Aurora Borealis 27th February - Pictures

Aurora Borealis

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!

IAA Lecture, 19th February, Dr Ken Smith QUB, - "Sifting the Sky with Pan-STARRS 1; Crunching the Data from the World's Largest Operational Digital Camera”

Dr Ken Smith
Pan-STARRS -- the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System -- is an innovative design for a wide-field imaging facility developed at the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy.
The combination of relatively small mirrors with very large digital cameras results in an economical observing system that can observe the entire available sky several times each month.
These cameras produce a literally astronomical amount of data and among those tasked with sorting it all out is QUB's very own Dr Ken Smith who will explain how he does it!

QUB/IAA Michael West Lecture - Prof Gerry Gilmore - "GAIA mission and the origin of the Milky Way"

Prof Gerry Gilmore

Prof. Gerry Gilmore will give the Michael West Spring 2014 lecture on "GAIA mission and the origin of the Milky Way".

Please note the following:-

This lecture will take place in the Larmor Theatre accessed by the West side of the Physics Dept towards the Whitla Hall

22nd January - IAA Lecture -“NI Space: Developing the Space Sector and Opportunities in the Province” by Robert Hill, Northern Ireland Space Office

Robert Hill speaking at Armagh Planetarium
InvestNI, the Regional Business Development Agency for Northern Ireland, has appointed Robert Hill as the Space Sector Industry Champion to the province.
Robert's role will be to assist InvestNI in advancing sectoral knowledge and development of opportunities for NI companies to become involved in upstream and downstream space sector activities.

9th January - BBC Stargazing Live - Ulster Folk Museum, Cultra

Folk Museum Starscape

A change of venue for this event - to The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra. Running from 5pm-10pm, this evening includes a full range of events - see the night sky through telescopes guided by expert members of the IAA, Stardome shows provided by the IAA and Armagh Planetarium, ask questions of professional astronomers from QUB, comet making and activities by W5 and others!

The full programme of events is available as a PDF download here....

8th January - IAA Lecture - "The Origin of the Elements: Stars, Supernovae and the Big Bang", by Dr Stuart Sim, QUB.

Dr Stuart Sim

Supernovae are just about the biggest explosions in the universe, and certainly the biggest that we are ever likely to see. Not only that, but they create all the elements above iron in the periodic table, many of which, such as nickel, zinc, selenium, and iodine, are essential for human life. They are also the key element in the 'distance ladder' used in large scale astrophysics and cosmology, as they are used to measure the distance to distant galaxies and galaxy clusters.

7th January - 2014 Moon/Jupiter watch at QUB

QUB Moonwatch

The IAA and the Astrophysics Research Centre at QUB are proud to announce a “Moon & Jupiter Watch” on Tuesday 7 January 2014 in association with BBC Stargazing Live 2014. Come along after dark to the front of the iconic Lanyon building at Queen's, and use one of the telescopes there to view our nearest neighbour, the moon, before we turn our attention to catch the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter, as it rises later in the evening.

In the event of cloudy skies, a lecture on Aurorae will take place in the Larmor Theatre.