Dunsink Lane, Dublin 15, D15 XR2R

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.

11th October 2017

On Wednesday 11th October, a fascinating and brilliant talk about the Cherenkov Telescope Array was held in the Meridian Room here in Dunsink Observatory.
The evening began with an overview of the history of the Observatory, given by Sam Green of DIAS. Sam talked the audience through the life and work of Sir William Rowan Hamilton, and the audience were very interested to discover that that the maths of the quaternions Hamilton discovered in 1843 is still being used today in satellites and computer games!

CTA-Ireland Evening event

Dr Josh Reynolds, of Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), took the floor to discuss the logistics of the Array. Talking about Cherenkov Light, the Crab Nebula, and the Earl of Rosse. The CTA will improve gamma ray detection, as one photon a month is recorded per an area the size of Croke Park, but of course this will be improved with the larger coverage of the CTA. This massive undertaking will record 370 terabytes of data… a day! This data will enable us to learn and unlock the secrets of what’s happening in the universe.

After this, DCU’s Dr Masha Chernyakova gave a great talk on the science behind the Array, and how collision between very high-energy particles and low-energy ones are being used to locate the gamma rays.  She discussed how the CTA will be used with other technologies in order to get as full and as in-depth a view of the universe as possible. Masha also talked about the question of dark matter and gravitational waves, and how CTA will answer and raise more questions to further research.

Josh and Masha’s talks complemented each other very well, and left the audience with a clear understanding of what the CTA is, what it will be used for, and how it’s already changing the face of scientific discovery.

October 16th – The annual Hamilton Walk which was planned for this evening was unfortunately cancelled due to Hurricane Ophelia.

Maths Week – Public Open Night

18th October 2017

Samuel Kovacik of DIAS explaining Quaternions
Samuel Kovacik of DIAS explaining how Quaternions work.
Sam Green and history of Dunsink
Sam Green of DIAS explaining the history of Dunsink Observatory during Maths Week.

This talk was given by Dr Samuel Kováčik of DIAS Theoretical Physics Section and was entitled, “Sir Hamilton and the story of making things up”. It covered everything from Sir William Rowan Hamilton’s time at Dunsink Observatory to his discovery of quaternions that fateful day at Broombridge, when he carved his groundbreaking formula into the stone of the bridge. A very interesting talk that enthralled all, and was perfect for maths week!!

NEMETODE Public Open Night and Workshop

20th and 21st October 2017

William Stewart
William Stewart, founder of the NEMETODE network, at Dunsink Observatory.
Michael O'Connell
Michael O’Connell talks shooting stars.

The public open night began with a talk by the Irish Astronomical Society’s John Flannery, who gave a fascinating insight into the history of Dunsink Observatory and the use of telescopes; for navigation, for star cataloguing, and for accurate time measurements. He discussed how Dunsink set the time standard for Ireland, and the part the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies plays in all of this.

Then followed the presentation on NEMETODE cameras at Dunsink, expertly given by DIAS’s Sam Green. Dunsink Observatory has installed NEMETODE, or Network for Meteor Triangulation and Orbit Determination, cameras within the last year, and coordinates with amateur astronomers all across Ireland and the UK to learn and track meteors. Sam showed the audience visuals of what the cameras see, and demonstrated how having an area covered by more cameras can increase the accuracy of measurements and readings.

At the end there followed a lively Q&A session, with plenty of audience participation.

Participants in the 2017 NEMETODE workshop at Dunsink Obs.
Participants in the 2017 NEMETODE workshop at Dunsink Obs

Creative Commons Licence
© Sarah Joyce 2018. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.