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Perseid Meteors at maximum on the night of 12-13 August 2018

The Perseid Meteors should be well on view (given clear skies) on the night of 12-13 August. More meteors will be visible before dawn, with the radiant higher in the sky. The Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) is then about 80+ per night (note that the effective observation rate is lower). Numbers will increase on the lead-up to maximum.

Please report any observations or images to our Observations Co-ordinator, Aubrey Glazier.



Mars draws near!

Mars, now mag -2.7, is a very striking object. It is visible low in the south-east as the sky darkens. Opposition occured on 27th July 2018. This is the best opposition of the planet since 2003.

However, for Irish Observers, it is quite low in the sky, at declination 25° south. Also a dust storm has diminished the visibility of surface markings.


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?

2018 Sep 19 Space for Everyone, Phoenix Park.

2018 Sep 21 Dublin Sidewalk Astronomy at Sandymount.

2018 Sep 22 Dublin Sidewalk Astronomy at Clontarf.

2018 Sep 24 Opening IAS Talk of the new session.

2018 Nov 11 - Dec 2 Images of Starlight, Botanic Gardens, Dublin.

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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