Midlands AC teamed up with Offaly Field Club (July 5th)

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10 years 1 week ago #101253 by Seanie_Morris
On Saturday July 5th last, Midlands AC was invited to take part in a somewhat unordinary outreach event that proved to be a rather interesting, and enjoyable affair. Amanda Pedlow of the Offaly Field Club contacted me some months back about taking part in their Moth/Bat Watch with some added astronomy by MAC. It sounded interesting in that one might never connect the two clubs together, so we duly agreed.

All this took part on the grounds of Birr Castle Demesne. Members of both clubs, which included 7 MAC members and around 15 Field Club members were greeted by Brendan Parsons, Lord Rosse himself, at the private entrance gate next to the courtyard. We had the entire castle grounds to ourselves for the night!

We began by taking a look at the Moth trap, set up by Alex Copeland of Bird Watch Ireland in the trees across the open space from the Leviathan, around 10pm. Then, Lord Rosse led the group through the grounds, following the Camcor river, showing us various shrubs and trees he and his grandfathers collected and planted from around the world over the years. As the twilight waned, the bats came out, and with them the moths. By around 11:40pm we had completed our way through the grounds and back to the Leviathan Telescope, with the moth trap set up in nearby trees.

With the Moon low in the sky but just high enough to get over the Telescope's great supporting walls, I began a night sky tour (I was asked beforehand by Amanda if I would present a sky tour). With laser pointer in hand, we could see Mars, Saturn, the Milky Way and the hint that some Noctilucent Clouds would become visible. As the sky had completely cleared, we could see the constellations, and star hopped from the Plough to Polaris, Arcturus to Spica, Cassiopeia to the Summer Triangle. We saw many satellites, and a couple of sporadic meteors, 2 of which were right in our area of sky that we were focused on (The Plough and the Moon).

Sean McKenna and Jason Fallon (both MAC) brought their telescopes, and with some added binoculars, showed everyone Mars, Saturn with its rings, the Moon, the Coathanger, detail along the Milky Way down to Scorpio, and more.

An added bonus was the some spotted a Barn Owl take flight from the trees near the moth trap, only spotted when Alex took down the devices and we had a look at the moths captured.

By the time we left shortly before 1:00am, there was still no sign of Noctilucent Clouds as cloud had rolled in along the horizon, but this simple outreach event was certainly a different and enjoyable way to spend a Saturday night.


Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.
The following user(s) said Thank You: michael_murphy

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10 years 1 week ago - 10 years 1 week ago #101257 by dave_lillis
Hi Seanie,
Sounds like a it went well, SAC did a similar event with a Mot/Bat watching club in Clare a few years ago, it must have been nice to go observing next to the leviathan again.

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor
Last edit: 10 years 1 week ago by dave_lillis.

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