Mercury Transit

A transit of Mercury is a rare event but we will only have to wait until Monday May 9th for the next one. Astrophysicists at Trinity College Dublin have organised a public viewing of the transit in Trinity’s front square from 12 noon on Monday. They will set up telescopes which will allow you to safely view the Sun and the transit. In case of cloud they will also be displaying real-time observations of the transit from the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. For more information please see their web page.

Queens University Belfast will host a similar event.


Peter Curran Award for best Post-Graduate Contribution to the INAM

The ASGI is pleased to announce the establishment of a new award, to be presented at each future annual Irish National Astronomy Meeting (INAM). The award will recognise the best contribution to INAM by a graduate student presenter. It will have a €100 prize attached.

The award is named after one of the most distinguished members of Ireland’s astronomical diaspora, Peter Curran, who did a BSc and MSc in University College Cork, a Ph.D. in the Anton Pannekoek Astronomical Institute of the University of Amsterdam, and went on to develop a strong research programme in GRBs at The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Curtin University in Perth, following positions at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) of University College London, and the Service d’Astrophysique, CEA-Saclay near Paris.

Two Post Graduate Scholarships in Star Formation – DIAS

The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) is offering 2 postgraduate scholarships to work in the Star Formation Group led by Prof. Tom Ray and in collaboration with Dr. Deirdre Coffey of University College Dublin. Funding is available for 4 years starting in September 2015 and includes a stipend, postgraduate fees and provision for conference/workshop participation. The student will work on the interpretation of observations of young stellar objects (YSOs), their disks and outflows.

A primary degree in physics, astronomy or a related field is required. Programming skills and experience with astronomical data analysis are beneficial.

Interested students are encouraged to send a brief statement of research interests, a curriculum vitae, and to arrange for 2 letters of recommendation to be sent directly to Ms. Eileen Flood, ( from whom further information can be obtained. Detailed inquiries can be made to Prof. Tom Ray ( The deadline for applications, including receipt of letters of recommendation, is April 30th 2015.

The European Southern Observatory: Industrial Opportunities for Ireland

Irish companies have been invited to a one-day event in Trinity College Dublin on 26th March, to meet representatives from the European Southern Observatory (ESO), with a view to exploring opportunities for future business with the worlds leading astronomical facility.

Background: The European Southern Observatory (ESO – operates the most advanced astronomy observatory on the planet, with facilities spanning the wavelength ranges from mm to the optical. ESO has just commenced construction of the billion-euro European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). This major construction project is expected to take ten years to complete, and as a result important opportunities for Irish industry could be available in:

  • Civil engineering
  • Steel structure fabrication and assembly
  • Precision actuation, metrology and control
  • Optics, opto-mechanics and detector systems
  • Cryogenics, vacuum systems and coating systems
  • Advanced light sources
  • Real time computing

In addition, there will be a requirement for new instrumentation suites that will be developed by international consortia, and these will be multi-100 MEuro opportunities for industry.

Ireland is currently a member of the European Space Agency (ESA). Because of the potential scientific and industrial benefits of ESO membership, the Government is currently reviewing the possibility of Irish membership of ESO, along with other organisations.

To gauge the interest of Irish industry in the benefits of ESO membership, a one-day event will be held on Thursday 26th March 2015 in the School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin to provide delegates with the opportunity to understand ESO’s current and future procurement and technology needs in detail and learn how to successfully do business with ESO. There will be speakers at the meeting from other ESO member-states (including companies which have done business with ESO), and attendees will also have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with key ESO decision-makers. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. The outcome of the meeting will inform the ongoing Government review.

Programme for the ESO Information Day in Ireland

Venue: School of Physics, Trinity College, Dublin 2
Date: 26 March 2015, between 9 am and 4 pm (hours tbc)

Participants from Ireland:
• Representatives of companies and business organisations (the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), Enterprise Ireland, etc.)
• Possible representatives from the Irish authorities (Forfás, Science Foundation Ireland)
• Representative of the company that is conducting the international research facility membership review on behalf of the Irish government
• Representatives of the Irish scientific community/the Royal Academy of Sciences
• Members of the Press

Estimated number of participants: 25-30 persons

Provisional Programme:
09:30-09:40 Opening by an Irish government representative (tbc)

09:40-10:00 The Irish Perspective (Paul Callanan, UCC)

10:00-10:30 ESO General overview (Laura Comendador-Frutos, ESO)

10:30-11:00 Science at ESO (Mark Casali, ESO)

11:00-11:15 Coffee/Tea break

11:15-11:45 E-ELT (Mark Casali, ESO)

11:45-12:15 ESO Procurement (Arnout Tromp, ESO)

12:15-12:35 Working with ESO (Tommi Kilpeläinen, BlueCielo ECM Solutions Oy)

12:35-13:05 The UK Experience (Colin Vincent, STFC)

13:05-14:15 Lunch

14:15-15:45 Company presentations

15:45-16:15 General Discussion and Conclusions, Wrap up

INAM surpasses 100 registered participants – remember to reconfirm your dinner!

The ASGI Irish National Astronomy Meeting (http:/ to be held at Trinity College Dublin from August 13th – 15th has now passed 100 participants. We believe this makes it by far the biggest ASGI meeting to be held. All talkers (and those unlucky enough not to get a talk due to the slots being oversubscribed) should have received an email.

In addition, please note that the conference dinner has been changed to the evening of Wednesday 13th August due to an ASGI INAM public lecture on Thursday 14th.  Participants are required to re-confirm their attendance at the dinner (and select their menu choice – please scroll to the bottom) at The venue is limited to 80 people, so please reconfirm soon – participants who originally requested dinner on the registration pages will be given priority, all others will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. The other social events, including the football tournament, are also scheduled for Wednesday 13th August – see the social events page for details of these as well.

Information regarding poster sizes and orientation (A1 portrait) were also distributed via email. If you have not received these emails it may be that you are not subscribed to the ASGI email list, or entered your email address incorrectly on the registration form, If this is the case, please notify Ray Butler.

We look forward to seeing you at TCD in 8 days!

ASGI announces the first Irish National Astronomical Meeting.

This year the ASGI is proud to announce the first Irish National Astronomical Meeting (INAM:2014), celebrating the 40th anniversary of the ASGI. This will represent the new format of the future ASGI meetings, with more focused sessions chosen by the Irish Astronomical community aimed at developing meaningful and long-lasting collaborations and friendships.

We invite you to join us at Trinity College Dublin from August 13th – 15th. There is no registration fee. The new format meetings, of which INAM:2014 is the first, will now have more focussed science topics that were submitted by the ASGI community in the call for proposed session made earlier this year.

In addition, we hope to hold a number of social events, including a football tournament and dinner on the evening of Wednesday 13th August. On the evening of Thursday 14th August there will also be a public lecture by Professor Paul Roche (University of South Wales) on “Seeing stars: science and education with big telescopes”.

For more information and to register, go to the conference website at

Updating the ASGI membership/mailing list

Do you know of any new astronomy researchers in Ireland who may not be on the ASGI mailing list? The list has not been updated since at least early 2012, and I would like to capture the up-to-date details of our membership, in particular new postgraduates.

New members, existing members who are changing email addresses, or any members who wish to leave the list (due to moving abroad, say), should email me so that they may be added to/updated on/removed from the list.

Thank you.

Best regards,
Ray Butler
ASGI Secretary

ASGI Summer Astronomy Meeting 2013

The ASGI Summer Meeting will be held in Trinity College Dublin on Friday 7 June 2013. The venue will be the Fitzgerald (Physics) Building located at the East end of the TCD campus (near Pearse station on Westland Row). Directions and further maps can be found here. Please note that there is no public car parking on campus.

This date and venue have been chosen to coincide with the visit of the European Space Expo to TCD.


Having a meeting in the summer, as agreed at the last meeting in Galway, is a new direction for the ASGI, and is the first step towards a larger “INAM” in summer 2014 and subsequent years.

7 June 2013, Fitzgerald (Physics) Building

10:00 – 10:35 Arrival & poster setup (with coffee & biscuits)

10:35 – 10:40 Welcome

10:40 – 11:00 John Regan (University of Helsinki) – “Pathways to the Formation of Super-massive Black Hole Seeds”
11:00 – 11:20 Owen McConnell (UCC) – “The Recently Discovered Radio Pulsar System FIRST J102347.6+003841”
11:20 – 11:40 Navtej Singh (NUIG) – “HST Search for Black Holes in Galactic Globular Clusters”
11:40 – 12:00 Eamonn Ansbro (Kingsland Observatory) – “Determining Limiting Magnitude: Problems and Solutions”

12:00 – 12:30 Mike Garrett (Director of ASTRON; invited) – “Radio Astronomy Transformed – Aperture Arrays: Past, Present & Future”

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch, posters, Space Expo Dome

14:00 – 14:20 Alexs Scholz (DIAS) – “Extrasolar Weather: The exceptional brown dwarf Luhman 16”
14:20 – 14:40 Diana Morosan (TCD) – “LOFAR Imaging and Spectroscopy of Quiet-Sun Variability”
14:40 – 15:00 Venu Kalari (Armagh Observatory) – “Star Formation in Carina Nebula: Trumpler 14”
15:00 – 15:20 Martin Topinka (UCD) – “Watcher Observations of GRB 120711A and GRB 130427”

15:20 – 15:40 Coffee & biscuits, posters

15:40 – 16:00 H. Tugca Sener-Satir (Armagh Observatory) – “PG1544+488: a binary system containing helium rich subdwarf twins”
16:00 – 16:20 Michael Connolly (NUIG) – “Aerosol Characteristics at VERITAS, Southern Arizona, U.S.A.”
16:20 – 16:40 Ryan Brothwell (QUB) – “A Window on Exoplanet Dynamical Histories: Rossiter-McLaughlin observations of three WASP systems”

16:40 – 17:10 Posters & general discussion

17:10 – 17:30 Walk to Space Expo public lecture in TCD Arts Building

17:30 – 18:30 Anna Scaife (University of Southampton; Space Expo public lecture)– “Exploring the Radio Universe with LOFAR”

Remember that if you are not giving a presentation yourself, ASGI meetings offer excellent opportunities to meet your colleagues in the astronomical area, so please consider attending.

European Space Expo to visit Ireland in June 2013

We are delighted to announce that the European Space Expo will visit Trinity College Dublin in June 2013. This is a spectacular travelling exhibit that shows how space and its applications provide benefits to Europe.

There will be lots of exciting activities surrounding the Space Expo visit, including space-related workshops for kids, an Irish space industry event, public talks, and lots more.



The Space Expo highlights the critical role of space and space-based technologies to Europe. In Ireland, there is an active space science and astronomy research community who have worked with the European Space Agency for many decades. What’s more, there are now over 40 Irish companies working with ESA on everything from telecommunications, to materials, to remote sensing of our oceans.

Check out a movie of the Space Expo on the road across Europe.

Important Dates: The Expo will visit Trinity College Dublin on June 4-9. Entrance to the Expo will be free.

Schools visits: If your primary or secondary school would like to visit the Expo, please email Jeanette Cummins or call (01) 896 4141.

Media contact: Dr. Peter Gallagher – (01) 896 1300.

Sponsorship/Partnering Opportunity: If your company or organisation is interested in sponsoring or supporting the Space Expo visit to Ireland, please do email Clodagh Memery or call (01) 896 4130.