Category Archives: IAA

IAA AGM HELD, New Council Elected

The postponed AGM was held on the evening of 26th August 2020 by Zoom. Thank you to all the members who took part, it worked very well and we now have a new Council elected – details here…..

This Council will meet early in September to evaluate the best way forwards given the continuing impact of Covid-19. We do not expect to be able to hold live lecture meetings for some time so we will endeavour to do the best possible for our members.

As always, the latest information will appear here.

IAA AGM 2020

Following the Covid-19 lockdown the Council cancelled the last two meetings of the season, including the Annual General Meeting scheduled for 15th April.

It now seems unlikely that we will be able to run a normal lecture programme for the rest of this calendar year, though we are working on alternative approaches to that.

As mentioned previously, it is our intention to hold the AGM online via Zoom Conferencing at 19:30 on Weds 26th August.

Paid-up members of the IAA can join the conference – details as follows……

Topic: IAA AGM
Time: Aug 26, 2020 07:30 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting here…….

This will open approx 5mins before the start time. Zoom gives us 40mins so please can we start promptly and get through the necessary business as quickly as possible. If there is any time left we’ll leave it open for chat. If important business remains outstanding after 40mins we can all reconnect using the same link above!

Those who haven’t used Zoom before, it is very simple – click on the link and any necessary software will download and install.

Note, I (Paul) will be the gatekeeper and host of this meeting and will only be allowing paid-up members in.

Supporting documents are as follows……

David Beesley FRAS

I joined the Irish Astronomical Society when I was roughly nine or ten years old (c 1963-64) and one of my earliest recollections was of meeting David Beesley, who at the time was IAS Belfast Centre Honorary Secretary, and I remember well how keen he was to help and give advice to a budding young astronomer. 

David lived all his life in East Belfast and through the early sixties, seventies and eighties and even into the 1990s David was a leading light in IAS/IAA activity – organising, lecturing and observing. He was a principal driving force in the IAA after its formation in 1974 acting as Honorary Secretary and President for many years. His forte was double stars and he enjoyed nothing better than to explain the intricate details of how to use an eyepiece micrometer to measure the position angle and separation of these stars. He was a regular contributor to the prestigious Irish Astronomical Journal (IAJ), edited by Ernst Öpik from Armagh Observatory, and he submitted accurate double star observations to the BAA for many years. David was also Editor of Stardust for several decades and it was through his hand-delivery of the magazine that I grew to know him well. I lived close to David in East Belfast and he would frequently pick me up and take me with him to various observing events and trips – such as the visit to Patrick Moore’s house in the Mall in Armagh, or the observing sessions at the Giant’s ring etc. We travelled together to Birr on many occasions to attend the Star Parties there.  David also worked for a spell at the Planetarium as a lecturer although eventually he found the travelling too much and joined heating and plumbing suppliers, Beggs and Partners in Belfast where he worked until retirement. In 1989 David was the first person to be awarded the IAA’s Fitzgerald Medal for ‘outstanding service to the Association’, and in 2000 David was the first person to be awarded the IAA’s most prestigious award for ‘exceptional service to astronomy’ – the Öpik medal. 

David suffered from Parkinson’s disease for the last few years and it eventually forced him to drop out of Association life, but he passed away on 18th April 2020 as a result of contracting Covid-19. Although he spent his last year or so in a nursing home in Belfast, David did not lose his interest in things astronomical nor his sharpness of mind. We spoke just a few weeks before his death when he discussed measuring sunspot diameters using his trusty micometer and telescope from his nursing home room. 

David was a quiet and respectful person, a true gentleman who commanded significant respect through his knowledge, unassuming manner and dedication to his lifelong hobby. David is survived by his wife Hazel, who was also a member of the Association and they were both deeply committed Christians. David has a son Mark and daughter Fiona. He was a ‘giant’ of the Irish amateur astronomy community and will be sadly missed by all.

Andy McCrea, 19th April 2020.

Covid-19 Virus

The IAA Council has met to consider the situation regarding the Covid-19 Pandemic and has reluctantly come to the conclusion that we must cancel the events planned for the remainder of the season. Therefore, the lectures on 18th March and 1st April are CANCELLED and the Annual General Meeting planned for 15th April is postponed until September.

There will be no Observing sessions organised for the remainder of the season (20th/21st, 27th/28th March, 17th/18th and 24th/25th April)

Further information will appear here as this situation develops

IAA Lecture Programme 2018-19

Subscriptions are now open and renewals due for the New Lecture Season which is almost complete – see below…….

You can join us here……… Membership has been held at £20 individual and £25 family – this has been the case for several years now and represents fantastic value!

Meetings are held at the Bell Theatre in Queen's University Belfast – see here for directions……. The proceedngs begin at 19:30 sharp and begin with the President's Welcome and a warm-up talk by one of our experienced astronomers, followed by the main talk, usually given by a Professional Astronomer. Tea, coffee, biscuits and chat is available after the meeting with proceedings usuall closing around 21:30.

We also run Observing evenings, usually at Delamont Country Park in County Down – details here……….http://irishastro.org/observing

During the course of the year we run a number of outreach sessions at various venues some of which will include the IAA's very popular Stardome Planetarium. Details will appear on this website.

 

Sep 19th – Dr Frank Prendergast, DIT: "From Neolithic to Iron Age – Case Studies in Irish Archaeoastronomy"
 
Oct 3rd –  Prof Luke Drury: Prof Emeritus, DIAS: "The Dawn of Multi-Messenger Astronomy".
 
Oct 17th –  Prof Gerry Doyle, AOP: "The Probability of a Doomsday Solar Superflare: Fact or Fiction?"
 
Oct 31st –  Dr Wes Fraser, QUB:  tbc
 
Nov 14th –  Michael O'Connell. "Amateur Observations of Meteors"
 
Nov 28th –  Prof Stephen Smartt, ARC, QUB, "Kilonovae"
 
Dec 12th –  Paul Evans "Apollo 8 – Christmas Around the Moon"
 
Jan 5th 2019 – New Year Party
 
Jan 9th – tbc
 
Jan 23rd –  Dr Neale Gibson, ARC, QUB – “Exploring Alien Worlds: How to find life in the Universe”
 
Feb 6th –  Dr Kate Maguire, ARC, QUB, "Gravitational Waves – Ripples in Spcetime"
 
Feb 20th –  Dr Norah Patten Inspire Space, Scientist-Astronaut candidate with Project PoSSUM. "From Mayo to Space"
 
Mar 6th –  Prof Peter Gallagher, (ex TCD, new head of DIAS) tbc, prob on Parker solar Probe and I-Lofar
 
Mar 20th –  tbc
 
Apr 3rd –  Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, tbc
 
Apr 17th –  AGM

New IAA Council elected

We had an excellent AGM+ night at the IAA with a brilliant talk on The European Solar Telescope Project by Dr Ada Ortiz followed by the AGM.

The new Council was elected with Brian Beesley taking over from Paul Evans as President. Paul had served as President for 5 of the previous 6 years during a period of continued growth for the Association.

The Aidan Fitzgerald Award was presented to IAAmember and Professional Photographer Bernie Brown for her fantastic work on the Images of Starlight and Heavens Above Astrophotography exhibitions. 

From the left, Pat O'Neill, Tony Kempston, Adam Jeffers, Danny Collins, Fitzgerald Medal Winner Bernie Brown, outgoing President Paul Evans, Terry Moseley and incoming President Brian Beesley

The full Council is as shown here….

IAA New Year Party – Sat 6th January 2018

The New Year Party will be held as usual in the Tudor Cinema, Drumhirk, Comber on Saturday 6th January 2018. A buffet meal will be available in McBrides the Square, Comber. Food will be served at 6.00pm, but it is advisable to be there at 5.30pm.
 
After the meal, members and guests will then make their way to the nearby Tudor Cinema for the feature film `Hidden Figures’ starting at 7.30pm and followed by a prize quiz. Visit Irish Paving.
 
Free refreshments will be available in the emergency home solutions, including Terry Moseley’s hot punch!
 
N.B. Due to seating capacity restrictions at the Tudor Cinema, numbers will be limited to 60, so early booking is advisable.
 

Download the Ticket Application Form here…..

IAA Members’ Eclipse Success

We're very pleased to report that a number of IAA members on holiday in the USA have had excellent viewing conditions for the Total Solar Eclipse – the featured image comes from Andy McCrea in Idaho with excellent conditions also being reported from Terry Moseley and Kate Russo in Wyoming and a number of members of the Irish Astronomical Community in Oregon.

Congratulations all, well done!

More to follow.

Annual General Meeting, Weds 12th April

Wednesday 12th April marks the date of the 43rd Annual General Meeting of the Association. The purposes of the meeting are to review the activities of the past year, elect a new Council for the coming year and for the Council to receive feedback from the membership on how they – that's you – would like to see the Association develop.
 
We have also had a sub-committee sitting to decide whether or not the prestigious Aidan P Fitzgerald Award should be awarded this year, and if so, who the recipient should be. 
 
This award is given no more than once a year for "Outstanding Service to the Association" and is named after one of the leading members of the Association in the 1940s and 50s.
 
As well as the formal business, which we will try and complete as quickly and efficiently as possible, we will a showing of a short film marking this day as "Yuri's Night", being the 56th annivaersary of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man in space. Then we'll have a telescope auction, bring and buy and telescope clinic, so if you're looking to buy some new gear, bring some maony along and grab a bargain!
 
All are welcome, though of course only paid up members are eligible to vote on business matters. 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.

2016-17 Memberships Due

A reminder to Members, and indeed anyone who wishes to become a member, that the membership year begins on 1st September. Despite rising costs, by managing the Association's finances carefully we have managed to hold the membership fees down to the same level as they have been for several years now and as always we are providing a full programme of 14 lectures plus the AGM together with observing nights and our comprehensive outreach programme.

New and existing members can (re)join here……

Membership of the IAA costs £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. Also, there are four issues of the IAA magazine "Stardust" produced annually and these will be delivered to your home address.