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1st December - Dr Brian Espey (TCD) - "Symbiotic Stars"

3rd December - Observing - Delamont Country Park - check forum for weather update at 6:00PM on the day

15th December - IAA Members' night - short talks by members

21st December - Total Lunar Eclipse at moonset/sunrise. Shortest Day

3rd January 2011 - Quadrantid Meteor Observing - 6:30PM at Delamont Country Park - in association with BBC Stargazing Live!

4th January - Partial Solar Eclipse at Sunrise

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Great nights out at Castle Espie and Armagh Planetarium!

As has become something of a regular tradition, we spent the evening of 13th November at Castle Espie meeting members of the public and pesenting Star Shows in the Mobile Planetarium. Sadly the hoped for observing session was cancelled due to poor weather, but over 50 people passed through the Planetarium where they were given a tutorial on what to see in the night sky and how to find theire way around by "star-hopping".

On 16th November we made our way down to Armagh Planetarium for a Telescope Night. Many scopes were on display and a number of people brought along their own scopes for some instruction on setting them up and getting the best out of them.

Planetarium Director Dr Tom Mason delivered a short talk on "Meterorites and Meteorwrongs" which was thought provoking and very interesting given Dr Mason's background as a Geologist. Again, the weather wasn't playing ball so we didn't manage to observe outside, however instead the guests, over 100 in number, were treated to a Star Show in the Planetarium Dome. So overall, another good night!

Images: David Stewart, Paul Evans, Pat O'Neill

More Observing Events coming up

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.

Our next Observing Session will be on Friday 3rd December with Saturday 4th as backup in case the weather doesn't play ball on the Friday. The following weekend - 10th/11th will come into play if neither date works out.

We will be running a special Observing Night at Delamont on Monday 3rd January 2011. This is the peak of the Quadrantid Meteor Shower which is likely to be particularly special this year as the night is moonless. As the 3rd is a Bank Holiday we are going for an early start of 6:30pm to make the most of the darkness. This event will be part of the IAA's involvement with the BBC's Stargazing Live programme which runs for 3 evenings on BBC2 on 3rd, 4th and 5th January.

STS-133 - Discovery's Last Flight

There are still ongoing going problems with Discovery's fuel system as well as cracks in the External tank. The corrective work is being carried out and Discovery's launch is now planned for no earlier than 17th December so there is the prospect of Discovery's final crew spending their Xmas in Space!

IAA in partnership with BBC Stargazing Live!

On the evenings of 3rd, 4th and 5th January 2011, BBC 2 will be showing a series of Astronomy programmes entitled "Stargazing Live!" The IAA has been selected as a partner in this programme which will be supported by other programmes on BBC TV and by a section on their website. One part of our involvement will be the above mentioned Quadrantid Meteor Watch at Delamount Country Park on 3rd Jan, but there will be others to follow.

In the meantime, keep an eye on this website and the BBC Stargazing Live website for further details of this exciting project.


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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