffer giant eruptions, and interact with companion stars. In this talk, Prof. Jose Groh (TCD) will give an overview on the fast lives of the most massive stars in the Universe and how they evolve. He will also discuss the roles of massive, monster stars as cosmic engines of the Universe.
 
This promises to be a masterclass in the role played by the biggest stars in our Universe and is a must see!
 
This is a World Space Week event
 
Doors open about 7.15pm. There is free parking available on the campus in the evenings. Admission Free, including light refreshments. We are located in the Bell Theatre, Department of Mathematics and Physics, QUB – details here……
 
With thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for assistance with this event.

 

Opening Lecture Weds 21st September – Prof Alan Fitzsimmons – “Sungrazing Comets – Falling Into Hell”

This year's season opener features a return visit to the IAA by Prof Alan Fitzsimmons of QUB's Astrophysics Research Centre on the subject of "Sungrazing Comets – Falling Into Hell". Alan is one of our greatest supporters and most popular speakers and has given us many superb lectures over a period measured in decades. This once again promises to be an excellent start to our new lecture season. 
 
Doors open about 7.15pm. There is free parking available on the campus in the evenings. Admission Free, including light refreshments. We are located in the Bell Theatre, Department of Mathematics and Physics, QUB – details here……
 
With thanks to the Astrophysics Research Centre, QUB, for assistance with this event.

“Images of Starlight” exhibition 2nd August – 30th Sept Linenhall Library

The Irish Astronomical Association (IAA), in conjunction with the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies (IFAS) and the Irish Astronomical Society (IAS), presents "Images of Starlight", a highly regarded exhibition of the best astronomical photographs taken by amateur astronomers throughout Ireland.
 
See coverage of the launch on NVTV here from 18.42 onwards….
 
 
This exhibition was launched at the Linenhall Library, Belfast, on 2nd August, and will run until 30th September. The Library is open 9.30am – 5.30pm Monday – Friday and 9.30am – 4pm Saturday. Admission is free. This exhibition originally opened in Dublin in February to great acclaim, and has been viewed by tens of thousands of people at three venues since then.
 
 
 
Images of Starlight
 
With modern high quality telescopes, standard digital cameras, and computer-aided guiding and post processing, amateur astronomers are now taking photos of better quality than those taken by the biggest and best professional telescopes in the world before the digital era.
 
The exhibition was originally organised by the IAS (Irish Astronomical Society, Dublin) and IFAS, and was open to all amateur astronomers in Ireland. Over 60 photos of extremely high quality were selected, printed at large scale to the highest possible standards by Canon Ireland, and professionally mounted. The Belfast incarnation of the exhibition adds another 21 images taken by IAA members.
 
The exhibition showcases amazing images of spectacular objects from the Aurora or Northern lights in our own atmosphere, to the Sun, Moon, planets and comets in our Solar System, to beautiful nebulae, star-forming regions and star clusters in our own Milky Way Galaxy, and on to other distant galaxies whose light has travelled many millions of light-years to reach our telescopes and cameras.
 
The exhibition will feature Irish category winners of the International Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, organised by the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London. It also includes what is believed to be the largest and most detailed image of a constellation ever taken by an amateur astronomer.
 
While the exhibition is aimed at the general public, the aspiring astronomical photographer will find inspiration and the advice they need to take their first steps.