Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Competition

WOW !! A really cool competition open to all students in Ireland

(11 to 18 years).

Just 500 words on why Cassini should image either Saturn and its Rings, Tethy's and Saturns Rings or Titan Saturn's largest moon.

So if you are a teacher , have a good read and a good look at the video's and requirements.

Perhaps you have a budding scientist sitting in your class room ? Feel free to pass on this information to a teacher or a pupil you know .

Prizes include vouchers for Amazon, a trip to London and, if you’re specific target is chosen, Cassini itself will take an image of your chosen subject!

The Cassini Mission to Saturn and Titan is one of the greatest exploration missions of our time.

This is your chance to be part of this wonderful science experience.

All information regarding the Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Competition re Ireland

Watch all the videos at

Deadline for submission in Ireland is 30th Oct
Good Luck

Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies - Statutory Lecture 2009 Oct 12th 2009 8pm UCD

All from Nothing: the structuring of our UniverseTelescopes are time-machines. They allow us to see into the distant past. Our deepest images show the Universe not as it is today, but as it was just 400,000 years after the Big Bang. At that time there were no galaxies, no stars, no planets,
no people, no familiar elements other than hydrogen and helium. The cosmos contained
nothing but weak sound waves in a near-uniform fog. Spercomputers can compress thirteen billion years of cosmic evolution into a few months of calculation to show how these sound waves
developed into the rich structure we see around us today. A study of their harmonic content gives clues to their origin. They appear to be an echo of quantum zero-point fluctuations occurring a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang. Thusour
entire world may be a consequence of the nature of this early vacuum.
In a very real sense, everything may have come from nothing.

Lecture Theater C005
Health Sciences Building
University College Dublin
October 12th 2009 8 p.m.
Professor Simon D.M. White
Director at the Max Plank Institute for Astrophysics

Irish Astronomical Society October Talk
- All welcome its free
click on the image see it large

Lets DO It in the Park again

October 22nd - Wicklow Mountains National Park - 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm - Upper Lake Car Park

A call for telescopes and their people to help show our moon , Jupiter's moons
and the lovely Jupiter to the public in the park .

Our last major public outreach event 100 Hours of Astronomy brought amateur astronomers
in this country together to share the night sky with the public. What an incredible amount of public service astronomy went on that week in April .

We all learned from that very positive experience , and now we have the opportunity to to do it again and build on what we learned.

Let me know asap if you are taking part and what you intend to do in your area. No need to get complicated , just share the sky in your neighbourhood . Watch the IFAS forum for updates

A familiar voice talks Stars

@365DaysOfAstro Sept. 30 podcast: The Delight of Stars by Brother Guy Consolmagno

The Exhibition Gallery at Birr Castle Science Centre

Images by Bernard Kelleghan

In the Footsteps of Galileo an exhibition of astronomical sketches
has opened in Birr Castle Science Centre Co Offaly.

The exhibition displays 51 observational sketches by astronomers
from all over the world, and over 100 children's moon drawings .

A lovely mixed audience of astronomers, artists , educators , children
and the general public attended the launch .

Dr Carolina Odman International Program Manager for UNAWE ie Universe Awareness for Young Children opened the exhibition for me, and gave a talk on UNAWE's teachings to young children about the scale and beauty of the universe.

The Seventh Earl of Rosse spoke about the uniqueness of
the exhibition and said
"it's a pleasure to see In the Footsteps of Galileo
in the shadow of the Leviathan."

I said a few words on behalf of the contributors and also spoke
about astronomical drawing , why we do it ,
the learning through observation experience, that brings the subject to the page.

Sir Patrick Moore who has donated six sketches to the display sent
a message of good will with regrets for been unable to attend himself.

To my great delight Lord Rosse framed four original sketches from
his ancestor The 3rd Earl of Rosse .
These sketches include the world famous Whirlpool Galaxy
and the Crab Nebula sketched using the Leviathan.

The Seventh Earl of Rosse on his knees before
the Whirlpool Galaxy sketched by his ancestor
The Third Earl . Deirdre Kelleghan , Dr Carolina Odman
and Lady Rosse look on

Children's moon drawings from Dublin, Louth, Cork, Offaly
New York and elsewhere add to the International flavor

The Exhibition runs till November 1st 2009 and is
open everyday from 9 am - 6 pm

Friday, September 11, 2009

Falling Man

Remembering The Falling Man 911

Across the entire global community there seems to be no alignment of agreement on ethics in relation to the journalistic press or the photo journalistic press. There are varying degrees of  guidelines and principles for all the strata of output in the media in the twenty first century.

The cultural evolution theory developed by the nineteenth century anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan is a stiff ethnocentric model that I found difficult to place over any society in the world. He put forward the idea that societies developed from the first stage of savagery onto barbarism then finally reaching civilization.

I found this view a little narrow and a little shallow until I began to focus on the microcosm of society that is the world’s press, in this context the model sat very well.
All aspects of Morgan’s cultural evolution theory reside in both the shallowness and depths of the worlds printed and broadcast media. From tabloids to broadsheets, from rolling news to in-depth reports directly from the centre of disasters and war.

The savage, the barbarian, and the civilized exist together. These various media formats feed us their view of world events static and unfolding. The savage paparazzi, who dive to lower and lower depths of unethical behavior to achieve images for reward. The barbaric photojournalism of war, human suffering and the occasional attempt at civility by the more ethically sensitive media. Some at least try to find a balance towards the honor of the individual and human dignity.

It is a fact that a picture paints a thousand words. A photograph is revealing to the viewer and revealing of its subject. One image still etched in my mind as regards ethical issues and the privacy of the individual is the 2001 image of “The Falling Man” .

This image appeared in newspapers across the globe in the day’s post 911; it is heralded as an iconic image in the same vain as the Unknown Soldier.

In a documentary made at the time, it was put forward as a heroic image of an American in an elegant gracefully fall.

The fact is, this is an image of a man in the last few seconds of his life. A very private moment stolen by the click, click, click, of a press photographer. The photojournalist job that day was to get exclusive graphic images to sell to the networks.

Now, one could argue that the latter was perhaps in the public interest or that the public has a right to know allowing ethical considerations being overridden.

Journalism and the freedom of the press has an ethnology all of its own. The victim falling to his death on 911 did not go to work to become an icon of a tragic day.
It is unfortunate how a murdered man becomes a reluctant hero in his dying moments and this somehow brings a badge of honor to the photojournalist who captured this barbarism.

The photograph was subsequently used to eventfully identify the man but that also brought up issues which evoked anger and shame. Somehow the people who fell from the twin towers that day became referred to as jumpers. This implied that they committed suicide which some people associated with shame.

Journalists and photojournalists have a responsibility to bring us news, to investigate on our behalf. They also have a responsibility to attempt to achieve equilibrium between their story gathering abilities and the right to the privacy and dignity of an individual.

Where is the point that people must relinquish their privacy as they perhaps become celebrities? If you rise your head above the parapet you are it seems, automatically relieved of autonomy over your private life. Moral sensitivity good taste and compassion are required on the part of journalists especially when they are reporting about victims of accidents or other tragedies.

If you die because of an act of terrorism and your dying image is captured on film you become an overnight celebrity, a hero, an icon, somehow transmuted from an ordinary individual to someone owned by the world? In your life perhaps you were an unremarkable person and in your death you become a moral dilemma, something to be honed and cooked up into a media offering for the masses to digest.

RIP to all victims of 911