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Interview with Dr. Niall Smith of Blackrock Castle Observatory

An interview with Dr. Niall Smith of BCO and CIT.
A guest blog by Qi Qi Kennedy (DCU).

Dr. Niall Smith talking about different theories relating to the formation of the Moon (Credit: Qi Qi Kennedy)

I spoke to Dr. Niall Smith before his talk at the Moon Cycle event in DIAS Dunsink Observatory. He is Head of Research at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and also Head of the Blackrock Castle Observatory (BCO). He has a long history with Dunsink Observatory stemming from when he volunteered at Open Nights as a teenager. (more…)

Viewing the Total Lunar Eclipse 2018

A guest blog by Qi Qi Kennedy (DCU) about the Lunar Eclipse of 2018.

Lunar Eclipse seen from California in 2014. Image Credit: NASA Ames Research Center/Brian Day

Over a hundred people visited DIAS Dunsink Observatory in spite of a thick blanket of cloud on Friday 27th July, the evening of the Total Lunar Eclipse. Total Lunar Eclipses happen when the Moon passes through the shadow of the Earth when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned linearly. This was the longest Total Lunar Eclipse of the 21st Century, unfortunately not visible from these shores (Ireland). The Blood Moon occurs because the Earth’s Atmosphere scatters blue light much more strongly than red light, stopping much of the blue light from reaching the Moon.  The atmosphere also refracts (bends) the light that then shines onto the Moon, giving it a reddish-orange colour. (more…)

Moon Cycle to DIAS Dunsink Observatory

The Moon Cycle, part of the Festival of Curiosity, on the19th of July 2018.
A guest blog by Qi Qi Kennedy (DCU).

Cyclists arrive to Dunsink Observatory to enjoy a night of summer stargazing. PHOTO: Mark Stedman

Cyclists travelled by moonlight out from town and along the Royal Canal to DIAS Dunsink Observatory. The path they travelled was used by astronomers travelling to and from Trinity College when Dunsink Observatory was attached to Trinity College in centuries past. Nowadays Dunsink Observatory is part of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). The cyclists passed Broom Bridge where Hamilton, who lived and worked at Dunsink, scratched his quaternions back in 1843. (more…)

Total Lunar Eclipse July 27th 2018

Total Lunar Eclipse – July 27th 2018
Guest Blog by John Flannery of the Irish Astronomical Society

Visitors to Dunsink Obs. observing the moon using one of the IAS telescopes. PHOTO: Mark Stedman

The evening of Friday, July 27th, sees the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century visible over a wide area of the Earth. From Ireland totality is already in progress at moonrise (9:22pm from Dublin) and with the sky still relatively twilit, it may initially be a challenge see the reddened lunar disk. The Moon will rise towards the southeast so a low horizon is a prerequisite to see it, and is only about 5° up (just under a fist-width) when totality ends at 10:13pm. Following that the Earth’s shadow will slide off the Moon’s face over the next hour or so as we see the latter partial stages of the eclipse play out. Binoculars will enhance the view — especially if the Moon is an indistinct orb as it rises. (more…)

Dunsink Observatory becomes Ireland’s first European site of historical significance

Prof. Luke Drury; Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD; Prof. Vincent Cunnane, Chairman of DIAS; Dr. Eucharia Meehan, CEO of DIAS; Prof. Rüdiger Voss, President of the European Physical Society; and Mayor of Fingal Anthony Lavin at the Plaque unveiling.

DIAS Dunsink Observatory sealed its status as one of Ireland’s most important scientific sites on the 23rd of June 2018 when it was recognised by the European Physical Society as a “site of historical significance”. Dunsink joins other famous historical sites such as Einstein’s house in Bern and Marie Curie’s laboratory in Paris, in recognition of the tremendous contributions to physics and mathematics made by Sir William Rowan Hamilton. A plaque commemorating this designation was unveiled by Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Minister of State for Higher Education and Rüdiger Voss, President of the European Physical Society.

The Farthest Q&A

Interview with Emer Reynolds, director of “The Farthest“, the story of the Voyager Mission

A guest article by Sarah Joyce, Transition Year Student 2017 and Young Scientific Reporter at DIAS Dunsink Observatory.

15th December 2017

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives; on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”   Carl Sagan

As I write this, I am listening to a playlist of songs, pieces and recordings which are on a record  that’s currently over 13 billion miles away from the Sun. There’s works by Mozart, Beethoven, Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry, and even a chant by the Navajo Indians. The playlist, of course, is that of the Golden Record, a time capsule of music, spoken greetings, and messages from Earth, and the only two copies of which are aboard the spacecrafts Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. (more…)

October 2017 Events

Cherenkov Telescope Array and Gamma Ray Astronomy Evening @ DIAS Dunsink Observatory

A guest article by Sarah Joyce, Transition Year Student 2017 and Young Scientific Reporter at DIAS Dunsink Observatory, covering a selection of events in October 2017 including the CTA-Ireland Open Night, Maths Week, and the NEMETODE meteor workshop.

Culture Night 2017


A guest article by Sarah Joyce, Transition Year Student 2017 and Young Scientific Reporter at DIAS Dunsink Observatory.

Culture Night

This Culture Night (Friday 22nd of September 2017), Dunsink Observatory (DIAS) opened their doors to approximately 1200 visitors who came to the historic location to get a taste of space, explore the facilities at Dunsink Observatory, and learn about the fascinating research being carried out in the Astrophysics and Astronomy sections of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). This huge number of visitors was warmly welcomed to one of the landmark locations on the Irish Astronomy Trail, and included quite a number of enthusiasts who made the 2km trek up the Dunsink Lane, the majority arrived by car (for which there was free parking!), but this also included quite a number of visitors who arrived by bicycle or on foot.