Lecture Weds 20th January, 7.30 p.m. - Dr Heather Cegla (QUB) - "Discovering Alien Worlds"

Dr Heather Cegla

This talk, by Dr Heather Cegla, of the Astrophysics Research Centre at QUB, will give a brief overview of the first ever confirmation of planets outside our solar system, the two main exoplanet detection methods, some stumbling blocks on the pathway to confirming an extra-solar Earth-analogue (which is her area of expertise), and discuss some prospects for the future and the efforts we’re taking to discover habitable alien worlds. 

Free Astro Calendar from IFAS!

IFAS Calendar 2016

Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control it was not possible to get the IFAS Astronomy Calendar printed in time for distribution this year, so rather than waste the effort already put in, the IFAS Committee have decided to distribute the calendar for download free of charge.

This is an excellent piece of work with time-critical astronomical information written from an Irish perspective and many thanks are due to John Flannery for the many hours he has spent pulling this together.

Lecture Weds 6th January, 7.30 p.m. "When Earth encounters interplanetary matter: Bananas, Wings and Totoro", by Dr David Asher, Armagh Observatory

Dr David Asher
Dr David Asher is an expert on the dynamics and orbits of objects in the Solar System, and how they interact with each other and the Earth.
He recently appeared on BBC TV (above) highlighting the potential danger posed to Earth by "Centaur" objects - giant comets in the outer solar system of which hundreds have been discovered in recent years.


The Irish Astronomical Association’s New Year Party will be held as usual in the Tudor Cinema, Drumhirk, Comber on Saturday 2nd January 2016. A buffet meal will be available in McBrides the Square, Comber. Food will be served at 6.00pm, but it is advisable to be there at 5.30pm.

After the meal, members and guests will then make their way to the nearby Tudor Cinema for the feature film `STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS’ starting at 7.30pm and followed by a prize quiz.

ISS Passes with Tim Peake on Board!

ISS Passes

Following on from the successful Soyuz mission delivering Tim Peake to the Interbational Space Station, you'll be able to see Tim passing over Northern Ireland once or twice an evening until Christmas Eve.

The station appears as a bright object, almost as bright as Venus rising in the South-West and moving slowly across the sky - at 17,500mph! It takes about five minutes to cross the sky completely. The graphic above shows the times for Belfast - for those in the West of the province it will be just a few seconds earlier - at 5 miles per second it doesn't make much difference!