Club News & Events
End of Season Update PDF Print E-mail

On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank everyone who came along to our meetings this season, we hope you enjoyed them as much as we did and we look forward to seeing you all again in September.

As you know, we take a bit of a break now but we'll be working hard over the summer to put together speakers and events for next season. Keep checking the website over the summer as we hope to have our annual BBQ for the Perseid Meteor Shower (Weather Permitting of course). Also check the forum as the observing group will continue to head out over the coming months.

If you where unable to attend the AGM meeting, the new committee was elected as follows:


Chairperson/Webmaster: Philip Matchett
Vice-Chair: Geraldine Gribben
Secretary: Stevie Beasant
Treasurer: Ralph Gault
Observing Co-ordinator: Simon Sloan
Ordinary Committee Members:
Jonathan Bingham
Ian McConnell
Derrick McCourt
Jason Christie
Have a Great Summer!



May 2016 Meeting PDF Print E-mail

The last meeting of the current NIAAS season is on Monday 9th May, it starts at 8pm sharp in our usual venue of Ballyclare High School Lecture Theatre. Directions can be found here.


As we come to the close of another successful NIAAS season, we are again holding a members night talk at our May meeting. This year committee member Jonathan Bingham will be giving a talk on one of his favourite atmospheric phenomenon's, Noctilucant Clouds. Jonathan has been taking images of these events for many years now and will be giving you all an insight into what they are and why he finds them so interesting!

After Jonathan's talk we've decided to finish the season with something slightly different. For the first time at the NIAAS, Chairman Philip Matchett will be hosting a society quiz, he promises that this isn't just for the more knowledgeable member, but will have a mix of questions that may baffle everyone! It won't be too taxing as all you will have to do is pick A, B, C or D! Should be good fun and the winner will get a nice prize!

After the talks, we will be holding our Annual General Meeting. We encourage all members to attend, as this is a very important part in the running of the society. If you wish anything to be raised at the meeting please contact a committee member before the night so it can be added to the agenda. Remember this is YOUR society, so please tell us how you think we can improve!

This night isn't just for NIAAS members, however, only current members can vote at the AGM, everyone is very welcome to come along and join us before we have our summer break!

Please note: Under 16's are very welcome but due to our child protection policy, we ask that they are accompanied by an adult.

As always the talk is free, a donation bucket is available at the door if you wish to support us in our work! Refreshments are available (also free) after the meeting and so is some good chat!



Merry Christmas & Happy New Year PDF Print E-mail
December 2015 Meeting PDF Print E-mail

The next meeting of the NIAAS will be held on Monday 7th December 2015 in Ballyclare High School Lecture Theatre, starting at 8pm. Directions can be found here!

For our December meeting we are really pleased to have our second speaker this season from across the water, Professor Will Percival from the University Of Portsmouth will be with us for the first time. Will will be giving a talk titled 'Mapping The Universe'. 

william percival_a32_000871s
Photo Credit: Huge thanks to Max Alexander for this fantastic photo of Will taken for IYA2009

We are really excited to have Professor Percival along to give us a talk at our Christmas lecture. I'm sure you will agree, this meeting promises to finish the year off in style and is a lecture not to be missed!

Will is the Professor of Cosmology at the University of Portsmouth and is one of the UK's top scientists. As well as being involved in numerous research areas, he is also on some of the top panels in space exploration. Here are just a few: UKSA Space Programme Advisory Committee, European Space Agency Astronomy Working Group, STFC Astronomy Grants Panel! 

So please mark the date in your diary and join us for this last meeting of 2015!

As always, refreshments and good chat will be available after the meeting! (Mince pies as well!)

Please note: Under 16's are very welcome but due to our child protection policy, we ask that they are accompanied by an adult.

Admission: Admission is free. A donation bucket is available at the door if non-members wish to make a small contribution.



May 2015 Meeting and AGM PDF Print E-mail

The next meeting of the NIAAS will be held on Monday 11th May 2015.

The meeting will take place in our usual venue at Ballyclare High School Lecture Theatre starting at 8pm sharp. Directions can be found here.


This is the last meeting of our current season and we finish on a high with another of our very popular members talks. This year we have two talks for the price of one! (by the's free!) First up and first time speaker for us is Lawrence Hanna. Lawrence is a new society member this year and all season he has been sending us some fantastic images for our gallery. The amazing thing about these images is that he lives in Belfast and this is where his images are taken as well. Because of this, we have asked him to come and tell us how on earth he does it with all the light pollution. So the title of his talk is 'A Beginners Experience of Deep Sky Imaging From The City'. I'm sure you will all make him very welcome!

The second short talk will be our society chairman Philip Matchett. The title of his talk is 'Size, Distance and Black Holes'. Philip always likes to use multimedia in his talks and I'm sure this one won't be much different.

This night is always very entertaining and very popular, if you haven't been to us before, why not come along to this one, everyone welcome!

Lately we have came across a lot of astronomy books that we kept in the NIAAS Library, as the Library doesn't exist anymore we have decided to give the books away. We will have these with us at the meeting and if anyone is interested in any of them, please feel free to help yourselves; a small donation to the society would be thankfully received if you do take some.

As this is the last meeting we will, as usual, be holding our AGM after the talks (Only full members can vote but everyone is welcome to sit in).

We would encourage all members to try to attend this meeting, as we elect the new committee and discuss the running of the society. If you have any suggestions you want to be added to the agenda, or wish to put your name forward to stand on the committee, then please contact our Chairman or Secretary, at least one week before the AGM.

As always, Tea, Coffee, Biscuits and good chat will be available after the meeting for FREE!


April 2015 Meeting PDF Print E-mail

The next meeting of the NIAAS season will be held on Monday 13th April 2015.

alan fitzsimmons

We are very excited to be able to bring you a last minute addition to our speaker lineup for the season. For our April meeting we are going to be joined by a close friend to the society, Professor Alan Fitzsimmons from Queens University Belfast. Alan will be giving us a talk titled 'Rosetta at 67P: What's happened, and what's next?'

 As I'm sure you are all aware, the European Space Agency hit the news last year with their Rosetta mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. For the first time in history, a spacecraft (Rosetta) was launched in 2004, to go into orbit around a comet. But that wasn't all; it carried on board a lander (Philae) which was deployed to the surface of the comet.

This mission has an amazing story and who better to tell us all about it than Professor Fitzsimmons. Alan has been directly involved in this mission by using ground based telescopes to study the comet and give technical information about it to the team of scientists and engineers!

This will be a fantastic lecture, so please mark it in your diary as you won't want to miss it!


The meeting will take place in our usual venue at Ballyclare High School Lecture Theatre starting at 8pm sharp. Directions can be found here.

As usual, refreshments and great chat will be available after the meeting.

The meeting is free to all, a donation bucket will be available and all donations are really appreciated! I hope to see you all there!

Eclipse 2015 Report PDF Print E-mail

The star of the show this week was the sun! Not only did we get to see a great partial solar eclipse this morning (Friday 20th March 2015), we also had a couple of nights of fantastic Aurora display! Tuesday night being one of the best for a good few years!

Zoo Ad


Solar Eclipse:
We had been told for the last few days by the local weathermen, not to expect to be able to see the eclipse as there would be too much cloud cover! For most of N.Ireland, it seems they were correct, but thankfully not for us! Our event was held at Belfast Zoo and started at 8.20am. When we arrived the sun was totally covered by the cloud but we had high hopes that would change soon and we were correct! At approx. 8.40am the sun broke through the clouds and there was a scurry of activity as everyone put on their solar glasses, which we had supplied for free. Our telescopes, 7 in total, were aligned, focused and off we went.


Images by Jonathan Bingham


At this point, approx. 100 people were seeing an eclipse, many for the first time!

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