Brand New Season of Talks
On September 9th we see the start of our band new season of talks which you can view in the Meetings tab above. Our opening speaker will be Apostolos Christou who is a Research Astronomer at Armagh Observatory. His most research focuses on the small bodies of the solar system, from the very small meteoroids that give rise to shooting stars in the night sky to the much larger asteroids, comets and planetary satellites. and is studying their origin, evolution and interrelations. Recently he found that a recently discovered asteroid has been following the Earth in its motion around the Sun for at least the past 250,000 years, and may be intimately related to the origin of our planet. He found that all the clones remained in a so-called "horseshoe" state with respect to the Earth. In this configuration, an object mimics very closely the orbital motion of our planet around the Sun, but as seen from Earth it appears to slowly trace out a horseshoe shape in space.
Asteroid 2010 SO16 takes 175 years to make the trip from one end of the horseshoe to the other. So while on the one hand its orbit is remarkably similar to Earth's, although it keeps well away from the Earth. So well, in fact, that it has likely been in this orbit for several hundred thousand years, never coming closer to our planet than 50 times the distance to the Moon". This is where it is now, near the end of the horseshoe trailing the Earth. Currently, three other horseshoe companions of the Earth are known to exist but, unlike 2010 SO16, these linger for a few thousand years at most before moving on to different orbits. Also, with an estimated diameter of 200–400 metres, 2010 SO16 is by far the largest of Earth's horseshoe asteroids. See you at the Westwood House Hotel at 7.30pm, See a Google Map HERE or visit www.westwoodhousehotel.com
Back to Basics Workshops
As part of our outreach program we offer a series of free monthly "Back to Basics" beginner workshops held at NUI Galway where both the public and club members can expand their knowledge and observing skills as well as meeting new people. Workshops start at 7.30pm and take place at Room 220 in the Physics Department in NUI Galway just off the main concourse. We hope to see as many as you at them and remember entry is free, Beginners are most welcome. The opening workshop will be given by Brian McGabhann on September 22nd with a topic entitled "A Guide to the Sun and safe solar viewing" while the next will be on October 20th: "Amateur Radio Astronomy" Tom Frawley, Galway Radio Club
If you enjoy observing the stars, don't forget that there's a star a quarter million times closer than any other and 13 billion times brighter. And it appears enormous, as big in your telescope's eyepiece as the Moon. Of course, it's the Sun. If you've got a telescope, you're missing out if you don't equip it for observing our great, big day star.
Warning: the Sun can blind you, especially when its light is concentrated by a telescope. But if you use a proper Sun-observing filter and don't do something careless (such as letting the filter blow off in the wind), you can watch the Sun safely for a lifetime and enjoy some highlights that include capturing the Solar Eclipse coming in March 2015, watch Sunspot activity and prominences or even catch the International Space Station as it hurtles across the face of the Sun. If you're into photography do not use your camera to photograph the Sun unless you have a solar filter. Most especially do not use live view (or a point and shoot camera) pointed at the sun. That tactic is very likely to damage your camera. All these topics will be covered in this opening workshop.
See the full list of upcoming workshops HERE
Skelligs Star Party 2014
A group of Amateur Astronomers from clubs in Ireland will be heading to Europe's only Gold Tier Dark Sky site in South Kerry next month for the first "Skelligs Star Party" The dates have been finally agreed on and they are Aug 22nd-24th.. They will be meeting up and staying at Skellig Lodge in Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry from 7.30pm on Friday 22nd. This will be a free event designed totally around observing with talks, observing, workshops and a table quiz, Well worth the journey to meet like minded amateur astronomers from around Ireland.
You will have to pay for you own accommodation. All those interested in this event are more than welcome. The Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve is located in the South West coast of Ireland in what is called an Isthumus - a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas, usually with water on either side. The Reserve is protected by the Kerry Mountains and Hills on one side and the Atlantic ocean on the other. For further information see HERE or call Roy Stewart at 0866045332
Our view of the Universe has changed dramatically. Hundreds of planets of startling diversity have been discovered orbiting distant suns. Other astronomical observations have also revealed that most of the matter in the Universe is dark and invisible and that the expansion of the universe is accelerating in an unexpected and unexplained way. New missions pave the way to a better understanding of our solar system and its cosmic interlopers including comets. Recent discoveries, powerful new ways to observe the Universe, and bold new ideas to understand it have created scientific opportunities without precedent. Some of these big questions will be addresses at the 2015 Galway Astronomy Festival with a host well known amateur and academic astronomers from Ireland and the UK.
1 Michael Perryman: co author of the "Millennium Star Atlas" and project scientist of the GAIA Space Astrometry mission
2 Daniel (Eclipsedan) Lynch: Irish Eclipse chaser of ten international Total Solar Eclipses and his talk will prelude to the March 2015 Solar eclipse
3 Nick Howes: Amateur astronomer at the Kielder Observatory, UK, Consultant and Science writer
4 Paul Abel: UK Amateur Astronomer, broadcaster and writer, Sky at Night presenter, Author of "The Stargazers Notebook" and "Visual & Planetary Astronomy"
5 Professor Susan McKenna Lawlor: Space Technology Ireland & NUIM
6 Dr Christopher Watson: Excellent speaker on the topic of Exoplanetary worlds from Queens University Belfast
7 Dave Grennan: Dublin based Supernova hunter
If you have any queries regarding the Club call the chairperson; Ronan Newman at 0868434003