Laser pointer Tour We are fortunate indeed to have the darkest skies in Europe on our doorstep - but our Atlantic weather means that they are not always as cloud-free as we might like!

Observing sessions are therefore organised at relatively short notice.

Dress warmly, bring an extra layer and consider that you may also need to bring insect repellant.

Each session will include a laser-pointer guided tour of the night sky and then move on to view items of interest through telescopes - see the 'Night Sky Now' page for more information.

So, what's all this 'red light' stuff about?
Okay - the basic idea is that it takes at least 20 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted and this is important for viewing faint objects (like galaxies and nebulae). You lose your night vision instantly if someone shines a white light - our eyes are much less sensitive to red light, hence the red light torches. However, people still have to arrive and depart the observing site (usually by car) safely, so a certain amount of light is inevitable. The bottom line is:

Please use your common sense and best endeavours to minimise white light (particularly full headlights) without jeopardising your own or anybody else's safety.

(Please note that other clubs and star parties may have more stringent red light rules, which you would be well advised to check up on before attending one of their events).

Annual Meteor Showers

  Shower Approximate
Parent Body
Quadrantid January 3rd Asteroid 2003 EH1
Lyrid April 21st Comet 1861 I
Eta Aquarid May 4th Comet Halley
Delta Aquarid July 30th Marsden and Kracht sungrazing comets
Perseid August 11th Comet Swift-Tuttle
Draconid October 9th Comet Giacobini-Zinner
Orionid October 20th Comet Halley
Taurid October 31st Comet Encke
Andromedid November 14th Comet Biela
Leonid November 16th Comet 1866 I
Geminid December 13th Asteroid 3200 Phaeton

Directions to Burrishoole Abbey

From Newport take the N59 in the direction of Mulranny for 2km before turning left at a signpost indicating the L1402 (Be careful not to take an earlier turn, also marked L1402, on the right-hand side). Continue along this road for 500m to the Abbey car park.

Directions to Letterkeen

From Newport take the N59 in the direction of Mulranny for just 1km before turning right at a signpost indicating the L1402 (Furnace and the Marine Institute). Continue along this road, passing Lough Furnace and Lough Feeagh (on your left). Pass Treenlaur Youth Hostel and Shramore Lodge, and then cross a small bridge over the Srahrevagh River. Almost immediately after the bridge turn are signboards on both sides of the road for the Nephin Wilderness. After a further 1km, turn left onto a forestry roadway (following the signposts for Letterkeen, the Bangor Trail and the Western Way). Follow the forestry roadway for approx 1km – the observing site is located at the stone bothy.