Club News & Events
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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.

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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..
September Meeting PDF Print E-mail

Our first meeting of the new season is on Monday 5th September 2011, starting at 8pm in Ballyclare High School Lecture Theater. Directions can be found here!

Dr. Brian EspeyWe are excited to have Dr.Brian Espey from Trinity College Dublin along as our guest speaker.

Dr. Espey will be presenting a talk entitled "3-D Astronomy" He will be bringing along specialised equipment to allow us to view astronomical images in 3-D from the Earth out through the Solar System to the stars and galaxies beyond. It should be an excellent evenings entertainment.

About Dr.Brian Espey:


March Meeting PDF Print E-mail

The next meeting of the NIAAS in on Monday 7th March, starting at 8pm sharp in Ballyclare High School lecture theatre. Directions can be found here!

Dr Chris

Space weather is a subject which has become very prominent in recent years, and the study of the activity of the Sun and its effects on Earth and the rest of the solar system is now very popular. Many different spacecraft have been launched in recent years to complement ground based observations. Dr Chris Watson from Queens University will be our speaker in March, and will provide the very latest up-to-date information on this fascinating area of research!

About Chris: I was awarded a 1st class degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics at St.Andrews University before undertaking a PhD at the University of Sheffield. My early work was on developing indirect imaging methods for mapping surface features in interacting binaries, and studying accretion and magnetic activity in these objects (starspots!). I completed my PhD in 2002 and continued as a postdoc where I became the first person to image starspots on the surface of the star in a system known as a Cataclysmic Variable. From this I was awarded 1 of four personal fellowships in the UK to carry on the research until I moved to Queen's to take up a lectureship position at the end of 2008 - where I now study the impact of stellar activity on the nature and detection of extra-solar planets.


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

As usual, tea, coffee, biscuits and craic will be available after the meeting!

BBC Stargazing live - Armagh Planetarium 5th January 2011 PDF Print E-mail

The NIAAS were invited to take part in an event at Armagh Planetarium, organized as part of the BBC Stargazing Live series of television programmes. The day was split into two parts, with organized events for children during the day, including rocket launching, the chance to record their own TV programmes etc, and later on, lectures, star shows and observing for adults. As it happened, many people actually brought their kids along in the evening as well.

The NIAAS were invited to bring along their telescopes to allow members of the public to view the skies through them. Luckily, there was clear skies for the whole evening, and everyone who attended took the opportunity to view Jupiter, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Great Nebula in Orion, and many other objects. Everyone who did so was very impressed with the views.

Our other function was to provide advice and guidance to those people who brought their own telescopes along. Many took advantage of this, and we were able to show people how to set up and align their telescopes properly, how to find the Pole Star, how to use their finderscopes, and many other things.

There was a bit of a lull as people headed off to the star shows and lectures, but afterwards, there must have been nearly 120 people crowded on to the terrace at the front of the Planetarium. Eventually, people started to drift off home at around 9.00pm.

The BBC are to be congratulated on taking the initiative and showing a series of programmes about amateur astronomy during prime time. Judging by the comments of the people at the Planetarium, the series was a great success, and certainly succeeded in its object of bringing amateur astronomy to a wider audience.

Many Thanks to David and Aoife at BBC NI, and Sinead at Armagh, for inviting the NIAAS to participate. Many Thanks also to all the guys in the NIAAS who brought along their telescopes and binoculars, and especially to Mark, Neil, Simon and Brian, who spent most of the day at Armagh, and took part in the BBC news report of the event. Available to view here! 

Check out our members images from the event in our Gallery.

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.

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