A new exhibition, Images of Starlight 2018, featuring a collection of astronomy photographs by Irish amateur astronomers and photographers will open to the public from November 11th until December 2nd 2018 at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin.

This free event organised by the Dublin-based Irish Astronomical Society (IAS) and the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies (IFAS) follows a previous successful exhibition in February 2016 which attracted a record number of visitors.

Space journalist Leo Enright, who has broadcast live commentaries on every major space event since the first Moon landing, said: “Those who attend will be able to see many intriguing photographs of the solar system, our galaxy the Milky Way and other galaxies. It is a rare opportunity to view the highest quality astronomical images.”

Many of the stars, galaxies and other space objects photographed through telescopes from Irish back gardens are millions of light years away and visitors will be surprised that these can be captured by amateurs using relatively inexpensive equipment.

John Dolan of the Irish Astronomical Society said: “Observing and taking photos of what appears in the sky at night is a fascinating hobby which is becoming more popular in Ireland. Telescopes can now be obtained at reasonable cost and recent advances in digital photography have made taking photographs of the night sky more accessible to amateurs. Many of the photographs in this exhibition have been taken using standard consumer DSLR cameras. The low light capability in these cameras has greatly improved in recent years.”

The 60 images on show will include Irish winners of the International Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition organised by the Greenwich Observatory in London. This year’s exhibition will also include a special focus on light pollution and the steps we can take as a society to improve and protect our night sky.

Prof Brian Espey of Trinity College School of Physics said: “Irish skies – particularly in the internationally accredited dark sky areas in Kerry and Mayo – are some of the best in the world but are under threat from light pollution. The photos in this exhibition highlight what is possible with quality dark skies and perseverance on the part of the photographer.”

While the exhibition is aimed at the general public, the aspiring astronomical photographer will find both inspiration and also the advice they need to take their first steps. Helpful and interesting public talks outlining advice on mitigating light pollution as well as how to image the night sky with standard DSLR cameras. The exhibition will also showcase the equipment used for viewing and imaging the night sky, including binoculars, modern telescopes and cameras.

The exhibition will include:

More than 60 spectacular sky images taken by astronomers from their own backyards
A public talk by astronomy photographer John Dolan will be organised on Saturday 24th Nov at 2 pm to help people who are interested in getting started imaging the night sky.
A focus on the steps we can take both as a society and individuals to improve and protect our rural and urban night skies from ever encroaching light pollution to safeguard our health and our environment. Professor Brian Espey of Trinity College will give a talk on light pollution on Saturday 1st December at 2pm
An opportunity for stargazing and viewing the Moon and Planets through modern telescopes will also be organised within the grounds of the National Botanic Gardens on Thursday 15 November from 6pm until 9pm

The “Images of Starlight 2018” exhibition will run from Sunday November 11th to Sunday 2nd December 2018, at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9 with the support of the Office of Public Works and Canon (Ireland).

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