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3rd November - IAA Lecture - Dr John Quinn (UCD) - "Gamma Ray Astronomy - A New Window on the Extreme Universe"

13th November - WWT Castle Espie – Evening Observing with Mobile Planetarium

16th November - Telescope evening at Armagh Planetarium with Evening Observing (TBC)

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Portballintrae Evening a Big Success!

On Friday 29th October members of the IAA arrived at Portballintrae Village Hall for an evening of Astro Shows as part of the Portballintrae Halloween Festival.

Sadly the unpredictable Irish weather wasn't being co-operative, so our hopes of seeing Jupiter and other night sky objects in an observing session after the shows never came to fruition, but Paul Evans and Andy McCrea ran a total of four Star Shows in the Mobile Planetarium with only a short delay while we had some trouble getting it pumped up!

Over 80 people, most of them young beginners, attended the shows and feedback suggests that many, many of them want to learn more about the Night Sky!



More Observing Events coming up

On 13th November we will return to what has become a very regular venue for us - Castle Espie. Again, this will be an evening event so we will be providing telescopes for observing as well as Star Shows in the Mobile Planetarium.

On 16th November - note this is a Tuesday - we return to Armagh Planetarium for a Telescope Evening. If you have a telescope bring it along and we'll show you how to set it up! Also, Dr Tom Mason, Director of the Planetarium, will talk about meteorites. Full details coming soon!

Our programme of Observing Evenings continues. The vagaries of the Irish weather make these a little difficult to organise, so we have earmarked up to four days each month and ranked them in order of preference - first a Friday, then the following Saturday, and then a second weekend if both days are clouded out. The decision is made at 1800hrs on the day and is communicated via the IAA Forum

STS-133 - Discovery's Last Flight - visible from Northern Ireland!

Having overcome difficulties with leaks in the fuelling system, Discovery is now set for its final launch at 3:29PM on Thurs 4th November 2010. That time is EDT so GMT-wise that's 7:29PM .

STOP PRESS: The difficulties with leaks in the fuelling system have continued and Discovery has now missed its launch window so the launch has been postponed to no earlier than 30th November.

Comet 103P Hartley

Comet 103P Hartley is a short period comet with a period of 6.46 years and was discovered by Malcolm Hartley at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia in 1986. The comet has moved very fast and is now fading through Gemini and down towards Canis Minor. There is of course still the chance of an outburst, but it is fair to say that so far this one hasn't quite lived up to expectations.

This the last picture of the Comet taken by Paul Evans. The bright star to the left is Capella.

However, it may not be all over yet - NASA scientists have noted a number of fireballs which may have been associated with the Comet and are predicting that there may be "Hartley-id" meteors around 2nd - 3rd November as a result of Earth passing through its dust tail. More here....


Membership reminder

Members are reminded that subscriptions for the 2010/11 Year are now due. Regrettably due to rising costs we have had to increase the subscriptions for IAA membership. For the 2010/2011 season these will be as follows:-

Single membership: £20 or €25

Family Membership (all members of a family at one address): £25 or €30

Note that this is the first rate increase in five years and still includes an unmatched programme of lectures, observing nights, other events and a subscription to our highly regarded quarterly magazine, "Stardust", delivered to your door.

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