• St Finian's Bay - Core Zone
    St. Finian's Bay - Core Zone

Even those who have just a passing interest in Astronomy will be thrilled to witness the clarity of the stars on clear moonless nights in the Reserve, most especially inside the Core Zone area.



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Po from Hong Kong - Milky Way over Bolus Head August 2014 /1- Core Zone of the Reserve

Milky Way over Bolus Head , Core Zone – credit Po, Hong Kong

The Reserve is a heaven sent opportunity for astro-astronomers to test out their equipment and skills. The Milky Way during the Summer stands out as a huge band of startling white against the deep dark back-drop of the night sky interrupted only by the swathe of a black molecular cloud – nurseries to incubating stars. Visiting these areas during daytime is advised as the darkness in the Core Zone on Moonless is truly all consuming.


Walking St. Finian

Walking in St. Finian’s Bay, The Glen Core Zone – credit Padraig Sands

Astronomy is without doubt one of the best hobbies one can indulge in. Despite popular belief- there is no need for equipment, your own eyes are the best tool, especially for beginners. Ability, intelligence, race, political affiliations, or creed doesn’t come into the equation – all that is required is interest in the subject. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the difference between a planet, moon or a star (these things can be learned as you go along).

Why should we study the Universe? We really forget that everything is part of the Universe, and that includes us. That’s right…. YOU are part of the Universe, everything is. We live on a planet, Earth. The Earth circles the Sun, which is a star called Sol, and just like all the other stars it is part of Outer Space.
Joining an Astronomy Group is a great first step as they will have all the equipment needed. For more Astronomy information click into the South Kerry Astronomy Group  website here or go to their Facebook page for more up-to-date information.


The Moon - Julie kerry dark sky

The Moon – credit Julie Ormonde

Pummeled and scarred, from 4.5 billion years of relentless and violent space impacts, the Moon is our constant companion in space, and our planets only natural satellite. In astronomical measurements it is a mere 238,897 miles away, and the same age as the Earth. It has mountains, and is riddled with craters.
It’s only about 27% of the Earth’s size, and has only 60% of Earth’s density. The Moon is covered in craters from asteroid and comet impacts, most from early in the formation of the Solar System billions of years ago. The Earth has received just as many impacts from space, more in fact because of it’s bigger size, but time and the ever changing evolution of our planet has erased most of the visual evidence.

The Moon prevents Earth’s poles from bobbing up and down, which would destabilise the tilt of our planet and cause great changes in the weather, making the evolution of complex life difficult or impossible. Our Earth would spin much faster without the orbiting Moon, we’d have a shorter day, and wind patterns would likely be stronger and longer lived.

The Moon affects the oceanic tides and the depth of the Oceans which affects the currents such as the gulf stream and the el nino current that affect our weather. Where would we be without Moonlight which has had an influence on the evolution of animals and man making night vision easier. The Moon has been a stabilizing factor for the axis of rotation of the Earth. Mars has wobbled quite dramatically on its axis over time due to the gravitational influence of all the other planets in the Solar System. Because of this obliquity change, the ice that is now at the poles on Mars would sometimes drift to the equator. But the Moon has helped stabilized our planet so that its axis of rotation stays in the same direction. For this reason, we had much less climatic change than if the Earth had been alone. And this has changed the way life evolved on Earth, allowing for the emergence of more complex multi-cellular organisms compared to a planet where drastic climatic change would allow only small, robust organisms to survive.

The discovery that the Moon holds water is quite a surprise and a huge boost to the staggeringly slow Moon base program, which all astronomy lovers eagerly anticipate. It seems that the Moon releases its secrets reluctantly and it is certain that future explorations will surprise and enthrall those lucky enough to be around when mankind finally has its first true-blue Moon base.

This information from the-universe website

Stargazing in the kerry dark sky reserve Michael Sheehan


To fully maximize the experience of viewing our Dark-Sky you should consider hiring a Stargazing Guide, phone the mobile number at the masthead for more details. Please consider the position of the Moon before booking, and remember that the summer nights are very short so you may be going out very late to see the stars.  Or maybe you might consider hiring a Heritage Guide … it’s YOUR holiday – go make the most of it.


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