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Page contains news events closely related to CfA activities.
First light for the new "Hubble Palette" narrowband filter set on the Imbusch Observatory 400mm Cassegrain, at NUI Galway. These filters transmit only a specific wavelength of light, emitted by an excited electron of a particular element (Sulphur, Hydrogen, or Oxygen) in hot nebulae. I selected Baader 50mm square filters for a 4th Year project and for longer term usage.
This image shows the Rosette Nebula, with a 1 degree square field. The colour mapping is Red = Sulphur II, Green = Hydrogen II, Blue = Oxygen III. A single 20 minute exposure was made in each filter.
Observers: Mike Redfern, Laura Boyle
Data Reduction: Laura Boyle, Ray Butler
Laura is a 4th Year student in Physics with Astrophysics.
This version needs some further tweaks to the image processing, to iron out various issues. But it's a very good start, and the commissioning of these filters opens up exciting new possibilities for students using the observatory!
This year, Centre for Astronomy postgraduate student Diarmaid de Burca spoke at the annual Imbolc event (www.imbolc.ie). The talk, entitled Pulsáir agus araile ("Pulsars, etc"). is now available online at http://vimeo.com/38089275
The article is linked here.
CfA member Dr. Ray Butler strongly advocated the dark skies of Connemara, and warned that the direction(s) of light pollution must be considered as well as the overall degree of pollution.
There are also important contributions to the article by my colleagues on the RIA Light Pollution subcommittee, Prof. Brian Espey and Prof. Mark Bailey.
We and others are all working towards measuring and monitoring Ireland's light pollution sky quality at key locations, informing the public and policy makers alike, and pushing for Ireland's first Dark Sky park.
Light pollution is not just the bane of astronomical enjoyment and research; it is an utter waste of electrical energy - it's like burning wads of taxpayers'/ratepayers' cash - and it represents unnecessary carbon emissions at a time when the planet needs them to be drastically reduced, and when the Kyoto Treaty obliges us to reduce them or pay financial penalties.
For more information, see darksky.org
Clear skies are not common over Ireland, but we are lucky to have some of Europe's darkest skies, especially in the wild and beautiful Connemara region west of Galway city. Dr. Ray Butler of the CfA is a strong advocate of enjoying this rare natural resource on our doorstep! "Astronomy can be enjoyed and pursued on many different levels...in my research I might be processing Hubble Space Telescope images or travelling to do spectroscopy with the 8-metre Gemini telescope; but I still love getting out locally on a clear night with a small 'amateur' telescope or a regular camera".
On the night of 23/24 April 2012, he captured this photo of the Aurora Borealis over two mountain ranges (the Twelve Bens and the Maamturks) from the Coillte forests at Cappaghoosh, in the lakeland wilderness south of the N59 at Recess/Lissoughter.
Tech details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II body @ ISO 3200 and 28 seconds, Samyang 14/2.8 ED ultrawideangle lens at f/4, Manfrotto tripod, Benro KS-2 ballhead, JYC timer-intervalometer.
July 2012: The Centre for Astronomy was selected by NUI Galway to be a highlight at the Volvo Ocean Race Festival, which celebrated the finale of the race in Galway. We relocated our 3D Visualisation Suite to a purpose-built theatre inside the NUIG marquee in the Global Village. An estimated 4,000 members of the public attended "3D Tour of the Universe" shows presented by Centre for Astronomy members throughout the week of the festival.
On July 5th, we were delighted to welcome Ireland's Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Enda Kenny, to the audience of our "3D Tour of the Universe" show. The show included entertaining demos of the power of our 3D system for rendering complex simulations in 3D video, from a fly-over of Galway city to a fly-past of the bodies of the Solar System, and from the Sun's Milky Way neighbourhood to millions of galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy will continue its programme of open evenings in 2012 at its Imbusch Observatory in Dangan. The Observatory provides state-of-the-art observing facilities for NUI Galway's Astrophysics students and the Open evenings are an opportunity for the general public to come in and visit.
An informative hour-long lecture will be followed by a 3D tour of the Universe, and then hands-on viewing of the sky by night, weather permitting. The free open evenings will take place on 25 January, 8 and 22 Feburary and 7 March at 7pm.
Bookings are limited to two tickets per person and is strictly by ticket only, on a first come first served basis. All bookings are by email and those interested should send requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the Galway science & technology festival 2011, centre for astronomy organised 3-D tours of the universe for the visiting school students between 14th and 25th November and for general public on 27th November.
The show was a big sucess as all the five shows on the final day of the festival ran to full capacity. Some photographs from the event:
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