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24th February - Dr Lucie Green (MSSL) - "Living in the Sun's Atmosphere" - 7.30pm at QUB

Q1 2010 TBC - I.A.A. at St. Patrick‚Äôs Academy Dungannon . IYA event solar and evening observing.

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The Irish Astronomical Association was formed in 1974 and draws its 200 members from both the UK and Ireland. The IAA membership ranges from complete beginners to accomplished observers and astro photographers.

Fireball reported over Ireland!

There was a very significant Fireball event over Ireland Wednesday 3rd Feb.

There were two separate events! The first, and almost certainly the most important, was at about 17.50 Wednesday and seems to have travelled from Kerry at least as far as Armagh and South Tyrone. That one may have been a 'meteorite dropper', though it's too early to say.

So far the evidence seems to point to a substantial body, travelling roughly S to N over the West half of Ireland, and possibly ending in Donegal, or maybe NW Co Derry, or maybe the sea. We've now had about 40-50 reports, including some replies to queries for further information. We have a lot of plotting on maps to do before we can narrow it down any more. What we really need is footage from any security cameras or similar. If anyone has any footage from CCTV or the like then please contact the Webmaster.


The second event was not as big or bright, but at least as bright as Venus, was at about 19.30 - 19.40, more than 1.5 hours later. It was seen from near Moy, and in a NE direction.

If you saw this event, and especially if you have any photos, video footage from security cameras or anything please email the Webmaster  with details of what you saw, your location, the direction of travel, the time, an estimate of the brightness, and any colour,  the duration of the event and any other description - sound heard, smoke effects etc

And many, many thanks to all of you who have already sent in your sighting reports to the IAA, Armagh Observatory and other bodies - your information is valuable for plotting the course of this fireball and possibly finding any resulting meteorite.

Only one image of this event has been received - this is now reckoned to be the only image of the event in existence. The drawing was produced by eye-witness Peregrine Falcon Johnston, aged 14, of The Burren, Co Clare and depicts him and his friend Jules observing the fireball travelling northwards across The Burren. Congratulations Peregrine - this is a wonderful representation of the event!


New! Observing Information page and Search Engine

http://irishastro.org.uk/observinginfo.html This new addition to the website gives live and up to date information on Weather, Moon phase, ISS, Sunspots, Corona and Aurora conditions as well as a monthly Sky map. Well worth a look before planning an observing session! Also, entering any search term into the search box above will bring up a Google results page listing occurences of the term on this site, in IAA news or on the IAA forum!

Mars at Opposition

King of the night sky right now is the Red Planet which was at its closest to Earth on 29th January and is, for us in the Northern hemisphere, placed high up in the sky at its best for many years. Rising close to sunset and staying up all night, Mars reaches an elevation of over 60degrees around midnight and is very well placed for visual observation with a 'scope or photography with a webcam. As an added bonus, Mars will pass close to the north of M44, the Beehive, in the nights around opposition.

Image credit: Brian Beesley

Ring of Fire in the Maldives!

Our correspondent Eugene Furlong caught this magnificent shot of the recent Annular Eclipse on the morning of 15th January from the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean. Due to the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit January is the time of year when the Sun appears largest in the sky, and on this occasion the Moon was close to its furthest away from the Earth, so appears smaller than usual. The combination means that there will not be another Annular Eclipse of this duration (over 11mins) until December 3043 - over 1000 years from now!

(C) IAA 2010