Dunsink Lane, Dublin 15, D15 XR2R

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.

150 year old Grubb Telescope located in the South Dome. (Credit: Qi Qi Kennedy)

John Flannery from the Irish Astronomical Society (IAS) showed our visitors on the evenings the South Dome which houses the 150 year old Grubb Telescope. Our visitors then entered the Meridian Room in the Observatory for talks given by Sam Green and Ivan Colantoni from the Astronomy and Astrophysics Section, School of Cosmic Physics which is all part of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). There is an active astrophysics group in DIAS studying massive stars led by Jonathan Mackey, of which Sam Green and Maria Moutzouri are part of, along with Felix Aharonian of the HESS project.

Sam Green (DIAS) giving a talk about the history of Dunsink Observatory. (Credit: Qi Qi Kennedy)

Sam Green, PhD student (DIAS), talked about the wonderful history of Dunsink Observatory including the origins of the observatory and the famous people that lived and worked here including Hamilton and Wayman, and also Schrodinger who worked in the School of Theoretical Physics in Dublin town. Sam also spoke to our visitors about Dunsink Time which was the time standard for Ireland of that time and was measured from Dunsink Observatory (1880-1916), after which we then transferred to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). Sam also spoke about Dunsink Observatory today which has been part of DIAS since 1947. Today the events that are run in Dunsink Observatory include our many Public Open Nights, SFI Space Week (October) and SFI Science Week (November). Our Citizen Science Programme includes the NEMETODE workshop, Solarfest, TY Week and many other event evenings that are requested by various groups. Sam showed videos of meteor detections filmed from Dunsink Observatory using detectors that are part of the NEMETODE network in the UK and Ireland.

Ivan Colantoni (DIAS) giving a talk about cultural heritage. (Credit: Qi Qi Kennedy)

Ivan Colantoni, Research Scientist (DIAS), talked about cultural heritage. He used the conservation of paintings as an example of preserving cultural heritage. He spoke about restoring and protecting these works of art and the different scientific techniques used for restoration. He showed examples of different types of imaging (visible, UV, IR and X-ray) used to detect restoration or changes to original works of art. He also showed different types of astrophysics imaging of the Crab Nebula.

John Flannery (IAS) observing the Moon during Heritage Week. (Credit: Qi Qi Kennedy)

After these fascinating talks, John Flannery (IAS) brought our visitors outside for some observing using Dunsink Observatory’s modern refractor telescope. John showed our visitors the Moon and helped them to take astro-photographs, captivating our visitors with his knowledge of the folklore and history of the different stars and planets. Then John located Saturn which was very exciting and spectacular to see.

Thank you to everyone for joining us. Our Public Outreach Programme runs throughout the winter months, keep an eye on our website and social media.

DIAS website:
Dunsink website:
Jonathan Mackey: @jm_astro
Sam Green: @sam_green93

Reported by Qi Qi Kennedy.