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One last look at Venus before the Transit

IAA President Paul Evans managed to capture Venus and Mercury setting over the Antrim Hills just after sunset on 1st June - this was within 100 hours of the Transit! Venus and Mercury were within a degree of each other moving in opposite directions - Venus was 0.7% illuminated at this point, Mercury by contrast was 96% illuminated.

Venus and Mercury setting

Image: Paul Evans

Summer Programme

We have a solid programme of outreach events lined up for the Summer season.

Carnfunnock 16th June

Firstly, on Saturday 16th June we will return to Carnfunnock Country Park after a break of a couple of years. This venue offers tremendous scenery looking out towards Scotland across the North Channel and boasts a maze in the shape of Northern Ireland. We will be there between 2pm and 5pm and will be offering Star Shows in the Mobile Planetarium and Solar Observing through filtered white light and Hydrogen Alpha telescopes outside, weather permitting of course. The former are best at showing sunspots while the latter scopes show prominences and filaments on the Sun, and with Solar Cycle 24 getting into its stride, there should be plenty of both on offer!

Note: In spite of the weather, this event is going ahead - we will have the Mobile Planetarium set up and other Astronomical paraphenalia on display, though we are unlikely to see the Sun today.

Image: Paul Evans 2007

Summer Solstice 21st June

Secondly, later in the week we will be celebrating the Summer Solstice on Thursday 21st June with an event at Beaghmore Stone Circles and An Creagan Visitors Centre where we will be working with Armagh Observatory and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) - full details of the event are on the Observatory website here...

Castle Espie 12th August

On Sunday 12th August we will return to WWF Castle Espie in County Down for another Solar Day - again from 2pm to 5pm.

Perseid Meteor Shower

This date also coincides with the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower - that actual peak is 10am on 12th this year, and the conditions are very good with The Moon in a waning crescent phase not visible until the early hours of the morning. Our intention is to hold the annual Perseid Barbeque at Delamont Country Park on the night of Saturday 11th August, however given that the peak straddles two nights we will hold the night of Sunday 12th in reserve in case we are rained off or clouded out on the Saturday night.

Image: Paul Evans 2004

IAA History

The eagle-eyed may have noticed a new tab on the drop-down menu - "IAA History". This is a work in progress - the Webmaster is pulling together, piece by piece, some items of history related to the past of the Association. Thus far we have records of Awards given by the Association together with past Presidents going back to the establishment of the Belfast centre of the Irish Astronomical Society in 1946.

In progress are the collection of all past officials and past speakers, as well as an improved archive of "Stardust", the quarterly magazine of the Association, so keep an eye on this new Tab - it will expand in months to come!


Members are reminded that membership fees will be due for the 2012/13 year as of 1st September. Rates are of course the same as last year and are as follows:-

Single membership: £20 or €25

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

This includes an unmatched programme of lectures, observing nights, other events and a subscription to our highly regarded quarterly magazine, "Stardust", delivered to your door.

You can now join or renew your IAA Membership online by PayPal or Credit or Debit card online here...

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