March 2nd PublicLecture
As part of our excellent series of monthly public lectures we welcome Dr Kevin Nolan from Tallaght IT, Kevin is a scientist and science communicator from Ireland. He holds an honours B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in physics and astronomy. After several years in the computer industry, Kevin returned to lecture in physics at the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. under Dr. Niall Smith of the Cork Institute of Technology, developing a software based image analysis system for the European Space Agency INTEGRAL space observatory.Among Kevin's passions is science outreach. Involvement here includes acting as volunteer coordinator to Ireland for The Planetary Society (founder Carl Sagan), popular science writing, public lectures throughout the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, consultancy to Irish TV science programs and occasional TV and Radio appearances.
In a visually spectacular talk Kevin will examine the extraordinary new views of the Universe that are being delivered to us on a near daily basis by great telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope. Although these images are deepening our understanding of the Universe, they also reveal that we are barely beginning to know, and perceive, the Universe as it really it. In this talk, Kevin who is author of "Mars, a Cosmic Stepping Stone" will discuss some of the most revealing current images – including the ESO Vista 9 Giga Pixel image of The Milky Way. This huge picture is 108 200 by 81 500 pixels and contains nearly nine billion pixels. It was created by combining thousands of individual images from VISTA, taken through three different infrared filters, into a single monumental mosaic and the HST 1 Giga Pixel Image of The Andromeda Galaxy,the biggest Hubble image ever released and shows over 100 million stars and thousands of star clusters embedded in a section of the galaxy's pancake-shaped disc stretching across over 40 000 light-years . the talk will help us show what they tell us, and as importantly, what they do not reveal, yet point towards for future telescope to pursue. See you at the Westwood House Hotel starting at 7.30pm
February 23rd Workshop
Just a reminder about our workshop on February 23rd . Trevor Durity will give a talk about widefield astrophotography without a telescope and will give an overview about basic processing of the images in Deep Sky Stacker. The workshop is on in Room AC 220 of in the Physics Dept just off the main concourse at NUI Galway, look for signposts and starts at 7.30 pm. See you then.
March 20th Partial Solar Eclipse
Many people who experience a total eclipse often describe it as one of the most moving or significant positive events of their lives, and are often surprised by the intensity of that experience. Experiencing totality is an overwhelming of the senses – in the lead up to totality; you can feel that something big is going to happen. Then, when totality occurs, the stupendous beauty, drastic changes in the environment and awe-inspiring sight leaves most people in emotional overwhelm. Many lose themselves in the moment, sometimes crying, sometimes swearing. Intense emotions are experienced over a short period of time, which makes it difficult to find the words to describe what is happening. Total solar eclipses are rare events. Although they occur somewhere on Earth every 18 months on average, it is estimated that they recur at any given place only once every 360 to 410 years, on average, The total eclipse lasts for only a maximum of a few minutes at any location, because the Moon's umbra moves eastward at over 1700 km/h.
The next European Total solar eclipse will occur on Friday March 20, 2015. Totality occurs along a narrow path across the North Atlantic just making landfall over the Svalbard and the Faroe Islands. Totality will be just 2 minutes 47 seconds long while a partial solar eclipse will be visible over a region thousands of kilometers wide. The total phase of this solar eclipse is not visible in Galway, but it can be observed here as a deep partial solar eclipse, so this is still a spectacular sight. To see an animation of local seeing on the day go to HERE another useful website can be found HERE. It is the last total solar eclipse visible in Europe until the eclipse of August 12, 2026 that will be visible over the Iberian Peninsula, but will be followed in 2027 by another Spanish Total Eclipse with totality lasting up to 6 minutes in length, while in 2029 an annular eclipse lasting 7 minutes will also touch the peninsula.
Galway Astronomy Club will be holding a safe public observing event using specialised viewing equipment, please check back at a later date for details of this and a possible FREE Public Talk, but NEVER look at the Sun as it can cause pernament eye damage.
Bright Planets of the January Sky