Friday, 5 January 2018

NY Party, Lecture, ISS, Mars/Jupiter close, Impact Crater talk, ESO's VR tour.

Hi all,

 

1. May I wish you all a very Happy New Year.

 

2. IAA New Year Party: Saturday 6th January 2018, at McBride's on the Square, Comber, Co. Down. We start off with buffet eats and drinks at McBride's, at 5.15 for 5.30 p.m.; then make our way to the Tudor Private Cinema about a mile away, for more seasonal hot drinks, a special showing of "Hidden Figures" (highly recommended), and the usual quiz for all. Details are on the IAA website, and a booking form was issued with the latest Stardust, sent to IAA members. Non-members can book via the IAA website All are welcome, including guests and non-members.

   McBride's is on the NW corner of the main Square in Comber. See http://www.mcbridesonthesquare.co.uk/  Parking is available in the Square, or on Killinchy St (A22), which is on the route to the Tudor Cinema.

   The Tudor Cinema is in Drumhirk Road, which is 1.3 miles (2.1 km) from McBride's on the right off the Killinchy Road (A22). It's exactly 1.0m (1.7km) from the roundabout at the junction of the Ring Road and Killinchy Road.

   And the entry to the cinema is the first laneway on the left on Drumhirk Road – it's 600 yds (550m) from the turn-off the Killinchy Road. Look for the IAA Party signs. Drive to the end of that laneway, and park.

 

3. IAA LECTURE,  Wed 10 January, 7.30 p.m. "Einstein made (relatively) Simple." By Brian MacGabhann (GAC). We are delighted to welcome Brian back to Belfast, in anticipation of another one of his superb lectures.

  SUMMARY: Einstein's Theory of Relativity represents the best and most complete explanation of the way the universe works which we currently have, and underpins all of modern cosmology, astronomy and astrophysics. The talk is aimed very much at the interested lay-person, and no previous knowledge of the topic is required. It will guide the audience through the core building blocks of the theory, and explain how Einstein arrived at the sometimes bizarre conclusions that he did. 
   This is the ideal lecture for anyone who has ever wondered what the Theory of relativity was all about, or who wanted an easy to follow guide to Einstein's ideas.

Wed 10 January, 7.30 p.m., Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB. Free admission, including light refreshments.  Free parking on QUB campus after 5.30 p.m.

 

4. ISS.  A new series of morning passes over Ireland commenced on 28 December. Details for your own location, along with lots more information such as Iridium Flares, at www.heavens-above.com

 

5. Mars- Jupiter Conjunction

In the early morning twilight, Mars has been gradually closing in on much brighter Jupiter: Mars is mag +1.5, whereas Jupiter is mag -1.8. Over the next few days the separation decreases until on 6 Jan Mars will be only 23' to the right of Jupiter. Next morning just after they rise Mars will be only 13' below and a bit right of Jupiter – that's less than half a Moon diameter. Next morning the separation will have increased to 35' – a bit more than a Moon diameter.

 

6. Earth at Perihelion. Earth was at its closest to the Sun in its elliptical orbit on January 03 at 05.34, at a distance of 0.9833 AU.

 

7. "HUNTING FOR A HIDDEN IMPACT CRATER IN SCOTLAND".  Dr Mike Simms is presenting a talk to Belfast Geologists' Society on Monday 15th January on this topic. VENUE: Ulster Museum (old Stranmillis Road entrance) 7:30 pm.  Tea and coffee from 7:00 pm. IAA members are very welcome to attend. 

 

8. IFAS Calendars – UPDATE: I have now got copies of the 2018 edition of these calendars for those who ordered them via me. I'll bring them to the meeting on 10 January.

 

 9. ESO launches new Virtual Reality Tours to experience its sites
ESO's Virtual Tours are a collection of hundreds of 360-degree panorama pictures that can be used for many purposes. ESO's latest release includes options to view the images in virtual reality mode or 360-degree panoramic mode. You can now use a cell phone with either a standard cardboard virtual reality headset or oculus rift glasses to experience tours of ESO's facilities in an exciting new way. This latest release also includes new and updated virtual tours of ESO's observatories and facilities, bringing better functionality on computers and new panoramic views.

 

10. Globe At Night Campaign, 2018

https://www.globeatnight.org/5-steps.php#d2018 %C2%A0  

 

11. IAU enlarges and updates list of official star names; https://www.iau.org/public/themes/naming_stars/#table

 

12. FUTURE EVENTS ALERT

* Galway Astrofest: Saturday 27 January 2018. More details later.

*IAU C1 Exobiology WS - Astrobiology Introductory Course'18, 4-10 March. The third session of the Astrobiology Introductory Course will be held from 4 to 10 March 2018 at the Ornithological Reserve of le Teich (33, France). Courses are designed for students preparing their PhD thesis in Astronomy, Geology, Chemistry, Biology, or History/Philosophy of science and any students wishing to acquire interdisciplinary training in astrobiology to complete their initial training and to be able to address questions about the origins of life, its terrestrial evolution, and its distribution in the Universe. The deadline for applications is January 15th, 2018. For program and registration, please see the website: http://www.exobiologie.fr/red/index.php/en/ 

*European Week of Astronomy and Space Sciences (EWASS2018).  This will be in Liverpool, from 3 to 8 April 2018. See http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2018/index.jsp and http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2018/

* International Day of Light, 16 May 2018.    Plan ahead and register your event in the official International Day of Light 2018 calendar! Following the highly successful International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies in 2015, May 16th, the International Day of Light, will provide an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of the central role that light plays in the lives of the citizens of the world. The broad theme of light allows many different sectors of society to participate in activities to raise awareness of science and technology, art and culture, and their importance in achieving the goals of UNESCO — education, equality and peace. 

   A good opportunity to highlight (!) light-pollution! And promote Earth Hour as well.

Register your event by filling out the form: http://bit.ly/2xLvvDK

* International Planetarium Society,  1–6 July 2018Toulouse, France. More Information: http://www.ips-planetarium.org/page/IPS2018Toulouse  
* Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education (RTSRE) & InterNational Astronomy Teaching Summit Conferences, 23-27 July 2018. The 2nd annual Conference on Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education (RTSRE) will be held in Hilo, Hawai'i from July 23-25, 2018. This conference series focuses on building a sustainable community around the educational, technical, and student research uses of robotic telescopes. The conference will be co-located with the interNational Astronomy Teaching Summit (iNATS) from July 25-27, 2018 providing worldwide networking opportunities and hands-on workshops designed to expand educators' teaching strategy toolkit designed for innovative astronomy professors, teachers, and outreach professionals.  Find more information here: http://rtsre.net/ 

Inspiring Stars—the IAU Inclusive World Exhibition, 20-31 August 2018
"Inspiring Stars" will be an itinerant international exhibition promoted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to disseminate world efforts on inclusive research and outreach activities in astronomy. This inclusive world exhibition by showcasing assistive research tools and best inclusive outreach practices intends to broaden the horizons of children, parents, teachers and astronomers—everybody can become a scientist (astronomer)—inspiring the love for science in young people's minds. 
The exhibition will premiere during the IAU General Assembly 2018 in Vienna, from 20–31 August and will be shown around the world. Stay tuned as we keep you posted on all the progress of this IAU not-to-be-missed project for 2018! 

Centenary of IAU in 2019:  IAU100: Uniting our World to Explore the Universe
In 2019, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will celebrate its 100th anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, the IAU will organize a year-long celebration to expand awareness of a century of astronomical discoveries as well as to support and improve the use of astronomy as a tool for education, development, and diplomacy under the central theme "Uniting our World to Explore the Universe". The celebrations will stimulate worldwide interest in astronomy and science and will reach out to the global astronomical community, national science organizations and societies, policy-makers, students and families, and the general public.
   For any inquiries, please contact Jorge Rivero González, the IAU100 Coordinator at: rivero[at]strw.leidenuniv.nl.

13. Interesting Weblinks (Disclaimer - Use of material herein from various sources does not imply approval or otherwise of the opinions, political or otherwise, of those sources).  NB: If the title in the weblink does not indicate the subject matter, I give a brief simple intro before the link. I may also comment about the link afterwards.

 

Astrophysics

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5226889/The-secret-galactic-birth-control-revealed.html and https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180101144800.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/alien-megastructure-star-mystery-may-finally-have-been-solved_uk_5a4b71d4e4b025f99e1d7546 and https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180103101133.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29  The 'alien megastructure' was always far and away the least likely explanation. This was a bad example of wishful thinking and desire for publicity trumping (sorry!) sound scientific reasoning.

 

Earth & Moon  

https://www.aol.co.uk/video/we-could-live-in-caves-on-the-moon-heres-everything-you-need-to-know-5a4bd71f30066f3bad5322b7/

Noctilucent Clouds over Antarctica, from space: http://spaceweather.com/DAISY_PICS/current_daisy.png?PHPSESSID=l5gc47pum5k5k7dulrh8athug5

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5230165/Blue-Moon-Blood-Moon-align-end-January.html The hype has started early! It won't be blue in any sense; just a slightly larger than usual Full Moon, with a Total Lunar Eclipse, none of which is visible in Europe.

 

Light Pollution:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5221935/How-light-pollution-REALLY-affects-view-sky.html

 

Solar System

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5218597/Cassini-captures-stunning-shot-glowing-Enceladus.html

 

SPACE

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/dec/31/china-mission-to-far-side-of-the-moon-space-discovery  

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5215401/Incredible-footage-Elon-Musks-latest-SpaceX-launch.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5201943/NASA-picks-two-finalists-space-exploration-competition.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5229087/SpaceX-prepares-launch-secretive-Zuma-satellite.html Why do they use stupid expressions like "The Dragon capsule was towing nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies to the ISS". No, it wasn't. It was carrying …. 'Towing' would mean it was pulling something behind it in a trailer! Idiotic. And "bares" should be "bears".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5229837/NASA-image-spacecraft-shows-Earth-3m-miles-away.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5229285/Tricorder-one-day-alien-life-tested.html

https://www.aol.co.uk/video/we-could-live-in-caves-on-the-moon-heres-everything-you-need-to-know-5a4bd71f30066f3bad5322b7/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5232569/SpaceX-reveals-footage-Falcon-Heavy-megarocket.html It's amazing that since 1969 to now in 2018 we still don't have a rocket nearly as powerful as the Saturn 5!

https://newatlas.com/nasa-space-debris-sensor/52805/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=c4978634cf-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-c4978634cf-92786061

 

Telescopes, Equipment, etc.

Single lens can focus all colours in a single point. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180101144747.htm

   https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/security-flaws-put-virtually-all-phones-and-computers-at-risk-1.3344731?utm_source=lunchtime_digest&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=news_digest

 

14. TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.

 

15. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION. This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://documents.irishastro.org.uk/iaamembership.doc
If you are a UK taxpayer, please tick the 'gift-aid' box, as that enables us to reclaim the standard rate of tax on your subscription, at no cost to you. You can also make a donation via Paypal if you wish: just click on the 'Donate' button. See also
www.irishastro.org .

 

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley




Virus-free. www.avast.com

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Lunar occultations, NY Party, Lecture, ISS, Mars/Jupiter, Supermoon, Meteors

Hi all,

 

1. May I wish you all a very Happy New Year.

 

2. (Apologies for a typo in the previous bulletin – the reference to the occultation of Aldebaran should say "New Year's Eve", instead of New Year's Day, as per the corrected version below.

 Lunar Occultations – we get a nice series ending December:

30-31 December. Ending the year in style, the Moon occults 5 stars in the Hyades, culminating with Aldebaran! First will be Gamma Tau (mag 3.6), at 17.08 on Dec 30; in twilight, with the Sun 8.2 degrees below the horizon, but visible in binoculars. Next, at 19.48, will be 70 Tau (mag 6.5). At 21.15 it will be the turn of 75 Tau (mag 5.0). That will be followed at 22.24 by HIP 21029 (mag 4.8). Finally, to see in NEW YEAR'S EVE, it will occult Aldebaran (mag 0.8) at 01.02, with reappearance at 01.55.

    In every case the event will be instantaneous: the star will literally disappear or reappear in a tiny fraction of a second, so it really is a case of 'blink and you'll miss it'. It's a nice proof that almost all stars really are just point sources of light, as seen from distances of many light years.

   Look up to about 10 minutes earlier than those times to be safe.

 

3. IAA New Year Party: Saturday 6th January 2018, at McBride's on the Square, Comber, Co. Down. We start off with buffet eats and drinks at McBride's, at 5.15 for 5.30 p.m.; then make our way to the Tudor Private Cinema about a mile away, for more seasonal hot drinks, a special showing of "Hidden Figures" (highly recommended), and the usual quiz for all. Details are on the IAA website, and a booking form was issued with the latest Stardust, sent to IAA members. Non-members can book via the IAA website All are welcome, including guests and non-members.

 

4. IAA LECTURE,  Wed 10 January, 7.30 p.m. "Einstein made (relatively) Simple." By Brian MacGabhann (GAC). We are delighted to welcome Brian back to Belfast, in anticipation of another one of his superb lectures.

  SUMMARY: Einstein's Theory of Relativity represents the best and most complete explanation of the way the universe works which we currently have, and underpins all of modern cosmology, astronomy and astrophysics. The talk is aimed very much at the interested lay-person, and no previous knowledge of the topic is required. It will guide the audience through the core building blocks of the theory, and explain how Einstein arrived at the sometimes bizarre conclusions that he did. 
   This is the ideal lecture for anyone who has ever wondered what the Theory of relativity was all about, or who wanted an easy to follow guide to Einstein's ideas.

Wed 10 January, 7.30 p.m., Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB. Free admission, including light refreshments.  Free parking on QUB campus after 5.30 p.m.

 

5. ISS.  A new series of morning passes over Ireland commenced on 28 December. Details for your own location, along with lots more information such as Iridium Flares, at www.heavens-above.com

 

6. Mars- Jupiter Conjunction

On 1 January Mars lies only 2º 40' to the right of, and a bit above, much brighter Jupiter: Mars will be mag +1.5, whereas Jupiter will be -1.8. Over the next few days the separation decreases until on 6 Jan Mars will be only 23' to the right of Jupiter. Next morning just after they rise Mars will be only 13' below and a bit right of Jupiter – that's less than half a Moon diameter. Next morning the separation will have increased to 35' – a bit more than a Moon diameter.

 

7. Full Moons / Supermoons: The first of two Full Moon/Supermoons in January will be on the 2nd on 02h 24m; the second will be on Jan 31d 13h 26m, - but it won't be a 'Blue Moon'! The first one will be the closest Full Moon of 2018, at a distance of 356,600 km.

 

8. Earth at Perihelion. Earth will be at its closest to the Sun in its elliptical orbit on January 03 at 05.34, at a distance of 0.9833 AU.

 

9. Quadrantid Meteors, Jan 3-4. This shower will peak on the night of Jan 3-4, but unfortunately the Moon will be just past full, and will drown out all but the brighter meteors. The radiant, in the now defunct constellation of Quadrans Muralis, lies about halfway between the last star in the handle of the Plough and the head of Draco. It's circumpolar from Ireland, and especially from the N part of the island, it's high enough to give us a few meteors before the Moon rises at about 18.30. After moonrise, position yourself where the Moon is hidden behind a building or similar, and look away from that area of the sky.

 

10. IAA Photo Exhibition, Carrickfergus Our very successful photo exhibition continues at its latest venue, Carrickfergus Museum and Civic Centre, until 6 January. Be sure to watch the excellent video display of some recent aurorae and other phenomena such as eclipses and conjunctions. Also on display are various antique telescopes and other astronomical equipment on loan from Armagh Observatory and Planetarium and myself, and some space items on loan from Dr Andy McCrea. It continues there until 6 January.

For further information please contact Carrickfergus Museum, T: 028 9335 8241 or E: carrickfergusmuseums@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

 

11. Catch A Star Competition. The aim of the Catch a Star programme is to encourage secondary school students around Europe to express their creativity through autonomous work, to strengthen and expand their astronomical knowledge and skills, and to help the spread of information technologies in the educational process. The Catch a Star contest is the result of a collaboration between the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The deadline for all entries is 17:00 CET on 20 December 2017. Learn more about this competition here: http://www.eaae-astronomy.org/catchastar/.

 

12. IFAS Calendars – UPDATE: I have now got copies of the 2018 edition of these calendars for those who ordered them via me. I'll bring them to the meeting on 10 January.

 

13. ESO launches new Virtual Reality Tours to experience its sites
ESO's Virtual Tours are a collection of hundreds of 360-degree panorama pictures that can be used for many purposes. ESO's latest release includes options to view the images in virtual reality mode or 360-degree panoramic mode. You can now use a cell phone with either a standard cardboard virtual reality headset or oculus rift glasses to experience tours of ESO's facilities in an exciting new way. This latest release also includes new and updated virtual tours of ESO's observatories and facilities, bringing better functionality on computers and new panoramic views.

 

14. Globe At Night Campaign, 2018

https://www.globeatnight.org/5-steps.php#d2018 %C2%A0

 

15. IAU enlarges and updates list of official star names; https://www.iau.org/public/themes/naming_stars/#table

 

16. FUTURE EVENTS ALERT

* Galway Astrofest: Saturday 27 January 2018. More details later.

*IAU C1 Exobiology WS - Astrobiology Introductory Course'18, 4-10 March. The third session of the Astrobiology Introductory Course will be held from 4 to 10 March 2018 at the Ornithological Reserve of le Teich (33, France). Courses are designed for students preparing their PhD thesis in Astronomy, Geology, Chemistry, Biology, or History/Philosophy of science and any students wishing to acquire interdisciplinary training in astrobiology to complete their initial training and to be able to address questions about the origins of life, its terrestrial evolution, and its distribution in the Universe. The deadline for applications is January 15th, 2018. For program and registration, please see the website: http://www.exobiologie.fr/red/index.php/en/ 

*European Week of Astronomy and Space Sciences (EWASS2018).  This will be in Liverpool, from 3 to 8 April 2018. See http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2018/index.jsp and http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2018/

* International Day of Light, 16 May 2018.    Plan ahead and register your event in the official International Day of Light 2018 calendar! Following the highly successful International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies in 2015, May 16th, the International Day of Light, will provide an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of the central role that light plays in the lives of the citizens of the world. The broad theme of light allows many different sectors of society to participate in activities to raise awareness of science and technology, art and culture, and their importance in achieving the goals of UNESCO — education, equality and peace. 

   A good opportunity to highlight (!) light-pollution! And promote Earth Hour as well.

Register your event by filling out the form: http://bit.ly/2xLvvDK

* International Planetarium Society,  1–6 July 2018Toulouse, France. More Information: http://www.ips-planetarium.org/page/IPS2018Toulouse  
* Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education (RTSRE) & InterNational Astronomy Teaching Summit Conferences, 23-27 July 2018. The 2nd annual Conference on Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education (RTSRE) will be held in Hilo, Hawai'i from July 23-25, 2018. This conference series focuses on building a sustainable community around the educational, technical, and student research uses of robotic telescopes. The conference will be co-located with the interNational Astronomy Teaching Summit (iNATS) from July 25-27, 2018 providing worldwide networking opportunities and hands-on workshops designed to expand educators' teaching strategy toolkit designed for innovative astronomy professors, teachers, and outreach professionals.  Find more information here: http://rtsre.net/ 

Inspiring Stars—the IAU Inclusive World Exhibition, 20-31 August 2018
"Inspiring Stars" will be an itinerant international exhibition promoted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to disseminate world efforts on inclusive research and outreach activities in astronomy. This inclusive world exhibition by showcasing assistive research tools and best inclusive outreach practices intends to broaden the horizons of children, parents, teachers and astronomers—everybody can become a scientist (astronomer)—inspiring the love for science in young people's minds. 
The exhibition will premiere during the IAU General Assembly 2018 in Vienna, from 20–31 August and will be shown around the world. Stay tuned as we keep you posted on all the progress of this IAU not-to-be-missed project for 2018! 

Centenary of IAU in 2019:  IAU100: Uniting our World to Explore the Universe
In 2019, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will celebrate its 100th anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, the IAU will organize a year-long celebration to expand awareness of a century of astronomical discoveries as well as to support and improve the use of astronomy as a tool for education, development, and diplomacy under the central theme "Uniting our World to Explore the Universe". The celebrations will stimulate worldwide interest in astronomy and science and will reach out to the global astronomical community, national science organizations and societies, policy-makers, students and families, and the general public.
   For any inquiries, please contact Jorge Rivero González, the IAU100 Coordinator at: rivero[at]strw.leidenuniv.nl.

 17. Interesting Weblinks (Disclaimer - Use of material herein from various sources does not imply approval or otherwise of the opinions, political or otherwise, of those sources).  NB: If the title in the weblink does not indicate the subject matter, I give a brief simple intro before the link. I may also comment about the link afterwards.

 

Astrophysics

Cosmic Lantern could help understand fate of universe https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171221101326.htm

 

Earth & Moon  

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/popular-baby-name-trends-2018_uk_5a436f68e4b0b0e5a7a3cdd3

  https://newatlas.com/bacteria-living-polar-ice/52728/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=58c9a63dbb-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-58c9a63dbb-92786061

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5215575/Plummeting-temperatures-cause-mini-ice-age-2030.html

 

Solar System

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5213641/Asteroid-flew-past-Earth-BIGGER-thought.html  

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5213879/Animation-shows-solar-formed.html

 

SPACE

http://spacenews.com/op-ed-next-stop-the-moon/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5216485/Elon-Musk-send-car-Mars.html

Unknown space microbes identified on ISS https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171229135307.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

 

SUN:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5215575/Plummeting-temperatures-cause-mini-ice-age-2030.html

 

18. TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.

 

19. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION. This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://documents.irishastro.org.uk/iaamembership.doc
If you are a UK taxpayer, please tick the 'gift-aid' box, as that enables us to reclaim the standard rate of tax on your subscription, at no cost to you. You can also make a donation via Paypal if you wish: just click on the 'Donate' button. See also
www.irishastro.org .

 

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley



Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Seasonal Greeting, ISS, Occultations, Mars/Jupiter, Perihelion, Quadrantids, NYP

Hi all,

 

1. Season's Greetings to all. And a very Happy New Year.

 

2. ISS.  A new series of morning passes over Ireland will commence on 28 December. Details for your own location, along with lots more information such as Iridium Flares, at www.heavens-above.com

 

3. Lunar Occultations – we get a nice series ending December:

On 28 Dec the waxing gibbous moon occults Xi2 Cet. Disappearance will be at 19.16.

On 29 Dec it will occult 5 Tau (mag 4.1) at about 22.45.

30-31 December. Ending the year in style, it occults 5 stars in the Hyades, culminating with Aldebaran! First will be Gamma Tau (mag 3.6), at 17.08 on Dec 30; in twilight, with the Sun 8.2 degrees below the horizon, but visible in binoculars. Next, at 19.48, will be 70 Tau (mag 6.5). At 21.15 it will be the turn of 75 Tau (mag 5.0). That will be followed at 22.24 by HIP 21029 (mag 4.8). Finally, to see in New Year's Day, it will occult Aldebaran (mag 0.8) at 01.02, with reappearance at 01.55.

    In every case the event will be instantaneous: the star will literally disappear or reappear in a tiny fraction of a second, so it really is a case of 'blink and you'll miss it'. It's a nice proof that almost all stars really are just point sources of light, as seen from distances of many light years.

   Look up to about 10 minutes earlier than those times to be safe.

 

4. Mars- Jupiter Conjunction

On 1 January Mars lies only 2º 40' to the right of, and a bit above, much brighter Jupiter: Mars will be mag +1.5, whereas Jupiter will be -1.8. Over the next few days the separation decreases until on 6 Jan Mars will be only 23' to the right of Jupiter. Next morning just after they rise Mars will be only 13' below and a bit right of Jupiter – that's less than half a Moon diameter. Next morning the separation will have increased to 35' – a bit more than a Moon diameter.

 

5. Full Moons: The first of two Full Moons in January will be on the 2nd on 02h 24m; the second will be on Jan 31d 13h 26m, - and it won't be a 'Blue Moon'!

 

6. Earth at Perihelion. Earth will be at its closest to the Sun in its elliptical orbit on January 03 at 05.34, at a distance of 0.9833 AU.

 

7. Quadrantid Meteors, Jan 3-4. This shower will peak on the night of Jan 3-4, but unfortunately the Moon will be just past full, and will drown out all but the brighter meteors. The radiant, in the now defunct constellation of Quadrans Muralis, lies about halfway between the last star in the handle of the Plough and the head of Draco. It's circumpolar from Ireland, and especially from the N part of the island, it's high enough to give us a few meteors before the Moon rises at about 18.30. After moonrise, position yourself where the Moon is hidden behind a building or similar, and look away from that area of the sky.

 

8. IAA New Year Party: 6. January 2018, at McBride's on the Square, Comber, Co. Down. We start off with buffet eats and drinks at McBride's, at 5.15 for 5.30 p.m.; then make our way to the Tudor Private Cinema about a mile away, for more seasonal hot drinks, a special showing of "Hidden Figures" (highly recommended), and the usual quiz for all. Details are on the IAA website, and a booking form will be issued with the latest Stardust which will soon be sent to IAA members. All are welcome, including guests and non-members.

 

9. Next IAA LECTURE,  Wed 10 January, 7.30 p.m. "Einstein made (relatively) Simple." By Brian MacGabhann. More details later.

Wed 10 January, 7.30 p.m., Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, QUB. Free admission, including light refreshments.  Free parking on QUB campus after 5.30 p.m.

 

10. IAA Photo Exhibition, Carrickfergus Our very successful photo exhibition continues at its latest venue, Carrickfergus Museum and Civic Centre, until 6 January. Be sure to watch the excellent video display of some recent aurorae and other phenomena such as eclipses and conjunctions. Also on display are various antique telescopes and other astronomical equipment on loan from Armagh Observatory and Planetarium and myself, and some space items on loan from Dr Andy McCrea. It continues there until 6 January.

For further information please contact Carrickfergus Museum, T: 028 9335 8241 or E: carrickfergusmuseums@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

 

11. COSMIC CONNECTIONS EXHIBITION, Dungannon, 2-29 December.

IAA member Martin Campbell from Dungannon will be exhibiting some of his excellent astronomy photos at

Ranfurly House Arts and Visitors Centre, 26 Market St, Dungannon, BT70 1AB, from December 2  to December 29 2017. Open 9.00 – 17.00. Admission Free.

 

12. Eclipse Megamovie Citizen Science Project. The Eclipse Megamovie Project, a first-of-its-kind citizen science effort that brought together thousands of volunteers across the United States to capture the August 2017 total solar eclipse, received over 60,000 images!  We've been pouring through them and thinking about all the different ways we can take this project to the next level. As a result, we've launched a brand new online citizen science project that is open to anyone, anywhere in the world with an Internet connection to get involved in our on-going scientific investigation. Curious?  We hope so!  Here's how you can participate:
Megamovie Maestros I on Zooniverse
In this first of multiple Zooniverse projects yet to come, you will help us determine what our volunteers actually captured by identifying eclipse phases and other phenomenon of interest. You will be shown images one at a time from the Eclipse Megamovie image database. For each image, we will ask you what you see. A tutorial and help link make choosing your answers fairly simple. You can also "Talk" to discuss the images in more detail with our team and other project participants.  Plus it's a great way to relive the eclipse and see some stunning eclipse imagery, thanks to our oh-so-talented volunteer photographers!  You will even occasionally see a photo of our volunteers themselves (if they uploaded any selfies), which helps make the project fun to do too.
   To learn more and get started, go to http://bit.ly/MegamovieMaestros1 and be sure to share this link with your friends, family, and colleagues!

 

13. NASA invites names for next New Horizons target body.

See http://www.frontierworlds.org/ and

https://www.aol.co.uk/video/nasa-is-asking-you-to-help-name-an-icy-world-far-far-away-5a0345ec46bd1e7ab2c26196/ . I have already suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that after visiting Pluto, the next target has to be called Goofy!

   But seriously, how about a campaign from all Irish astronomers to have it named 'Edgeworth', after Kenneth Edgeworth of Streete, Co Westmeath, who predicted the existence of the large group of small bodies in the outer solar system, of which this body is one. The accepted name for this band of smallish bodies is the Kuiper Belt, named after the Dutch-American astronomer who later gave it more publicity. However many local astronomers refer to it as the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt. We are unlikely to get the accepted name for the KB changed, but naming this particular object after Edgeworth would give some long-overdue recognition to a noted local astronomer. So if you agree, vote Edgeworth, and pass it on!

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Edgeworth  and  http://www.solstation.com/stars/kuiper.htm  

 

14. IFAS Calendars – UPDATE: I have now got copies of the 2018 edition of these calendars for those who ordered them via me. I'll bring them to the meeting on 10 January.

 

15. ESO launches new Virtual Reality Tours to experience its sites
ESO's Virtual Tours are a collection of hundreds of 360-degree panorama pictures that can be used for many purposes. ESO's latest release includes options to view the images in virtual reality mode or 360-degree panoramic mode. You can now use a cell phone with either a standard cardboard virtual reality headset or oculus rift glasses to experience tours of ESO's facilities in an exciting new way. This latest release also includes new and updated virtual tours of ESO's observatories and facilities, bringing better functionality on computers and new panoramic views.

 

16. Globe At Night Campaign, 2018

https://www.globeatnight.org/5-steps.php#d2018 %C2%A0

 

17. IAU enlarges and updates list of official star names; https://www.iau.org/public/themes/naming_stars/#table

 

FUTURE EVENTS ALERT

* Galway Astrofest: Saturday 27 January 2018. More details later.

*IAU C1 Exobiology WS - Astrobiology Introductory Course'18, 4-10 March. The third session of the Astrobiology Introductory Course will be held from 4 to 10 March 2018 at the Ornithological Reserve of le Teich (33, France). Courses are designed for students preparing their PhD thesis in Astronomy, Geology, Chemistry, Biology, or History/Philosophy of science and any students wishing to acquire interdisciplinary training in astrobiology to complete their initial training and to be able to address questions about the origins of life, its terrestrial evolution, and its distribution in the Universe. The deadline for applications is January 15th, 2018. For program and registration, please see the website: http://www.exobiologie.fr/red/index.php/en/ 

*European Week of Astronomy and Space Sciences (EWASS2018).  This will be in Liverpool, from 3 to 8 April 2018. See http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2018/index.jsp and http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2018/

* International Day of Light, 16 May 2018.    Plan ahead and register your event in the official International Day of Light 2018 calendar! Following the highly successful International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies in 2015, May 16th, the International Day of Light, will provide an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of the central role that light plays in the lives of the citizens of the world. The broad theme of light allows many different sectors of society to participate in activities to raise awareness of science and technology, art and culture, and their importance in achieving the goals of UNESCO — education, equality and peace. 

   A good opportunity to highlight (!) light-pollution! And promote Earth Hour as well.

Register your event by filling out the form: http://bit.ly/2xLvvDK

* International Planetarium Society,  1–6 July 2018Toulouse, France. More Information: http://www.ips-planetarium.org/page/IPS2018Toulouse  
* Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education (RTSRE) & InterNational Astronomy Teaching Summit Conferences, 23-27 July 2018. The 2nd annual Conference on Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education (RTSRE) will be held in Hilo, Hawai'i from July 23-25, 2018. This conference series focuses on building a sustainable community around the educational, technical, and student research uses of robotic telescopes. The conference will be co-located with the interNational Astronomy Teaching Summit (iNATS) from July 25-27, 2018 providing worldwide networking opportunities and hands-on workshops designed to expand educators' teaching strategy toolkit designed for innovative astronomy professors, teachers, and outreach professionals.  Find more information here: http://rtsre.net/ 

Inspiring Stars—the IAU Inclusive World Exhibition, 20-31 August 2018
"Inspiring Stars" will be an itinerant international exhibition promoted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to disseminate world efforts on inclusive research and outreach activities in astronomy. This inclusive world exhibition by showcasing assistive research tools and best inclusive outreach practices intends to broaden the horizons of children, parents, teachers and astronomers—everybody can become a scientist (astronomer)—inspiring the love for science in young people's minds. 
The exhibition will premiere during the IAU General Assembly 2018 in Vienna, from 20–31 August and will be shown around the world. Stay tuned as we keep you posted on all the progress of this IAU not-to-be-missed project for 2018! 

Centenary of IAU in 2019:  IAU100: Uniting our World to Explore the Universe
In 2019, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will celebrate its 100th anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, the IAU will organize a year-long celebration to expand awareness of a century of astronomical discoveries as well as to support and improve the use of astronomy as a tool for education, development, and diplomacy under the central theme "Uniting our World to Explore the Universe". The celebrations will stimulate worldwide interest in astronomy and science and will reach out to the global astronomical community, national science organizations and societies, policy-makers, students and families, and the general public.
   For any inquiries, please contact Jorge Rivero González, the IAU100 Coordinator at: rivero[at]strw.leidenuniv.nl.

 18. Interesting Weblinks (Disclaimer - Use of material herein from various sources does not imply approval or otherwise of the opinions, political or otherwise, of those sources).  NB: If the title in the weblink does not indicate the subject matter, I give a brief simple intro before the link. I may also comment about the link afterwards.

 

Astrophysics

Black hole pair did not form inside a dying star https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171218120316.htm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5200221/Snake-like-filament-probing-galaxys-black-hole.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5196101/NASA-scientists-close-understanding-dark-matter.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5203735/How-sun-die-five-billion-years.html and

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171220131710.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

Radio astronomy explains neutron star merger phenomena https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171220131708.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

Young star is consuming one of its planets https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171221160737.htm

Neutron star merger tests gravity and dark energy theories https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171218131317.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

Weighing stars and their exoplanets https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171214164030.htm

Spectacular colours of a galactic collision https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171214140727.htm

HST 'Snow-globe' pic of globular cluster M79 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171212141931.htm

Centaurus A imaged by multiple telescopes https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171212091057.htm

Mysteries of extragalactic black hole jets https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171211120414.htm

 

COSMOLOGY:

Neutron star mergers provide test for gravity, dark matter and dark energy models: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171218131317.htm

Doing without Dark Energy https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171214100859.htm

 

Earth & Moon  

From the Sky, to Skye!  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5180291/Geologists-discover-60-million-year-old-meteorite-strike.html

The longest lunar month of the 21st century begins on Dec 18. http://earthsky.org/tonight/longest-lunar-month-of-21st-century?mc_cid=87043203d7&mc_eid=dca371d595

Ancient fossils indicate that life may be common throughout universe  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171218154925.htm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5200397/Scientists-observe-bacteria-living-polar-ice-snow.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5195309/Idaho-lands-nations-International-Dark-Sky-Reserve.html

The missing link between supernovae, clouds and climate https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171219091320.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

Supernova cosmic rays charge particles in our inner radiation belt: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171214163238.htm

Science in the Moon's shadow https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171211140448.htm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5206653/Has-mystery-moon-formed-finally-solved.html  It's hard to make out what's new here: Theia was always said to be Mars-sized, and Mars has only 1/10 Earth mass. If Theia was 'Mars-sized', it would have been assumed to have a similar mass, unless specifically stated otherwise.

Life building blocks in space? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171212125443.htm

 

Exoplanets

NASA finds another 8-planet Solar System http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5180327/NASA-set-major-announcement.html

http://earthsky.org/space/no-big-planets-at-alpha-centauri-but-maybe-small-ones?mc_cid=49991aa01e&mc_eid=dca371d595 and https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171218120234.htm

Ancient fossils indicate that life may be common throughout universe https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171218154925.htm

Planet round red dwarf has a very eccentric and polar orbit! https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171218120348.htm

A piece of an exoplanet passed through our Solar System! https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171218120141.htm

 It's worth noting that 4 of the authors of this paper have given at least one lecture to the IAA in Belfast! - Alan Fitzsimmons, Michele T. Bannister, Wesley C. Fraser and Pedro Lacerda.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5200397/Scientists-observe-bacteria-living-polar-ice-snow.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5195987/NASA-planning-2069-mission-Alpha-Centauri.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5191793/Alpha-Centauri-home-mini-Earths.html

Could pulsars host habitable planets? https://newatlas.com/pulsar-habitable-zone/52689/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=22b425b930-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-22b425b930-92786061

Weighing stars and their exoplanets https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171214164030.htm

 

Solar System

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5198797/Stunning-oil-painting-images-captured-Nasa-probe.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5134719/Deep-oceans-distant-worlds-longer-thought.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5192023/Venus-NOT-dead-planet-signs-activity.html

Mars is not as dry as it seems https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171220131659.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

How Jupiter's equatorial jet stream reverses https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171219091337.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

Bright areas on Ceres suggest geological activity https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171212171036.htm

Electrical and chemical coupling between Saturn & its rings found by Cassini https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171212141748.htm

Snowman on Vesta? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5207159/NASA-shares-image-impact-site-looks-like-snowman.html

 

SPACE

https://newatlas.com/spacex-resupply-recycled-rocket-dragon-spacecraft/52651/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=d98a58695b-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-d98a58695b-92786061 and

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5183823/SpaceX-launches-recycled-rocket-spacecraft.html

Graphene has promising applications in space https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171216163531.htm

http://earthsky.org/space/opportunity-rover-on-mars-still-going-strong-after-14-years?mc_cid=49991aa01e&mc_eid=dca371d595

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5199197/Elon-Musk-reveals-Dragon-Heavy-megarocket.html I hope he's planting plenty of trees to offset all the environmental damage!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5200365/The-battle-space-billionaires-heats-up.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5195987/NASA-planning-2069-mission-Alpha-Centauri.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5197563/First-taxi-test-Stratolaunch-aircraft-completed.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5192463/Hypersonic-spaceplane-engine-set-Colorado-tests.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5191793/Alpha-Centauri-home-mini-Earths.html

https://www.aol.co.uk/video/elon-musks-spacex-rocket-launch-lights-up-california-sky-5a3e0e95e0fa172f91558b2e/ very timely, as Elon is an anagram of Noel!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5206063/Russia-wants-build-five-star-luxury-HOTEL-ISS.html

 

SUN:

Citizen and professional science during the 21 August eclipse https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171211140448.htm

 

Telescopes & Equipment

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5192213/Scientists-set-image-event-horizon-black-hole.html

High resolution spectroscopy for exoplanet life https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171220122051.htm

 

19. TWITTER Follow the IAA on Twitter: @IaaAstro.

 

20. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION. This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA. http://documents.irishastro.org.uk/iaamembership.doc
If you are a UK taxpayer, please tick the 'gift-aid' box, as that enables us to reclaim the standard rate of tax on your subscription, at no cost to you. You can also make a donation via Paypal if you wish: just click on the 'Donate' button. See also
www.irishastro.org .

 

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley