Upcoming Events

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

10th March - Colin Johnstone (AP) - "Deep Time" - 7.30pm at QUB

24th March - Dr Tom Mason (AP) - "Presenting Science at Armagh Planetarium: Mind-blowing Numbers and Controversies" - 7.30pm at QUB

26th March (Friday) - Evening Observing at  Castle Espie - further details to follow.

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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.

Image: UCL

IAA lecture, 24th February

The next Irish Astronomical Association's public lecture will be given by Dr Lucie Green, of the famous Mullard Space Science Laboratory, London. Dr Green is well known as a TV presenter on astronomy.

Her talk is entitled "Living in the Sun's Atmosphere", and will cover all the fascinating and potentially dangerous aspects of living on a planet which is constantly bombarded by the Solar Wind, and is hit every so often by massive Coronal Mass Ejections, producing fantastic aurorae.

The Sun is just 'awakening' after one of the longest and deepest solar minima on record, and we are now seeing sunspots more regularly, and there was even an aurora visible from N. Ireland earlier this week. But the best is yet to come, as we build up to Solar Max in a few years time.

Dr Green is a renowned expert on this subject, so we're sure of a fascinating talk. It's on WEDNESDAY 24th February, at 7.30 p.m., in the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen's University, Belfast. ADMISSION IS FREE, as always, and includes light refreshments. Everyone is welcome!

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!

(C) IAA 2010