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Mars low in the south

Mars (mag +0.3) is visible very low in the south after sunset. Actually in the coming months its visibility will get better, despite its falling elongation (due to a more favourable ecliptic angle). The apparent diameter is only 8".

Still Mars is in the news, ESA's and Roscosmos's ExoMars mission reached the planet on 19th October 2016, with successful orbit-insertion of the Trace Gas Orbiter. However, contact was loss the Schiaparelli lander about one minute before the scheduled landing.

Uranus at Opposition

Uranus came to opposition on 15th October (at magnitude 5.7) in Pisces. The planet is now 2.2° E and slightly N of the mag 4.8 star Zeta Piscium. By the way, Zeta is a nice double star for small telescopes.

Under a very dark, clear, steady skies might some reader glimpse Uranus with the naked-eye?

From Sky-High 2016.

You are Made Of Stardust

by John Flannery (IAS)

Sunday, 13th November 2016 at 19.00 hrs
Venue: Dunsink Observatory, Dublin 15.

This (free) event is organised by the DIAS for Science Week.

Details and how to book.

There are more events organised by Dunsink Obs for Science Week.

Exploring the Low Frequency Radio Universe from Birr

by Prof. Peter Gallagher (TCD)

Monday 28th November 2016 at 20.00 hrs.
Venue: Ely House, 8 Ely Place, Dublin 2. All welcome, free event.

IAS Membership renewal due

Membership renewals are due from the 1st August 2016. Please see the applicable rates for this year.

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?

2016 Nov 28 Talk in Ely House (by Prof. Peter Gallagher).

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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