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3rd, 4th, 5th January - Stargazing Live TV programmes

12th January - IAA lecture at QUB - Dr Kate Russo - "Eclipse Adventures and Prospects for the Australia Eclipse of 2012"

13th January - Lecture at Armagh Planetarium with Dr Don Pollacco (QUB)

14th January - "Stargazing Live" Visit to Dalriada School with Mobile Planetarium

26th January - IAA Lecture at QUB - Dr Graham Haper (TCD) - "The Sun in Time"

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The BBC is set to inspire a whole host of astronomers and stargazers to look to the skies this New Year in a season of events and programmes headed up by Prof. Brian Cox.

The BBC Two programmes are on 3rd, 4th and 5th January while the BBC Learning events continue through to 16th January - we have at least one more event awaiting confirmation.

IAA Lecture Weds 12th January

Following on from the two recent eclipses seen from Northern Ireland, we are all looking forward to the next Total Solar Eclipse which takes place in Queensland on November 14th 2012 (note many sources say 13th - this is Universal Time, it is the morning of the 14th by Queensland time).

We are very pleased to have as our speaker Dr Kate Russo who is not only an accomplished expert on eclipses, but also a native of Queensland hence ideally qualified to tell us all about the likely conditions on the ground for that eclipse. Dr Russo's talk is entitled "Eclipse Adventures; and Prospects for the Australia Eclipse of 2012" and will concentrate on the human aspects of eclipse observing with many stories of people and places. This will be an ideal guide for anyone considering attending the eclipse in 2012.

Also, as usual, there will be 10-15min guide to the January Night Sky, delivered on this occasion by Dr Andy McCrea.

1930hrs sharp on Weds 12th January at the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queens University, Belfast.  


Two Eclipses

The Plan was to meet at Knockagh War Memorial on the morning of 4th January to see the low in the sky Partially Eclipsed Sunrise. However the weather and road conditions meant that only a few of us made it to Knockagh only to find it clouded out. Having either got there and gone away again, or turned around due to extensive black ice on the roads, we found most locations clouded out, though there were a couple of momentary glimpses from Whitehead.

However, it was the County Down team who struck lucky - taken from Scrabo Tower, Dr Andy McCrea caught these shots in the very few moments of clarity available around 0900hrs....

Note Sunspot AR1140 visible just above right of the Moon's shadow in both images!

Many Congratulations Andy!


Eclipses often occur in pairs, with one lunar eclipse being followed by a solar eclipse two weeks later. Normally these are visible on opposite sides of the Earth. However this time we are in the privliged position of being able to see both eclipses from Ireland as the lunar eclipse of 21st December was visible in the NW at Moonset and the solar eclipse of 4th January 2011 will be visible in the SE at Sunrise!


STS-133 - Discovery's Last Flight - latest news

Testing of Discovery's fuel system and the External tank are ongoing. The corrective work is being carried out and Discovery's launch is now planned for no earlier than 3rd February 2011. This has had the knock on effect of delaying the last planned shuttle launch - Endeavour - until 1st April 2011, and of course there is the possibility of the STS-335 Atlantis standby mission becoming the real STS-135 mission

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.

(C) IAA 2011 - All Rights Reserved