Dunsink Lane, Castleknock, Dublin 15, D15 XR2R dunsink@dias.ie

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.

Meteors have become very relevant to secondary school students as they are part of the Junior Certificate science curriculum. Dunsink Observatory is part of the NEMETODE Network which has cameras detecting meteors across the UK and Ireland and determining their paths using mathematics. We at Dunsink Observatory encourage Junior Cycle students to keep an eye on the meteor information on our website and NEMETODE Network. As well as meteors at Dunsink Observatory the weather is also being monitored.

John Flannery (IAS) speaking about Mars in the Meridian Room. (Credit: Qi Qi Kennedy)

On October 10th a Public Open Night was held at Dunsink Observatory during what was a rare clear night for stargazing. The evening began in the Solar Room where Sam Green (DIAS) was speaking with visitors about meteors. Our visitors then moved to the Meridian Room where John Flannery (IAS) spoke about Mars and the various space missions that have explored Mars.

Sam Green (DIAS) then spoke about the NEMETODE Meteor Network at Dunsink Observatory. This is a network of cameras set up throughout Ireland and the UK to capture meteor sightings. When the same meteor is captured by two different cameras trigonometry is used to triangulate the position of the meteor and find where it came from and where it landed. Similar operations in France and Australia are trying to recover meteorites however most of the meteors around Ireland and the UK land in the ocean.

Due to Ireland being cloudy for the majority of the time radio antenna are used to observe meteors as radio waves can travel through cloud. Sam showed videos of different meteors that were seen from the cameras at Dunsink Observatory. He then showed radio data of the meteors that was captured from the radio antenna at Dunsink Observatory. Sam then showed different videos of meteors from around the world including the one from Chelyabinsk in Russia.

Sam Green (DIAS) speaking about the NEMETODE Meteor Network at Dunsink Observatory. (Credit: Qi Qi Kennedy)

Sam showed images of the Moon that were seen through the Grubb Telescope in the South Dome at Dunsink Observatory. Sam spoke about TY Week at Dunsink Observatory and how students use data and trigonometry to trace the locations of meteors. During the week the students have different scientific talks each night and at the end of the week they present a poster about meteors. Sam and John then answered lots of interesting questions about meteors, with some visitors being interested in becoming involved in NEMETODE.

Our visitors then went to the South Dome where Robin Moore (IAS) spoke about the history of the South Dome and the Grubb Telescope.  Members of the IAS were outside with their new telescope a 9.5 inch 9.25 Celestron helping visitors to observe Mars through the IAS’s new telescope. Thank you to everyone for joining us during Space Week. Keep an eye on our website and social media for upcoming events.


Reported by our volunteer blogger Qi Qi Kennedy of DCU.