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Marking 80 Years, 1937-2017



Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice in 2017 occurs on 21st June (at 04:24 UT). The Sun is then farthest north in its yearly path (i.e the ecliptic) in the sky. The night of 20-21 is the shortest night (just 7 h 0 min from Sunset to Sunrise in Dublin). If we exclude Nautical Twilight (when the Sun is up to 12° below the horizon), then the night is just 2 h 5 min long.

From Sky-High 2017.

Giant Planets on show

Jupiter, which was at opposition on 7th April, is well displayed by the late evening. Good binoculars will show the Galilean Moons. A small telescope should show the equatorial belts. Jupiter is mag -2.1.

The ringed planet Saturn (mag 0.0) was at opposition on 15th June. It is now low in the South in southern Ophiuchus A small telescope should show the magnificent ring system, which is now virtually fully open.

Data from Sky-High 2017.


Sky-High 2017

skyhigh 2017

Our yearly almanac Sky-High 2017 is still available. It is now in its 25th year.

Sky-High has articles on upcoming events regarding Planets, Asteroids, Comets, Meteors and Variable Stars. It includes a handy table of sunset and twilight times as well as Moon phases. It also features a number of guest articles. Of particular note is the Diary of carefully selected sky events.

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

Please note that IAS members were mailed a free copy in December 2016.



Malahide Community School astronomy course

Beginners may be interested in the astronomy course run by IAS member John Daly at the Malahide Community School. The 10 week course including topics such as planets of the solar system, galaxies, the lives of stars, a brief history of astronomy, advice on choosing a telescope, the latest happenings in space and much more.

More information and how to book. Also you can contact by phone on 01 8460949 or 086 8188783.

Note that this is not run by the IAS.


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?

Please see EVENTS/opposite for more details and further events.

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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