Keep up to date with the latest Club News
MAC has been very busy this year with out reach events
COSMOS 25 - Some say it was the best yet!
COSMOS 25 took place on the weekend of April 15th to 17th at the 4 Star Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone. Visitors from far and wide including outside of Ireland attended the almost-3 day event. NASA scientists, rocket launches, Cosmic Dinner, exhibits, lectures, collectables and more were the order of the weekend, which many visitors proclaimed to be the best in the star patry's 25 year history! COSMOS 2017 will take place on the weekend of March 31st to April 2nd 2017.
MAC AGM - New Committee
The Annual General Meeting took place on Tuesday January 19th in Clonamore House Hotel, Tullamore, attended by members and non-members. The usual agenda along with new elections took place. Seanie Morris stepped down as Secretary, a post he held since 2003. Emmet Mordaunt was elected as the new Chairperson, while Jason Fallon, with his time as Chairperson at an end, was elected Secretary.
MAC will wind-down Science Week at Clara Bog, Saturday November 14th
Midlands Astronomy Club will be the hosts in conjunction with Clara Bog Visitors Centre for the grand finale to Science Week in Offaly on the night of Saturday November 14th. Telescopes, short indoor presentations and handouts are all part of the programme. Limited places, see the "Star Gazing on Clara Bog" Facebook page for more: www.facebook.com/events/1641017582834931/
MAC Presents the Moon and the Stars, Athlone Castle Saturday October 24th
Midlands Astronomy Club presents The Moon and Stars from Athlone Castle on Saturday 24th October. From 7.30pm until 11pm, there will be high powered telescopes set up in the courtyard and Midlands Astronomy Club will be giving a guided tour of the night sky. This free event is open to everyone who has an interest in the astronomy, or even just to use the occasion as an excuse to look up at the night sky!
Ktec Telescopes will also be with us on the night, offering their wares for sale and on hand to offer advice on telescopes, cameras, equipment and more. Hosted in conjunction (no pun intended) with Athlone Arts & Tourism: www.athloneartsandtourism.ie/whats-on/mi...-from-athlone-castle
Successful Table Quiz on Tuesday August 18th!
MAC hosted a fundraiser Table Quiz on Tuesday August 18th in the Copper Pot Still, Tullamore. Multiple teams took art and MAC raised some funds to further help its outreach efforts.
Perseids StarBQ and Camping Night: Saturday August 15th
A fun and laid back Perseids StarBQ and Camping Night was held on Saturday August 15th last to the delight of young and old. Members were fortunate with very clear skies til almost 2am. Before then, the StarBQ fed the masses and some even pitched tents to stay the night. A staple since 1993, this year saw one of the BEST Perseids displays in many, many years.
MAC features on Irish TV
Midlands Astronomy Club has featured on 2 recent episodes of Irish TV: Westmeath County Matters, episode 40 (about the partial solar eclipse and pre-COSMOS) and episode 43 (at COSMOS and out observing at night). You can get Irish TV on Sky Channel 191, on Freeview (FTA), and on www.irishtv.ie.
COSMOS 2015 - our best yet!
A full report will be on this site soon, but for now, COSMOS 2015 looks like it was MAC's best one yet! Incorporating an inclusive trip to Birr Castle to visit the Leviathan, 2 nights of observing in addition to the daytime lectures, great weather, exhibits, displays, and the Cosmic Dinner and Table Quiz, were each a highlight in themselves. 'COSMOS 25' will be taking place on April 15th to 17th 2016.
March 20th Partial Solar Eclipse - just about!
MAC hosted a very successful Partial Solar Eclipse Watch from the top of Athlone Castle on Friday March 20th. An estimated 230 people attended the event over the course of 3 hours, where, just about on time after 9:30am, the clouds broke away to offer stunning views of the partial eclipse. There was a live broadcast with Midlands 103 during maximum coverage, and Irish TV were also on hand to record the event and carry out interviews with members of MAC there. See the episode (number 40) of 'Westmeath County Matters' here.
Telescope Night March 3rd
Open to the general public (non-members €2), you are invited to bring your telescope and find out more about it by asking questions and getting live tips. Observing afterwards, weather permitting.
AGM January 20th
At this AGM, a new committee was elected and various issues were discussed, including an update on COSMOS 2015 (April 17th to 19th). Larry Rigney (Vice Chairperson) and Dave Connolly (PRO) stepped down from their roles after 2 years service each. Thanks for your contributions over the years guys!
MAC invited to SPEAK/SpaceCamp Ireland August 5th
MAC Members Larry Rigney and Seanie Morris attended Space Camp Ireland, hosted by SPEAK on Friday August 22nd. Teaming up with the children there, telescopes were used to look at sunspots, short talks were given and questions answered.
Memorial Night August 5th
This was a dedication night to members who had booked their place among the stars and something associated with them: the Vincent McDonnell Library (Vincent was known for his love of chess, astronomy and books), the Carthage Morrissey Observing Chairs (which Carthage built imself and donated to the Club), the Ollie Walsh Telescope (a 10inch Dobsonian he built himself and his family donated to the Club), and the Trevor Rainsberry Observatory (it was land that Trevor sold to the Club, at a reduced price, that enabled MAC to construct Ireland's first Observatory built by an astronomy club).
A hugely successful event was held on its first ever weekend away from Tullamore, where it was held since 1992, in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone. One of our highest-attended star parties ever, it cemented its status as Ireland's largest annual star party.
AGM January 21st
The Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday January 21st. This is open to the public and is a free event. View newspaper article >
New Meetings venue for 2014
Clonamore House on Tullamore's northside just off the N52 bypass is our new meetings venue for 2014. Offering ample parking, semi-dark skies and a bar for refreshments afterwards, we look forward to our new home for our meetings. We also like to thank the group at the Presbyterian Church in Tullamore for allowing us the use of its facilities since 2006, a home we are sad to leave behind.
Stargazing at Stradbally November 16th
Saturday November 16th will see MAC play a part in Science Week at Stradbally Library, where the whole family can get together for some short and interesting talks and demonstrations about telescopes, astronomy and much more. Weather permitting, we will also have telescopes on view outside - under the stars! From 8pm, FREE event, all welcome.
Saturday August 17th at Stradbally Library was where MAC members took part in 'Laois Under the Night Sky' as part of Laois Heritage Week. A couple of short talks, some observing, and the ISS were all part of the evening as the skies darkened and the clouds cleared.
Click on the thumbnail to view MAC's coverage in the Laois Nationalist newspaper (August 20th edition).
Perseids StarBQ and Camping Night August 10th
Saturday August 10th is the night when MAC members and friends will spend the night (weather permitting) out under the skies, eat some food and catch a few (hundred) meteors. The Perseids are the year's favourite shower because of the season in question. MAC has been hosting this annual event since 1993. It's free, barbecue is provided, just bring your own food, an easy/camping chair and family. Registration is a MUST and can be done by emailing email@example.com
Summer BBQ and Camping Night Saturday July 13th
Held at our Observing Site in Clonminch outside Tullamore, this offers members and friends a free, informal get together to have some fun, eat some food and unwind for the night. Children are welcome with an accompanying adult. BBQ and charcoal is provided, bring your own food (and beer, enjoy responsibly) and feel free to stay overnight too! You MUST register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
COSMOS 2013 our best ever!
Our 21st annual COSMOS Star Party took place over the weekend of April 12th to 14th at Annaharvey Farm (see the COSMOS 2013 page here) to the delight of amateur astronomers from all over Ireland. 7 excellent guest speakers, observing, dinner, buy and sell and the annual Cosmos Table Quiz kept visitors entertained throughout the weekend. Cosmos 2014 dates are April 2nd to 4th at Annaharvey.
AGM Report from January 22nd
Our AGM took place on Tuesday january 22nd. A new committee was elected, a healthy balance is in the bank, memberships frozen at a modest €20 for the year and organisation of future events to come were among the items on the agenda. Click Here to see our current committee and membership info. A full report is available upon request by contacting the Secretary.
MAC 2013 Calendar AVAILABLE NOW
Prices at just €5.00, this souvenir calendar contains some great imagery from the Solar System and beyond with month per page with key dates highlighted and more. Thanks to John Lally for his hard work in publishing the calendar again this year. Copies are available by stamped addressed envelope (A4) with €5 sent to the Secretary or at our next monthly meeting. Contact details here.
Telescope Night for Beginners January 8th
Our first lecture of 2013 is a Telescope Night for Beginners on Tuesday January 8th. All are welcome to attend, admission is €2.00 and you can of course bring your telescope. Experienced members will be on hand to answer any questions and offer demonstrations.
2013 MAC Calendar is underway
A draft has been presented to the committee by John Lally of this year's 2013 Calendar. Details will be available soon on how to get your hands on this souvenir publication. If you would like to register your interest, please contact us.
Thank to Terry Moseley for his September 4th lecture
Terry Moseley of the Irish Astromical Association in Belfast was our guest speaker on September 4th, when he came down to present a talk entitled "E.T. Where Are You?". Many people attended the event, and a heartfelt 'Thanks!' is extended to Terry for a great night's debate on the subject afterwards.
Perseids StarBQ semi-success! August 11th
This year, MAC took the opportunity presented by a break in the weather on the weekend of August 11th to host its annual Perseids StarBQ at our Site in Clonminch. Members and friends came early, set up a campfire and got the barbecue with lots of enjoyment had by all - while tuned in via radio to John Joe Nevin's superb olympic boxing final (winning the silver). A good break over an hour long till around 01:30hrs afforded us many Perseid meteors, most bright and fast, and many sporadic ones. No fireballs recorded however. Some stayed the night in tents to wake up to a cooked breakfast onsite the next morning.
"In Anticipation of the Perseids" on August 7th
This was a short talk presented by Seanie Morris about the upcoming Perseids Meteor Shower and what to expect on the nights of August 11th and 12th. Details were also presented about our upcoming Perseids Star BQ on Saturday August 11th.
Observatory Site Clean-up Day & BBQ July 28th
We finally did it - we finally got out and did a dday's work on the Site in Clonminch! Rain or shine, Saturday July28th was pencilled in for the event. It did rain at times, but the Site is shining now! Photos will be added later, but 11 volunteers turned up with everything you can think of short of a 2 tonne minidigger, and helped out. We look forward to our big Summer event, our Perseids StarBQ and Camp Night on Saturday August 11th. Despite some showers, we still managed to have a barbecue afterwards too.
Summer Camps Visit July 3rd
Declan Molloy and Seanie Morris were invited by St. Mary's Youth & Community Centre in Tullamore to present a series of talks to the kids at their Summer Camp on Tuesday July 3rd last. 4 sessions, lasting 45 minutes each were presented, with models, videos and more. A Certificate of Participation was presented to each child, which doubled up for free membership to MAC till the end of 2013!
Observing Session on May 18th clouded out...
...or so we thought! A decision was made on the afternoo of Saturday May 19th to not go ahead with the observing session due to a 50/50 chance of cloud/clear skies according to the weather forecast. Not a bad call for some who would have been over an hours drive away from the Observing Site. However, by 11pm, the skies had cleared to give a wonderful starry night! Shame...
Visit to Clonkill Observatory May 12th
Members of the club enjoyed the hospitality and passion in astronomy presented by John Nooney at his Observatory at Clonkill, a couple kilometers outside Mullingar. A workshop on Registax, a tour of the facilities, lots of chat and tea as well as a 2 hour observing session with his state of the art 14inch SCT, it's one visit those who attended won't soon forget! Check out the photos here.
Basic Astronomy Lecture May 1st
Declan Molloy and Seanie Morris presented an impromptu lecture on Basic Astronomy, showing the basics of Stellarium, some navigation using the Plough asterism as a guide, and highlights of what to see in the sky as well as the use of telescopes and binoculars brought on the night. MAC even welcomed some new members on the night!
Cosmos 2012 a huge success!
Visitors came from all over Ireland to our Cosmos Star Party 2012. 7 excellent speakers, 2 nights observing, the Table Quiz and some fun were on the programme for the weekend. Many thanks to our sponsors for their generosity (Anstee Handcrafts, Dezynamite, McKenna Computers), to Annaharvey Farm, and to our guest speakers for making this year's event one of the best yet! See photos from the Gallery.
Observing Session Saturday March 24th
Members headed out to our Observing Site in Clonminch to attempt another observing session. In between breaks in the thin cloud we managed to spot the planets Venus, Jupiter and Mars along with a couple meteors and 1 fireball (possible Geminid).
Observing Session Saturday March 17th
Despite a favourable weather forecast, the weather did not break all night to allow some observing. The clearance did not give way till almost morning, but by then, those who made the trip were fast asleep in their beds!
Constellation Starhopping & New Website Launched March 6th
Presented by John Lally (MAC Vice-Chairperson), this lecture was about getting t know your way around the night sky and learn a few tricks for naked eye object location. 2 new members signed up, and a raffle was held for some astronomy books too. Seanie Morris presented the new look midlandsastronomy.com website with some additions still to be made. The new look also incorporates a CMS engine to allow editing anytime, anywhere.
Telescope Maintenance Lecture February 7th
Michael O'Connell presented a talk about Telescope Construction and Maintenance. Part of the talk was about how best to clean a primary mirror, with the Club's 12" Dobsonian primary acting as guinea pig as it needed a clean anyway!
Cosmos 2012 - Preparations Underway
April 13th to 15th sees our annual Cosmos Star Party take place at Annaharvey. More information can be found here.
MAC AGM January 25th
A good attendance came to our Annual General Meeting this night. Reports were heard from the Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer, a review of aims for 2012 and other matters discussed. A new committee was elected that was largely unchanged from 2011, and membership renewal was opened up on the night too. ( More on Membership here)
Telescope Night for Beginners January 10th
Another successful Telescope Night for Beginners was presented with members of the public both young and old coming along with their telescopes and binoculars to learn more about how to use and maintain them. Some new members also signed up on the night.
MAC 2012 Calendar for sale
Copies are for sale for our 2012 Calendar, priced €5 and available from the Secretary. A massive Thank You to John Lally for his hard work in producing it once again.