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The Northern Ireland Amateur Astronomy Society (NIAAS)
April 2012 Meeting PDF Print E-mail

Our next meeting is on Monday 2nd April, starting at 8pm sharp in Ballyclare High School lecture theatre. Directions can be found here

275914_100000107957669_2472955_nWe are very pleased to have Ronan Newman from Galway Astronomy Club as our guest speaker. Ronan will be giving a talk titled Enterprise to Endeavor - A History of the Space Shuttles!

About Ronan:

"Ronan Newman is a native of Claremorris, Co Mayo and first became interested in astronomy and Spaceflight from the age of 7, since then like many it has become a lifelong hobby with something new and exciting to hear about every day. Like any child of that age he remembers being astounded when reading about the giant Saturn 5 Moon rocket from books owned by his father and a progression into astronomy from there.

Being an amateur astronomer at such an early age made him look different in the eyes of his fellow school classmates and made him the butt of every single astronomical joke imaginable. But even still at the age of 10 he got his first telescope for Christmas, a 2 inch refractor and used it alongside a planisphere to navigate and learn his way around the night sky, something he still advocates to this day as the only way to learn the constellations properly.

Of his most memorable moments were watching the Space Shuttle Columbia make its maiden launch into space and getting up in the middle of the night like millions more to watch it land in the Arizona Desert, Seeing the Space Shuttle Challenger explode into a thousand fragments, being one of a few Irish observers to see Comet Hyakutake at closest approach with its magnificent gaseous tail and watching Comet McNaught in daylight, while of course who could forget the Halloween Auroral storms of 2003.

In 1998 he was one of the founding members of the Galway Astronomy Club which was formed in the aftermath of Comet Hale Bopp. He has been on the committee since then in various positions while for the past six years has held position of secretary and webmaster. A central part of his role is astronomy outreach and bringing that astronomical wonder and excitement that he has felt over the many years into the minds of the younger generation; the Astronomers of the Future.

Today he is interested in Binocular and naked eye astronomy, wide field astrophotography, Planetary Science, human spaceflight and is an avid Spaceweather enthusiast. But the best part of the last 30 years was being able to witness the Space Shuttle program from its beginning in 1977 to its proud end 2011 and was something special for me to present this talk".

As always, refreshments are available after the meeting!

Suggested Admission Donation:

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


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


New Season! PDF Print E-mail
Our new season of speakers is now almost complete. Click here now to check out what we have planned for 2011 & 2012
Associate Membership PDF Print E-mail

Due to the great increase of interest, we are very proud to introduce a new associate membership pack!

Are you interested in local astronomy and would like to become a member of the NIAAS but you're unable to attend our meetings in Ballyclare? Then Associate Membership is for you!