Space enthusiasts gathered in DCU last Thursday night to avail of a series of talks, hosted by the University as part of Ireland’s first Space Week.
Leading experts in the field, from both the School of Mathematical Sciences and the School of Physical Sciences, Professor Turlough Downes, Dr. Ernst de Mooij, Dr. Masha Chernyakova and Dr. John Regan gave talks on a variety of topics, including the formation of stars and planets, finding exoplanets, gamma radiation and black holes.
The speakers took the audience through many of the intricacies of their field, including the tools and techniques astronomers and astrophysicists use in their work of identifying and studying the wider universe, such as space telescopes.
Chernyakova discussed some of the recent discoveries made during what was described as a “golden age for astronomy”, citing the findings from the Rosetta, Kepler, and Hubble missions among many others.
The talks were held in conjunction with Space Week Ireland, the national branch of World Space Week. The organisation aims to encourage people to think about how science and technology can control how we understand life on earth and our place in the universe as a whole.
Organisers also aspire to get young people excited about science, technology, engineering and maths by emphasising their close links to space. By doing this, they hope to encourage more of the younger generation to go into STEM fields.
Professor Turlough Downes, who organised Thursdays talks, said “people tend to shy away from engineering and maths, but if you give them an insight into something that they’re interested in, it empowers them, and they feel that they understand and then they can get involved”.
Space Week Ireland is organised by Cork Institute of Technology Blackrock Castle Observatory, Science Foundation Ireland and ESERO.
Image: Laura Horan