Club News & Events

December 2016 Meeting PDF Print E-mail

The last meeting of 2016 is on Monday 5th December, it starts at 8pm sharp in our usual venue of Ballyclare High School Lecture TheatreDirections can be found here.

david_asherOur speaker for December is Dr. David Asher from the Armagh Observatory and his talk is titled 'Did the ancient Maya observe meteor storms?'.

We are delighted to have Dave back with us again to give us another fascinating talk on the subject of meteors. If you have any questions on Meteors this is you chance to ask one of the leading experts in the field!

Dr David Asher has been a regular speaker for us, dating back to 2002! The last time he was with us was in 2012, so we are well overdue another visit from him.

About Dave: Research Fellow at the Armagh Observatory, here is a link to his page and his publications:

As this is the last meeting of 2016, please come along and join us for what promises to be excellent evening.

Please note: Under 16's are very welcome but due to our child protection policy, we ask that they are accompanied by an adult.

As always the talk is free, a donation bucket is available at the door if you wish to support us in our work! Refreshments are available (also free) after the meeting and so is some good chat!

Hope to see you all there!

November 2016 Meeting PDF Print E-mail

JohnThe next meeting of the current season will be held on Monday 7th November 2016, starting at 8pm in Ballyclare High School Lecture Theater. Directions can be found here

We are really pleased to have a good friend to the NIAAS along to give us a talk. Mr John Flannery from SDAS Dublin will be coming up to give us a talk titled 'The Sky By Eye'.

About the talk: Arthur C. Clarke once described the Universe as a device contrived for the perpetual astonishment of astronomers. Anyone can discover that sense of wonder. You just have to look up. It's a common belief you need some form of optical equipment to witness those astonishing sights but that is not the case.

The Sky by Eye is a list that encourages people to observe the Universe with the unaided eye. It comprises objects and phenomena ranging from the whimsical to challenging. Examples include studying the colours of the Moon, tracking a planet through its opposition loop, observing the broad spectrum of atmospheric optics, and much.

The beauty of the Sky by Eye list is that you can delve deeper into areas such as meteor observing or revisit some aspects as your awareness grows. You may take a lifetime to tick off all the sights but the goal is to open your eyes to understanding and appreciating the rhythms of the sky, as well as build a foundation to enhance your enjoyment of astronomy. The list draws on the work of others including Joe Orman (, Fred Schaaf, and Chet Raymo, who all touch the soul of why we are naturalists of the night.

About John: John is a software developer for a Dublin-based company. He is a long-time member of the Irish Astronomical Society and edits their journal. John also contributes the monthly solar system notes for Whitaker's Almanac and compiles a widely-used annual calendar for the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies. His main interests in astronomy are world sky lore, history, binocular observing, atmospheric phenomena, and outreach.

We are really excited to have John up with us and we hope you will join us for this meeting as it's one not to miss!

As usual, free refreshments will be available after the meeting along with good chat and a chance to catch up after our break. 

Under 16's are welcome to come along, but we ask that they are accompanied by an adult.

A donation bucket will be available at the door, if any non members wish to support us!

Hope to see you all there!

Perseid Meteor Shower BBQ PDF Print E-mail


The annual Perseid meteor shower is looming again, which means that the annual NIAAS bbq and observing session is almost upon us.

Peak viewing time is after dark on the night of Thursday 11th August. This year the number of visible meteors will be somewhat reduced owing to the waxing moon, which reaches first quarter on 10th August. However, astronomers are predicting that the normally rather broad meteor shower will be enhanced on the night of the 11th/12th August by an additional approximately 100 meteors per hour, that is, the shower will exhibit a rare meteor "outburst".

UPDATE! BBQ on TONIGHT (Saturday)! Based on the latest weather forecast we are now planning to run our annual BBQ tonight. As usual we will be meeting in the carpark at Killylane Reservoir about 9.30pm. Directions here!

No optical aid is needed to see the meteors, although by all means bring your telescopes and binoculars along for some regular observing as well as meteor watching. A comfortable seat, or even a sun lounger, is useful, and if you are so inclined, you can bring along pencils and paper or a counter of some sort to record the number of meteors seen.

Cooking equipment will be provided, but please bring your own food and drink. If you have a portable barbecue, bring it with you, as the more cooking facilities we have, the quicker everyone will get fed. We'll try to provide some boiling water for tea and coffee.

Make sure to wrap up warm, and bring a blanket or even a sleeping bag for extra warmth.

As always, let's hope for clear skies on the night. Hope to see a good turnout.

May 2016 Meeting PDF Print E-mail

The last meeting of the current NIAAS season is on Monday 9th May, it starts at 8pm sharp in our usual venue of Ballyclare High School Lecture Theatre. Directions can be found here.


As we come to the close of another successful NIAAS season, we are again holding a members night talk at our May meeting. This year committee member Jonathan Bingham will be giving a talk on one of his favourite atmospheric phenomenon's, Noctilucant Clouds. Jonathan has been taking images of these events for many years now and will be giving you all an insight into what they are and why he finds them so interesting!

After Jonathan's talk we've decided to finish the season with something slightly different. For the first time at the NIAAS, Chairman Philip Matchett will be hosting a society quiz, he promises that this isn't just for the more knowledgeable member, but will have a mix of questions that may baffle everyone! It won't be too taxing as all you will have to do is pick A, B, C or D! Should be good fun and the winner will get a nice prize!

After the talks, we will be holding our Annual General Meeting. We encourage all members to attend, as this is a very important part in the running of the society. If you wish anything to be raised at the meeting please contact a committee member before the night so it can be added to the agenda. Remember this is YOUR society, so please tell us how you think we can improve!

This night isn't just for NIAAS members, however, only current members can vote at the AGM, everyone is very welcome to come along and join us before we have our summer break!

Please note: Under 16's are very welcome but due to our child protection policy, we ask that they are accompanied by an adult.

As always the talk is free, a donation bucket is available at the door if you wish to support us in our work! Refreshments are available (also free) after the meeting and so is some good chat!



Merry Christmas & Happy New Year PDF Print E-mail
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