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2020 Programme of events...

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Michael Chambers

Exploring the lands of his youth and a desire to uncover hidden treasures lead Michael to discover priceless artefacts.
His findings remained undisturbed for thousands of years and are a window into some of the rituals of ancient Ireland.

09:00 GMT (UTC)


Kate McAney

I am delighted to be participating in this year’s festival because I have happily spent much of my working life under dark skies. In my talk I will introduce you to the animal that has accompanied me on my night shifts, the lesser horseshoe bat. You will see what it looks like, hear what it sounds like and learn about the challenges it faces to survive in Ireland today. It is at its most northerly worldwide distribution point in Mayo and I will describe why the county is so important for this little bat. I will also disclose what it has in common with several internationally acclaimed writers and other literary figures!

10:00 GMT (UTC)


Fred Watson and Marnie Ogg

From the first nations people, to the astrophysicists of today, Australia has been the home of stargazers for tens of thousands of years. The inky black continent of Australia is truly embracing the asset of darkness not just from world-class scientific endeavours, but from the perspectives of tourism, human health and environmental well being.

Join Marnie Ogg, (Dark Sky Defender and CEO of the Australasian Dark Sky Alliance), and her partner Fred Watson (Australia's Astronomer at Large) as they share everything from the Emu in the Sky to the Square Kilometer Array.

11:00 GMT (UTC)


Declan Holmes

This talk is a story of how scientists discovered what light really is and along the way found different forms of light from infrared heat to microwaves. The history of light is a fight between waves and particles that ends with the conclusion that it is both in one of the greatest science theories of all time, Quantum Mechanics. We will explore how the different types of light are used in astronomy and we will also measure the speed of light using a chocolate bar and a microwave oven.

12:00 GMT (UTC)


Take a break - join us again at 14:00!

13:00 GMT (UTC)


Terry Mosely

We would like to welcome you to Northern Irelands First Dark Sky Park & Observatory. We will discuss our links with archaeology at Beaghmore Stone Circles, where many believe this was our first Observatory linking it to OM Observatory. Adam Jeffers a local amateur astronomer will showcase fantastic images taken from the Dark Sky Park.

14:00 GMT (UTC)


Éanna ní Lamhna

Join renowned broadcaster and naturalist Éanna ní Lamhna as she chats with Dara McAnulty, who became the youngest ever winner of a major literary prize when he won the 2020 Wainwright Prize for nature writing.

15:00 GMT (UTC)


Clodagh Doyle

Autumn, the season of the harvest, is nearly over and the darkness is drawing in - the short winter days are here. The winter festival of Halloween has traditionally been associated with death and the supernatural. There was a festive meal, games, masks, guising, protection and lots of mischief.
The Irish Folklife Collection of the National Museum of Ireland has a wonder collection of objects associated with Halloween and a permanent exhibition in Turlough, Co. Mayo. The talk on the folklore of Samhain will be supported by a Powerpoint presentation with images of the museum artefacts and archival images and film.

16:00 GMT (UTC)


Dr. Tyler Nordgren

Art has been used to convey scientific ideas as well as promote ecological conservation. Today, astrophotography and astronomical artwork are being used to promote awareness of light pollution and conservation of dark skies around the world.

17:00 GMT (UTC)


Take a break - join us again at 19:00!

18:00 GMT (UTC)


Franck Séguin & Jessica C. Garreau

After a short summary of the photographic history of nocturnal landscapes, we will present and detail the 9 awarded-winners of the Photo NightScape Awards 2020. We will then announce the 8th edition and all its novelties!

19:00 GMT (UTC)


Kerem Asfuroglu

At no point in our history, had we produced, consumed and wasted so much light. Why must light come at the cost of eradicating darkness? Whilst exploring the reasons behind the modern society's obsession with light, the talk will emphasise the importance of the collective vision and working with communities in tackling light pollution through the currently ongoing example of Presteigne Dark Sky Masterplan.

20:00 GMT (UTC)


Dr. Niall Smith

I will use the freely-available STELLARIUM application to take participants on a virtual tour of what can be seen at present in the night sky and build some of the science behind what we know of the selected objects. This presentation will assume no prior knowledge of the heavens above, but hopefully there will be something of interest for the novice and experienced alike! If the skies are clear, participants should be able to go outside and see with their own eyes what we have seen virtually. Finally, I will note why I think it's so important that we preserve our dark skies as much as possible.

21:00 GMT (UTC)