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Introductory Talk on Astronomy

in the Phoenix Park

Sunday 26th January 2020 at 15:00 at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, Phoenix Park, Dublin.

Free family friendly education event organised by Irish Astronomical Society and hosted by the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre of the OPW.



Backyard Science for the Amateur Astronomer - Research isn't Just for the Professionals!

by Mike Foylan

Monday 27th January 2020 (20:00).
Venue: Ely House, 8 Ely Place,
Dublin 2.

With ever improving hardware and software technologies available to amateur astronomers the speaker will demonstrate how the amateur astronomer can utilise those modest off-the-shelf technologies to perform valuable scientific work from ones back garden using examples from Cherryvalley Observatory's work on Meteors and Minor Planets and how such amateur backyard work can lead to new (if accidental) discoveries!

The speaker will be lifelong amateur astronomer Mike Foylan. He owns the Cherryvalley Observatory in Rathmolyon, Co Meath. He has a number of authored and co-authored peer reviewed papers published in the Minor Planet Bulletin of the BAA, among other accomplishments.

All welcome, free event.



Sky-High 2020

skyhigh 2020

Our yearly almanac Sky-High 2020 is now available. It is now in its 28th year.

Sky-High has articles on upcoming events regarding Planets, Asteroids, Comets, Meteors, Eclipses and Variable Stars. It has a detailed Diary tailored for Irish Observers. It includes a handy table of sunset and twilight times as well as Moon phases. It also features a number of guest articles.

Please see more details, that includes information in obtaining a copy.

Please note that paid-up IAS members have been mailed a free copy. Sky-High 2019 has been added to the free Archive.



Betelgeuse fading

The famous red-giant star Betelgeuse, in Orion, is now faint. It was mag +1.5 in late December 2019. This is the faintest since the 1920s.


Mira is still an easy object

The Long Period Variable star Omicron Ceti (proper name Mira) has now declined a little, to 5th magnitude at the beginning of the new year 2020. It is very conveniently placed in the early evening sky.

The mean period of variation is 332 days and when at minimum it is usually 10th magnitude.


Members observe Total Solar Eclipse of 9 March 2016 from Indonesia

solar eclipse

Angela O'Connell reports:

A view of totality from the MS Volendam, on the starboard bow, mid-ship. We were located in the Makassar Strait between the islands of Borneo and Sulawesi, about 1½ degrees south of the equator. The sea was surprisingly calm and the ship was steady allowing those of us with tripods to relax and concentrate on the spectacle which lasted 2 min 46 sec approximately. Photo (at left) taken 08:34 (local time), 9th March 2016 with Lumix GM5 on automatic night scene setting.


solar eclipse

Terry Moseley reports:

The solar corona during totality. Photo taken 08:36 (local time), 9th March 2016 with Canon Power Shot with x42 zoom.

The next total solar eclipse occurs in August 2017, only touching land in USA.



Total Lunar Eclipse of 28 September 2015 was well seen by most

lunar eclipse

We were treated to a fine total lunar eclipse.

The photo of the eclipse was taken by J. O'Neill, at 02.21 UT, with a 106 mm refractor at f/8. This was 10 min after the start of totality.

The next total lunar eclipse visible from Ireland occurs in July 2018.

Members please report any observations, drawings or photographs to our Director of Observations, Liam Smyth for inclusion in the next issue of Orbit.



Comet Lovejoy 2014 Q2 near Polaris

In late May 2015, the comet passed about 1° from the pole star Polaris. Remarkably, it was still visible (as of 23 May) in binoculars, at just below mag 8. It was an excellent time to image the comet with a fixed camera, as trailing would be slight.

The photo (below) of the comet is by John O'Neill and was taken on 9-10 January 2015 (cropped; 200 mm camera lens). The drawing of 19 January 2015 is by Deirdre Kelleghan, with details appended.

Please report any observations, drawings or photographs to our Director of Observations, Liam Smyth.

comet lovejoy

comet lovejoy


What's on?

2020 Jan 24 Dublin Sidewalk Astronomy in the Phoenix Park.

2020 Jan 26, IAS Talk, Phoenix Park.

2020 Jan 27, IAS Talk, Ely House.

2020 Feb 5, IAS Stargazing, Knowth.

If you would like to attend Dunsink Observatory Public Open Nights that are supported by the IAS, you can find more details at Dunsink Observatory.



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