Astronomers urging Irish businesses to reach for the stars

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Astronomers urging Irish businesses to reach for the stars

The chair of the Irish Astronomy Society, the most popular of its kind in the world, says the country has a rich tradition in the field.


Newgrange in County Meath (Niall Carson/PA)
Newgrange in County Meath (Niall Carson/PA)

The chair of the Irish Astronomy Society, the most popular of its kind in the world, puts its continued rising membership down to ancient history.

The society boasts around 2,000 paid-up members, which is the largest per capita in the world.

Chairman David Moore, who claims the Irish invented space exploration in the Stone Age, says it has left an imprint on the genes of the population.

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Irish Astronomy Society chairman David Moore (PA)

“In the Stone Age, Irish people were watching the motion of sun and moon, and built Newgrange to establish the first calendar.

“A 200,000 tonne monument, that’s like building Dublin city, without a single mechanical tool, and it saved their lives, they knew there was 365 days a year, even down to the extra quarter of a day.

“They were very advanced for their time and technology.”

One of Ireland’s leading astronomy speakers Kevin Nolan spoke in Trinity College on Monday about Ireland’s future in the field.

Irish projects currently under way include production of data to investigate the origin of the universe, black holes, and even the threat of impacts of asteroids on the Earth.

The lecture Big Data Big Universe looked at how the revolution in computer technology in Ireland is applied to huge cutting-edge projects in space.

Mr Moore added that Ireland, one of the leading science-based economies on the planet, is now offering better studying opportunities for young people interested in astronomy.

“We have a huge science-based economy, 60% of GDP.

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Kevin Nolan, coordinator of the Irish Planetary Society and lecturer at ITT (David Moore)

“The budget last year was the most important budget in the history of the Irish state, and it should keep Ireland on the map for a lifetime.

“Last year the Government funded getting Ireland involved in building the world’s biggest telescope, and gave more funding for science in general.

“We used to tell young people interested in astronomy to emigrate, there’s nothing here for them.

“Now, it’s a brilliant place to study astronomy.

“The big tech companies will be screaming for science graduates in their highest paid jobs.

“Recently Kevin Nolan’s team at IT Tallaght processed the huge SDSS catalogue of half a billion objects in deep sky to allow stars with planets orbiting them to be more easily found.

“Researchers in UCD have set up a company to process data from space, Parameter Space Ltd.

“It’s very important for our economy, and it’s a brilliant subject to get young people interested in.

“We should be looking for all scientists to come to Ireland, when Britain leave the EU especially, there’s a lot happening here to be involved in.”

Press Association

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