Past Lectures

The IAA Lecture Programme for 2020-21 commences on Wednesday 23rd September at 19:30.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we cannot hold these lectures in the traditional way so we will be running them, as much as we can, using online media.

This will work two ways. Firstly, there will be a Zoom meeting which will carry the lecture and up to 100 people will be able to attend this. This is an interactive platform so it will be possible to ask questions etc.

This will also be replicated on our YouTube Channel. 

This will not be interactive though comments will be allowed. It will also remain in place for those unable to watch live.

Zoom and YouTube addresses will be published before the events.

IAA Lecture Programme 2020/21

Sep 23rd – Prof Peter Gallagher (TCD) – “The LOFAR Telescope” (exact title TBC)

Oct 7th – Zoom Lecture – Nick Howes “How do you solve a problem like Debris-ahh?” on the problem of space junk etc.

Oct 21st: Dr Marc Sarzi (AOP). “The Hunt for Supermassive Black Holes: a Short History”

Nov 4th: Prof Alan Fitzsimmons (QUB) “What makes a comet great?”

Nov 18th: Dr Jorick Vink (AOP) “Thirty Years of Hubble: opening the Treasure Chest”

Dec 2nd: Prof Caitriona Jackman (DIAS)“Adventures in the Outer Solar System” (The Cassini Mission and more)

Dec 16th: “Dr Gavin Ramsay (AOP) “Gravitational Wave Optical Transient Observer”  (A new project by Gavin and others at AOP to detect optical counterparts to GW events)


Jan 6th: Prof Stephen Smartt, (QUB) “Searching for Kilonovae in the nearby Universe)

Jan 20th: Prof Lorraine Hanlon (TCD) ‘Gamma-ray bursts and the gravitational wave connection’ 

Feb 3rd: Pete Williamson (Astro Radio) “Remote telescopes for Public and Educational Access”

Feb 17th

Mar 3rd

Mar 17th

Mar 31st

Apr 14th (AGM)

IAA Lecture Programme, 2019 

Sep 25th    Dr Mike Simms (UM): “1969; a special year for space rocks (and not just from the Moon)”

Oct 9th      Dr Gavin Ramsay (AOP): “Measuring the brightness of stars from space: flares, outbursts, exoplanets and the inside of stars”

Oct 23rd    Dr Ernst de Mooj (QUB),  ‘Exoplanets’

Nov 6th     Mike Foylan (Cherryvalley Observatory)

Nov 20th   Dr Meg Schwamb (QUB) “New Perspectives Big and Small of the Trans-Neptunian Region”

Dec 4th     Dr Matt Redman, NUIG. “The shaping of planetary nebulae”

Dec 18th   Members night – Brian Beesley and Adam Jeffers

IAA Lecture Programme 2020

January 4th: New Year Party.

January 8th: Dr Chris Watson (QUB) “The Terra Hunting Experiment – finding Alien Earthlike Worlds”

January 22nd: Dr A McCrea: “Return to the Moon”; T. Moseley: “The Closest Comet Approaches to Earth”

February 5th: Dr Andreas Sander (AOP) – “Rare but important: Why the Universe is shaped by massive stars”

February 19th: Dr Laura Murphy (TCD): “The First Stars in the Universe”

March 4th: Dr John Quinn (UCD): “Gamma-ray and Optical Astronomy with VERITAS”

March 18th: Prof Peter Gallagher: (tbc)

April 1st: Dr David Jess (QUB)

April 15th: AGM + Paul Evans “Apollo – The Rest of the story”

Past Lectures

IAA Lecture Programme 2018-19

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 Marc Sarzi, AOP:  “Supermassive Black Holes” title 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 Simon Prentice, QUB –“The Cow: An incredible transient event”

Feb 20th –  Dr Jorick Vink, AOP, “Women in Astronomy: from the Maunder Mininum, to Leavitt and Hubble’s expanding Universe”

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

IAA Lecture Programme 2017 – 18

Sep 20th: Prof Mark Bailey, Emeritus Director of Armagh Observatory – “”Ancient Stones and Comets: Developing the Giant-Comet Hypothesis”

Oct 4th: Dr Sophie Murray, TCD: “Cloudy with a chance of flares: the importance of space weather forecasting”

Oct 18th: Dr Laura Keogh: InspireSpace: “Space law: owning stars, mining asteroids and Asgardia”

Nov 1st: Prof Tom Ray, DIAS: ‘Preparing for Science with the James Webb Space Telescope’

Nov 15th: David Lisk, ‘Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs’

Nov 29th: Dr Stuart Sim, QUB: ‘How Antimatter Formed’

Dec 13th: Andy McCrea & Terry Moseley: ‘Moon Shadow: The Great American Eclipse’


Jan 6th: New Year Party

Jan 10th: Brian McGabhann (Galway AC) – “Einstein made (relatively) simple”

Jan 24th :Prof Carl Murray (Queen Mary, Univ of London) –  “The Cassini Mission to Saturn: The End of an Era”

Feb 7th: Dr Stephen Wilkins (U of Sussex) “Exploring the End of the Dark Ages” 

Feb 21st: Dr Erin Higgins (AOP): “Live Fast and Die Young – Stellar evolution and the fate of massive stars”

Mar 7th: Dr Patrick Harkness (U of Glasgow) “Mars Sample Return technology: development and testing in Antarctica”

Mar 21st:Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, QUB – “First Contact: Uncovering An Interstellar Visitor.”

Apr 4th: Daniel Williams (U of Glasgow) ‘Gravitational waves’ exact title tba.

April 18th: AGM

IAA Lecture Programme 2016 – 17

Sep 21st: Prof Alan Fitzsimmons “Sungrazing Comets: Falling Into Hell”

Oct 5th: Dr Jose Groh (Asst Prof, TCD) “Live fast and die hard: the evolution and death of massive stars”

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

Nov 2nd: Dr David Malone “How we tell the time”

Nov 16th: Members Night: Paul Evans: Beginners astrophotography’; Eleanor Edwards: ‘The Space Academy’

Nov 30th: Dr Wes Fraser:  “Recent space exploration: small guys take the spotlight”

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


Jan 4th: Prof Mike Burton, Director Armagh Observatory & Planetarium (AOP) “Explorers of the Galaxy”

Jan 7th: New Year Party

Jan 18th: Dr Kate Maguire “Cosmic Lighthouses: Supernovae and the Dark Universe”.

Feb 1st Dr Mike Simms, Ulster Museum “All Craters Great and Small”

Feb 15th: Dr Michele Bannister, QUB “Icy Wonders of the Outer Solar System”

Feb 22nd: Joint IAA/BGS meeting: Prof Sanjeev Gupta (ICL) ‘Exploring the Red Planet: Adventures of the Curiousity Rover”  Note, this is an extra date in the Calendar for NI Science Week.

Mar 1st: Dr Katja Poppenhaeger, QUB: “Exotic worlds: planets in other solar systems and what they might look like”.

Mar 15th:  Dr Cosimo Inserra of QUB, “Building bridges to the mysteries of our Universe with the brightest cosmic explosions”

Mar 29th: Dr Henry Joy McCracken, Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris. “The Euclid Mission: finding out what dark matter and dark energy really are”

April 12th: AGM

IAA Lecture Programme 2015 – 16 

Sep 23: Leo Enright: ‘Pluto, New Horizons, and the Edgeworth (Kuiper) Belt’

Oct 07: Terry Moseley –  “Our Sun: Friend or Foe?”

Oct 21: David Shayler, FBIS – “The Astronomer Astronauts”

Nov 4:Dr Maria Cullen, DCU: – “Anazoeing Mars”

Nov 18: Brian MacGabhann, GAC: “On the Shoulders of Giants; The Story of Our Quest to Understand the Cosmos”.

Dec 02: Prof Susan McKenna-Lawlor, NUIM, STIL: “Rosetta Mission, its Philae Lander, and the First Irish Satellite”

Dec 16: Tony Drennan (former IAA Pres) “ Sherlock Holmes, Pocahontas, and the Star Atlas with no stars”


Jan 02: IAA New Year Party, Comber. Details later.

Jan 06: Dr David Asher, Armagh Obs. “When Earth encounters interplanetary matter: bananas, wings and Totoro”

Jan 20: Dr Heather Cegla, QUB: ‘Earthlike Exoplanets’.

Feb 03: Prof Mihalis Mathioudakis: “What we’ll learn from the biggest solar telescope in the world”

Feb 17: Prof Andy Shearer, NUIG: “What we don’t know (Dark Energy and Dark Matter)”

Mar 02: Dr Nick Howes “The Biggest Telescope in the World” (ALMA)

Mar 16: Michael O’Connell, MAC: “The Antikythera Mechanism: The World’s Oldest Computer”.

Mar 30: Kevin Nolan (The Planetary Society) “An Emerging Cosmic Perspective”

Apr 13: AGM + ??

Lecture Programme 2014

Sep 24th: Leo Enright: “Latest Science Results from Rosetta at the Comet”

Oct 8th: Prof Don Kurtz: “The Kepler Mission: Exoplanets and Asteroseismology”

Oct 22nd: Prof Lawrence Krauss: “Cosmic connections: from the Big Bang to life on Earth”
NB: this will be held in the Larmor Lecture Theatre, Physics, QUB.

Nov 5th: Prof Andy Shearer: “Big Telescopes, New Detectors, Fast Processing: the new era in astronomy”

Nov 19th: Dr Mike Simms  “What meteorites tell us about the early Solar System” 

Dec 3rd: Prof Tom Ray: “The Einstein Lens and a Tale of Two Eclipses”

Dec 17th: Dr Ernst De Mooij  (QUB) : Characterising the atmospheres of exoplanets

Lecture Programme 2015

Jan 3rd: New Year Party, details in form here….

Jan 7th: John Flannery (IAS) – “The Sky by Eye – How to Rediscover the Soul of Astronomy”

Jan 21st: Prof Alan Fitzsimmons: “Rosetta: The Final Picture of a Comet”

Feb 4th: Tom O’Donoghue: “Astrophotography: From Single Pane to Mega-mosaic”

Feb 18th: Dr Jorick Vink – “Star Formation in the Milky Way and in the early Universe” (Note change of lecture)

Mar 4th: Dr John Mason: “Mysteries of the Aurora”

Mar 18th: Paul Evans: “The Deep Partial Solar Eclipse of 20th March 2015”

April 1st: Dr Kate Russo and Terry Moseley: “The March 20 Total Solar Eclipse – What we saw”

April 15th: AGM.

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Astronomy in Northern Ireland and Beyond