Club News & Events
Sir Patrick Moore PDF Print E-mail

Sir Patrick MooreSir Patrick Moore.

The author, broadcaster and renowned amateur astronomer, Sir Patrick Moore, has died peacefully at his home in Sussex, at the age of 89.

Sir Patrick first presented the BBC programme, "The Sky at Night" back in 1957, and continued to do so up until last week. He inspired generations of beginners to take up the hobby of astronomy, with his enthusiasm, knowledge, and presentational skills.

He wrote over 100 books, many on his favourite subject, the Moon. He was editor of the "Yearbook of Astronomy", and penned countless magazine articles. He was also a skilled musician, and composed his own works.

His passing is a great loss to the world of amateur astronomy, and he will be badly missed.



December 2012 Meeting PDF Print E-mail

Dr.RedmanThe next meeting of the NIAAS will be held on Monday 3rd December 2012 in Ballyclare High School Lecture Theatre, starting at 8pm. Our speaker for the night will be Dr. Matt Redman from the Centre For Astronomy, National University of Ireland, Galway. His talk is titled 'Star Destruction' 

This is the first time Dr.Redman has been with us and i'm sure there will be a good turnout at this meeting, the last of the year!
About Matt:
I'm from Manchester, UK originally. I did a degree in Physics at Durham University 1991-1994 followed by a PhD in Manchester University 1994-1997. My thesis was a theoretical investigation into the lifetimes and shapes of ultracompact HII regions. I worked then at University of Leeds and Jodrell Bank Observatory 1997-2000 carrying out optical observations and modeling of planetary nebulae and supernova remnants. Then at University College London between 2000-2003 I carried out millimetre observations and modeling of cold dark star forming molecular clouds. I moved to Ireland in 2003 to the Dublin Insitute for Advanced Studies and since 2004 have been lecturing at National University of Ireland Galway. My current research spans both star formation and star destruction processes using observations and numerical models. 

Refreshments are available after the meeting (mince pies?)!

Suggested Admission Donation:

Members: Free
Associate Members: £2
Non-Members: £3


NIAAS Public Star Party 2012 PDF Print E-mail
NIAAS Public Star Party
Saturday 13 October 2012
Crom Castle, County Fermanagh


It is with great excitement that the NIAAS will be hosting a Public Star Party at Crom Castle, Newtownbutler.
The date scheduled is Saturday 13th October, but a back up date has been reserved in case of bad weather.

Being situated in the rural countryside of Fermanagh, the skies around Crom Castle are welcomingly dark.
Sunset will be just after 18.30 hours. Observing will start shortly after that time.
The West Wing of Crom Castle will provide hot drinks and food, which can be purchased on the site.
Crom Castle accommodates for a limited amount of people, therefore booking in advance is advised.
Non-members of the NIAAS can contact Simon for bookings via Private Message on the forum (simon128d)
For directions to Crom Castle, [click here].
It will be a moonless night and this time of the year is the best opportunity for deep sky observing. We hope it will be a memorable night.

New Season! PDF Print E-mail

We are very pleased to announce or line up of speakers for the forthcoming season:


September 3rd - Dave McDonald - Celtic Rock

October 1st - Dr David Asher (Armagh) - Is the impact hazard getting any smaller?

November 5th - Dr Simon Jeffrey (Armagh) - Inside the stars

December 3rd -Dr Matt Redman (Galway) - Star destruction



January 7th - Dr Andy Shearer (Galway) - Pulsars

February 4th - Anthony Murphy (Mythical Ireland) - TBA

March 4th - Neil Patterson (NIAAS) - The Herschel family.

April 1st - Dr Duncan Forgan (Edinburgh) - Planetary formation

May 13th - Members night and AGM


I'm sure you will agree, we have an excellent line up here. We are very excited to have some old and a lot of new faces join us this season and it is sure to be very interesting.

There is no better time to join up! Pay now by paypal and your membership will run to September 2013!

Look forward to seeing you at these meetings!

Become a NIAAS member ONLINE PDF Print E-mail

We are pleased to announce that you can now become a NIAAS member ONLINE with payment through PayPal.

Click here to see our membership options and join now for membership to September 2018! Pay securely with PayPal. Even if you don't have a PayPal account you can pay with your credit or debit card!

There is no better time to join or renew your current membership!
(The NIAAS is a registered charity no. NIC100233 and registered as a charity with the Inland Revenue: Charity No. XT18196)

2012 Transit of Venus PDF Print E-mail

The planet Venus will pass across the face of the Sun on the morning of 6th June 2012. This will be the last such transit visible this century. The last transit occurred in 2004, and the one before occurred in 1882. The next will not be until 2117. Although transits of Venus, and of Mercury, now have no real scientific value, they are very rare occurences, and are well worth seeing.

The transit will already be in progress by the time the Sun rises at 4.50am on the morning of 6th June. In fact, most of the transit will already have occurred, and therefore there will only be about 40 minutes when the planet will be visible in front of the Sun. If you want to see the transit in full, you will need to book a trip to an island in the Pacific ocean as soon as possible.

Venus will not be visible as a naked-eye object, and will therefore need optical aid to be seen. A small telescope, or one lens on a pair of binoculars, will be adequate. The image of the sun should be projected on to a piece of white paper or card. Alternatively, a proper solar filter can be used. Make sure the solar filter covers the lens at the front of the binoculars or telescope, NOT the eyepiece.


The best sites will be as far north and east as possible, so somewhere on the Co. Antrim coast road, or near Millisle on Co Down will be best for the longest possible view. In reality, some part of the transit will be visible from most places in Ireland, but on the south and west coasts, it may only last for a matter of minutes.

We have decided to hold our Venus transit event at a carpark on the Fayestown Road, 2.8 miles outside Ballygally. We will be meeting up around 0415, everyone is welcome to join us!


From Belfast, go along the main A8 Larne road and onto the dual carriageway leading towards the harbour. Follow the signs for the Causeway coast road. Pass through Drains Bay and on to Ballygalley.
At the Ballygalley Castle Hotel, turn left off the Coast road onto the Carncastle road. At the top of this road, in the village, turn right and then left on to the Ballycoose road, which eventually becomes the Feystown road. Carry on up this road until you come to the car park, which will be on the left. I'm not exactly sure at which point the Ballycoose road becomes the Feystown road, and if the car park is before or after this point, but there's not much up this way, and the car park is pretty obvious.

If coming from Ballymena, go down the A36, past Killylane, and straight on until you meet the A8, and then proceed as above. Or, you can turn left at Kilwaughter onto the Deerpark Road, and then onwards to the Ballymullock road. This leads straight to Carncastle, and will save a few miles. If you go this way, keep your speed down, there are a couple of sharp bends on the road.

Of course, those travelling from the Belfast direction can also go via Kilwaughter, if you take the Kilwaughter turn-off on the A8. Travel on to the village, and then straight on to the Deerpark road and proceed onwards to Carncastle as above.

At this point, as always, all we can do is hope for good weather and a clear horizon on the day.

For more information about Venus transits in general, and this one in particular, either google "Transit of Venus", or use this link


May Meeting PDF Print E-mail

The next meeting of the NIAAS will be held on Monday 14th May 2012, starting at 8pm in Ballyclare High School Lecture Theater. Directions can be found here. This is the last meeting of the current season and we're sure you will enjoy it.

It's going to be a busy night and to start it of, I am delighted to be able to announce that Brian Smyth and Andy Johnston, two of our longest established members, have agreed to become Honorary members of the society so we will be having a presentation to celebrate this achievement!

After the presentation, we are going to have two of our ever popular members talks:

Jonathan Bingham will be highlighting some of the different types of terrain which can be observed on the moon, and Simon Sloan will be discussing some of the outstanding double stars which can be seen in spring and summer skies!


After our talks, we will be holding The Annual General Meeting of the society which is as always, part of the last meeting of the season. Would all members please try to attend as there are urgent matters regarding the future of the society to discuss.


As usual, refreshments will be available after the meeting!

Hope to see you all there.

Stevie Beasant (Chairman)

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