Galway Astronomy Festival 2016

  • R Newman
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Galway Astronomy Festival 2016 was created by R Newman

Hi everyone, just a reminder that the Galway Astronomy Festival is returning on January 30th 2016. This year we had an exceptional turn out, which like the previous year really surpassed our expectations even the Commander Hadfield opening went down a treat (meeting him this Saturday at a Galway book signing). Again I hope to pull out all the stops and look forward for another great turnout for our 2016 Festival, I try to create a loose theme every year as I will do again next year with “Beyond Earth: Dangers from the Cosmos”

Abstract "Nothing beckons mankind’s insatiable appetite for knowledge like the infinite vastness of the Universe, As wondrous and beautiful as it is, we’ve come to know that it’s home to more than a few dangers that could pose a threat to our home planet, some of which have the potential to annihilate it in ways that are hard to fathom. Earth has already seen its fair share of devastation throughout its 4 and a half billion years of existence, and while its still present and brimming with life, one day something might come flying in our direction It might be simply nature taking its course, a 1 in a billion chance, or even a series of chain events that could bring about a cataclysm."


Professor Alan Fitzimons (Queens University Belfast):The Chelyabinsk Impact: Lessons Learned

The Chelyabinsk meteor was caused by a 20-metre-wide near-Earth asteroid weighing about 13,000 metric tonnes that entered Earth's atmosphere over Russia on the morning of 15 February 2013. The object was undetected before its atmospheric entry, in part because its radiant was close to the Sun. Its explosion created panic among local residents, and about 1,500 people were injured seriously enough to seek medical treatment while some 7,200 buildings in six cities across the region were damaged by the explosion's shock wave, and authorities scrambled to help repair the structures in sub-zero (°C) temperatures.

Nick James (British Astronomical Association & Explorers Astronomy Tours)

“40 years of Meteor Photography”

The technology involved in observing shooting stars or meteors has changed massively over the past few years. Forty years ago as a teenager he started to try to photograph meteors using a second-hand roll-film camera and Kodak Tri-X film. Over one Perseid shower he caught two meteor trails. He now uses an array of high sensitivity TV cameras to automatically monitor the sky every clear night and, on shower nights, can collect hundreds of meteors a night.. In this talk he will outline how the technology has changed, what we now know about these objects and what we can learn from the large-scale deployment of amateur meteor detection stations.

After dinner talk on " The New age of Astro-Tourism"

Dr Ken Smith (Queens College Belfast)

"Sifting the Sky with Pan-STARRS 1; Crunching the Data from the World's Largest Operational Digital Camera"

The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) consists of astronomical cameras, telescopes and a computing facility that is surveying the sky for moving objects on a continual basis, including accurate astrometry and photometry of already detected objects. By detecting differences from previous observations of the same areas of the sky, it is expected to discover a very large number of Near Earth Asteroids (NEO), Comets, Variable stars and Supernovae which Ken is using it for.

Eamonn Scullion (Trinity College Dublin)

"The Sun and Superflares"

As the Sun spins about its axis, continuous streams of hot plasma trail outwards at bullet speeds towards the farthest reaches of the heliosphere beyond Pluto, resulting in a Catherine wheel of activity termed solar wind. Infrequently, large explosions close to the surface of the Sun (i.e. solar flares) blow off great chunks of the solar atmosphere sending billions of tonnes of plasma hurling into interplanetary space and potentially on a collision course with the Earth. The energy content of even the weakest solar flares (B-class), which occur daily on average, is equivalent to 1000 times more energy per second than the most powerful man-made explosion ever detonated. The most powerful solar flares (X-class) are up to 10,000 times more powerful than the B-class variety, occur a 2-3 times per year on average and can sustain this energy release for tens of minutes. Superflares are considered to be 100-1000 times more powerful than even X-class flares and their frequency of occurrence remains unclear. In this talk, I will outline the physics behind the formation of solar flares, how they appear at the highest achievable resolution, what triggers them, how can we predict them, what impact could they have on day-to-day life on Earth and can we expect a superflare event in the near future

Professor Mike Redfern (NUI Galway)

"O Silver Moon"

O Silver Moon! Professor Mike Redfern, Professor Emeritus, School of Physics, talks about Beer & Mädler's Mappa selenographica (1834), the first exact map of the Moon. Beer and Mädler's map series, Mappa Selenographica (1834-1836), and subsequent large book Der Mond (1837) represent one of the major efforts of the 19th century to develop a system of systematic lunar feature names and positions. The craters Beer and Mädler are named after the authors.

Michael O'Connell: "Building a Home Meteor Detecting Station" (Lunchtime Practical Workshop)

Michael is involved with “NEMETODE” a network of cameras based in the across the UK and Ireland that monitor the night sky for meteors ("shooting stars"). Through the use of triangulation and timing the network is able to determine the actual trajectory and velocity of the meteoroids as they pass through the Earth's atmosphere. From this we are able to determine specific characteristics such as the radiant (that point in the sky from which each meteor appears to originate), how the position of this radiant varies with time and the parameters of the original solar orbit of the meteoroids. In his workshop Michael will show how using modern technology allows observers like him to do really interesting science.

Link to last years event see www.irishastronomy.org/index.php?option=...id=100156&Itemid=211

Ronan Newman
Galway Astronomy Club
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Last edit: 7 years 2 months ago by R Newman.
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Replied by lunartic_old on topic Galway Astronomy Festival 2016

Got my hotel room booked, looking forward to seeing familiar faces and a great day.

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.

Rich Cook
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  • Roy Stewart
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Replied by Roy Stewart on topic Galway Astronomy Festival 2016

Really looking forward to this, this is one
astronomy event I have circled on my calendar.

Cheers Roy
QUOTE: “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” ― Arthur C. Clarke.
Skywatcher 200pds & HEQ5 PRO Mount , 15x70 Astro Revelation binos.. EP's SW 38mm 2" Panaview- SW 30mm 2" Aero- SW 26mm 2"Panaview.. 2" UHC filter-2" OIII filter.

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Replied by R Newman on topic Galway Astronomy Festival 2016


I have made two changes to the speaker list for the Galway AstroFest on January 30th which is Ireland's biggest one day Astronomy trade show and conference. Firstly Professor Mike Redfern is being replaced by Dr Paul Moran from the Centre for Astronomy at NUI Galway with a talk entitled: "The Crab Pulsar: Physics at its most Extreme"

Although there have been known observations of neutron stars for over 40 years there has been no convincing model to explain their behaviour which is a problem for fully understanding the population of neutron stars and hence the processes which create them. Some questions to be answered include the following: what is the exact nature of the neutron star magnetosphere? What is the structure of the magnetic and electric fields? What sort of radiation processes are involved? How and where are the radio and high-energy emissions generated? Solving these problems would not only further our knowledge and understanding of the physics of neutron stars but also fundamental physics at its most extreme.

This talk will review the current status of pulsar astronomy, astronomical polarimetry, and how it can be used as a diagnostic tool in order to resolve the mystery surrounding the location and mechanism responsible for the high-energy emission from pulsars.

A new addition is a lunchtime workshop by Dublin based solar imaging expert Samuel Bleyen-Nielsen with a talk entitled: "The Dark Art of Solar Imaging"

See the full program of talks and the many displays and exhibitors at www.galwayastronomyclub.ie

Ronan Newman
Galway Astronomy Club
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Replied by KevinSmith on topic Galway Astronomy Festival 2016

See you all there!
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Replied by nectarine on topic Galway Astronomy Festival 2016

Just a note for all IFAS clubs as I will be attending and if any club reps can pay their IFAS membership/insurance dues there that would be great (especially as I can't attend Cosmos this year).
Please see the Committee Section for further details.
Looking forward to the weekend
Bernie Blaney
Treasurer, IFAS
Bernie Foley
IFAS Treasurer
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