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Mars Draws Near

The planet Mars (mag -1.2) is now a striking sight in the south-east morning sky, as it approaches opposition on 22nd May 2016. At the moment it lies, north of Antares, in the constellation of Ophiuchus, with Saturn (mag +0.2) just 7° to the east.

Data from Sky-High 2016.

The New Radio Sky

Tom Ray

by Prof Tom Ray, DIAS

Monday 25th April 2016 (20.00 hrs).
Venue: Ely House, 8 Ely Place, Dublin 2. All welcome, free event.

New instruments such as the Low Frequency Radio Array (LOFAR) and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) are changing our view of how galaxies and even individual stars and planets are born. These arrays offer us not only unprecedented resolution when viewing details but also enormous sensitivity to detect very faint sources. LOFAR and ALMA however are not without their technological challenges since vast quantities of data have to be processed to get an "image". In this talk Professor Tom Ray will outline the basics of how these new radio telescopes work and show us some of their recent amazing results.

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?

2016 Apr 25 Talk in Ely House (by Prof Tom Ray).

2016 May 13 Dublin Sidewalk Astronomy at Sandymount.

2016 May 14 Dublin Sidewalk Astronomy at Clontarf.

Please see EVENTS 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. Note: these are over for the season and will recommence in October 2016.

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