Dunsink Lane, Dublin 15, D15 XR2R


Solarfest has been running for some years now at Dunsink Observatory, through the dedication of a number of amateur astronomers and the support of DIAS. Our amateur astronomy partners maintain the Solarfest Facebook page, with lots of photos and information. Unfortunately due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we have not been able to run it in 2020, 2021, and 2022, but hopefully Solarfest will return in 2023.

Previous Years

Solarfest 2019: 7-8 June

Solarfest was held on Friday evening 7th of June and Saturday 8th of June at Dunsink Observatory, in collaboration with the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies. 

On Friday evening Prof. Tom Ray of DIAS spoke about “Ireland’s Role in Proving Einstein Right”, about the famous 1919 expeditions to observe the Solar eclipse.  These observations proved Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, which predicted that light from distant stars would be bent around the Sun by the Sun’s gravity.

On Saturday there was a series of talks by amateur and professional astronomers about the Sun and related topics:

  • 10:30 Registration
  • 10:50 Welcome Address
  • 11:00 Brian MacGabhann (GAC & RHS) ‘Apollo 11’
  • 11:45 Paul Evans (IAA & IFAS) ‘Eclipses and Transits, A Personal Account’
  • 12:30 David Malone (DIAS) ‘Clocks of Dunsink Observatory’
  • 12:50 Observatory Tour / Solar Observing / Bring Your Own Picnic (Tea/Coffee provided)
  • 14:15 Donna Rodgers-Lee (TCD) ‘Tracing the conditions on Earth through time: the long-term variability of the solar wind interaction with cosmic rays’
  • 15:00 Joe Mc Cauley (TCD) ‘The Callisto Network for Observing the Sun in Radio Waves’
  • 15:45 Sam Green (DIAS) ‘The Bubble Nebula’
  • 16:30 Q&A Session with all speakers
  • 16:45 Conference Close
David Malone giving his talk on Timekeeping at Dunsink Observatory.
Former DIAS Astrophysics PhD student and current TCD Astrophysics researcher Dr. Donna Rodgers-Lee speaking at cosmic rays and the solar wind.

Solarfest 2018: 15-17 June

Solarfest 2018 flyer

Solarfest took place at DIAS Dunsink Observatory on the 15th to 17th of June 2018. This annual event is a celebration of solar astronomy for professional and amateur astronomers, as well as the general public.

Our amateur astronomy partners maintain the Solarfest Facebook page here, with lots of great photos from the 3 days and follow-up information.

We had a Public Open Night on the evening of Friday 15th of June, including observing the Sun.

  • Sam Green (DIAS) & John Flannery (IAS) talked about the history of Parallax and the 150th anniversary of the Grubb Telescope.
Sam Green and John Flannery: our speakers for Friday evening

Saturday 16th June: Main Solarfest events

  • 10:30 Registration
  • 11:00 Ronan Newman ‘Clouds at the Edge of Space: An insight to their History, Formation & link to Solar Minimum’
  • 11:45 Shane Maloney (TCD) – ESA Solar Orbiter
  • 12:30 Ciara Maguire (TCD) and Oisin Creaner (DIAS) – I-LOFAR
  • 13:15 Live Classical Music by Sarah Joyce / Observatory Tour / Bring Your Own Picnic
  • 14:30 US Solar Eclipse Report: Michael O’Connell (IFAS)
  • PhD Session:
    • 15:10 Sam Green (DIAS)
    • 15:30 Maria Moutzouri (DIAS)
    • 15:50 Samuel McKeague (DCU)
    • 16:10 Camille Stock (DIAS)
    • 16:30 Q&A Session – All Speakers
  • 16:45 Conference Close with Poetry Reading by Sarah Joyce
  • 17:00 onwards: Informal get together – pizza (€10 pp)
Ciara Maguire of TCD introducing I-LOFAR
Panel Discussion on Saturday afternoon

Sunday 17th June: family afternoon from 12:00 to 14:30

  • Family-orientated talks by John Flannery (IAS) and Kevin Smith (MAG).
  • Observatory Tour by Sam Green (DIAS).

Solarfest 2017

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For 2017 we were very fortunate to have blazing sunshine all day for Solarfest!  We also had a great line-up of speakers talking about a range of diverse topics.  Especially exciting was the upcoming solar eclipse in North America in August 2017, to which quite a few participants were planning to travel.


Friday 16th June Open Night:

  • Terry Moseley “Our place in the universe”
  • Observatory tour, telescope viewing

Saturday 17th June:

  • Brian MacGabhann “Einstein Made (Relatively) Simple”
  • Pete Williamson “Solar Imaging and Processing Made Simple
  • Samuel Bleyen “Sunspot Classification and Measurement”
  • Solar observing, observatory tour.
  • Sam Green “Stellar Bow Shocks”
  • Aoife Ryan “Solar Physics with I-LOFAR
  • Dúalta O’Fionnagáin “The Solar Wind in Time”
  • Sophie Murray “Space Weather: Origins and Impacts”

Sunday 18th June:

  • Sam Green “Sun for Kids”
  • Kevin Smith “Fun in the Sun!”
  • Observatory tour and solar observing.
Observing the Sun during Solarfest 2017. Warning: don’t ever look directly at the sun, especially not though a telescope or binoculars! You will damage your eyes. Get advice from amateur astronomers before trying to observe the Sun.