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Upcoming Events

9th Feb - IAA Lecture at QUB, Dr Simon Jeffery - "Modern telescopes at the Armagh Observatory"

11th/12th Feb - Observing at Delamont Country Park

23rd Feb - IAA Lecture at QUB, Dr Pedro Lacerda

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

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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.

 IAA Lecture 9th February

On 9th February we will be very pleased to have Dr Simon Jeffery coming to talk to us on the subject of "Modern Telescopes at the Armagh Observatory".

Dr Jeffrey is a Research Astronomer at the Observatory and has been there since 1996 specialising in Stellar Physics, having previously worked at the University of St Andrews.

This promises to be a splendid insight into the work currently going on at the Observatory.

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

1930hrs sharp on Weds 9th February at the Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queens University, Belfast.  

Image: Armagh Observatory

Image: Paul Evans, IAA

  IAA Lecture 23rd February

The lecture on 23rd February will feature a return visit by Dr Pedro Lacerda from QUB. This time his talk is entitled: "Extreme Objects in Our Solar System"

Dr Lacerda was educated at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, completing a degree in Theoretical Physics. In 2005 he worked on his Phd at Leiden University in the Netherlands and produced a thesis entitled The shapes and spins of Kuiper Belt objects

He has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at The Foundation for Science and Technology , Coimbra University, Portugal in 2005–2006 and in The University of Hawaii 2006–2009

Pedro’s current Postdoctoral appointment is as an Isaac Newton Fellow here at Queen’s University

Also featured will be a 10-15min beginners' talk by Paul Evans.

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.

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

Galway Astronomy Festival

On Friday 4th and Saturday 5th March astronomers from all over Ireland will gather in Galway for the Astronomy Festival. The programme will begin at NUI Galway on the Friday evening and will be followed by a full day at The Westwood House Hotel. The lineup of speakers is excellent and includes our very own Dr Andy McCrea.

Full details on the Galway Astronomy Club website here...

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

Discovery has now completed all final checks and undergone many repairs in relation to the External Tank, and has been rolled out to Pad 39A with a view to launching it on its final mission on 24th February.

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 mission schedule is thus as follows:-

Feb. 24th

Space Shuttle Discovery STS-133/ISS ULF-5

Launch Time: 4:50 p.m. EST – Rolling out to Pad 39A 31st Jan 2000 EST

April 19th

Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134/ISS AMS

Launch Time: 7:48 p.m EST - (note, night time 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.

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