The IAA is delighted to announce that the lecture on 2nd April will be given by Dr Steve Myers, Director of Accelerators at CERN. Dr Myers is a graduate of QUB where he studied Engineering, and went on to be Head of the section of CERN dealing with all the big particle accelerators, including the Large Hadron Collider. In other words, without him, they wouldn't have discovered the Higgs Boson!
Dr Stefano Bagnulo is an astronomer working at Armagh Observatory. He and his team are carrying out pioneering work that makes it easier to detect signs of life on other planets by filtering out the overwhelming light form the parent star. In this lecture Dr Bagnulo will explain how it's done and what it means for the future of exoplanet expoloration.
Sunspot AR1944 caused something of a stir in early January as it unleashed the most promising Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) of the current season toward Earth just in time for our Stargazing Live evening! Sadly, it missed and we didn't get the Northern lights that evening. The sunspot lived on however and reappeared as AR1967 and incredibly returned again as AR1990. Just as it appeared around the limb it let go with an X4.2 flare - huge but not Earth directed, we were only expecting a glancing blow. But the Earth's magnetic field was very favourable, and we got a good display - even the weather was good!