Club News & Events
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.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN USING OPTICAL EQUIPMENT. BLINDNESS OR SERIOUS IRREVERSIBLE EYE DAMAGE WILL BE THE RESULT.

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!

Directions:

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit_of_Venus

 

 
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)

 
Stargazing Live 2012 Report PDF Print E-mail

Following on from last years successful Stargazing Live television show, Professor Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain were back on our screens again this year for another three days of Stargazing shows. This was broadcast on BBC Two from 16th to 18th January and attracted record viewing figures for a science program.

As well as the live television shows, the BBC put on events around the UK throughout January and as the NIAAS is now an official BBC partner, we were out and about with them!

On Saturday 14th January, we where in Derry/Londonderry for the BBC Big Screen Stargazing Live Event. This started at 12 noon in Waterloo Place near Guildhall Square. From 1pm to 2pm there was a live feed on the big screen from the Faulkes Telescope, Hawaii and from 2pm we had members of the public becoming screen stars and trying out the interactive big screen quiz! There were also fun stargazing activities for all the family! BBC presenter Gerry Anderson was the host and was running about talking and interviewing people around the square including NIAAS members! Oh and there was an invasion of Star Wars Storm Troopers getting pictures taken with the kids.
This was a very enjoyable day for all, with many people stopping to chat with our members and looking at their telescopes, we were even able to get some public solar observing in.

Stargazing Live DerryStargazing Live Derry

 

Read more...
 
Stargazing Live 2012 PDF Print E-mail

Stargazing Live Logo

Following on from last years successful Stargazing Live television show, Professor Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain will be back on our screens again this year for another three days of Stargazing shows. This will be on BBC Two from 16th to 18th January.

As well as the live television shows, the BBC are putting on events around the UK throughout January and as the NIAAS is now an official BBC partner, we will be out and about with them!

On Saturday 14th January we will be in Derry/Londonderry for the BBC Big Screen Stargazing Live Event. This starts at 12 noon in Waterloo Place near Guildhall Square. From 1pm to 2pm there will be a live feed on the big screen from the Faulkes Telescope, Hawaii and from 2pm you can become a screen star and try out the interactive big screen quiz! There will also be fun stargazing activities for all the family!
For more info on this event visit the BBC Things To Do Website!

Then on Wednesday 18th January, the NIAAS will be back at the Armagh Planetarium for another action packed night of activities. Many of you came along to this successful event last year and this year looks even better as the Planetarium opens its doors again.
The start time is 6.30pm and we'll be there with our telescopes giving advice and showing you the night sky in all its glory! For the young astronomers, the Planetarium will have a space based arts and crafts session and new this year there will also be a Meteorite Workshop which will include the first public display of the planetarium's latest lunar meteorite acquisition!
But thats not all, they will be screening free presentations of their new digital theater show 'Experience The Aurora' (Seats for the shows must be pre-booked in advance to avoid disappointment!)
Visit the Armagh Planetarium website for more info. 

On Monday 6th February the club will be holding it's annual Andrew Trimble Lecture in Ballyclare High School lecture theater. We are pleased to have Ronan Newman from Galway Astronomy Society as our guest speaker who will be talking about the NASA Space Shuttle Program!

*Unfortunately Ronan won't be able to make the February meeting, however we have rescheduled him for April. We are very lucky, as we now have Dr Tom Mason MBE, Director of the Armagh Planetarium, as our speaker at the February meeting.*

But thats not all, throughout January we will of course be having more observing sessions on clear nights! Join our forum for up to date info on when and where they are happening!

If you have got a telescope and want some expert advice bring it along to one of our events and we will be more than happy to help you, or if you are looking at getting into stargazing come along for a friendly chat.


Why not join us on facebook : www.facebook.com/amateurastro and twitter: www.twitter.com/niamateurastro 

 

 

 
November Newsletter PDF Print E-mail
This months newsletter in pdf format can be downloaded here. (note: this is print format layout and may not read normally if viewing on screen). To download: right click and Save as..
 
September Newsletter PDF Print E-mail
This months newsletter in pdf format can be downloaded here. (note: this is print format layout and may not read normally if viewing on screen). To download: right click and Save as..
 
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