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Neptune at Opposition

Neptune comes to opposition on 2nd September (at magnitude 7.8) in Aquarius. The planet will then be 1.3° SW of the mag 3.7 star Lambda Aquarii.

As the disc is tiny (2.4"), it will appear star-like except under high power. Even in (steadily held) binoculars the planet should be visible.

Neptune was discovered 170 years ago by Johann Galle (assited by Louis d'Arrest), with predictions by Urbain Le Verrier.

Data from Sky-High 2016.

IAS Public Star Parties

Observing at Sandymount

Sandymount, Dublin

Friday, Oct 7th 2016 (8pm):

The Dublin Sidewalk Astronomers meet at the car park, on Strand Road, just south of the Sandymount Martello Tower, Dublin 4.

Clontarf, Dublin

Saturday, Oct 8th 2016 (8pm):

This continues the new venture by the Dublin Sidewalk Astronomers of the IAS. The venue is the seafront car park, on Clontarf Road, opposite the Clontarf Bus Garage, Dublin 3.

Free, all welcome to both nights.

Where have all the (Bright) Novae gone

by John O'Neill (IAS, AAVSO)


Monday 24th October 2016 (8 pm).
Venue: Ely House, 8 Ely Place, Dublin 2. All welcome, free event.

In the first half of the 20th century, seven bright novae were discovered. Since 1950 that figure is just one. In this talk, John will discuss the lack of recent bright novae discoveries and some of the possible explainations for this. Along the way, he will also touch on what novae are and how you might search for them. He will also recall the excitement of some of the bright novae discoveries of the past.

The image show Nova Herculis 1934 at minimum and maximum (near 1st mag).

Image courtesy Lick Observatory.

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.

Images of Starlight

IAS Astrophotography Exhibition continues!

Linen Hall Library, Belfast

2 Aug to 30 Sep 2016

astro photo

The IAS (with help from IFAS) has a very special touring exhibition to showcase the work of Irish backyard astronomers astrophotography. Splendid images of the Stars, the Galaxy and the Solar System are featured.

Our exhibition is showing at:
Linen Hall Library, Belfast: 2nd Aug-30th Sept 2016 (venue and some extra photos organised by the IAA).

The exhibition started in Botanic Gardens, Dublin last February and then went to Tullamore, Co Offaly and Tallaght, Co Dublin.

Our Exhibition will return to Dublin in October: Fitzgerald Building TCD from 5 Oct 2016.

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 Oct 7 Dublin Sidewalk Astronomy at Sandymount.

2016 Oct 8 Dublin Sidewalk Astronomy at Clontarf.

2016 Oct 24 Talk in Ely House (by John O'Neill).

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

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