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Space Week 4th – 10th October 2018

Mick McCreary (IAS) helping people to observe Mars through the IAS’s new telescope, a 9.5 inch 9.25 Celestron. (Credit: Qi Qi Kennedy)

Space Week 2018 was held during the week of October 4th to 10th. During this week DIAS Dunsink Observatory hosted a group visit and a Public Open Night.

Brendan Jordan, who worked at the Observatory, came on a group visit to Dunsink Observatory. During this visit Sam Green, PhD student (DIAS) gave a talk about meteors and John Flannery (IAS) gave a talk about the history of Dunsink Observatory. (more…)

Culture Night 2018

Culture Night 2018 was held on Friday 21st September at DIAS Dunsink Observatory along with many other events happening across Ireland. Giving the evening talks were Professor Tom Ray from the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) and Dr. Robert Izzard from the University of Surrey, England. Visitors were free to explore the observatory and visit the South Dome. Volunteers from DIAS, the Irish Astronomical Society (IAS), the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) and Dublin City University (DCU) were located throughout the observatory on the evening liaising with our many visitors. (more…)

Interview with Dr. Ray Butler of NUI Galway

Dr. Ray Butler with the Grubb Telescope in the South Dome at Dunsink Observatory. (Credit: Qi Qi Kennedy)

Dr. Ray Butler is a lecturer of Physics and Astronomy at NUI Galway. Ray presented a talk about “The Night Sky Over Ireland” for an event held in partnership with Science Gallery Dublin, TCD at DIAS Dunsink Observatory on the evening of Saturday 1st September 2018, where I interviewed him about his work and passion for astronomy.

During the time Ray was working on his PhD he studied globular clusters of stars which involved resolving objects in the middle of the clusters that are difficult to see from the ground. His group had the TRIFFID Camera which had the ability to take images of the stars millisecond by millisecond. The camera was used with different telescopes in La Palma and in Chile, to find out which stars are variable, and in one case they found the optical counterpart to a radio pulsar which was located in the middle of a cluster. (more…)

Interview with Steve Mallia from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

By Qi Qi Kennedy of DCU.


I had the pleasure of being able to interview Steve Mallia from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), who is a frequent visitor and supporter of DIAS Dunsink Observatory, during Irish National Heritage Week (18th – 26th August 2018) when he dropped by. I sat down and had a chat with Steve in Hamilton’s Sitting Room at the Observatory. (more…)

The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA)

Join us on Thurs Evening 15th November 2018 at 19:30hrs in DIAS Dunsink Observatory to learn more about the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the exciting and challenging next-generation Astronomical Facility, which is  currently at the design and prototype phase.

CTA will be a Major Global Observatory for very High Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy over the next decade and beyond. The scientific potential of CTA is extremely broad: from understanding the role of Relativistic Cosmic Particles to the search for Dark Matter.

Prof. John Quinn (UCD) and Dr. Maria Chernyakova (DIAS) will give an overview of the status of the field of ground-bassed gamma-ray astronomy including a brief history of the role that Ireland played in its development. They will describe how the CTA telescopes work and discuss the most exiting discoveries that CTA should be able to bring to us. The CTA Telescopes will no doubt create more questions for the scientific community to try and answer into the future.
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An Interview with John Flannery and Val Dunne of the Irish Astronomical Society

Interview with John Flannery and Val Dunne of the Irish Astronomical Society (IAS), our volunteering partners at DIAS Dunsink Observatory

A cyclist at the Moon Cycle observing the Moon through an IAS telescope. (Credit: Mark Stedman)

John Flannery and Val Dunne are members of the Irish Astronomical Society (IAS). Val is the Treasurer of the IAS and John is the Editor of “Orbit”, the quarterly magazine. Val and John recently volunteered at the annual Moon Cycle observing at Dunsink Observatory which ran from Dublin City out to DIAS Dunsink Observatory. I spoke with them in the Hamiltonian Room at the start of our Citizen Science Season which starts in September. (more…)

NEMETODE Meteor Citizen-Science Workshop Weekend

14th/15th September 2018 at DIAS Dunsink Observatory

Memebers of the NEMETODE Meteor Network at DIAS Dunsink Observatory. (Credit: John Flannery)

The Annual NEMETODE Meteor Workshop Weekend was held at DIAS Dunsink Observatory on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th of September 2018. The weekend consisted of a Public Open Night on Friday and an all day Workshop on Saturday. The NEMETODE (NEtwork for MEteor Triangulation and Orbit DEtection) Meteor Network detects meteors using CCTV cameras and when two different cameras detect the same meteor, mathematics can be used to determine the meteor’s path.  Dunsink joined the network in 2016 thanks to a grant from SFI, and we are delighted to contribute to this citizen-science initiative. (more…)

The Night Sky Over Ireland

Mark Langtry (left) public outreach officer from Science Gallery Dublin, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and Ray Butler (right) astronomer from NUI Galway with the Grubb Telescope in the South Dome. (Credit: Qi Qi Kennedy)

The Night Sky Over Ireland was an event held at DIAS Dunsink Observatory in partnership with Science Gallery Dublin (TCD) on Saturday the 1st September 2018 to a full to capacity Meridian Room. Science Gallery Dublin (TCD) was created in 2008 and focuses on where science and art collide. This nonprofit gallery has held 43 exhibitions. Similarly to Dunsink Observatory, the Science Gallery Dublin promotes Citizen Science. (more…)

Irish Heritage Week 2018

A guest blog by Qi Qi Kennedy (DCU).


The Moon photographed using Dunsink Observatory’s modern refractor telescope during Heritage Week. (Credit: Sam Green)

During Irish National Heritage Week (18th – 26th August 2018), DIAS Dunsink Observatory (D15 XR2R) held two Public Open Nights on the Tuesday and Wednesday.  National Heritage Week is organised by the Heritage Council of Ireland and aims to build our awareness of our Irish Heritage so as to encourage conservation and preservation of our wonderful history.  Dunsink Observatory events included talks, stargazing and learning about the stars, planets and the history of Dunsink Observatory itself. (more…)

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…)