Astronomy Ireland Report
Roundwood, Co Wicklow
Saturday, September 4th 2010
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Hundreds of people descended on Roundwood, Co Wicklow, on Saturday last to take part in Astronomy Ireland's biggest annual fundraiser, the Star-B-Q.
Unperturbed by the overcast skies and the slight drizzle, guests gathered inside the GAA hall to have a chat before the first talk of the evening - "The Universe" by David Moore - began. After David gave his guided tour of the Universe, exploring the planets, stars, and galaxies, we took a break to get something to eat.
Next up was "The Secrets of the Stones" by Anthony Murphy, who explored Ireland's rich history of ancient astronomy. He explained to a captivated audience how the passage tombs in the Boyne Valley and elsewhere were not just graves, but were also important astronomical observatories that defined the life of an ancient culture.
Our keynote speaker, Dr Martin Hendry, fascinated guests with the consipiracy theories surrounding the Moon landings. Like a true scientist, Dr Hendry tested each one of the claims - lack of stars, waving flags, strange shadows - and showed us his results. Using his unique sense of humour and analytical method he succeeded in showing us that we did, in fact, land on the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s.
While the main talks were taking place there were a number of other activities taking place: Kevin O'Kelly exhibited his work from his travels to Australia, where he had the amazing opportunity to do some astronomy in professional observatories with a strange sky. Eamonn O'Fearcháin entertained our younger astronomers with quizzes and activities, while many opted to get their faces painted! As the clouds did not disappear, Emlyn Jones then gave a practical tutorial on navigating through the heavens, and displayed some of his amazing photographs.
Overall, an enjoyable night was had by all, and we look forward to next year's Star-B-Q, taking place on August 27th!
Acknowledgment: Astronomy Ireland would like to thank Paul Brady of An Tochair GAA, The Caterers, and all volunteers for making the event successful.