Club News & Events

January 2011 Meeting report PDF Print E-mail

Prof Philip DuftonThe January meeting was due to be addressed by Dr Brian Espey of Trinity college, but, due to illness, he was unable to attend. Luckily, we were able to get in contact with Prof. Philip Dufton, who had been due to give a lecture in December. This had been called off because of the adverse weather conditions. We are very grateful that Philip took the time to come along at very short notice.

The subject of Philip's talk was "40 Years of Astronomy", in which he reflected on his long career as both a university lecturer and as a working scientist. His speciality is "Hot Stars" and he alluded to this throughout his talk. Philip's career got off to a really lucky start, as his first supervisor had booked time on a large telescope in South Africa. He offered Philip the chance to make use of this time, which he duly did.

November 1st 2010 meeting report PDF Print E-mail

john cox oct 2010

The latest meeting of the NIAAS took place on Monday 1st November. Our guest speaker for the evening was John Cox, a member of the Doncaster Astronomical Society. John’s subject for the evening was double stars, and he gave an in-depth analysis of these fascinating objects.

John started off by discussing the different types of double stars, noting that “double star” is in fact, a term which is often used to describe not just a system with two stars, but also multiple star systems. He explained that double stars fell into six different categories, from so-called optical doubles, ie those which are not connected gravitationally, but are merely line-of-sight effects, through gravitationally bound star systems which can be split in a moderate telescope, right down to those which consist of two or more stars which are so close that their atmospheres are mixed together.

He then went on to describe those systems in which the components are very close and cannot be split in a telescope, but careful observation will show a regular dip (or double dip) in the total magnitude as the pair orbit each orbit eg Algol in Persesus.


October 2010 meeting report PDF Print E-mail

There was a tremendous turnout for the second meeting of the new season on Monday 4th October. 44 people in total attended the annual beginner’s night. Many of these were first or second time visitors. The speaker for the evening, Andy McCrea, was on top form, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It was especially good to see one of our long established members, Simon Sloan, making the long trip up from his home for the meeting.

Andy started off by running through some of the main constellations in the sky, offering clues to the audience, who had to try and identify them. It would probably be a good idea not to mention which constellation a certain previous prime minister reminded us of!

September Meeting Report PDF Print E-mail

The new season of meetings got off to a good start on Monday 6th September, with a visit from Colin Johnston of Armagh Planetarium. There were over 30 people in attendance, on a cold and very wet night. Several members of the audience were first time attendees, and they joined the regulars in enjoying a thoroughly interesting lecture.

Colin’s subject for the evening was The Moon. He started off by describing the Moon in relation to other large moons and small planets in the solar system, comparing them by size, chemical composition and surface characteristics. Using a blow-up model Earth, a tennis ball, a piece of string and with the able assistance of young Patrick, he demonstrated the distance beween the Earth and Moon, and described how long it would take light to travel between the two.

2010 Perseid Meteor Watch PDF Print E-mail

The annual NIAAS Perseid meteor watch and barbecue will be held at Killylane on Friday August 13th, starting at around 9.30pm. With no Moon in the sky, this could be an especially good year.
The early weather forecasts are mixed, so we will have to wait until later in the week to see what conditions will be like. A final decision will be taken on the Friday, at around 6.00pm. Unless it is heavily overcast, or raining, we will probably go ahead, as the crack is always good.
If Friday looks bad, but Thursday night looks ok, we may have a session then. The absolute maximum activity, for observing purposes, is early in the morning of the 13th, if anyone feels up to it. Keep an eye on this thread in the forum for up-to-date reports.

As always, bring your own food and drink, cooking facilities will be provided.

There's no need to bring any equipment, as meteors are best seen with the naked eye, although no doubt, there will be a couple of telescopes set up for other viewing, especially Jupiter. Some people like to try and photograph the meteors, so feel free to try that if you wish. 

Make sure to wrap up warm, and bring along a reclining chair or sun lounger for comfort if desired. There is always scientific interest in the shower, so if anyone wants to bring along pens and paper, or an electronic counter, to record their observations, feel free to do so.

Don't forget to have a look outside during this week, there are usually early meteors to be seen in the build up to to the main shower, Jonathan, Neil and I saw a few last night.

For more information on the Perseids meteor shower, and tips on how to identify Perseid meteors, see our article here, and for a short report by Phil on last years watch, click here.

Hope to see you all there.


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