About the IAA

Contact the Webmaster


Upcoming Events

4th-5th Mar - Galway Astronomy Festival

9th Mar - IAA Lecture at QUB, Dr David Jess

11th Mar - IAA at Castle Espie, Stardome, Observing, 7:30pm onwards

12th/13th Mar - Cosmic Cuilcagh event - IAA and Armagh Planetarium at Marble Arch Geopark

17th Mar - "Discovering the Universe" - two lectures at St Partrick's Trian, Armagh

23rd Mar - IAA Lecture at QUB - Martin Campbell - astrophotographer

1-4 Apr - COSMOS 2011, Annaharvey, Tullamore

Click for Belfast, United Kingdom Forecast


IAA on the Web

Join the IAA Group on Facebook


YouTube Channel


Front Page Archive


 free counters

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.

WWF Castle Espie Observing Night with Stardome

On Friday 11th March we will be making a return visit to what has become a very regular venue for us, Castle Espie near Comber, County Down. This will, weather permitting, be an outdoor observing night with a striking crescent Moon adjacent to the Seven Sisters, Jupiter setting in the West, and for late stayers, Saturn rising in the East.

Orion and Sirius will be promienent all evening, and if the weather lets us down, we will be running shows in the Stardome as well as displays of telescopes, meteorites and other astronomical paraphenaila.

This is a night not to be missed, Friday 11th March starting at 7:30pm at Castle Espie.


Image: Paul Evans, IAA

Cosmic Cuilcagh - 12th/13th March

Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark in conjunction with Armagh Planetarium and the Irish Astronomical Association is hosting Cosmic Cuilcagh, an astronomical extravaganza on 12th and 13th March. Taking place at the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre from 11am until 9pm each day, Cosmic Cuilcagh will include a host of free ‘extraterrestrial’ activities for the whole family to enjoy.

This is a unique event for the Geopark and Dr Kirstin Lemon, Geopark Geologist, explains more: ‘The Geopark is all about finding out about the rocks beneath our feet but we often forget that we are part of a much bigger Solar System. Cosmic Cuilcagh will help us all to appreciate our significance in the wider Universe and how the world around us has been affected by cosmic activity.’

The Stardome will be in action together with exhibitions of telescopes and meteorites, and weather permitting, we will have both solar and evening observing sessions on both days.

Cosmic Cuilcagh is a completely free event and takes place from 11am until 9pm on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th March, and also includes free refreshments for all participants. No booking is necessary but if you would like further information please contact the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre at +44 (0) 28 6634 8855. This event has been generously funded by the Armagh Planetarium.


Image: QUB

  IAA Lecture 9th March

On 9th March Dr David Jess from Queens University, Belfast will be giving us a talk on "A Day in the Life of Our Sun"

Dr Jess is a Solar Physicist and recently featured in "Astronomy Now" magazine as "The Million Degree man" in the "Next big names in Astronomy" feature.

Dr Jess'  main studies of the Sun concern its lower atmosphere which can be seen in optical wavelengths. I am predominantly interested in how the Sun's energy travels through its atmosphere, both in the form of flares and waves. To study this, he  utilises a wide range of instruments, including the Queen's University developed ROSA camera system.

IAA Lecture 23rd March

On 23rd March we will be very pleased to welcome IAA member Martin Campbell to our meeting. Martin is renowned throughout Northern Ireland for the quality of his widefield astrophotography, this being achieved through a combination of good equipment, expertise and dedication. Given the quality of the skies available in Ireland, many of Martin's images are taken in the Pyrenees, hence the title of this lecture - "Widefield Digital Astro-Imaging: The French Connection"

As usual, the meeting will commence at 7:30pm sharp at QUB.

Image: Paul Evans, IAA

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

Discovery has now launched and is in orbit docked to the International Space Station. The pair are visible in the evening in Irish skies until March 7th - see here for details

The STS-134 Endeavour mission is now scheduled for April.

Additionally, the STS-135 Atlantis mission has been approved - this will carry a four man crew since there will be no backup shuttle available - in the event of Atlantis being unfit to return to Earth the crew will return from the ISS on a Soyuz capsule.

The remaining mission schedule is thus as follows:-

April 19th

Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134/ISS AMS

Launch Time: 7:48 p.m EST - (note, twilight launch!)

June 28th

Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-135

Launch Time: 3:48 p.m.

Image: NASA

Membership reminder and New Joiners

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:-

New Joiners can download an application form here...

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