The Society is saddened to learn of the passing of Dr Ian Elliott on 10th May 2015.
He spent some time at Sacramento Peak Observatory, New Mexico after qualifying as a solar physicist. He was also part of the group site-testing for the solar telescope at La Palma and then was on the Dunsink Observatory staff until 2001, finishing his tenure as Assistant Professor. Ian was co-founder and first Chairman of the Irish Science Centre Awareness Network (ISCAN) and also served as Chair of the Science and Technology Committee of the Royal Dublin Society for some time. He had a deep interest in promoting science and acted as the Irish point of contact for a number of competitions run by the European Space Agency and European Southern Observatory. Ian wrote many articles on the history of Irish astronomy and science, and also had a long-standing interest in the Sun's influence on the Earth's climate. (based on information provided by J.Flannery).
Dr Elliott was also a good friend to the IAS and gave many talks to the Society and wrote a number of articles for Orbit. Our sincere condolences to his wife Dorothy and his family.
Venus and Jupiter are a splendid sight as darkness falls late these evenings. Venus is magnitude -4.3 and Jupiter is magnitude -2.0.
The two planets will draw closer together in the coming weeks. At the end of May they are 21° apart. By June 30th they will be separated by less ½° However, by then they will be rather low in the bright twilight.
Photo: The Crescent Moon between the two Planets on 22 May 2015 (by B.Pickup).
In late May, the comet passes about 1° from the pole star Polaris. Remarkably, it is still visible (as of 23 May) in binoculars, at just below mag 8. It is 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.
Despite a poor weather forecast and the day starting very grey and grim, many saw the eclipse through thin cloud or holes in the cloud.
The photo was taken by J. O'Neill, a little after maximum, through a hole in the clouds (85 mm refractor at 600 mm focal length).
The next partial solar eclipse visible from Ireland occurs in 2017, while for a total solar eclipse, the wait is for 2090!
Members please report any observations, drawings or photographs to our Director of Observations, Liam Smyth by the end of May for inclusion in the July 2015 issue of Orbit.
Solarfest is a weekend event devoted to talks on Solar Astronomy by professional and amateur astronomers. There will be a chance of solar observing and a tour of the Observatory.
The event is free, but you must register at DIAS in advance.
Please note the event is not organised by the IAS, but many of our members attend and help out.
Photo of the Very Large Telecope in Chile, courtesy of E.S.O.
2015 May/June - AGM of the Society (exact date to be decided). Members please contact the Society for more information.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. These recommenced in October 2014.