Thursday, 3 September 2009

Irish Astronomical Association / IYA 2009 Competition

As part of International Year of Astronomy 2009, the Irish Astronomical Association is pleased to announce a major public competition, with substantial prizes, for all ages, and in various categories, so that anyone can enter.

Entries can be made in any one, or more than one, of the following subject areas and categories
Subject areas: Anything to do with astronomy, cosmology, manned spaceflight, rocketry, unmanned space research, ‘aliens’ or possible life elsewhere in the universe, light pollution, telescopes and other astronomical instruments and observatories, possible future human travel to the stars, astronomy/space and the environment, astronomy/space and our culture and heritage etc.

Categories: Entries can be in the form of any of the following:
1. Essay/article or poem on astronomy or space, or on related themes such as light pollution, extra-terrestrial life, astronomy/space and the environment, astronomy/space & our culture or heritage etc. Articles or essays should be between 500 and 1000 words in length for Juniors; between 750 and 1500 words for Intermediates, and between 1000 and 2000 words for Seniors. Poems should be no more than 200 words in length for all age groups.
2. Observation of some astronomical object or event;
3. Drawing or painting or collage of some astronomical or space-related object or event;
4. Photograph of some astronomical or space-related object or event;
5. Model (e.g. model spaceship, model alien);

Age Groups: Entries will be divided into several age groups, to encourage children of various ages, as well as adults.
Junior: Up to and including 9 years of age, as on 30 November 2009.
Intermediate: 10 years up to and including 15 years of age, as on 30 November 2009.
Senior: 16 years of age and above.
Schools are encouraged to promote this competition, and to encourage their pupils to enter, but it is a condition of entry that the work is all that of the entrant, and not partly that of a teacher or parent or other older person!
Junior and Intermediate entrants MUST supply a photocopy of some document giving proof of age along with their entry.

Prizes: there will be prizes for First, Second and Third best entries in each of the 5 categories above, in each of the three age groups, totalling 45 prizes.
There will also be one overall ‘Grand Prize’ for the best overall entry, out of all those received, in all age groups, and all categories. This will be decided by awarding marks out of 100 for each of the entries, according to the age group. So an exceptional entry by a junior or intermediate might score higher than any of the senior entries, and so would win the overall Grand Prize. This prize will be a proper astronomical telescope, and can be suited to the age of the winner.
Other prizes will include binoculars, books, CDs, DVDs, posters, etc.

Deadline: All entries MUST be received by noon on 30 November 2009, to allow time for judging and award of the prizes before the end of 2009.

Judging: Judging will be carried out by a panel comprising the President and at least two other members of Council of the IAA. The decision of the judges will be final. No members of their immediate families will be permitted to enter, and in the event of an entry from some other person where the impartiality of the judge might be in doubt, another judge from the IAA Council may be substituted.

Eligibility: this competition is open to anyone resident in the island of Ireland during the period 1 January to 30 November 2009.

Publicity: It is a condition of entry that all participants must be willing to have their names and home towns published on the IAA website, and the IYA2009 website, if they should win any of the prizes. And further, that the overall winner will agree to a photograph, accompanied by name and home town details, which will appear on the websites above, and also possibly in the local or regional press, and/or the broadcast media.

SUBMISSION OF ENTRIES: All entries other than models should be sent to: Terry Moseley, 6 Collinbridge Drive, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, BT36 7SX. CORRECT POSTAGE MUST BE PREPAID! Entrants are advised to obtain proof of postage, and to keep a copy of their entry wherever possible.
DO NOT send by Registered Post, or any form of delivery which requires my signature, as I will rarely be there to sign for them!
Models, i.e. 3-d constructions of any sort, should be sent safely, or hand-delivered to: Armagh Planetarium, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DB, or delivered there during normal opening hours.
All entries must be accompanied by the entrant’s full name, address, age (if under 16), telephone number and email address, if any. The name and address should also be firmly affixed to the actual entries themselves, e.g. any models, drawings or paintings, photographs etc.
Observations: the entrant MUST give the date and time of the observation, and details of the instrument (i.e. telescope or binoculars) and magnification used.
Photographs (including digital): the entrant MUST give the date and time of the photograph, details of the camera, lens or telescope used, exposure, and processing.

Return of Entries: Any entries which are required to be returned must be accompanied by the appropriate return stamped addressed envelope, and any models sent to Armagh Planetarium must be collected from there by the entrant, at a suitable time.

UPDATES: Updates, if any, will be posted on the Irish Astronomical Association Website:


Terry Moseley
6 Collinbridge Drive
Co Antrim
BT36 7SX
Tel: 028 9025 3637 (w)
028 9058 7658 (h)
Mob: 07979 300842


Tuesday, 1 September 2009

CLEAPSS Chemical Safety for Technicians in Dromore High School

This course took place on May 13th 2009 in Dromore and was presented by Joanna Sacks from CLEAPSS. The aims of the course are to use CLEAPSS information and practical skills to find information on chemicals and their hazards in school use
and to handle chemicals safely for school practical work.

The following topics will normally be covered:
Using CLEAPSS materials
Chemical names for beginners
Chemical hazards and how to work with them
Preparing chemicals for lessons using safety information
Storing chemicals
Waste from lessons and stores
Chemical emergencies.

Demonstrations, paper exercises and practical sessions are included to increase technicians’ confidence. Opportunities to ask questions on matters relating to chemicals in school occur during the day.

Use CLEAPSS information and practical skills to:
- recognise chemical names and the potential hazards of those chemicals
- explain the safe handling, storage and disposal of chemicals
- explain how to deal with chemical emergencies

More photos: