Galway Astronomy Festival Report
The Galway Astronomy Festival was held on a very wet and windy February 1st at the Westwood House Hotel, with an attendance in excess of 120 people this was the largest gathering of Irish amateur astronomers for many years.The exhibition space measuring 130 sq feet was crammed with telescopes, books, pictures, paintings and almost everything astronomical. We had 6 excellent talks and 2 equally impressive workshops and we sold over 550 tickets in our monster draw. A fantastic day despite the awful weather, Guy Hurst, one of our guest speakers from the UK summed up the day as: "We both thoroughly enjoyed the conference, one of the best we have attended and we have been to lots!"
Jupiter photographed from Salthill
Here's a photo of Jupiter, the king of the planets and the four Galilean moons, from left to right, Ganymede, Io, Callisto and Europa. Taken during one of the few breaks in the cloud we had last week by club member; Trevor Durity using a 90mm APO Megrez 90FD telescope. Jupiter shows a pattern of clouds of white, brown, and orange. And then there is the Great Red Spot. The Great Red Spot is the largest of the clouds of Jupiter. Other cloud shapes include eddy shapes, white ovals, brown ovals, and brown barges.
These clouds form in stripes and move across the face of Jupiter. The stripes are similar to those found on all the giant planets. There are three layers of clouds on Jupiter, and each one is composed of different molecules. At one level there are clouds of ammonia, at another level there are clouds made of ammonia and sulfur, and at a third level there are clouds of water (H2O).
Who remembers their first time looking at Jupiter and his entourage of dancing moons in a telescope? Because each moves at a different rate depending on its distance from the planet, they're constantly on the move like kids in a game of musical chairs. Every night offers a different arrangement. If you've clear skies where you are it's perfectly positioned in the constellation of Gemini at the moment. The other Brilliant object in the sk is the planet Venus neatly positioned low in the East just before dawn and completely dominating the south eastern sky.
For details on what to see in the night sky this month see our detailed SKY REPORT, Just click HERE
March 3rd Public Lecture
On March 3rd we welcome Mr Peter Household, Chairperson of Cork Astronomy Club who will talk on the topic of "We can but should we? Ethical limits to Space Exploration" and he will debate many questions on exploring the Cosmos like the following - The debate on the so-called overprotection of Mars – what are planetary protection rules for, and should they be relaxed with respect to Mars? The ultimate relaxation of planetary protection for Mars would be terraforming - is it desirable?
Should Mars be colonised? If so why? Are there good and bad reasons for colonising Mars? Is the Mars One project a suicide mission and if so does it matter? Terraforming or "Planetary Ecosynthesis" is the process of changing a planet's atmosphere to resemble that of the Earth's, with the goal of sustaining terrestrial life. It is predicted that establishment of life will be similar to Earth's history, starting with basic unicellular microorganisms. The most feasible pioneer to begin life on a new planet would be some kind of photosynthetic microbe
What is space archaeology and is it important? What steps ought to be taken to preserve it? Is there a role for UNESCO? Who has the right to mine asteroids? Does the common heritage of mankind principle in the Moon Agreement inhibit asteroid mining? Should it? Is the principle out-of-date and should it be amended? How likely is it that corporations will simply ignore it?Whilst the militarisation of space will not in itself be part of my lecture, for the sake of completeness I shall say something about it. See Peter's Blog HERE
If you have any queries regarding the Club call the chairperson; Ronan Newman at 0868434003