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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 16 October, 2018
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Meteorite hunt in the North while stargazers gather for cosmic 'Star-B-Q'

Astronomy Ireland is gearing up to hold its annual stargazing event in Wicklow tonight, while the search is on for a space rock believed to have fallen to earth this week.

Image: Photocall Ireland

ASTRONOMY IRELAND IS asking people interested in looking for a potentially valuable meteorite to get involved in a search for a rock from space somewhere in the north of the country.

David Moore from Astronomy Ireland has told TheJournal.ie that the group is certain that a huge flash seen in the sky all over Ireland has resulted in pieces of a meteorite falling to earth.

The last time such a space rock was found in Ireland – by a woman in Leighlinbridge in Co. Carlow in 1999- the pieces were ultimately sold for a huge price by a private collector.

Moore said that it will take a couple of weeks to analyse where the meteorite landed, and is asking people who saw the fireball to go to the Astronomy Ireland website in order to file a report so that the search area can be narrowed down. AI will then inform people of the search area via its newsletter so that the hunt can get underway.

A meteorite which landed somewhere in north County Clare last year has never been found.

‘Star-B-Q’

Meanwhile tonight is one of the biggest nights in the Irish astronomy calendar with the annual Astronomy Ireland ‘Star-B-Q’ in Roundwood in Co. Wicklow.

The cosmic party takes advantage of the dark skies 1000 feet above sea level and allows dozens of telescopes to be set up to examine the skies.

David Moore is welcoming novice stargazers to attend the event, and says those who have telescopes should bring them along. Jupiter will be on view, along with exploding stars, gas clouds, the Milky Way. The International Space Station will also fly over twice during the BBQ.

Moore himself will give a talk on the universe, while The Sky at Night co-presenter Paul Abel will explain black holes.

For more info visit the Astronomy Ireland website. The event is the group’s main fundraiser and attracts up to 1,000 people a year.

Want to go the Star-B-Q? More details here

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Emer McLysaght

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