IAA at NI Science Festival 26th -28th Feb

The Sun in Hydrogen Alpha Light
Thurs 26th - Sat 28th Feb. 10.00 - 19.00 each day - Hands-On Digital with the BBC .
The BBC Blackstaff Studios, Gt Victoria St Belfast, are offering a free chance to experience the latest in Digital technology, including IAA Secretary Tony Kempston and his amazing Oculus Rift Virtual Tour of the Solar System and the rest of the universe. You HAVE to try this out! No tickets needed, but it will be First Come First served for each event.

Lecture: 18th Feb, 7.30 p.m. by Dr Jorick Vink, Armagh Observatory: "Star Formation in the Milky Way and in the early Universe"

Dr Jorick Vink
We are delighted to have Jorick back again to give another of his excellent lectures. Jorick is a Senior Research Astronomer at Armagh, specialising in very massive stars and star formation. This is a fascinating subject, as we are constantly discovering older and older stars, including one which had a nominal age older than that of the universe itself. But within the error bars of the estimate, it just fell within the estimated age of the universe, which is 13.8 billion years. 

Lecture 4th February 2015 - Tom O'Donoghue -"Astrophotography: From Single Pane to Mega-mosaic"

Tom O'Donoghue takes some of the best deep sky astrophotos you will ever see taken by any amateur astronomer. He is totally dedicated, to get the best quality images possible! As well as taking the superb shots you can see on his website www.astrophotography.ie he is now working on a 'mega-mosaic' of the whole Orion constellation and all its associated nebulosity, of which the best known are of course the Orion Nebula itself (M42), the 'Running Man Nebula', and the Horsehead Nebula. But there's much more!

Lecture 21st January 2015 - Professor Alan Fitzsimmons - "Rosetta at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko"

Prof Alan Fitzsimmons
Synposis: This year the European spacecraft Rosetta became the first spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet, and the first to place a lander on its surface. The 3-day landing and operations period of the Philae lander was followed by millions of people around the world. Yet we still have at least a year of stunning science to come from Rosetta - plus hopefully some more from Philae. This talk will summarise the aims of the mission, show some of the first results, and explain some of what will happen in the coming months.

Lecture 7th January 2015 - John Flannery (IAS) - "The Sky by Eye – How to Rediscover the Soul of Astronomy"

John Flannery at Solarfest

Arthur C. Clarke once described the Universe as a device contrived for the perpetual astonishment of astronomers. Anyone can discover that sense of wonder. You just have to look up. It’s a common belief you need some form of optical equipment to witness those astonishing sights but that is not the case.

Naked Eye Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy visible from Ireland!

A new comet discovered by Terry Lovejoy (his 5th!), official name C/2014 Q2, is heading North and has gradually brightened. Currently it shines at magnitude 5.5, barely visible with the unaided eye even in a very dark sky, but relatively easy in binoculars.

IAA member John C McConnell has imaged the comet - shown here, taken with a 50mm lens at f2.2 for 10 seconds.


IAA Lecture 17th December: Dr Ernst de Mooij (QUB) - "Characterising the atmospheres of exoplanets"

Artist's conception of an exoplanet. Art by Karen Teramura. (c) NASA

Over the past two decades more than one thousand planets have been discovered outside our Solar System. What is even more interesting is that we have started to investigate atmospheres of these planets using telescopes both on the ground and in space. In this talk I will show how we can study the atmospheres of these alien worlds, and what we have learned from these observations.