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Journal

No 58 - December 2008

IYA astro-happening at Science Festival

I am delighted to announce that, along with Charlie Gleed and Lorna McCalman, I made a successful bid to the Institute of Physics (IoP) for funds to support a one-day professional / amateur / public astro-observing event at the Edinburgh Science Festival for the International Year of Astronomy (IYA), entitled

2009 - A Space Odyssey: from Galileo to Hubble & Backyard Telescopes

This will comprise a series of around 10 talks with question-and-answer sessions covering what can be done and how to do it in observing, from total novice to advanced amateur, set against a backdrop of professional astronomy today.

IYA2009 logo

Or, in the words of the funding bid -

To celebrate IYA 400th Anniversary of Galileo's telescope and involve all attendees in getting started or progressing in the how to and joys of discovering the wonders of the sky. This will comprise talks by amateurs and professionals on: wonders of the cosmos; observing equipment and getting started with a telescope as simple as Galileo's; achievements of professional and amateur astronomers, especially in Scotland.

The day event will be free and almost certainly on Saturday April 18, 2009 - a grand finale to SciFest. Lectures will be followed by an evening special 'Galilean Orbital Ceilidh' (for a small charge) to allow informal mingling and very informal orbiting of all attendees and guests and the general public.

The event will complement other likely SciFest astro-related events/talks such as on the Crawford Collection (Gingerich and I) and on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) / Big Bang, plus the numerous IYA events being organised across Scotland by individual AstroSocs and some other soon-to-be announced national activities. An impressive line-up of speakers is already in place, including Chris Lintott (Sky at Night), Francisco Diego (University College London), Tom Boles (of supernova fame) plus myself and many others.

Draft programme topics include some or all of

Forefronts of astronomy today; Scottish astronomy, observatories, and societies; Dark Skies Scotland; making, buying & using telescopes; using robotic telescopes; simple astro-photography; deep sky and planet imaging; variable stars; supernova searches; exoplanets & SETI ......

We plan to offer a poster/display area to Scottish Astro Societies and other establishments and individuals, subject to available space and costs.

We very much look forward to seeing many of you there and to your active involvement - also at other IYA events in 2009. More details in due course by email, SciFest programme and website, other websites etc etc.

I am grateful to IoP and to Lorna and Charlie for their part in the incredibly expeditious completion of this bid. From the first word of the application to award of the funds was about 2 weeks!!!

Prof John C. Brown
Astronomer Royal for Scotland

This item is adapted from an email of 2008-10-29. John Brown is also Honorary President of the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh. Lorna McCalman and Charlie Gleed are past President and past Vice President, resp., of the Society.


Contents

Cover page

IYA astro-happening at Science Festival

Johann von Lamont - Bavaria's Scottish Astronomer Royal

Never the TWAN shall meet?

Total eclipse of the sun on 1st August 2008

Forthcoming events

Exoplanets come into view

Recent observations

Variable star observing workshop

Society news

About the ASE Journal


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